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May 9, 2008 Newsletter

May 9, 2008

This Week on

Happy Mother's Day --- And Let's Hear It for A Week of Celebrating! Talks to Jane Porter, Author of MRS. PERFECT

Author Talk: Steven Pressfield, Author of KILLING ROMMEL

Now in Stores: THE LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch

Now in Stores: LAVINIA by Ursula K. Le Guin

Great Books for Moms for Mother's Day

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Victoria Lustbader, Author of STONE CREEK

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeff Shaara, Author of THE STEEL WAVE: A Novel of World War II

Special Contest: Win a Copy of THE ANGEL by Carla Neggers

What's New This Month on
Books into Movies for May
Coming Soon: Books Releasing in the Months Ahead

This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Your Home Library

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE 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
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists
Coming Soon
New in Paperback

Happy Mother's Day --- And Let's Hear It for A Week of Celebrating!


Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I am sure that many of you, like me, see this as a holiday that should be celebrated for at least a week. The past days confirmed this for me, and it all had to do with shirts. My younger son is notorious for doing things on his own agenda, which is the last minute. Tuesday I worked from home as my husband was traveling. I knew Cory had a baseball game and did not want to be late. I suggested that Cory get his baseball uniform on before dinner so we would be able to leave immediately after inhaling food (I am sure many of you know these kinds of nights). I had confirmed with him earlier in the afternoon that he knew where the uniform was as the housekeeper had washed it. I got an exasperated "YES MOM."

Dinner ended and THEN he went to get dressed. He informed me that he could not find the uniform shirt anywhere. We went on a closet hunt and found it in a drawer in his brother's room, neatly folded. We raced to the game with me driving like this was the American League Playoffs instead of Little League. We were late. Everyone asked if I hit traffic getting out of the city. I said, no, we could not find the shirt. They all nodded. They have boys; they understand.

Wednesday and Thursday we had to search for the band concert shirt. Another hide/seek adventure. This time Cory assured me that I should have known that he needed the shirt for the practice performance...I guess I was to use my ESP powers for this. The shirt was nowhere and I contemplated buying another for $13. Last night it magically appeared in --- the t-shirt drawer! I was informed that since this drawer did not have polo shirts in it, it was easy to miss it and thus this was NOT HIS FAULT. IT had been misfiled. I see him applying this logic in an office someday with more drastic consequences.

Between this and whipping up guacamole for Cinco de Mayo day at school and handling my older son's frenzy over AP tests, which required a hot nutritious breakfast and then getting scholarship entries done at the 11th hour (a theme around our house), I think I had a full week of unexpected mom-like experiences, which deserve some extra credit. Maybe TWO days if not a week?

We have been sharing ideas for Mother's Day reading suggestions these past weeks. For all of you without a present, I heartily suggest these. Also, our Blog on boasts posts from two bloggers who have themes about Mother's Day --- Elizabeth Noble, who is also the author of THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO KNOW, and Kathy Patrick, who wrote some mother/daughter reading selections. And since I DO think Mother's Day is more than a day, we have some more posts coming next week, thus reiterating my theory that one day just isn't enough. All include great reading suggestions for moms. I can see moms in hammocks and on couches enjoying these titles while husbands and children create meals to charm and honor them --- and do the dishes and make beds too!

I am not a fan of anything self-help. But there are some books that just make me sit up and think and grow from reading them. THE FIRST 30 DAYS: Your Guide to Any Change (and Loving Your Life More) by Ariane De Bonvoisin is just that kind of a book. We all go through changes in life; lots of them. Some are easy while others are harder. But the more we go through change, the easier it is to handle. Ariane's book talks about how the beginning of any change is a pivotal time that can either leave us stressed or stuck, or moving ahead with clarity and hope. The book is worth buying just for The Change Manifesto on pages 10 and 11. That and exercising one's "change muscle" are ideas we all can understand. Ariane's philosophy clearly works. I have known her for a few years and she is one of the most positive people I ever have met! This is really good, advice-filled, thought-provoking reading.

There has been a lot of chatter about Barbara Walters's memoir, AUDITION. One piece that definitely struck a chord with me was written by Jesse Kornbluth on his website, I heartily agree with him. Take a look at it here.  

I FINALLY had time this week to finish Part Two of my blog about the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. You can read it here. Next Friday we kick off our summer-long Summer Beach Bag of Books promotion. Make sure you check back next week to see our summer lineup. Speaking of summer, bathing suit time HAS arrived, thus the book HUNGRY GIRL: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World by Lisa Lillien. A friend swore by this as she was trying to lose some weight. I have a number of pages turned down for me to try. These are real food choices, not rabbit food choices (not that I have anything bad to say about rabbits), so I am excited.

