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March 12, 2010 Newsletter March 12, 2010
Spring Forward...the Clocks That Is!
This is a weekend when I need another hour, not an hour less. Yes, this is the weekend of the dreaded clock change, giving all of America simulated jetlag! And here it’s also going to be rainy, which will give me “slicker practice” for my next two weeks as I am headed to the misty Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday morning I leave for an 11-day business trip to Seattle and Portland, which will include meeting up with a lot of my author and reader friends and attending the Public Library Association convention in Portland. Prior to this, I only spent one day in Seattle in 1997, so I am really looking forward to exploring this part of the country. Lourdes Orive, one of our reviewers who is also a longtime friend, has been after me for years to visit, and she will be my official tour guide. I will get to meet two other reviewers --- Kate Ayers and Eileen Zimmerman Nicol --- along the way, which will be great fun after reading their reviews for years, and see Jennifer McCord, another reviewer friend. When you have a mutual love of books, you know there always will be something to talk about.

In Seattle, Jennie Shortridge, author of WHEN SHE FLEW, has been kind enough to pull together authors from, a group of Seattle authors, to meet up for a soiree Tuesday night and a bookstore tour on Thursday with her and Carol Cassella, the author of OXYGEN. There will be many other author and bookish moments along the way, and there will be much to share in next week’s update. I really am looking forward to this adventure.

I zip back from this extended trip and leave the following morning for the Outer Banks for Spring Break. At least in theory this is what happens. I still am trying to figure out HOW the car will get packed with all we need without me overseeing this, but I have been informed it “all will be under control.” I love --- and fear --- those words. While I am on my adventure, my son, Greg, is spending Spring Break crossing the country by train with stops in New Orleans and Los Angeles and then two nights on the Queen Mary, which is berthed in Long Beach. He thought this would be a good way to “see America.” I keep humming “The City of New Orleans” as I am typing today.

Monday night I attended Sarah Blake's reading and Q&A about THE POSTMISTRESS, where I had the pleasure of meeting two of our readers, Diane and Kathi, which was lovely. Now I normally do not enjoy it when authors read, preferring to hear them talk, but Sarah's reading dropped me right into the mood and the story. She shared some wonderful stories about the time she spent at The Radio & Television Museum in Bowie, Maryland, listening to broadcasts from war correspondents, which made the war come alive. She already had envisioned a female correspondent, but when hearing the two women whose voices were on file there, the story came alive.

One question during the evening was right out of the mouths of babes when a very young attendee in the audience asked, "How did World War II start?" When we think that between now and then there have been wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, it made me realize that 70 years ago was very, very long ago to this boy, like me thinking about life in the 1890s when I was in school in the '60s. It shows how we all come to literary work with different perspectives.

The following night I saw Kate White and Linda Fairstein --- in a very special evening where they shared equal billing. Both of them have recent releases; we reviewed Kate’s HUSH last week and Linda’s HELL GATE this week, and as they are great friends and have such a genuine chemistry and appreciation of each other's work --- and the genre of mystery/thriller books --- it was a stellar standing-room-only evening. Speaking of female thriller writers, Lisa Scottoline's THINK TWICE comes out on Tuesday, March 16th, and there is some great sneak peek material here. Lisa's bonus features were also one of our Facebook posts from throughout the week. If you're not on Facebook, you can still check out our daily postings here.

This week we’re bringing you two new featured titles from authors who readers know well. Sandra Dallas returns to our Women's Fiction feature with WHITER THAN SNOW, a novel that follows the lives of a small Colorado town’s citizens after a devastating avalanche. It will be in stores on March 30th, but we have 20 advance copies to give away to readers who respond here by Friday, March 19th. Gayle Lynds’s THE BOOK OF SPIES is our latest Suspense/Thriller featured title and is also due in stores on March 30th. It follows a special agent and rare books curator as they race around the globe in search of a sacred text. We have 20 advance copies to give away to readers who respond here by Friday, March 19th. Also, we're pleased to share reader comments from the winners of VICTIM SIX by Gregg Olsen, which you can read here. Very telling that one reader suggested “read during daylight hours.”

I wanted to give a shout-out to a kids’ book. I love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and I am looking forward to the movie release with great anticipation. Maybe it’s because I am the mom of two boys, but I just relate to these stories like I did "The Wonder Years" on TV. One morning this week I read THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY and LOVED it. I made a few films in my day, and it’s terrific the way Jeff Kinney gives kids the background on how a movie is made and how their fave books came to life on the big screen. I found myself laughing at parts the same way I would in a “typical” Wimpy book, and I still marvel after all these years at how movies are created, both the imagination and detail that goes into them. Kids are going to love this “bridge” book to the movie where their fave author gives them a voiceover to the movie-making process in words.

