Skip to main content

February 27, 2012 Newsletter February 27, 2012
Happy Monday!

Happy Monday! I never get to say that as our newsletters usually find their way to your mailboxes late on Friday. As you know from my brief email on Friday, this delayed newsletter was precipitated by our move to a new server over the weekend. This was something that we needed to address as our traffic has grown significantly over these past months. This will speed up the delivery of the content on our sites. We appreciate your patience during this server move, which was necessary but such a drag.

I watched the Oscars last night and loved seeing Octavia Spencer win. I think that was the highlight of the night for me. And I loved the way she mentioned Kathryn Stockett, the author of THE HELP in her acceptance speech. While I am a huge Meryl Streep fan, I do wish that Viola Davis had won the Best Actress award. There is an interesting theory about why the Best Actress award went to Meryl that you may enjoy reading here. I loved that there were a number of other Books to Movies projects cited: Hugo for Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for Film Editing; and The Descendants for Adapted Screenplay. Couple that with Octavia's win; it was a nice night for books!

And while it was not for a movie per se, children's book author and illustrator William Joyce was among the Oscar winners sharing the award for the short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Nice to see his enthusiasm onstage.

Speaking of awards, the nominees for the 2012 Audie Awards, celebrating the year's best audiobooks, were announced last week. Click here to see the list. The finalists for the LA Times Book Prizes were also announced last Wednesday. Click here to see the nominees. This awards presentation will be held on April 20th in conjunction with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I am looking forward to attending that ceremony!

We have a BIG week ahead as we are launching, our 7th editorial website, on Wednesday. This site has been almost two years in the planning, and thus it will be really exciting to see it live. By the way, we chose February 29th as a launch date so the site will only have an anniversary every four years and thus stay…forever young!

As we are playing catch up this week, I am behind on telling you about my recent reading. Over the holiday weekend, I had a spectacular three days of reading. I began with a YA novel by John Green called THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. It’s been making the rounds around the office with each person saying “It’s soooo good” when they finish it. I am going to use the flap copy to tell you about this book, something I rarely do. I don’t think I can get it any more pitch perfect. “Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at the Cancer Kids Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.” Every adult who has read it, like me, is blown away by it. It's definitely a book that has a much broader audience than just teens! For those in mother/daughter book clubs, it’s a great selection.

Two copies of IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN by Vaddey Ratner (On Sale: July 31st) came into the office two weeks ago. My son Greg grabbed one and read 100 pages on his train ride home and emailed me to say, “This is an incredible book.” By the next day, he had finished it and was hounding me to read it so we could talk about it. When I got a few pages in, I saw why and knew that the voice of seven-year-old Raami was not going to be one I forget anytime soon. The book is set in 1975 after the Cambodian Civil War as Cambodia is overtaken by the Khmer Rouge. Raami and her family, who have a prosperous life, are ousted from their home and held in the clutches of the Khmer Rouge who move them from camp to camp where survival under primitive and abusive conditions become the world of her childhood. The genocide killing that follows kills more than two million people.

While this story is told as fiction, the author was five when her family was forced to leave their home, and thus the story is informed from experience, which made it even more powerful to me. I cannot imagine being a child going through the ravage, the destruction, the cruelty, the randomness of the violence…it is all so vividly told. But through it all is a message of hope and the reminder of the depth of the human spirit. Stories like this reach deep inside us and are, dare I say, life-changing? Vaddey sharing her story honors some of the lost.

I remember being at the UN one day and seeing a map lit up with conflicts around the world. It was jarring to see how much fighting is going on that we never hear about. Thus it made this story told through the eyes of an innocent child even more special. Needless to say, it will be a Bets On selection.

As I was reading this, I found myself thinking about all the people who were killed through the years via the Holocaust, genocide and acts of terror like this and wonder what the world would be like today had those folks survived. In Cambodia, with so many intellectuals executed, it was really something that gave me pause. By the way, it’s made me want to watch The Killing Fields again. Dith Pran actually spoke at my son’s high school shortly before his death. And Greg remembers it well. Which gave this story even more meaning to him.

Our latest Paperback Spotlight Feature is for RESTORATION by Olaf Olafsson, which released on February 7th. The book tells the sweeping story of a community of British ex-pats living in Florence and one of them who decides to marry a local landowner. When she gets swept up in World War II and a reckless affair, the consequences are devastating. In exchange for a prominent art dealer’s silence, she is asked to hide a precious Caravaggio painting, but what she fails to note is the talent of a young man she is hiding who can ruin them all. I have been reading a page here and a page there as I write this newsletter, and I wish I could just slip away and get lost in the story. I have enjoyed Olaf’s work in the past, and RESTORATION is definitely high on my “to be read” pile!

