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December 12, 2008 Newsletter

December 12, 2008

This Week on

My Version of Getting in the Holiday Spirit: A Spur of the Moment Adventure

Author Talk: Dean Koontz, Author of YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Enter to Win Our Special End-of-the-Year Celebration, Featuring 13 Bestselling Titles!

Featured One to Watch Author: T. Greenwood, Author of TWO RIVERS
Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kevin O’Brien, Author of FINAL BREATH

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

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Titles Perfect for Holiday Reading

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Stocking Stuffers's Special Blog --- Authors on the Holidays

What's New This Month on
Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2008 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book Award!
Coming Soon: Books Releasing in the Months Ahead
This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Favorite Bookstores

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

My Version of Getting in the Holiday Spirit: A Spur of the Moment Adventure

As I write this, I am in the airport waiting for a flight to Florida where I am meeting up with my friend Starr for a weekend of catching up at the beach. Okay, I confess that this is a trip purely to hit Gold Status on Continental, a quasi "mileage run." I was 1,200 miles short of the required 50,000 miles to "go gold" and decided to do a short trip for pure fun to hit the goal.
Starr and I met years ago on a chairlift in Vail when she glanced down at my Crested Butte lift ticket and told me she had a friend who lived there. I said, me too. And you can guess the rest. We both had the same friend, Allen Cox, who runs the Nordic Inn. The following summer, coincidentally, we both were at the Butte on vacation alone, and we teamed up for some hiking and shopping. Okay, more shopping than hiking after we got lost on the mountain, but that is another story. For more than 25 years now we've kept in touch, seeing each other in both Colorado and New York whenever time allows. She is spending the winter in Florida, and after trying to get together four other times this year, I decided life is just too short not to have an adventure.

So I am planning to write Christmas cards on the plane, mail them when I land, and maybe I will do some holiday shopping when we are not at the beach. I want a different kind of a holiday weekend, one where I am enjoying instead of running. Starr loves to read but ordered me to bring a very small suitcase since the trunk on her car is teeny. Thus I spent a chunk of time trying to figure out how to jam the books I want to share with her among the clothes, swimming gear and, of course, yarn. Talk about a challenge! It gave me sympathy for Santa who has to jam ALL those toys in the sleigh. He must be VERY VERY efficient.

One book I really am looking forward to sharing with her is an advance copy of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford, which will be out in January. Note this one; I think you will be hearing a lot about it. By the way, when Starr and I get together, it's always an adventure. One of my friends told me he is sure that this weekend will probably be material for a chapter in a book, if not a whole book, and I think he's right.

I have been thoroughly enjoying the Michael Phelps book, NO LIMITS. His co-author, Alan Abramson, captures Phelps's voice and enthusiasm. It's a story about focus and determination, and the setting of goals and working to achieve them. At a time when I feel like there are a lot of people who just expect things to come easily, and there are people whining about losing a lot of things that truly do not matter these past weeks, there's a lot to be learned from what Phelps did in the years leading up to those eight epic swims. I like one of the philosophies he lives by --- focusing on "what's important NOW," which is how he has learned to stay with a goal honed and driven. When you are in a bookstore, take a look. I am betting you will find someone on your list to share it with. And they do not need to be a swimmer. What he talks about is applicable to whatever your personal Olympics are in life.

Speaking of sharing books, we promised our last Holiday Cheer Contest would be special, and I think we are delivering today. This last contest will be a basket of 13 New York Times bestselling books
(who said 13 was an unlucky number?) valued at $300. We have five to give away. The contest is open through Sunday, January 4th, and you can find out more on how to enter here.

There's more contest news. Kristin Hannah has just announced a contest on her website where nine readers will have the opportunity to receive an advance copy of her forthcoming novel, TRUE COLORS, which is releasing in February. Click here for details on how to enter.

Looking for something special for the holidays? Charla Krupp is offering to personally inscribe copies of her book, HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD, for any readers who buy the book and have it shipped to our office by December 16th. I love this book; it's more than a style book. It's about women empowering themselves. See complete details on her website.