Staying on movies for a moment, I must share that Sandra Bullock’s acceptance speech at the Oscars goes down for me as one of the best ever. Reading the Oscar press throughout the week, I saw an interesting note asking if Sandra is an actress or a star. Is this like the debate between whether an author is a bestseller or a writer?

I saw this note about tickets for a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers concert and realized again why books need to be priced fairly. Unlike musicians, authors cannot sell concert tickets, t-shirts or merchandise to increase their earning potential. In this offer to Tom Petty fans, it’s like the album is a souvenir; there is NO parallel in publishing: “All Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 2010 Tour tickets purchased online will include an MP3 download of every track on the Heartbreakers' electrifying new album, Mojo. Once fans purchase tickets online they will receive an email with codes entitling them to download two tracks from Mojo. Then, on the release date of the album, currently slated for this spring, ticket buyers will be sent a download of the entire album. Also included with every online ticket purchase, to be delivered at the end of the 2010 tour, will be a selection of live tracks recorded during the tour.” By the way, I have seen the band in concert and they do a terrific show.

Of course, I am buried in my “what to pack” moment now. Between books (you can imagine the stack; then double it), knitting and, yes, clothes, especially my rain jacket, this will be my weekend project. I have two suitcases and I am going to use them.

Lots of great reading this week...sooooo many books in this lineup for you to fall in love with. Read a bit faster this weekend to make up for the lost hour.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein

HELL GATE by span>Linda Fairstein (Legal Thriller)
New York City politics have always been filled with intrigue and behind-the-scenes deals. In HELL GATE, Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper finds her attention torn between investigating a shipwreck that has contraband cargo --- human cargo --- and the political sex scandal of a promising New York congressman now fallen from grace. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HELL GATE.

Click here to read a review of HELL GATE.

font color="#cc0000">New Featured Women's Fiction Author: Sandra Dallas, Author of WHITER THAN SNOW
Bestselling author Sandra Dallas follows the success of PRAYERS FOR SALE with her latest novel, WHITER THAN SNOW. This time, Dallas chronicles the lives of residents in a small Colorado town following a devastating avalanche that forever affects the town and its people.

We have 20 advance copies of WHITER THAN SNOW 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 19th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHITER THAN SNOW.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for WHITER THAN SNOW.
-Click here to read Sandra Dallas's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for Sandra Dallas's books.

-Visit Sandra Dallas's official website,

WHITER THAN SNOW opens in 1920, on a spring afternoon in Swandyke, a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four children survive.
Click here to read more about Sandra Dallas and WHITER THAN SNOW.


New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gayle Lynds, Author of THE BOOK OF SPIES

An intelligence officer teams up with a rare books curator in THE BOOK OF SPIES, the latest globetrotting thriller from Gayle Lynds. This unlikely duo finds itself in a race against time to recover the mythic Book of Spies before it falls into the wrong hands.

We have 20 advance copies of THE BOOK OF SPIES 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 19th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BOOK OF SPIES.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE BOOK OF SPIES.
-Click here to read Gayle Lynds's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE BOOK OF SPIES
-Visit Gayle Lynds's official website,

For centuries, emperors, historians and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible's magnificent Library of Gold. Now one of its volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the secret book club that owns the fabled library. They form a cabal of the globe's most powerful men --- men who will do anything to achieve their aims and protect their interests. An intelligence officer and a rare books curator now must do what other global agencies can't --- find the library and stop them.
Click here to read more about Gayle Lynds and THE BOOK OF SPIES.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens, Authors of YOU CAN'T STOP ME

Author Max Allan Collins and writing partner Matthew Clemens turn up the suspense in their latest collaboration, YOU CAN'T STOP ME. A small-town sheriff becomes the star of a reality television series tracking criminals with viewers' help --- until the reality becomes a little too real. YOU CAN'T STOP ME is in stores now.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from YOU CAN'T STOP ME.
-Click here to read Max Allan Collins's bio.
-Click here to read Matthew Clemens's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for YOU CAN'T STOP ME
-Visit Max Allan Collins's official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

More about YOU CAN'T STOP ME:
Small-town sheriff J.C. Harrow made headlines when he apprehended a would-be presidential assassin --- only to come home that night and find his wife and son brutally murdered. This tragic twist of fate launched his career as the host of reality TV’s smash-hit, "Crime Seen!" But while media star Harrow tracks down dangerous criminals coast to coast --- with the help of viewers’ tips --- a killer with a twisted agenda is making his own bloody path to fame.

