Skip to main content

December 1, 2006 Newsletter

December 1, 2006

This Week on

Two Bookishly Foodish Ideas

Now in Stores: BROTHER ODD by Dean Koontz

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Spotlight on SUGAR AND SPICE by Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke and Shirley Jump

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Teens

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Child's Play: For Kids

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on News, Events & Pop Culture and Sports Titles

New Featured One to Watch Author: Lalita Tademy, Author of RED RIVER

New Featured One to Watch Author: Julia Navarro, Author of THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HOLY SHROUD

New Featured Fantasy Author: Alan Campbell, Author of SCAR NIGHT

Now in Stores: AU PARIS by Rachel Spencer

Now in Stores: JACOB: The Nightwalkers by Jacquelyn Frank

New in Paperback for November and December

This Week's Reviews and Features

Poll and Question of the Week: Book Buying and Holiday Meals
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

Two Bookishly Foodish Ideas

A book came across my desk the other day that got me thinking about food and the way I consume it in a whole new way. It's called MINDLESS EATING: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. Quick Fact: the average person makes up to 200 food decisions a day, including what not to eat or choosing what to eat. Reading made me think about the way I will heat up something in the microwave and then munch 4 cookies while I am waiting for it to be ready. And how when I am running out in the morning I will grab a buttermilk biscuit or two and chomp through them because they are easy to take when I have a whole bowl full of cut fruit in the fridge. And how I am known to work my jaws on sticky candies like spearmint leaves or orange slices as I drive and then look down and find half the bag is gone.
I also am known to stand at the book table in the office and talk to the staff while consuming two to three Girl Scout cookies while working through an idea. And this is without even pondering other mindless eating like popcorn consumption in a movie theater. I realized how many calories I saved eating out on Thanksgiving. Cooking I would have tasted an entire meal. And no leftovers meant that I was not eating pecan pie for breakfast with a side of whipped cream. Going into the holidays, I am vowing to think about this book and plot ways to make my eating more thoughtful.
The book on my nighttable right now is one I first read about from Jesse Kornbluth on and then heard the author speak about it when I was at the Miami Book Fair --- SETTING THE TABLE by Danny Meyer. I enjoy restaurants where I feel taken care of, as much as those where I feel like I have had an epicurean experience. Meyer's book talks about how he creates that atmosphere in his own restaurants, but the thoughts and musings that he shares apply far beyond the world of hospitality. His inclusionary and team-style of management can fit so many businesses and relationships. He also talks about the things he did wrong, which is something I always admire.
No matter how tired I was at night this week, I found myself wanting to read a few pages and then a few more. And while most of the eleven --- yes eleven --- restaurants that he owns are not in our 'hood at the office, reading this book makes me want to get back to one of his places really soon. Oh, and he never has closed a restaurant. Anyone who knows the average run rate for a restaurant will find a fact like this amazing. What does he do different? I'll give you a tip. It all starts with how the staff gets treated. Good reading.
This week we share reader feedback on Jonathan and Faye Kellerman's new title, CAPITAL CRIMES. There is a show running on Court TV on Monday nights at 10PM ET called "Murder by the Book". The show focuses on authors and the stories of the crimes behind their books. So far I have caught James Elroy, Michael Connelly and Jonathan Kellerman. I believe that Faye Kellerman is Monday night and that Lisa Scottoline is the focus of a future episode. You also can watch these shows online at here.

We have a Books Into Movies update for you this week, which will give you bookish suggestions on holiday movie viewing.
Next Thursday, I am going to be celebrating the 23rd anniversary of my 27th birthday. I confess that the number you get when you do the math was one I definitely did not feel great about. I always tell people I am 27, because in my head, I am. So my younger son came up with this way of looking at it, and suddenly it actually sounded fun. I guess it's all how you look at things. I spend a lot of time looking at things in ways that make me smile and say, hmmm...that was pretty clever, so why not do the same for my birthday. I am planning a lunch with a few close girlfriends, which I am treating like the birthday parties I had as a kid. And that night my younger son will be playing the drums in the 6th Grade Holiday Concert. I keep teasing him that I hope they are working on "Happy Birthday." I saw the list of's not. But yes, "Hot Cross Buns" IS on it.
Have a great week. Take reading breaks between holiday shopping, wrapping, card writing and ornamentalizing and baking. Seriously, a few pages of reading can be restorative when the holidaze overtakes you. I know. I practice this escape method a lot. It truly does work and you get a lot of reading done too. Also, it has fewer calories than the holiday cookies and candies I normally would focus my restless energy on. Be mindful of your food and your reading until next week.


Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on December 1st.

List of titles reviewed and featured on November 24th.


Now in Stores: BROTHER ODD by Dean Koontz

BROTHER ODD by Dean Koontz (Suspense)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
Solitude. Prayer. Renewal. Talking to the ghost of Elvis Presley. Finding peace for a tortured spirit. Saving the inhabitants of an abbey from a brutal demise. It's all in a day's work for Odd Thomas, a unique character who takes center stage for the third time in Dean Koontz's intriguing series.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BROTHER ODD.

Click here to read a review of BROTHER ODD.

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Spotlight on SUGAR AND SPICE by Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke and Shirley Jump

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 fifth featured title is SUGAR AND SPICE by Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke and Shirley Jump --- four unforgettable tales of holiday romance filled with sugar and spice and everything nice. Along with two copies of SUGAR AND SPICE 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 present does architect Gus Moss give to every new owner of one of his custom-designed houses?

You can find the answer by reading an excerpt here

SUGAR AND SPICE by Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke and Shirley Jump (Romance)
Reviewed by Carole Turner
Take one snow-covered Christmas season --- full, as always, of expectation and promise. Add one young woman and one young man thrown together by fate or circumstance. And what is the result? Four interesting, very different romantic novellas by Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke and Shirley Jump.

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


What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Teens

Headed out to do some holiday shopping? Before you go, check out our What to Give/What to Get feature with ideas in 13 categories.

We are spotlighting the various categories in the newsletter this week and in upcoming weeks. This week we're featuring Teens' Choice, Child's Play, News, Events & Pop Culture and Slam Dunks. First up --- Teens' Choice.

Got a teen on your holiday list? Our Teens' Choice category has got you covered no matter how fickle your recipient.

Our featured titles in this category are:

CATHY'S BOOK: If Found Call 650-266-8233 by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman
GIRL WITH GLASSES: My Optic History by Marissa Walsh and Jason Logan 
LARKLIGHT by Philip Reeve, illustrated by David Wyatt 
TYRELL by Coe Booth

Click here to see our Teens' Choice category.


What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Child's Play: For Kids

Have a kid on your list? We know the books they'll be thrilled to unwrap this holiday season.

Our featured titles in this category are:

CHRISTMAS: A Pop-up Stocking Stuffer by Robert Sabuda
FAIREST by Gail Carson Levine
Harriet Bean Series by Alexander McCall Smith 
LARKLIGHT by Philip Reeve, illustrated by David Wyatt
MOUSE COOKIES & MORE by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
Rotten School Series by R.L. Stine
MAGYK: Septimus Heap, Book One by Angie Sage, illustrated by Mark Zug 
A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist

Click here to see our Child's Play category.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on News, Events & Pop Culture and Sports Titles

Guys are notoriously hard to shop for, but the books in our News, Events & Pop Culture as well as our Slam Dunks categories may be just the thing for the politically involved, the movie buff or the outdoorsman on your list.

Our featured titles in the News, Events & Pop Culture category are:


DREAMGIRLS: THE MOVIE MUSICAL, introduction by Bill Condon, photography by David James

-Click here to see our News, Events & Pop Culture category.

Our featured titles in the Slam Dunks category are:


NO SHORTCUTS TO THE TOP: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks by Ed Viesturs and David Roberts

-Click here to see our Slam Dunks category.


New Featured One to Watch Author: Lalita Tademy, Author of RED RIVER

One of our two new featured One to Watch authors is Lalita Tademy, whose newest title, RED RIVER, is a powerful tale of racial strife and the bonds of family that hits bookstores on January 3rd.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RED RIVER.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about RED RIVER:
Hailed as "powerful," "accomplished," and "spellbinding," Lalita Tademy's first novel CANE RIVER was a New York Times bestseller and the 2001 Oprah Book Club Summer Selection. Now with her evocative, luminous style and painstaking research, she takes her family's story even further, back to a little-chronicled, deliberately-forgotten time...and the struggle of three extraordinary generations of African-American men to forge brutal injustice and shattered promise into a limitless future for their children... RED RIVER.