I encourage you to take some time this weekend to enjoy our Author Holiday Blogs. This week's authors include Francoise Mouly on her husband Art Spiegelman, Kristin Hannah on the present she always loved best, Wade Rouse on Erma Bombeck, and two authors looking at Dr. Seuss: Ad Hudler on the book that had a message and Joseph Finder on the Seuss character he sees as the perfect villan (hint: he's green). The pieces are short and laced with humor, warm sentiments and lots of ideas on the power of giving and getting a book from those who write them.

Over the last few weeks we have received great feedback for John Lutz's new suspense/thriller novel, NIGHT KILLS. This week we are featuring John's responses to our advance readers' comments, which you can read here.

Okay, they are calling the flight, so I am going to power down. Take some time for you this weekend as you prepare for the holidays. I recommend time browsing in a bookstore for a "to me/from me" gift. Trust me, it will be the one you love best! Now onto writing those holiday cards. They will be mailed when I walk off the plane! Another task done. By the way, my personal philosophy is "always do something." You get a lot more done by not "waiting to do something."

Carol Fitzgerald (


Author Talk: Dean Koontz, Author of YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME

In this interview, New York Times bestselling thriller author Dean Koontz recalls the inspiration behind his latest novel, YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME, and explains how his Internet entrepreneur protagonist differs from the heroes in many of his previous works. He also shares details about his writing process and reveals what his readers can look forward to in the months to come.

YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME by Dean Koontz (Thriller)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense comes a riveting thriller that probes the deepest terrors of the human psyche --- and the ineffable mystery of what truly makes us who we are. In YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME, a brilliant young man finds himself fighting for his very existence in a battle that starts with the most frightening words of all. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read a review of YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME.
-Click here to read an excerpt from YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME.

Click here to read an interview with Dean Koontz.


Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on --- Enter to Win Our Special End-of-the-Year Celebration, Featuring 13 Bestselling Titles!

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. While you're searching for the perfect gifts, 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!

For the final contest of our Holiday Basket of Cheer feature, we bring you our special End-of-the-Year Celebration. We've gathered together an outstanding collection of 13 books that were published this year --- thrillers, suspense novels, women's fiction and nonfiction titles we love --- as our prize. It's valued at $300, and we will be giving five away!

The selected titles are: THE BOURNE SANCTION by Eric Van Lustbader; THE COMMISSION by Philip Shenon; DEEP DISH by Mary Kay Andrews; FIRST DAUGHTER by Eric Van Lustbader; FIREFLY LANE by Kristin Hannah; THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille; THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS by Eric Weiner; GUILTY by Karen Robards; HOLLYWOOD CROWS by Joseph Wambaugh; HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD by Charla Krupp; A McKETTRICK CHRISTMAS by Linda Lael Miller; THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY by Trenton Lee Stewart; and OFF SEASON by Anne Rivers Siddons.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 11:59PM.

Name a book that you think makes an ideal gift. Please note your response does not have to be one of the featured titles in this basket.

See the book descriptions and excerpts here.

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

Featured One to Watch Author: T. Greenwood, Author of TWO RIVERS

T. Greenwood is the author of BREATHING WATER, NEARER THAN THE SKY and UNDRESSING THE MOON, the latter two both Booksense 76 picks. TWO RIVERS, her new novel releasing on December 30th, is a powerful, haunting tale of enduring love, destructive secrets and opportunities that arrive in disguise.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TWO RIVERS.
-Click here to read T. Greenwood’s bio.
-Click here to see T. Greenwood's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for TWO RIVERS.
-Visit T. Greenwood’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about TWO RIVERS:
In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, 12 years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes.


Click here to read more about T. Greenwood and TWO RIVERS.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kevin O’Brien, Author of FINAL BREATH
Kevin O’Brien is the New York Times bestselling author of 10 books --- including ONE LAST SCREAM and KILLING SPREE --- and received a Spotted Owl Award for his 2005 novel, THE LAST VICTIM. In FINAL BREATH, his new thriller releasing on December 30th, television reporter Sydney Jordan discovers that there is a terrifying connection in a string of seemingly random deaths throughout the country.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FINAL BREATH.
-Click here to read Kevin O’Brien’s bio.
-Click here to see Kevin O'Brien's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for FINAL BREATH.
-Visit Kevin O'Brien's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about FINAL BREATH:
At first the deaths seem random: a young Portland couple brutally murdered in a game gone awry, a Chicago woman who plummeted to her death from an office building, an aspiring screenwriter asphyxiated in his New York apartment… but the macabre souvenirs television reporter Sydney Jordan receives reveal the connection is both personal and terrifying.