We have been featuring Pamela Redmond, author of THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU, in a Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight for quite some time. Well, now we are pleased to share with you an interview with Pamela, in which she talks about the process of creating her main characters’ unique stories and shares a traumatic personal experience that helped shape the novel. While you are at it, check out her blog post on about the inspiration for THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU and why she wants to visit every book club that reads it! Alexis Burling has our review and says, "It’s tempting to spill the beans about the rest of the book as what’s been covered here merely hints at the heart of the full story. But to do so would be to spoil Redmond’s carefully crafted puzzle." is teasing the spring season these next few weeks with our Spring Preview Feature, a series of contests for a great list of hot new spring books you will want to add to your bookshelf. Starting tomorrow and continuing through the end of March, we will be hosting a number of 24-hour contests for spring titles. You’ll have to keep checking back on the site --- or sign up for our Spring Preview newsletter to be notified when contests go live.

As you know, I love attending Book Festivals around the country as they provide a wonderful way to meet authors and hear about new books. Thus Katherine in our office has compiled a list of book festivals listed by date and state so that you can see when certain festivals will be in your area --- or when you will want to plan a trip to visit one! For each, whenever possible, we have added website links, as well as Facebook and Twitter links. Don’t see a festival on the list? Email with the location and dates so we can get it added.

Years ago, I loved Alex Berenson’s first book, THE FAITHFUL SPY, which went on to win a number of awards. His new one is THE SHADOW PATROL, which tells the story of a CIA station in Kabul that may have been compromised by the Taliban. Agent John Wells is sent to investigate, and he uncovers a web of lies like he never expected. Our reviewer Joe Hartlaub says, "Berenson is one of the very few authors whose work I deliberately read at a slow, measured pace for the best of reasons: I don’t want the latest book, whatever it might be, to end. I found myself doing this yet again while reading THE SHADOW PATROL. There is no higher praise I can give it than that."

We also have a review of Kate Alcott’s THE DRESSMAKER, a historical fiction novel set on the Titanic that I gave a rave to in last week’s newsletter. Tess is a seamstress for a wealthy woman aboard the ship, and though she manages to escape the disaster, she ends up caught in a web of scandal afterwards. Amie Taylor has our review and says, "THE DRESSMAKER is a fascinating and thought-provoking book that begs us all to look at the sinking of the Titanic, how we view differences in the classes, and how we each would act in a similar situation." When I read both THE DRESSMAKER and IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN, I found myself thinking about how I would have reacted.

Our contest for OXFORD MESSED UP, a book by Andrea Kayne Kaufman about a young Rhodes Scholar who struggles with OCD, is still open. We are giving away 25 copies of the book to lucky readers who enter by Friday, March 9th at noon ET.

In our poll this week, we want to know what TV programs you enjoy; it will give us some nice insight into what you enjoy watching when you are not reading! And our question asks, "Name up to three television shows that you wish were still on the air." Also, tell us what you are reading in our current Word of Mouth contest, and you’ll automatically be entered to win CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw, LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult and THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont. You have until Friday to submit your comments.

Interns Wanted: Before I sign off, I want to give a shout out to anyone who knows any college-age folks in the New York City area. The Book Report Network is looking for interns! We are very flexible with dates and scheduling; interns could start as early as next week, or come for the summer. Interested candidates should send their resume and a letter of interest to We look forward to hearing from you!

Lots more in just four days when we are back with our regular Friday update. Whew…it’s nice to have the sites functioning smoothly again!

Read on…

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: CELEBRITY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb
CELEBRITY IN DEATH by J. D. Robb (Thriller)
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she's managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. But a twist in the movie suddenly lands her at the center of a crime scene --- and she is more than ready to step into the role she was born to play: cop. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: WATERGATE by Thomas Mallon

WATERGATE by Thomas Mallon (Historical Fiction)
Through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew before now, Thomas Mallon retells the story of the Watergate scandal, suggesting answers to some of the incident’s greatest unsolved mysteries (among them, who did erase those 18 1/2 minutes of tape?). Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read a review. Talks to Pamela Redmond, Author of THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU

Pamela Redmond’s new novel, THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU, tells the intertwining stories of Billie, Bridget and Cait. These women’s lives intersect across generations, and all must face critical, life-altering decisions. In this interview, conducted by’s Alexis Burling, Redmond describes the process of creating the three different main characters’ unique stories. She also shares a traumatic personal experience that helped shape the novel, discusses her passion for names and naming characters, and explains how she balances motherhood with her multi-faceted career.

THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU by Pamela Redmond (Fiction)
Can we ever atone for the sins of the past? Or does each generation of women invent itself anew? Pamela Redmond intertwines the heartrending stories of three female characters, and explores the ways in which one woman’s choices can affect her loved ones forever. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Pamela Redmond’s bio.
-Click here to visit Pamela Redmond’s website.
-Click here to connect with Pamela Redmond on Facebook.
-Click here to follow Pamela Redmond on Twitter.
-Click here to see Pamela Redmond on Goodreads.
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on the book.

Click here to read our interview.
New Paperback Spotlight: RESTORATION by Olaf Olafsson
RESTORATION by Olaf Olafsson (Fiction)
Having grown up in an exclusive circle of wealthy British ex-pats in Florence in the 1920s, Alice Orsini shocks everyone when she marries the son of a minor Italian landowner and begins restoring San Martino, a crumbling villa in Tuscany, to its former glory. But after years of hard work, filling the acres with orchards, livestock, and farmhands, Alice's growing restlessness pulls her into the heady social swirl of wartime Rome and a reckless affair that will have devastating consequences.

Her indiscretion is noticed by careful eyes --- those of Robert Marshall, a renowned dealer of renaissance art. In exchange for his silence, he demands Alice hide a priceless Caravaggio, a national treasure that he has sold to the Germans, at San Martino. As the front creeps toward Tuscany, sending a wave of orphans, refugees, and wounded Allies to San Martino, Alice trusts that the painting she's hiding will keep the Germans at bay. What she doesn't know is the truth about a brilliant young artist she harbors named KristÍn, a prodigy who can restore any painting, and whose secrets may ruin them all.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Olaf Olafsson’s bio.

-Click here to read an interview with Olaf Olafsson.
-Click here to connect with Olaf Olafsson on Facebook.

Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Now in Stores: THE SHADOW PATROL by Alex Berenson
THE SHADOW PATROL by Alex Berenson (Thriller)
In 2009, the CIA's Kabul Station fell for a source who promised to lead it to Bin Laden, but instead blew himself up, taking the station's most senior officers with him. More than two years later, the station is still floundering, agents are dying, and the CIA's chiefs wonder if it somehow has been infiltrated by the Taliban. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: The TECHNOLOGISTS by Matthew Pearl
THE TECHNOLOGISTS by Matthew Pearl (Thriller)
When fog rolls in to Boston harbor, several ships crash in a fiery wreck. Reports from all the ships say every compass spun wildly out of control during the moments before the crash. When several more strange events send the city into a panic, students at the newly formed Massachusetts Institute of Technology begin their own investigation to find answers to the events terrorizing the citizens of Boston. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE DRESSMAKER by Kate Alcott

THE DRESSMAKER by Kate Alcott (Historical Fiction)
When Tess Collins, a fledgling seamstress and dress designer, finds herself onboard the Titanic, she's torn between two attractive and eligible men. But before the journey is over, survival takes priority, and the shocking aftermath of the disaster turns Tess's life upside down in unforeseeable ways. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read a review.
Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Lisa Lutz, Author of TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS

TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS by Lisa Lutz (Mystery)
For the first time in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman might be the most normal member of her family. Mom has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities. Dad has a secret. Her brother and sister are at war, but neither will reveal the source of the conflict. While domestic disturbances abound, there is one source of sanity in the Spellman household: Demetrius Merriweather, employee of the month for 18 months straight.

Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, Rae is hired to follow a girl, only to fake the surveillance reports. Then a socialite has Isabel tail her husband, despite a conspicuous lack of suspicion. A man in a sweater vest hires the Spellmans to follow his sister, who turns out to be the socialite. Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers --- even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to see a video of Lisa Lutz talking about the book.
-Click here to visit Lisa Lutz’s website.
-Click here to connect with Lisa Lutz on Facebook.
-Click here to follow Lisa Lutz on Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem feature.
Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Helene Tursten, Author of DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS and NIGHT ROUNDS

DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS by Helene Tursten (Mystery)
Inspector Irene Huss, stationed in Göteborg, is called through the rain-drenched wintry streets to the scene of an apparent suicide. The dead man landed on the sidewalk in front of his luxurious duplex apartment. He was a wealthy financier connected, through an old-boys’ network, with the first families of Sweden. But the "Society Suicide" turns out to have been a carefully plotted murder. As more murders ensue, she tangles with street gang members, skinheads, immigrants and neo-Nazis --- a cross-section of Sweden’s disaffected --- in order to catch the killer.