Click here to read more about Lalita Tademy and RED RIVER.


New Featured One to Watch Author: Julia Navarro, Author of THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HOLY SHROUD

Our second featured One to Watch author is Julia Navarro --- a Madrid-based journalist whose mesmerizing biblically-inflected tale, THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HOLY SHROUD, was a publishing phenomonen in Spain. The English translation of the novel hits shelves on December 26th and is bound to garner a whole new audience for the talented and fiercely intelligent writer.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HOLY SHROUD.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

A fire at the Cathedral of Turin and the discovery of a strangely mutilated body attract the attention of Italy's special Art Crimes Department. For the fire is only the latest in a troubling series of arsons and break-ins at the cathedral, which houses what millions believe to be the authentic burial shroud of Jesus Christ.

Spanning centuries and continents, from the storm-rent skies over Calvary, through the glories of Byzantium and the intrigue and treachery of the Crusades, to the modern-day citadels of Istanbul, New York, London, Paris, and Rome, BROTHERHOOD OF THE HOLY SHROUD is a provocative page-turner of the highest order-one that will challenge you to believe.

Click here to read more about Julia Navarro and THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HOLY SHROUD.

New Featured Fantasy Author: Alan Campbell, Author of SCAR NIGHT

We're bringing back our Fantasy Feature with Alan Campbell and SCAR NIGHT, which comes out December 26th and is Campbell's first novel. With its distinctive blend of mystery, thrills and the fantastic, Campbell is destined to make a name for himself in the fantasy genre.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SCAR NIGHT.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about SCAR NIGHT:
Suspended by chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss, the ancient city of Deepgate is home to a young angel, an assassin, and a psychotic murderer hungry for revenge --- or redemption. But soon a shocking betrayal will unite all three in a desperate quest.....

Click here to read more about Alan Campbell and SCAR NIGHT.


Now in Stores: AU PARIS by Rachel Spencer

AU PARIS by Rachel Spencer

When Rachel Spencer needed a change of pace from her dull corporate job, she traded in her stilettos for flip-flops and said bonjour to Paris. Don't miss her hilarious misadventures in AU PARIS: True Tales of an American Nanny in Paris!

Click here to read more about AU PARIS.

Now in Stores: JACOB: The Nightwalkers by Jacquelyn Frank

JACOB: The Nightwalkers by Jacquelyn Frank

For 700 years Jacob has resisted temptation...but not tonight.

Don't miss the first book in the mesmerizing new series by Jacquelyn Frank that bestselling author Linda Howard has called "engrossing", "lush" and "lyrical".



Click here to read more about Jacquelyn Frank and her Nightwalkers series

New in Paperback for November and December

November and December's roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes CELL, a terrifying story from Stephen King about the mayhem unleashed when a mysterious force transforms cell phone users into homicidal maniacs; Raymond Khoury's THE LAST TEMPLAR, which centers on a secret of the Knights Templar rumored to be of such weight and bearing that its revelation will rock the world; GONE by Lisa Gardner, a heartbreaking and heartstopping suspense novel that poses the question, When someone you love vanishes without a trace, how far would you go to get them back?; GOT THE LOOK, James Grippando's fifth thriller featuring Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck; and GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS, a harrowing tale of cat and mouse from bestselling author Joanne Harris.

Among our nonfiction highlights are FOR LACI, in which Sharon Rocha opens up to readers about the tragic loss of her daughter, Laci Peterson; MONEY, A MEMOIR, Liz Perle's examination of her emotional relationship to and assumptions about money; SELF-MADE MAN, journalist Norah Vincent's account of her 18 months spent disguised as a man; and SHAKESPEARE: THE BIOGRAPHY, Peter Ackroyd's vivid recreation of the world that shaped the great English poet and playwright.


Click here to read our New in Paperback roundup.


This Week's Reviews and Features

HOLLYWOOD STATION by Joseph Wambaugh (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Good guys and bad guys, tourists and scammers, are on a collision course in the Hollywood station, an outlandish division of the LAPD where movie posters grace the walls and the cops have talent agents. HOLLYWOOD STATION is Wambaugh's great new novel full of odd fun and weird crime.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HOLLYWOOD STATION.

