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November 26, 2008 Newsletter

November 26, 2008

This Week on

Talking Turkey

Author Talk: Kate Jacobs, Author of KNIT TWO

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Spotlight on a Collection of Holiday Titles from Kensington Books's Special Blog --- Authors on the Holidays
A Book is the Perfect Gift Because....

Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Ted Dekker and Erin Healy, Authors of KISS

New in Paperback for November

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

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Series Books for Kids

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Nonfiction Titles for Kids
What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Picture Books
The Basket of Holiday Cheer Contest is Now Live!
This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Holiday Gift-Giving and Shopping

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
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists
Coming Soon
New in Paperback

Talking Turkey

Thanksgiving, which I have nicknamed the "chop chop chop" holiday, is here. Seriously, I feel like Thanksgiving prep means knives, many knives. For me that also means bandaids, many bandaids, since no matter how hard I try, I am a total klutz with knives. I also am a very messy cook. I start out very organized with good intentions of washing each pan and utensil as I use it, but as the day progresses so does the mess. We have a dark tile floor that by later today will be streaked with flour, then of course some liquid will hit that and we will have the start of....paste on the tile. At least I know what lies ahead.

We are doing what I call a "rewind" this holiday season, with the same guests as last year and just about the same menu. We had so much fun I voted to do a repeat, and I am thrilled everyone else felt the same way. I am cutting the soup that no one ate from the lineup, and I am layering in roasted parsnips instead. Let's see who notices!

Last weekend in San Antonio there were not only great author moments, but there also was some wonderful Mexican food. Between that and wearing my cowboy boots for three days, I was a happy girl. A highlight of the weekend included getting to meet Lynne Cox, who wrote SWIMMING TO ANTARCTICA. It was my total geek girl moment when I raised my hand and asked the woman who has swum in the Bering Sea and the English Channel if she also swims in pools. I know, really silly question, but luckily I held back on asking if she wanted to swim with me in the hotel pool. I WAS hoping she would ask. For the record, she was wearing turquoise too. She said she thinks we both like it because it reminds us of water. Aha!

Sharing the panel with Lynne was Charles Shields, who wrote MOCKINGBIRD: A Portrait of Harper Lee. He talked about his research and how he scrupulously told the story triangulating all of his references. His next book will be about Kurt Vonnegut. I also had the quite pleasant surprise to see Greg Mortenson, the author of THREE CUPS OF TEA, speak. His presentation opened with a video where his daughter told the story behind THREE CUPS OF TEA and introduced her dad. For those of you who do not know the story, here's a brief synopsis.

When he failed to summit on a climb up K2, the world's second tallest mountain and was seriously weakened by the climb, Mortenson stayed for seven weeks in the small Pakistani village of Korphe recuperating. There he came to love these people. Seeing the abject poverty there and realizing there was no school for the children, he promised to return and build one, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. He spoke about the schools that they have built, the money that has been raised, and his Pennies for Peace program that you can read more about here. At this time of year, when we all think about giving thanks, it's really lovely to think about how an ordinary man showed us how so much good can come when you see something that feels wrong and want to set it right.

It makes me think that this holiday season, when you are sitting with loved ones around the table, you might all want to pull the pennies from your pockets and toss them together for a donation. What seems like small change to us really can make a huge difference. And at a time when we are all hearing big bad economic news, take some time to realize that small gestures do still matter. May you each have ideas that you can celebrate and bring good to others with this holiday season.

I have been enjoying the wonderful Author Holiday Blogs that are running about book giving and receiving. Today's contribution is from Mary Kay Andrews. She writes about receiving THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON and realizing the ability to forget her surroundings and lose herself in a great story. We will continue to add these stories right up until Christmas Day, so be sure to bookmark or RSS this page. Speaking of Mary Kay Andrews, she is working on her book THE FIXER UPPER, which is due in stores next June. She has a contest running on her site right now asking readers to tell about their own personal fixer-upper story. Three winners will be selected to win one of three advance reading copies. Sooo, tell your tale!

My passion for knitting has me excited about KNIT TWO, the new book from Kate Jacobs, the author of the debut success THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB, which just came out this week. Many thanks to Norah Piehl for her speed read and terrific review. We also have an Author Talk with Kate. Reading KNIT TWO, and more work on the sweater I have been knitting, will be on my weekend agenda. Also on the weekend lineup, getting the house decked out and planting the red Amaryllis plants I bought a month ago. Here come the Valentine's Day flowers again!

As I mentioned last week, we have a shorter than usual update this week due to the holiday. But we still are sharing 8 new reviews and our monthly New in Paperback feature, so you still will feel like you are full when you finish reading.