Click here to read more about Kevin O'Brien and FINAL BREATH.


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.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from KISS.
-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.
-Click here to read critical praise for KISS.
-Visit Ted Dekker’s official website,
-Visit Erin Healy’s official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

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.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Titles Perfect for Holiday Reading

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.

This week we're featuring Holiday Spirit and Stocking Stuffers. First up --- Holiday Spirit.

Getting into the holiday spirit is a piece of cake with these sweet holiday-inspired treats that will put you in the mood for mistletoe, snowmen and reading by the fire.

Our featured titles in the Holiday Spirit category are:font>

ALL I HAVE TO GIVE: A Christmas Love Story by Melody Carlson
CANDY CANE MURDER by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine and Leslie Meier
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS: The Making of a Tradition by Charles M. Schulz
CHRISTMAS ON JANE STREET: A True Story by Billy Romp
A CHRISTMAS PASSAGE by David Saperstein and George Samerjan
MORE PAGES FROM THE RED SUIT DIARIES: A Real-Life Santa Shares Hopes, Dreams, and Childlike Faith by Ed Butchart
ONE PERFECT GIFT: A Culdee Creek Christmas by Kathleen Morgan
SANTA CLAWED: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown
SCARED OF SANTA: Scenes of Terror in Toyland by Denise Joyce and Nancy Watkins
SILVER BELLS by Fern Michaels, JoAnn Ross, Mary Burton and Judy Duarte

Click here to see our Holiday Spirit category.


What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Stocking Stuffers

Our Stocking Stuffers category is a veritable treasure trove of perfect mini-gifts for the book lover, of any genre, on your list.

Our featured titles in this category are:

DISQUIET by Julia Leigh
ME, MYSELF, AND I AM: A Unique Question and Answer Book: The Story of You and God by Matthew Peters with Elisa Stanford and Multnomah Books
PLATO AND A PLATYPUS WALK INTO A BAR...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

Click here to see our Stocking Stuffers category.'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.

The following authors have already shared their stories:

-Mary Higgins Clark: Christmas Reads Past and Present
-Carol Higgins Clark: The Makings of a Mystery Writer
-Gregg Hurwitz: LOVE SANDY
-Rita Mae Brown: The Best Present
-Mary Kay Andrews on THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON and the Best of Escapist Reading
-Katherine Taylor: Bad Choices in Book Giving
-John Addiego on e.e. cummings
-Wendy Corsi Staub on LITTLE WOMEN
-Kevin Rivoli: Pursuing a Dream
-Charlotte Bacon: The Portable Joys of Reading
-Debbie Macomber on James Michener's TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC
-Bill Willingham: The Most Important Book
-David Baldacci on SOPHIE'S CHOICE
-Laura Pedersen: How Book Giving Ruined a Pot Roast
-Ad Hudler on Dr. Seuss
-Francoise Mouly: Holiday Reading
-Wade Rouse: The Year I Received the Gift From Erma
-Kristin Hannah: Holiday Traditions
-Joseph Finder: Dr. Seuss, Thriller Writer

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.

What's New This Month on
With more than 2,450 discussion guides now 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:

-Joshua Henkin's Book Club Adventures
-Joshua Henkin's Book Club Adventures, Part II
-The Pulpwood Queens' Best Books for Holiday Giving
-Book Club Discord
-Book Clubs at the Holidays
-Roland Merullo: The Writer-Reader Connection
-Books Clubs and Black Friday
-One-Day Thanksgiving Book Club
-Brunonia Barry: Books, Cupcakes, Mea Culpas and a Mini Pomeranian Fighting Goldfish

The following guides are now available on

LOST AND FOUND by Carolyn Parkhurst
THE PRE-NUP by Beth Kendrick
THIS ONE IS MINE by Maria Semple
WHEN SOUTHERN GIRLS GROW OLD: Three Homecomings by Elizabeth Doak Sherman

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

CHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

THE FLOWER OF GRASS by James E. Robinson
HAZARDOUS DUTY: Squeaky Clean Mysteries, Book 1 by Christy Barritt
SUSPICIOUS MINDS: Squeaky Clean Series, Book 2 by Christy Barritt

Click here to visit

Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2008 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book Award!