SIZE 14 IS NOT FAT EITHER: A Heather Wells Mystery by Meg Cabot (Mystery)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
In this follow-up to SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT, former pop star Heather Wells has settled nicely into her new life as assistant dorm director at New York College. But she soon finds herself deep in another mystery when a cheerleader she knows literally loses her head. Heather, of course, will NOT investigate. Riiiight...

-Click here to read an excerpt from SIZE 14 IS NOT FAT EITHER.

TREASURE OF KHAN: A Dirk Pitt Novel by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher
From the frigid lakes of Siberia to the hot sands of the Gobi Desert, Dirk Pitt and his partner Al Giordino find intrigue, adventure and peril while collecting clues to the mysterious treasure of Xanadu. But first they must keep a Mongolian tycoon from murder --- and the unleashing of a natural disaster of calamitous proportions.

SOLDIER: The Life of Colin Powell, by Karen DeYoung (Biography)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
A son of Jamaican immigrants, Colin Powell rose from the streets of the Bronx to become a four-star army general, trusted adviser to five presidents, secretary of state and, for many admirers, a potential president. This detailed biography lays bare the obstacles erected in his way by political foes and the mindset that enabled him to succeed in spite of them.

THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT by Heidi Julavits (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
In 1985, West Salem teen Mary Veal goes missing after field hockey practice and turns up weeks later, seemingly unharmed and claiming amnesia but alluding to being abducted and raped. Or was she? In her latest novel, Heidi Julavits explores memory and time and how the tenuous lines between the two can get blurred.

THE GODFATHER'S REVENGE by Mark Winegardner (Fiction)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In THE GODFATHER'S REVENGE --- a sequel to 2004's THE GODFATHER RETURNS and again authorized by Mario Puzo's estate --- Mark Winegardner moves the Corleone family onto the biggest stage of all: the intersection of organized crime and national politics.

THE GODS OF NEWPORT by John Jakes (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
John Jakes unfolds an epic tale of true love, revenge and scandalous doings in one of the world's most famous seaside resorts --- Newport, Rhode Island --- during its Gilded Age glory in the twilight years of the nineteenth century.

THE PHONY MARINE by Jim Lehrer (Fiction)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
From veteran newsman and acclaimed novelist Jim Lehrer comes a charming, whimsical and often philosophical tale of a meek little man, plunged into deep waters through his own folly, who confronts another sort of heroism that few braver men might survive.

ALWAYS SAY GOODBYE by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mystery)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Lew Fonesca returns to Chicago in order to find the person responsible for his wife's death. In doing so, he will uncover both sweet and painful memories of his past --- and confront a murderer who will not hesitate to kill again to make sure that hidden secrets stay buried.

TWILIGHT by William Gay (Fiction)
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg
In his third novel (following THE LONG HOME and PROVINCES OF NIGHT), William Gay returns to his familiar territory of rural Tennessee to tell a gripping tale about the lengths to which desperate people will go to ensure that the secrets they think they've buried remain hidden from sight.

RUNNING AWAY WITH FRANNIE by Renee Manfredi (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
What happens when two young people, both of whom have spent their lives running away, run head over heels into love with each other? Renee Manfredi's enchanting, heartbreaking second novel explores what happens when desires collide, when real life interferes with true love.

LONE WOLF by Linwood Barclay (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Newspaper writer, family man and reluctant hero Zack Walker has stumbled onto some dicey stories before, but nothing like what he's about to uncover when a mutilated corpse is found at his father's lakeside fishing camp. Zack fears the worst. And this time, his paranoid worldview is dead-on.

Click here to read our reviews and features.
Poll and Question of the Week: Book Buying and Holiday Meals


This fall we have seen a number of blockbuster authors release books, which has us wondering. Think about your own book buying habits compared to last year. Are you buying:

More books
The same number of books
Fewer books
Not sure what I am doing
-Click here to answer our Poll.


What author would you like to have join you for a holiday meal?

-Click here to answer our
Question of the Week. 


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 HANNIBAL RISING by Thomas Harris and NEXT by Michael Crichton.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on December 15th.


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 December 31, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BOLEYN INHERITANCE by Philippa Gregory, HANNIBAL RISING by Thomas Harris, NEXT by Michael Crichton, THE RAVENSCAR DYNASTY by Barbara Taylor Bradford and SANTA CRUISE: A Holiday Mystery at Sea, by Mary Higgins Clark. Last month's winner was Charlotte from Bourne, MA who won 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.

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

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107


Back to top.