Here's wishing you all the most wonderful of Thanksgiving holidays. Please take time to reflect on what you have instead of dwelling on what is missing. Here's to leftovers and holiday shopping. We all are giving thanks for YOU!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Author Talk: Kate Jacobs, Author of KNIT TWO

KNIT TWO is Kate Jacobs's third novel and the sequel to her 2007 bestseller and book club favorite THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB. In this interview, Jacobs fills us in on what Dakota and other frequenters of Walker and Daughter yarn shop have been up to in the five years that have passed between the books' storylines, and explains how much of herself, her family and her personal life infuse each of her characters. She also shares her thoughts on the resurgence in popularity of knitting, discusses the inherent connections among this traditional pastime with food and friendship --- which are common threads in all her novels --- and reveals what she hopes readers will take away from her work.

KNIT TWO: A Friday Night Knitting Club Novel by Kate Jacobs (Fiction)
The sequel to the New York Times bestseller THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB returns to Walker and Daughter, the Manhattan knitting store founded by Georgia Walker and her young daughter, Dakota. Dakota is now an 18-year-old freshman at NYU, running the little yarn shop part-time with help from the members of the Friday Night Knitting Club. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of KNIT TWO.
-Click here to read an excerpt from KNIT TWO.

Click here to read an interview with Kate Jacobs.


Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Spotlight on a Collection of Holiday Titles from Kensington Books

The holiday season is upon us! At it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest. As you begin your holiday shopping, we want to remind you that books make affordable, personal and wonderful gifts for EVERYONE on your list --- and are a nice way to treat yourself as well!

From November 7th through January 5th we will spotlight a different title or collection of titles, 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 to make the gift-giving hassle-free.

This week we continue to shine the spotlight on a collection of holiday tales from Kensington Books, including SILVER BELLS by Fern Michaels, JoAnn Ross, Mary Burton and Judy Duarte; CANDY CANE MURDER by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine and Leslie Meier; CHRISTMAS AT SEA PINES COTTAGE by Sally Smith O'Rourke; and A CHRISTMAS PASSAGE by David Saperstein and George Samerjan. Our Holiday Basket of Cheer is a woven basket stocked with holiday-themed items. Inside, winners will find green-and-tan checkered wrapping paper, a cinnamon holly-scented Illuminations candle, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, gourmet hand-cut vanilla marshmallows, plush red socks from Crabtree & Evelyn, a holiday notebook, delicious Chewy Peps peppermint candies and a festive pie plate with a gingerbread man design, as well as two copies of SILVER BELLS, CANDY CANE MURDER, CHRISTMAS AT SEA PINES COTTAGE and A CHRISTMAS PASSAGE.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, December 4th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading an excerpt from SILVER BELLS here. 

Where did Amy grow up?

SILVER BELLS by Fern Michaels, JoAnn Ross, Mary Burton and Judy Duarte (Romance)
In this holiday collection featuring New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Fern Michaels, the perfect holiday recipe includes two parts rekindled romance, one part danger and a pinch of renewal that yields renewed holiday spirit for all. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read a review of SILVER BELLS.
-Read more about Fern Michaels, JoAnn Ross, Mary Burton, Judy Duarte and

CANDY CANE MURDER by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine and Leslie Meier (Mystery)
Now Available in Paperback
The holidays can be murder. CANDY CANE MURDER, a festive collection of three mystery novellas by some of the top cozy writers, is as comforting as a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a bitter cold day. So pour yourself a cup, sit down by the fire and try to solve these holiday-themed whodunits. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read a review of CANDY CANE MURDER.
-Read more about Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, Leslie Meier and

CHRISTMAS AT SEA PINES COTTAGE by Sally Smith O'Rourke (Fiction)
An introverted young man and his Golden Retriever puppy lead a solitary life in a small cottage on Cape Fear, North Carolina, until the day they rescue a young woman from the raging sea and their lives are forever changed. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read a review of CHRISTMAS AT SEA PINES COTTAGE.
-Read more about Sally Smith O'Rourke and

A CHRISTMAS PASSAGE by David Saperstein and George Samerjan (Fiction)
After their Christmas Eve flight to Asheville, North Carolina is grounded due to snow, a group of strangers join together for an incredible and harrowing ride through the Great Smoky Mountains that will change their lives forever. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read a review of A CHRISTMAS PASSAGE.
-Read more about David Saperstein, George Samerjan and A CHRISTMAS PASSAGE

Click here to read all the details of our Holiday Basket of Cheer feature.'s Special Blog --- Authors on the Holidays

Between now and Christmas Day, more than 30 authors are sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays. They include Wendy Corsi Staub, David Baldacci, Joseph Finder and more!

