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February 27, 2009 Newsletter February 27, 2009
Bookish Fashion, a Pretty Cool Idea and What I Am Reading.....

Monday night I was a presenter at the Books for a Better Life Awards. I always enjoy this evening as we recognize authors who have written books that motivate and change people’s lives. Now having an awards ceremony the night after the Oscars had me in a mindset where I had perfected my “may I have the envelope please” line. 

I was wearing a pair of really great turquoise, brown and beige shoes that I had picked up for a song. You know, the kind of shoes that look fabulous in the store and then you get home and realize that they match nothing that you own, so you then have to get creative to wear them, and it usually means more shopping, but you figure it out. Well, when you try shoes on in the store, you walk around about 10, maybe 20 feet and way overanalyze them in the same way you do when the eye doctor asks "Is that better, or worse?" as he flips new lenses in front of your eyes (when you swear he’s doing the same thing and he's trying to trick you, but I digress.)

So the shoes that worked in the store were a tad different on New York pavement. I literally almost walked out of them. Thus, as soon as I got to the hotel where the event was taking place, I headed for the ladies room and summoned up an old-fashioned trick stuffing tissue in the toes of them. Now when I get into a fix-it mode where I need to do something like this, I am fairly oblivious to what is happening around me. So when I looked up, I saw that Alissa Torres, the author of AMERICAN WIDOW, one of the nominated books, was in the room. We had a nice chat about her pieces on and, and I headed out to the event.

Later in the evening, as I was congratulating Kelly Corrigan on her Best First Book award for THE MIDDLE PLACE (and for the record, she is just as friendly in person as she looks on her video), she thanked me and said, “Nice shoe tip in the ladies room stuffing the tissue in the shoes. I was checking that out.” I could not stop laughing. So much for poise and grace! I clearly do not just float into the room like, let’s say, Angelina Jolie.

Books for a Better Life raises money for The National MS Society. During the evening, Hall of Fame inductees Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, authors of the YOU series, offered a donation of up to $10,000 to match pledges received from others. So whether someone donates $20, $200 or $2,000, the doctors will double it. We wanted to share this with our readers who might be interested in giving. Click here for details.

Tuesday night I went to see James Taylor with my friend Gene Carr at a benefit for Musicians on Call, a terrific organization that gets musicians into hospitals to sing for patients. Sooo humming “I've seen fire and I've seen rain. I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end,” I walked down to the Hard Rock Café where we had incredible seats at a table up front for this event. Since I love moments where I am at the coolest table in the house, this one saying “Friends of James Taylor,” I was having a blast.

Taylor was amazing. Humorous segue to this one. In the summer of I think it was 1979, Taylor was appearing at the Garden State Arts Center. Moments before he was to take the stage, a freakish storm rolled through and knocked out the power. He came out and told us they had to cancel, the date could not be rescheduled and refunds would be issued. So now, 30 years later, I had my own personal makeup event. I also left that evening thinking how cool it would be if there was an Authors On Call program where authors would read to patients in hospitals. Reading, like singing, can be incredibly healing. Need to get some folks to ponder that one with me!

We have many exciting new reviews and features to share with you this week. We are launching a new Suspense/Thriller feature for New York Times bestselling author Kyle Mills. In LORDS OF CORRUPTION, his new political thriller releasing on March 24th, Kyle explores the complex violence plaguing African politics. We have 10 copies of LORDS OF CORRUPTION 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, March 6th.

You may remember the Romantic Suspense feature we ran last year for LOST SOULS by Lisa Jackson. We are pleased to announce that the novel, which became a New York Times bestseller, is now available in paperback. Read on to see our review of the title, our interview with Lisa, and more!

I love hearing stories on the lengths to which readers go to get books. We have a blog post on with very humorous stories on what two groups did to get the books that they wanted to read. You can read it here.  

For those planning March bookish adventures, note that I am planning to be in Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book event the weekend of March 19-22. Featured guests include John Grisham, David Baldacci, Adriana Trigiani, Katherine Neville, and a whole host of others who you can read about here. If you are planning to be there, let me know!

I am hoping March does the lamb/lamb thing instead of the lion/lamb or lamb/lion thing, so I am not the least bit excited to see a forecast for SNOW for Sunday. For me the forecast is a weekend of reading. I started Mary Kay Andrews’s next one, THE FIXER UPPER, which will be in stores in June. Hanging out with Dempsey, her new character, is on my agenda for the weekend. I am ready for some great laughs and some decorating adventures. When I finish one of Andrews’s books, I ALWAYS am ready to redecorate the house!