Speaking of getting ready for warm weather, I am glad I like my turquoise luggage as I am off to the Cayman Islands and Coral Gables next weekend for two book club events at Books & Books' stores. In the Caymans on Friday night I will be joining a program for book clubs where the agenda also includes Lisa See reading and talking. As Lisa is one of my favorite authors, I am excited about this. On Sunday at 2PM in Coral Gables I will be part of the Book Club Olympiad that the store is hosting. If you are in the neighborhood, I would love to meet you!

Lots in this issue, so keep reading. I am curious about how many books are in your personal library, so be sure to answer our poll about this. I will try to get my total done and to you before the poll closes! Happy Mother's Day to all...and here's to something perfect to celebrate!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to read Carol's most recent blog entry about the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Talks to Jane Porter, Author of MRS. PERFECT

Jane Porter’s latest book, MRS. PERFECT, is a companion novel to her 2007 release, ODD MOM OUT. In this interview with’s Bronwyn Miller, Porter describes how she originally envisioned these two narratives to be written, and compares and contrasts the romances she has penned with her more recent mainstream fiction titles. She also explains how her work ethic has gradually shifted over time, shares her experiences on the set of Lifetime Network’s adaptation of one of her previous books, FLIRTING WITH FORTY, and talks a bit about an upcoming work, MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE.

MRS. PERFECT by Jane Porter (Fiction)
What would you do if the very role that defined you was taken away? Taylor Young, a periphery character in Jane Porter’s previous novel, ODD MOM OUT, now takes center stage in MRS. PERFECT, where she faces that exact dilemma. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read a review of MRS. PERFECT.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MRS. PERFECT.


Click here to read our interview with Jane Porter.


Author Talk: Steven Pressfield, Author of KILLING ROMMEL

Steven Pressfield is the acclaimed author of eight books, including the historical fiction titles GATES OF FIRE, LAST OF THE AMAZONS and TIDES OF WAR, and the nonfiction guide to writing, THE WAR OF ART. In this interview, Pressfield provides background information on the real-life special forces units around which his latest novel --- KILLING ROMMEL --- is centered and discusses his fascination with the book's titular historical figure. He also explains why he chose to step away from writing about ancient conflicts to focus on a more modern one and reveals which part of the writing process he found to be most challenging.

KILLING ROMMEL by Steven Pressfield (Historical Fiction)
Steven Pressfield, best known for his novels GATES OF FIRE and THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, returns to the territory of historical fiction with an in-depth look at Nazi General Erwin Rommel and his desert march through North Africa. A group of allies comprised of mostly British forces, along with some New Zealanders, form a secret unit called the Long Range Desert Group, whose members are tasked with the insurmountable chore of stopping and killing Rommel. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read a review of KILLING ROMMEL.
-Click here to read an excerpt from KILLING ROMMEL.
-Visit the book's official website,


Click here to read an interview with Steven Pressfield.


Now in Stores: THE LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch

THE LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (Memoir)
A number of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture," where they are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.


Click here to read a review of THE LAST LECTURE.

Now in Stores: LAVINIA by Ursula K. Le Guin
LAVINIA by Ursula K. Le Guin (Fiction)
You don’t have to bone up on Latin classics to appreciate this evocative retelling of Virgil’s epic THE AENEID. Bestselling author Ursula K. Le Guin summons up a Bronze Age world of ritual, mystery and war with all the rich inventiveness she has displayed in her prize-winning fantasy novels. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.


Click here to read a review of LAVINIA.


Great Books for Moms for Mother's Day

From April 18th through May 2nd, readers had the chance to win one of our five Mother’s Day floral-decorated keepsake trunks filled with goodies Mom will just love, as well as one copy of ALL 13 of our featured books. Thanks to all the readers who entered and told us their favorite book that their moms read to them. Click here to see our winners.

Although the contest has ended, we encourage you to visit our Mother's Day feature. Heartbreaking and humorous, inspirational and informative, these titles are sure to make wonderful gifts for Mom on her special day in May.

Our featured Mother's Day titles are:

-ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver
-THE BLUE STAR by Tony Earley
-BODY SURFING by Anita Shreve
-CHEZ MOI by Agnes Desarthe, translated by Adriana Hunter
-FRIDAY NIGHTS by Joanna Trollope
-GIRLS IN TRUCKS by Katie Crouch
-LOSING IT: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time by Valerie Bertinelli
-PINK LADIES & CRIMSON GENTS: Portraits and Legends of 50 Roses by Molly Glentzer
-WHEN THE HEART CRIES: Sisters of the Quilt, Book One by Cindy Woodsmall
-WHEN THE MORNING COMES: Sisters of the Quilt, Book Two by Cindy Woodsmall
-WOMAN IN RED by Eileen Goudge
-THE WOMAN WHO IS ALWAYS TAN AND HAS A FLAT STOMACH: And Other Annoying People by Lauren Allison and Lisa Perry


Click here to see our Mother's Day suggestions.