In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is giving teens a very special opportunity to let their voices be heard by telling us their five favorite books of 2008. The five titles that receive the most “votes” will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2009 Teen Choice Book Award. Later we will tell readers where they can go vote for them once the five finalists have been determined. The winner will be announced in May 2009.

Click here for all the details.

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 feature, where we currently have titles for December through April 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
AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery by James Patterson and Hal Friedman (Biography)
Cory Friedman woke up one morning when he was five years old with the uncontrollable urge to twitch his neck. From that day forward his life became a nightmare of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances, and he embarked on an excruciating journey from specialist to specialist to discover the cause of his disease. AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE is the true story of Cory and his family's decades-long battle for survival in the face of extraordinary difficulties and a maddening medical establishment. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE.

A CHRISTMAS GRACE by Anne Perry (Mystery)
With Christmas just around the corner, Thomas Pitt's sister-in-law, Emily Radley, is suddenly called from London to be with her dying aunt. Leaving her husband and two children behind, Emily makes the long journey to an all-but-forgotten town in the county of Connemara, on the western coast of Ireland. She soon discovers that a tragic legacy haunts the once close-knit community. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from A CHRISTMAS GRACE.

'TIS THE SEASON! by Lorna Landvik (Fiction)
Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone with her alcohol-fueled antics, which have also provided near-constant fodder for the poison-pen tabloids and their gossip-hungry readers. But like so many girls-behaving-badly, the 26-year-old socialite gets her comeuppance, followed by a newfound attempt to live a saner existence --- or at least one more firmly rooted in the real world. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive.

-Click here to read an excerpt from 'TIS THE SEASON!.

HOME by Marilynne Robinson (Fiction)
In this companion to her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, GILEAD, Marilynne Robinson returns to the town of Gilead, Iowa, to explore the lives of Reverend Robert Boughton and his family. HOME is a moving testament to the power and pain of familial love. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

GREASING THE PINATA: A Cape Weathers Investigation by Tim Maleeny (Mystery)
A former U.S. Senator vanishes days after his son goes missing. When they're both found dead on a golf course in Mexico, the Senator's estranged daughter, Rebecca, resolves to discover what happened. Private investigator Cape Weathers doesn't really want the case, but when it looks like Rebecca may become the next victim, Weathers crosses the border looking for answers. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

IZZY & LENORE: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me by Jon Katz (Memoir)
In his previous books, Jon Katz introduced us to the delightful menagerie at Bedlam Farm, including Izzy, the unforgettable border collie rescue. Now, in IZZY & LENORE, Katz delves deeper into his connection with the beautiful, once-abandoned dog, learning yet again about the unexpected places animals can take us. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

WHY WE SUCK: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid by Dr. Denis Leary (Humor)
In WHY WE SUCK, award-winning actor and comedian Denis Leary explains just why we Americans are reviled the world over in his trademark, pull-no-punches style. Hint: it has to do with our love of all things celebrity, junk food and bad TV in equal amounts. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

O LITTLE TOWN by Don Reid (Fiction)
If you like the music of The Statler Brothers or the fiction of Debbie Macomber, you'll be excited that Don Reid has made his first foray into fiction. The Grammy Award-winning songwriter pens a gentle inspiring story that will encourage readers who have challenges in their marriage, raising their children, or dealing with aging parents. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Favorite Bookstores


Do you have a favorite bookstore?

Not sure

-Click here to answer our poll.


What is your favorite bookstore, and why do you like it?

-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 THE CHARLEMAGNE PURSUIT by Steve Berry and BORN TO RUN by James Grippando. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on December 19th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

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, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: BORN TO RUN by James Grippando, THE CHARLEMAGNE PURSUIT by Steve Berry, THE INDEPENDENCE OF MISS MARY BENNET by Colleen McCollough, THE MESSENGER by Jan Burke and SCARPETTA by Patricia Cornwell. Sally from Effingham, IL
was last month's newsletter winner. She won 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.

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

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