You can see posts from Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Gregg Hurwitz, Luanne Rice, Rita Mae Brown and Mary Kay Andrews now. May we suggest you bookmark this page or set up an RSS feed so you can read these pieces every day?


Click here to read our Authors on the Holidays Blog.

A Book is the Perfect Gift Because....
There's one gift that's perfect for everyone on your holiday list --- a book! Yes, everyone has people who are readers on their lists, which makes shopping for them easy. But beyond these kindred spirits, there's a book that can match just about any recipient's interests, even if reading is not their true passion. That is why we are going to be sharing 45 reasons why a book makes a perfect gift, counting down from now until Christmas Day, December 25th. Check back and see why we think this is the gift you want to give --- and, oh yes, receive!

This feature is running on,, and


Click here to see our Books as the Perfect Gifts Countdown. 


Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Ted Dekker and Erin Healy, Authors of KISS

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters and incredible confrontations between good and evil. In KISS, releasing on January 7th, Dekker teams up with editor and debut novelist Erin Healy to weave a suspenseful tale in which a young woman’s memory makes her the target of a group trying to hide a very dark truth.

We have 20 copies of KISS to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, November 28th.

-Click here to read fast facts about Ted Dekker and Erin Healy.
-Click here to read Ted Dekker’s bio.
-Click here to read Erin Healy’s bio.
-Click here to see Ted Dekker's backlist.
-Visit Ted Dekker’s official website,
-Visit Erin Healy’s official website,

More about KISS:
After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion. Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful lover who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Instead, she acquires a mysterious mental ability that will either lead her to the truth or get her killed by the people trying to hide it.


Click here to read more about Ted Dekker, Erin Healy and KISS.

New in Paperback for November
November’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE APPEAL, John Grisham’s first legal thriller since 2005’s THE BROKER; A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, Khaled Hosseini's follow-up to the runaway bestseller THE KITE RUNNER, which tells the story of two remarkable women who endure persecution and violence; THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL by Steve Berry, a Cotton Malone thriller that finds the former U.S. Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer in search of one of history's greatest unsolved mysteries: the location of Alexander the Great's final resting place; T IS FOR TRESPASS, the 20th novel in Sue Grafton’s legendary alphabet mystery series starring private investigator Kinsey Millhone; THE SECRET BETWEEN US, an unforgettable story from Barbara Delinsky about making bad choices for the right reasons and the terrible consequences of a lie gone wrong; THE BOSS by Stan Pottinger, an unsettling and bold work of fiction set in the high-stakes, no-holds-barred world of oil exploration; and LOSING IT, Valerie Bertinelli’s frank account of her acting career, marriage and very public struggle with her weight.

Click here to see our New in Paperback feature for November.


What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Books for 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, Splendid Series, True Story and Picture Perfect. First up --- Teens' Choice.

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

Our featured titles in this category are:

AIRHEAD by Meg Cabot
BRISINGR: Inheritance, Book III by Christopher Paolini
THE CRUSHES: A Heartbreakers Novel by Pamela Wells
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
SUITE SCARLETT by Maureen Johnson
TRUE: A Teen Devotional by Melody Carlson

Click here to see our Teens' Choice category.


What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Series Books for Kids

Our Splendid Series category has 10 series titles your kids will love to dive into.

Our featured titles in this category are:

THE 39 CLUES, Book One: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
ALLIE FINKLE'S RULES FOR GIRLS: Book One - Moving Day by Meg Cabot
THE CABINET OF WONDERS: The Kronos Chronicles, Book I by Marie Rutkoski
THE DIAMOND OF DARKHOLD: The Fourth Book of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

RPM #1: BLIND SPOT by Chris Fabry
THE WORMLING #1: THE BOOK OF THE KING by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry

Click here to see our Splendid Series category.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Nonfiction Titles for Kids
For all those kids who wondered about ancient civilizations or where electricity comes from, True Story is the category for them. These books are full of facts and will surely satisfy the curious mind.

Our featured titles in this category are:

ONE MILLION THINGS: A Visual Encyclopedia by DK Publishing
TAKE ME BACK by DK Publishing

Click here to see our True Story category.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Picture Books

Have a young reader on your list? Our new Picture Perfect category includes 10 beautifully illustrated books your kids will be thrilled to unwrap this holiday season.

Our featured titles in this category are:

AMAZING PEACE: A Christmas Poem written by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
LET ME HOLD YOU LONGER (with CD) by Karen Kingsbury
MY GRANDCHILD, THERE’S NO ONE LIKE YOU written by Dr. Kevin Leman and Kevin Leman II, illustrated by Kevin Leman II
MY PAJAMA BIBLE written by Andy Holmes, illustrated by Tim O'Connor
MY TODDLER BIBLE by Bethan James and Yorgos Sgouros
THE NUTCRACKER written by Stephanie Spinner, illustrated by Peter Malone
SOURPUSS AND SWEETIE PIE story by Norton Juster, pictures by Chris Raschka


Click here to see our Picture Perfect category.