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Victoria Lustbader, Author of STONE CREEK

Victoria Lustbader’s first book, HIDDEN, received much critical praise when it was released in 2006. In STONE CREEK, her second work of fiction releasing on May 27th, Lustbader weaves an unforgettable novel of tremendous emotional heft and brilliantly illuminates how the powers of love and loss transform the human heart.

-Click here to read the first SIX chapters of STONE CREEK.
-Click here to read Victoria Lustbader’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,

More about STONE CREEK:
In the small town of Stone Creek, a random encounter offers two lonely people a chance at happiness. When Lily and Danny meet, something immediate and undeniable happens between them. Neither one can ignore that Lily is married and 10 years older than Danny, but it is Danny's son, Caleb, who continues to bring them together.


Click here to read more about Victoria Lustbader and STONE CREEK.


Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeff Shaara, Author of THE STEEL WAVE: A Novel of World War II

In THE STEEL WAVE, Jeff Shaara --- America’s premier author of military historical fiction and New York Times bestseller --- brings us the centerpiece of his epic trilogy of the Second World War that began with THE RISING TIDE. Releasing on May 13th, this second installment tells the story of World War II through the points of view of some of history's most colorful and dynamic characters.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE STEEL WAVE.
-Click here to read Jeff Shaara’s bio.
-Click here to see Jeff Shaara's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE STEEL WAVE.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about THE STEEL WAVE:
General Dwight Eisenhower once again commands a diverse army that must find its single purpose in the destruction of Hitler’s European fortress. His primary subordinates, Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery, must prove that this unique blend of Allied armies can successfully confront the might of Adolf Hitler’s forces, who have already conquered Western Europe.


Click here to read more about Jeff Shaara and THE STEEL WAVE.


Special Contest: Win a Copy of THE ANGEL by Carla Neggers

We are celebrating the release of THE ANGEL --- Carla Neggers’s new romantic suspense novel in which a woman's passion for myth and magic leads her into the heart of a murderous evil --- with a special contest. Ten readers each will have the opportunity to win one finished copy of THE ANGEL, which is now available in stores. Those who answer a question correctly by reading an excerpt from the book automatically will be entered to win. Enter between now and Wednesday, May 28th by filling out the form found here.

More about THE ANGEL:
On a remote stretch of the rugged coast of Ireland, folklorist Keira Sullivan pursues the mysterious Irish legend of an ancient Celtic stone angel. Soon Keira realizes that the long-forgotten story that has captivated her has also aroused a killer... a calculating predator who will certainly kill again. Suspenseful and evocative, THE ANGEL is a riveting novel of dangerous myths, haunting secrets and the shattering truth concealed within them.

-Click here to read more about THE ANGEL.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ANGEL.


Click here for more details about the contest and how to enter.

What's New This Month on
With more than 2,300 discussion guides available, continues to be the leading place for book clubs to find all the resources they need on the web.

Our Blog continues to be a big hit among our readers. Throughout the month we are sharing postings from regular contributors --- including authors, librarians, book club facilitators, booksellers and experts in the publishing industry --- as well as special guests. The latest blog can be found here, and here are quick links to some recent posts:

-Elizabeth Noble: Mothers, Daughters and Reading Groups
-Kathy L. Patrick's Mother/Daughter Reading Selections
-Book Club Activism Continues
-Book Club Break-Up
-One Book, Multiple Discussions
-Michele Martinez: Thrilling Reads

The following guides are now available on

APPLES & ORANGES: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found by Marie Brenner
BELONG TO ME by Marisa de los Santos
FRIDAY NIGHTS by Joanna Trollope
NO GOOD GIRLS by Jean Marie Pierson
NOTES ON A LIFE by Eleanor Coppola
A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY: Tales of the New Old Age in America by Dudley Clendinen
SPIRIT UNBROKEN: The Two Sides of Love by Rick and Alice Garlock
THE SUGAR QUEEN by Sarah Addison Allen

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS by Anita Amirrezvani
GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen
LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan
THE NEW YORKERS by Cathleen Schine

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

KILL ME IF YOU CAN: Patricia Amble Mystery Series, Book Two by Nicole Young
MOVING UP: Ten Steps to Turning Your Life Around and Getting to the Top! by Suzan Johnson Cook
THE MOON IN THE MANGO TREES by Pamela Binnings Ewen
A STEAL OF A DEAL: Shop-Til-U-Drop, Book 2 by Ginny Aiken


Click here to visit

Books into Movies for May

Movie lovers are in for quite a treat this month, as May’s Books into Movies feature boasts one of the first and biggest “summer blockbusters” of the season, as well as a couple of lesser-known independent films that promise to pack quite an emotional punch for cinephiles in the mood for something a bit more dramatic and innovative.