Click here to read more about Max Allan Collins, Matthew Clemens and YOU CAN'T STOP ME.


Featured Historical Fiction Author: Francine Rivers, Author of HER MOTHER'S HOPE

From bestselling author Francine Rivers comes HER MOTHER'S HOPE, the first novel in a powerful two-book saga. This sweeping story, which spans continents and generations while exploring the bond between mothers and daughters, will be available in stores on March 16th.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from HER MOTHER'S HOPE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for HER MOTHER'S HOPE.
-Click here to read Francine Rivers's bio.
-Click here to see Francine Rivers's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for
-Visit Francine Rivers's official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California. Marta’s experiences convince her that only the strong survive. Hildie, Marta’s oldest daughter, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse during World War II gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother.
Click here to read more about Francine Rivers and HER MOTHER'S HOPE.


Featured One to Watch Author: Jerome Charyn, Author of THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON

Jerome Charyn blends fact with fiction to bring readers THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON, an inventive novel that removes Emily Dickinson’s own mysterious mask and reveals the passions and heartbreak of America’s greatest poet. THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON is now available in stores.

-Click here to read a review of THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.
-Click here to read our interview with Jerome Charyn.
-Click here/A> to read Jerome Charyn's bio.
here to see Jerome Charyn's backlist.
-Click here to read Jerome Charyn's blog post.
-Click here to read critical praise for
-Visit Jerome Charyn's official website,

-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

What if the old maid of Amherst wasn't an old maid after all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his "wild sister." Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. Along the way, Charyn introduces us to members of Emily's inner circle, both real and imagined, who helped shape the legendary poet.


Click here to read more about Jerome Charyn and THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.

Now in Stores: MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson

MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson (Fiction)
You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's unforgettable debut. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND.


Click here to read a review of MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND.


Now in Stores: ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER by Seth Grahame-Smith

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER by Seth Grahame-Smith (Historical Fiction/Horror)
Seth Grahame-Smith follows up his bestselling PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES with another piece of speculative fiction that blends horror with literary classics. In this case, we are presented with an alternate history of President Abraham Lincoln and the secret life he led as a hunter of vampires. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.


Click here to read a review of ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.

Now in Stores: NEVER LOOK AWAY by Linwood Barclay

NEVER LOOK AWAY by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
David Harwood is glad to be spending some quality time with his wife and their four-year-old son in an amusement park on a warm summer day. But what begins as a pleasant family outing turns into a nightmare after an inexplicable disappearance. A frantic search only leads to an even more shocking and harrowing turn of events.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from NEVER LOOK AWAY.
-Click here to watch a trailer for NEVER LOOK AWAY.


Click here to read a review of NEVER LOOK AWAY.

What's New This Month on

With more than 2,900 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:

-Discussing ALIAS GRACE
-Super Fab Book Club Names --- March edition
-Monika Fagerholm: THE AMERICAN GIRL
-S. J. Parris: HERESY
-To finish the book or not to finish the book...
-Greetings from The Pulpwood Queen!

-Significant Objects
-Patricia Sprinkle: HOLD UP THE SKY

Please also see our new /font>Coming Soon feature on Here you can find books that are being published in upcoming months, which are sorted by release dates and whether they are hardcovers or paperbacks.

The following guides are now available on

THE AMERICAN GIRL by Monika Fagerholm
APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE! by Elizabeth Kelly
BONE FIRE by Mark Spragg
THE BOOK OF SPIES by Gayle Lynds
THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST by Deanna Raybourn
THE DEVLIN DIARY by Christi Phillips

FLYAWAY: How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings by Suzie Gilbert
HER MOTHER'S HOPE by Francine Rivers
HERESY by S. J. Parris
HOME IN CAROLINA by Sherryl Woods

IF YOU FOLLOW ME by Malena Watrous


LEGEND OF A SUICIDE: Stories by David Vann
THE LEISURE SEEKER by Michael Zadoorian

A LOST WIFE'S TALE by Marion McGilvary
LOVE IN MID AIR by Kim Wright

THE MIRACLES OF PRATO by Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz
SECRET DAUGHTER by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
THE SECRET OF THE GLASS by Donna Russo Morin

SLIP OF THE KNIFE by Denise Mina
WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER: A Crafty Chica Novel by Kathy Cano-Murillo
WHITER THAN SNOW by Sandra Dallas


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

FIGURES IN SILK by Vanora Bennett
THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE by David Cristofano
LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman

The following new guides are now available for Christian book groups:

ANGEL'S DEN by Jamie Carie

FORGET ME NOT by Vicki Hinze
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON by Leanna Ellis


Click here to visit


Calling All Teens! Enter the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers Contest

The Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers is open to all high school students across the country. Each participant may submit a total of three works --- either poems, stories, essays, or any combination --- on any subject, as long as their fiction and creative nonfiction submission does not exceed 1,500 words. The deadline for entering this annual contest is April 15, 2010.