Here’s wishing you a great weekend…and a lambish entry into March.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to learn more about the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Now in Stores: PROMISES IN DEATH by J. D. Robb
PROMISES IN DEATH by J. D. Robb (Mystery)
Amarylis Coltraine may have recently transferred to the New York City police force from Atlanta, but she’s been a cop long enough to know how to defend herself against an assailant. When she’s taken down just steps away from her apartment, killed with her own weapon, for Lieutenant Eve Dallas the victim isn’t just “one of us.” Dallas’s friend, Chief Medical Examiner Morris, and Coltraine had started a serious relationship, and from all accounts the two were headed for a happy future together. But someone has put an end to all that. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PROMISES IN DEATH.

Click here to read a review of PROMISES IN DEATH.

Now in Stores: NIGHT AND DAY by Robert B. Parker

NIGHT AND DAY: A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
Police Chief Jesse Stone is called to the junior high school when reports of lewd conduct by the school’s principal, Betsy Ingersoll, filter into the station. Ingersoll claims she was protecting the propriety of her students when she inspected each girl’s undergarments in the locker room. Jesse would like nothing more than to see Ingersoll punished, but her high-powered attorney husband stands in the way. At the same time, the women of Paradise are faced with a threat to their sense of security with the emergence of a tormented voyeur, dubbed “The Night Hawk.” Reviewed by Tom Callahan.


Click here to read a review of NIGHT AND DAY.

Now in Stores: GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly
strong>GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly (Historical Fiction)
Young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories and communal celebrations. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Reviewed by Roberta O’Hara.

-Click here to read Mary Pat Kelly's touching essay about GALWAY BAY.
-Visit Mary Pat Kelly's official website,

Click here to read a review of GALWAY BAY.

Featured Romantic Suspense Author Lisa Jackson's LOST SOULS is Now Available in Paperback
When Lisa Jackson's romantic suspense novel LOST SOULS was released in hardcover last year, it was met with critical acclaim and became a New York Times bestseller. Now available in paperback, LOST SOULS is a suspenseful tale in which a young woman’s determined hunt for a serial killer draws her into a twisted psychopath’s terrifying web.

LOST SOULS by Lisa Jackson (Romantic Suspense)
All Saints College finds itself embroiled in a case of four missing female students. Are they merely runaways who couldn't cut the course requirements, or is there something more sinister lurking within the school itself? Kristi Bentz wants to find out, even though she may well be the next victim. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

-Click here to read a review of LOST SOULS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LOST SOULS.
-Click here to read an interview with Lisa Jackson about LOST SOULS.
-Click here to read fast facts about Lisa Jackson.
-Click here to read Lisa Jackson’s bio.
-Click here to see Lisa Jackson's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for LOST SOULS.
-Visit Lisa Jackson's official website,
-Click here to see our advance readers' responses to LOST SOULS.
-Click here to see Lisa's responses to advance readers' questions.

Click here to read more about Lisa Jackson and LOST SOULS.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kyle Mills, Author of LORDS OF CORRUPTION
Kyle Mills is the New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including DARKNESS FALLS and THE SECOND HORSEMAN. Over the years he has consistently impressed critics with his insightful and entertaining contemporary political thrillers. In LORDS OF CORRUPTION, his new novel releasing on March 24th, Mills delivers a pulse-pounding, yet sophisticated, examination of the political turmoil in Africa.

We have 10 copies of LORDS OF CORRUPTION 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, March 6th.

-Click here to read Kyle Mills’s bio.
-Visit Kyle Mills’s official website,

When Josh Hagarty is recruited by an obscure charity to manage a farming project in a war-torn region of Africa, he is eager to sign on and atone for a past he regrets. However, before he can even settle into his new life, he begins to suspect that his new employer may not be the philanthropic organization it portrays. Josh tries to lose himself in his work, but soon the precariousness of his situation becomes impossible to ignore.

Click here to read more about Kyle Mills and LORDS OF CORRUPTION.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Barry Eisler, Author of FAULT LINE
CIA agent-turned-novelist Barry Eisler is the bestselling author of the John Rain novels, which have won the Barry and Gumshoe Awards and have been translated into nearly 20 languages. In his first stand-alone thriller, FAULT LINE, Eisler delivers a fast-paced story in which two estranged brothers --- one a Silicon Valley lawyer, the other an undercover military operative --- must put aside decades of resentment and hurt to thwart a deadly techno-conspiracy. FAULT LINE will be available in stores on March 10th.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from FAULT LINE.
-Click here to read Barry Eisler’s bio.
-Click here to see Barry Eisler's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for FAULT LINE.
-Visit Barry Eisler’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about FAULT LINE:
Silicon Valley: the inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in what seems to be a drug deal gone wrong. Istanbul: a cynical undercover operative receives a frantic e-mail from his estranged brother, a patent lawyer who believes that he’ll be the next victim.