The Basket of Holiday Cheer Contest is Now Live!
Chase away the winter blues with's Third Annual Holiday Basket of Cheer feature and contest! From November 14th through December 10th, you can enter to win a "Basket of Holiday Reading and Fun."

Five winners each will receive a basket that includes 8 books --- AIRHEAD by Meg Cabot, KENDRA by Coe Booth, LOVE IS HELL by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz, THE LUXE by Anna Godbersen, MELTING STONES by Tamora Pierce, ONE MILLION THINGS: A Visual Encyclopedia by DK Publishing, THE POSSIBILITES OF SAINTHOOD by Donna Freitas and RAPUNZEL’S REVENGE by Shannon and Dean Hale.

Along with the books, winners will find their basket stocked with the hottest holiday goodies --- a kit to make a mini gingerbread village, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, red and white fur-trimmed tall socks, a snowman mug, a snow globe that lights up and plays 11 songs, candy cane taffy, snowman tissues, cute red gloves, photo-frame gift cards and a cinnamon holly-scented Illuminations candle.

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

This Week's Reviews
A CEDAR COVE CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber (Fiction)
A CEDAR COVE CHRISTMAS has all the elements necessary for a heartwarming Yuletide story. Debbie Macomber’s latest holiday treat is set in the storybook village of Cedar Cove, where a single, pregnant and abandoned young woman is sure to find the encouragement, acceptance and love that she needs on this very special Christmas Eve. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

-Click here to read an excerpt from A CEDAR COVE CHRISTMAS.

BLOOD MEMORY by Margaret Coel (Mystery)
Investigative reporter Catherine McLeod’s recent coverage of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes filing a claim for 27 million acres of their ancestral lands has made her the target for assassination. Her investigation uncovers a conspiracy involving her ex-husband’s wealthy family and state politicians. And as Catherine unravels the truth, she discovers some startling facts about her own heritage, making her would-be killer all the more desperate to find her. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

AMERICAN LION: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham (Biography)
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham has produced a stirring account of the life of Andrew Jackson, whose belief in the sovereignty of the people and determination to exercise the full powers of his office laid the foundation of the modern presidency. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE PRIVATE PATIENT: An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery by P. D. James (Mystery)
P. D. James’s 14th Adam Dalgliesh mystery is a suspenseful tale that brings the Detective Inspector into the realm of plastic surgeons and murder. As the bodies pile up, he and his team push full-speed ahead to find the killer before someone else loses his or her life. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

A DOG NAMED CHRISTMAS by Greg Kincaid (Fiction)
In this heartwarming holiday story, farmer George McCray's developmentally disabled 20-year-old son Todd wishes to adopt a dog just for the holidays. His request triggers a domino effect upon the community that just might qualify as a Christmas miracle. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE SWEET IN-BETWEEN by Sheri Reynolds (Fiction)
In this poignant book, 17-year-old Kenny Lugo lives in a world of hurt, with her father in prison and her mother dead. Some describe breast-binding Kenny as "gender confused," adding to her feeling as an outcast. But despite her trials, she manages to uncover life-affirming insights and hope. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

ENVY THE NIGHT by Michael Koryta (Thriller)
In this first stand-alone novel from the critically acclaimed Edgar Award finalist, Michael Koryta fulfills his early promise with a dark and mature novel of a young man trying to escape his past. Family secrets, mob hitmen and a father’s shadowy legacy combine to make ENVY THE NIGHT Koryta’s most compelling thriller yet. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Holiday Gift-Giving and Shopping


Are you giving books this holiday season?

Not sure
Have you started shopping yet?

Yes, I am done.
Yes, I started.
I am thinking about it.
No, I start after Thanksgiving.
No, my idea of shopping starts Christmas Eve.
I am not sure.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What book did you love so much that you would want to give multiple copies of it this holiday season?

-Click here to answer our question.



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 DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark and JUST AFTER SUNSET: Stories by Stephen King. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on December 5th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on December 5th.
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, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED by Wally Lamb, JUST AFTER SUNSET: Stories by Stephen King, SALVATION IN DEATH by J.D. Robb and YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME by Dean Koontz. Diana from Pasadena, TX
was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE BRASS VERDICT by Michael Connelly, BURN OUT by Marcia Muller, THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille, A MOST WANTED MAN by John le Carre and TESTIMONY by Anita Shreve.

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

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