Click here to read all the contest details.

This Week's Reviews
ARCADIA FALLS by Carol Goodman (Suspense)
Dire financial straits and a desire for a fresh start take Meg and her daughter, Sally, from a comfortable life on Long Island to a tucked-away hamlet in upstate New York: Arcadia Falls, where Meg has accepted a teaching position at a boarding school. But after the death of one of her folklore students, Meg must face down her own demons and the danger threatening to envelop Sally. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

A frightening phenomenon leads a prominent novelist to some profound psychological and philosophical questions in THE SHAKING WOMAN OR A HISTORY OF MY NERVES, an unusual memoir that will engage readers both intellectually and emotionally. Reviewed by Norah Piehl

THE SUMMER HIDEAWAY: The Lakeshore Chronicles by Susan Wiggs (Romance)
In this latest installment of The Lakeshore Chronicles, an elderly dying gentleman finds a way to accomplish his bucket list, which includes finding a wife for his favorite grandson. He hires a nurse for the job, not letting anyone know what his true intentions are. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

THE 5 GREATEST WARRIORS by Matthew Reilly (Thriller)
When we last left Jack West Jr. in THE 6 SACRED STONES, his quest to save the world from impending Armageddon appeared doomed. But after an astonishing escape, he and his team race to rebuild the final pieces of the fabled “Machine.” They discover an ancient inscription containing a rhyme about five mysterious unnamed warriors --- great historical figures whose knowledge will be vital to unlocking the secrets of the Machine and its long-lost “pillars.” Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE HARVARD PSYCHEDELIC CLUB: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America by Don Lattin (History)
This book is the story of how three brilliant scholars and one ambitious freshman crossed paths in the early ’60s at a Harvard-sponsored psychedelic-drug research project, transforming their lives and American culture and launching the mind/body/spirit movement that inspired the explosion of yoga classes, organic produce and alternative medicine. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE HOLE WE'RE IN by Gabrielle Zevin (Fiction)
When Roger Pomeroy decides he will return to school for a graduate degree, he plunges his family into such terrible debt that his wife resorts to credit card theft (from their own son), setting off a domino effect of consequences within the family that reverberates throughout their children's lifetimes. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE GIRL WITH GLASS FEET by Ali Shaw (Fiction)
Ida Maclaird suffers from a strange malady that is turning her feet into glass. In search of an answer, she goes to St. Hauda's Land, a foggy island populated by odd individuals and creatures. Her search for answers leaves her with more questions and in a situation she hadn't let herself imagine. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

TOOTH AND CLAW by Nigel McCrery (Mystery)
A well-known television reporter has been brutally murdered and the top brass think Detective Chief Inspector Mark Lapslie is the man to investigate the crime. Then, in short order, he has a second murder on his hands: a man is found dead in a train-station bomb explosion. Despite all odds, Lapslie begins to suspect that the two high-profile cases may be connected.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Click here to read this week's reviews.

Poll and Question of the Week: Lengthy Books and Books to Anticipate

Would a book of 500 or more pages be a turn-on or turn-off for you? Please check as many as apply.

A turn-on because I feel I would be getting great value for my money
A turn-on because the book would last longer
A turn-on because it would allow me to fully engage in the story
A turn-off because it would take too much time to read
A turn-off because I feel I would lose track of what's going on
A turn-off because it would be too cumbersome to carry around
It would depend on the book.
Not sure

-Click here to answer our poll.


Which books that appear in our recently expanded
Coming Soon feature are you most looking forward to reading? Name up to five.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
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 HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein, NEVER LOOK AWAY by Linwood Barclay and THINK TWICE by Lisa Scottoline. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, March 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 March 31, 2010 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: CAUGHT by Harlan Coben, HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein, HUSH by Kate White, SHATTERED by Karen Robards and THINK TWICE by Lisa Scottoline. Susan from Westmont, IL was last month's winner. She won BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani, FANTASY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb, LAST SNOW by Eric Van Lustbader, SPLIT IMAGE: A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker and WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah.

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

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