A full-throttle thriller that is both emotionally and politically charged, FAULT LINE centers on a conspiracy that has spun out of the shadows and onto the streets of America, a conspiracy that can be stopped by only three people --- three people with different worldviews, different grievances, different motives. To survive the forces arrayed against them, they’ll first have to survive one another.

Click here to read more about Barry Eisler and FAULT LINE.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gregg Olsen, Author of HEART OF ICE

A New York Times bestselling author, Gregg Olsen has written seven nonfiction books, three novels and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child. As a journalist and true crime author, Olsen has received numerous awards and much critical acclaim for his writing. In HEART OF ICE, his new thriller now available in stores, Sherriff Emily Kenyon, who were were introduced to in  must stop a serial killer who is targeting young women.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from HEART OF ICE.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen’s bio.
-Click here to see Gregg Olsen's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for HEART OF ICE.
-Visit Gregg Olsen’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about HEART OF ICE:
Cherrystone, Washington is the kind of small town where strangers are few and gossip is plentiful. Sheriff Emily Kenyon is investigating the murder of a pregnant young woman whose husband is the prime suspect, yet nagging doubts remain. Immersed in uncovering the truth, Emily doesn’t realize she’s become involved in something much bigger --- a case both dark and horrifying, one that will pit her against a killer whose vengeance knows no limits, and whose next target is chillingly close.


Click here to read more about Gregg Olsen and HEART OF ICE.

New in Paperback for February

February’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld, an intimate and revealing portrait of the marriage of George and Laura Bush through their fictional alter egos; DEEP DISH, a hilarious and delightful romp from Mary Kay Andrews that finds local cooking show hosts Gina Foxton and Tate Moody facing off in a reality show competition; Chris Bohjalian’s SKELETONS AT THE FEAST, which recounts the final months of World War II from the point of view of a German family fleeing East Prussia and heading west in an effort to escape the oncoming Russian army; NOTORIOUS, Michele Martinez’s fourth thriller featuring Melanie Vargas, a New York City prosecutor who specializes in narcotics-related crimes; and SOUVENIR by Therese Fowler, the heartbreaking story of a woman who made what she thought was a responsible decision, only to have to live with the consequences.
br />Among our nonfiction highlights are THE COMMISSION, in which New York Times reporter Philip Shenon scrutinizes the investigation of 9/11 and tells the inside story of the most important federal commission since the Warren Commission; THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE, David Hajdu’s insightful examination of the effect of McCarthyism on comic books; and HOPE’S BOY by Andrew Bridge, a harrowing memoir of a little boy lost --- taken away by the system and then trapped in it, abandoned not by his mom but by departments and laws and social servants.


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

What's New on, the newest addition to The Book Report Network, is quickly becoming the premier destination on the web for everything related to graphic novels --- news and reviews, interviews with writers and artists, behind-the-scenes peeks at the creative process, podcasts and videos, a blog and more.

The newest update for was uploaded this week. You may have noticed that everyone seems to be talking about graphic novels and manga lately. Considering that this year’s Academy Awards host is playing a character called Wolverine again, and one of the biggest movies of the year looks to be the upcoming Watchmen, it’s no wonder. But as usual, we’re even more interested in what’s going on in the print world. So we’ve been covering it extensively on the new site, which has not only been fun but also very informative.

New this week is an interview with comics legend Alan Davis (his artwork and storytelling have been gracing comics for more than 25 years), reviews of several new releases (for both kids and adults), a listing of upcoming new releases, and a chance to get to know BEA and New York Comic-Con Vice President Lance Fensterman a little better. In addition, we’re running several contests for readers, so enter for your chance to win. And look for a new Watchmen-related contest coming very soon!

The site keeps adding content and getting better thanks to your comments and feedback, so be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!

Click here to visit

What's New This Month on is our website for Christian readers, with monthly updates of reviews and interviews, as well as discussion guides, book excerpts, a monthly newsletter and more. A special feature on the site is the Faithful Fifteen, in which authors answer a series of questions about writing and faith.