Hitting the big screen on May 16th is the eagerly anticipated Prince Caspian, the second installment in C. S. Lewis’s beloved The Chronicles of Narnia series that is sure to bring out the bedtime story-loving child in all of us. Also not to be missed is Fugitive Pieces, the emotionally wrought war drama based on Anne Michaels’s acclaimed novel, and The Tracey Fragments, Ellen Page’s post-Juno indie arthouse film.

New on DVD this month is the heartwarming tear jerker P.S. I Love You, and Youth Without Youth, Francis Ford Coppola’s philosophical study on life, love and the passage of time.


Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.

Coming Soon: Books Releasing in the Months Ahead
Curious about what books will be released in the months ahead? Then be sure to check out our Coming Soon section, where we currently have titles for May through August listed. Please note that we have not included every book coming out, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.
Click here to see our Coming Soon feature.


This Week's Reviews

BELONG TO ME by Marisa de los Santos (Fiction)
When readers first meet Cornelia Brown, one of three protagonists in Marisa de los Santos's second novel, BELONG TO ME, it seems that her tale will be one of trading an exciting life in the big city for a quiet one in the suburbs. But what unfolds is much more complex and interesting. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE EYE OF THE LEOPARD by Henning Mankell (Fiction)
THE EYE OF THE LEOPARD is a book of contrasts, beginning with the snow of Sweden to the killing heat of South Africa after the independence. Henning Mankell’s coming-of-age tale is imbued with a sense of danger at every turn in a world where people never know what is awaiting them with their next step. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

ISLAND OF LOST GIRLS by Jennifer McMahon (Suspense)
Secrets and lies, both present and past, unravel after 23-year-old Rhonda Farr witnesses a child abduction --- by a giant rabbit --- in an unsettling thriller by the author of the bestseller PROMISE NOT TO TELL. Masterfully eerie, this story will keep you guessing until the final conclusion. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

CHASING WINDMILLS by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Fiction)
In this bittersweet and moving tale by the author of PAY IT FORWARD, Sebastian and Maria are two strangers who live half-lives dominated by bullies. Both escape their smothering homes by riding the subway for hours at night, where they meet each other, setting inevitable life changes in motion. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

LAMBRUSCO by Ellen Cooney (Fiction)
The extraordinary Resistance movement of the Italian people in the Second World War is brought to life in a captivating, deeply moving story of a mother’s search for her son, by the author of the widely acclaimed A PRIVATE HOTEL FOR GENTLE LADIES. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SOUTH OF SHILOH by Chuck Logan (Thriller)
A nameless sniper is targeting participants in popular Civil War battle reenactments, and Minnesota reenactor Paul Edin is killed at the mock Battle of Kirby Creek, near Corinth, Mississippi. His death is ruled an accident, but Paul's widow, Jenny, discovers that the bullet was meant for the man standing next to Paul, a cop named Kenny Beeman. To penetrate the Mississippi smokescreen, Jenny enlists the aid of her former lover, news photographer John Rane. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
THE FINDER by Colin Harrison (Thriller)
Colin Harrison spins the story of a young, beautiful, secretive Chinese woman named Jin-Li, who gets involved in a brilliant scheme to steal valuable information from corporations in New York City. When the plan is discovered by powerful New Yorkers who stand to lose enormous sums of money, Jin-Li goes on the run. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Your Home Library /p>


How many books are in your home library?

Under 50
1,000 to 2,499
2,500 to 5,000
More than 5,000
I do not keep books once I have read them.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What new book (name up to three) are you most looking forward to reading in the next few weeks?

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE Prizes

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of APPLES & ORANGES: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found by Marie Brenner, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein and ODD HOURS by Dean Koontz. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on May 23rd to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on May 23rd.
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 May 31, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein, BLACK OUT by Lisa Unger, COMFORT FOOD by Kate Jacobs, KILLING ROMMEL by Steven Pressfield and ODD HOURS by Dean Koontz. Juanita from West Salem, OH
was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE GIRL WITH NO SHADOW by Joanne Harris, HOLD TIGHT by Harlan Coben, SEPULCHRE by Kate Mosse, WHERE ARE YOU NOW? by Mary Higgins Clark and THE WHOLE TRUTH by David Baldacci.

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

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