Here are some of the titles being featured this month on

-AGAINST ALL ODDS: Heroes of Quantico Series, Book 1 by Irene Hannon
-AGE BEFORE BEAUTY: Sister-to-Sister, Book 2 by Virginia Smith
-CHRISTIANITY IN CRISIS: The 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff
-THE DESIRES OF HER HEART: Texas: Star of Destiny, Book 1 by Lyn Cote
-EVE: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott
-THE FIGHT OF YOUR LIFE: Why Your Teen Is at Risk and What Only You Can Do About It by Jeffrey Dean
-FINDING GOD IN THE SHACK: Conversations on an Unforgettable Weekend by Randal Rauser
-FROM ANGER TO INTIMACY: How Forgiveness Can Transform Your Marriage by Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham
-GINGHAM MOUNTAIN: Lassoed in Texas, Book 3 by Mary Connealy
-THE GOD I DON’T UNDERSTAND: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith by Christopher J. H. Wright
-KISS ME IF YOU DARE: Patricia Amble Mysteries, Book Three by Nicole Young
-THE RETURNING by Ann Tatlock
-TUCK: King Raven Trilogy, Book Three - The Legend Triumphs by Stephen R. Lawhead
-UNCOMMON: Finding Your Path to Significance by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

We are also featuring a special giveaway in which 50 readers will have a chance to win an advance copy of A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs by Robin Lee Hatcher. Please click here for contest details.


Click here to visit

Enter the WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Sweepstakes, Sponsored by PARADE Magazine
Hey Book Clubs! Join the Circus!

Enter the WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Sweepstakes, sponsored by PARADE Magazine, for a chance to win an exciting trip for you and your book club (maximum five members). You could be whisked off to a mountain getaway weekend in Asheville, North Carolina, where you'll meet and dine with author Sara Gruen. The prize includes two nights lodging at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, round-trip airfare to Asheville, dinner with the author, and signed copies of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS! The sweepstakes ends on March 6, 2009.

See official rules and enter today at

This Week's Reviews
THE LOST CITY OF Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann (History)
In 1925 Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. He embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization --- which he dubbed “Z” --- existed. Then he and his expedition vanished. After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": What happened to the British explorer and his quest for the Lost City of Z? Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

CRITICAL MASS by Whitley Strieber (Thriller)
What would we do if a nuclear weapon was detonated in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. government suddenly disappeared? What would happen if a terrorist organization planned to do the same to every major city in the world? This frighteningly real horror is the premise of Whitley Strieber’s CRITICAL MASS. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

MADNESS UNDER THE ROYAL PALMS: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach by Laurence Leamer (Sociology)
''Let me tell you about the very rich,” begins the narrator of “The Rich Boy,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story. “They are different from you and me.” The truth of that observation, written more than 80 years ago, is brought home with the force of a hurricane in Laurence Leamer’s engrossing, at times shocking, examination of Palm Beach society. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

BONES OF BETRAYAL: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Mystery)
The writing team known as Jefferson Bass combines the creative journalistic skills of Jon Jefferson and the scientific knowledge of Dr. Bill Bass, world-renowned forensic anthropologist and founder of the Body Farm. As such, Jefferson Bass has managed to blend the elements of an engrossing mystery with factual, historical information to create an enjoyable read for those who can’t get enough of forensic crime solving and cold case procedurals. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

HATER by David Moody (Thriller)
A modern take on the classic “apocalyptic” novel, HATER tells the story of Danny McCoyne, an everyman forced to contend with a world gone mad, as vast numbers of the human population suddenly become irrationally violent, killing all who cross their path. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE by Karen Harper (Historical Fiction)
Everyone knows that William Shakespeare wed Anne Hathaway. But was their marriage a happy one? In Karen Harper’s new novel, Shakespeare’s other Anne --- Elizabethan beauty Anne Whateley --- tells her version of the famous playwright’s life, turning history on its ear. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

IRREPLACEABLE by Stephen Lovely (Fiction)
When one young woman's life ends, another one is saved through the donation of a heart. The reverberations of these actions ripple through this achingly tender tale told from the alternating viewpoints of the donor's loved ones and the grateful recipient. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

AMBERVILLE by Tim Davys (Fiction)
Eric Bear has it all: a successful career, a beautiful wife, a blissful home. He knows he's been lucky; a while back, his life revolved around drugs, gambling, a gang of stuffed-animal thugs and notorious crime boss Nicholas Dove. But the past isn't as far away as Eric had hoped. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Book Shopping

What is the most books you ever bought in one trip?

More than 10
I do not buy books.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Share a memorable moment of shopping for books.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE Prizes
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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 HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult, THE SWEET BY AND BY by Todd Johnson and WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on March 6th 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 February 28, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: BLOOD AND BONE by William Lashner, PROMISES IN DEATH by J. D. Robb, TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah, VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani and WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky. Harriet from Cherry Hill, NJ was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE ASSOCIATE by John Grisham, ECLIPSE by Richard North Patterson, ON THE GRIND: A Shane Scully Novel by Stephen J. Cannell, PLUM SPOOKY: A Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers Novel by Janet Evanovich and STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova.

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

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