NIGHT ROUNDS: A Detective Inspector Irene Huss Investigation by Helene Tursten (Mystery)
One nurse lies dead and another vanishes after their hospital is hit by a blackout. The only witness claims to have seen Nurse Tekla doing her rounds, but Nurse Tekla died 60 years ago. Detective Inspector Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit has the challenge of disentangling wandering ghosts and complex human relationships to get to the bottom of this intriguing case.

-Click here to read a review of NIGHT ROUNDS.
-Read a third excerpt from DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS and NIGHT ROUNDS.
-Click here to read praise for Helene Tursten's books.
-Click here to visit the publisher’s website.
-Read our Mystery Mayhem features for DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS and NIGHT ROUNDS.

Paperback Spotlight: SAVE ME by Lisa Scottoline

SAVE ME by Lisa Scottoline (Fiction)
Nobody could have foreseen what would happen the day that Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in the cafeteria of her daughter’s elementary school. Rose does it to keep a discreet eye on her third-grader, Melly, a sweet, if shy, child who was born with a facial birthmark that has become her own personal bull’s-eye. Melly has been targeted by the mean girl at their new school and gets bullied every day, placing Rose in a no-win position familiar to parents everywhere. Do we step in to protect our children when they need us, or does that make things worse?

When the bully starts to tease Melly yet again. Rose is about to leap into action --- but right then, the unthinkable happens. Rose finds herself in a nightmare, faced with an emergency decision that no mother should ever have to make. What she decides in that split second derails Rose’s life and jeopardizes everyone she holds dear, until she takes matters into her own hands and lays her life on the line to save her child, her family, her marriage --- and herself.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to watch the book trailer.
-Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s bio.
-Click here to watch an interview with Lisa Scottoline.
-Click here to connect with Lisa Scottoline on Facebook.
-Click here to follow Lisa Scottoline on Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.'s Spring Preview Contests and Feature
Spring is in the air (or will be very soon)! We’ve already caught the fever --- and so have the publishers! Here are some picks that we know people will be talking about over the next few months. We will be hosting a number of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days through the end of March. You will need to check the site to see the featured book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce each title, which you can sign up for here.

Our first prize book will be announced on Tuesday, February 28th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

-ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell
-DARK MAGIC by James Swain
-A DOG'S JOURNEY: Another Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron
-GLAMOUR IN GLASS by Mary Robinette Kowal
-ISLAND APART by Steven Raichlen
-LIVING PROOF by Kira Peikoff
-THE SINGLES by Meredith Goldstein
-THREE A.M. by Steven John
-TRUE SISTERS by Sandra Dallas
-WIDE OPEN by Deborah Coates

Click here to see our Spring Preview feature and sign up for our special newsletter.
New Feature: Book Festivals

Book Festivals are a wonderful way to hear about a wide range of books and meet a large number of authors. These events take place across the country throughout the year. Our goal with this new feature is to present as comprehensive a list as possible about these events.

Any festivals you don’t see on our lists? Let us know! Email with the name of the festival, its dates and location, and a brief introduction to the festivities.


Tucson, AZ: Tucson Festival of Books
Dates: March 10-11, 2012

Charlottesville, VA: Virginia Festival of the Book
Dates: March 21-25, 2012


Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Dates: April 21-22, 2012


Columbia, SC: SC Book Festival
Dates: May 18-20, 2012


Click here to see our new Book Festivals feature.
This Week's Reviews
D.C. DEAD: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Mystery)
After a shocking loss, Stone Barrington is at loose ends, unsure if he wants to stay in New York and continue his work as a partner at Woodman & Weld. It comes as a welcome relief when he's summoned to Washington, D.C., by President Will Lee. The president has a special operation that calls for Stone's unique skill set, and it's a mission that will reunite him with his former partner in crime and in bed, Holly Barker. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

BEFORE THE POISON by Peter Robinson (Mystery)
Chris Lowndes always promised his wife they would return to the Yorkshire Dales one day. Now a grieving widower, he keeps his promise to his wife and rents an isolated house in the Dales. But then he finds out that the house was the scene of a legendary murder more than 50 years before. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

QUESTION OF TRUST by Laura Caldwell (Romantic Suspense)
When attorney Izzy McNeil's home is broken into, right after her boyfriend, Theo, moves in, she ignores the coincidence. When Theo is arrested on charges of fraud, she wants to believe he's innocent. But when a neighbor is found dead, she can't ignore that something is very, very wrong. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

SCARECROW RETURNS by Matthew Reilly (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
Deep in the Arctic, a long-forgotten Soviet military base enshrouds a Cold War doomsday device with the power to obliterate the planet. When a terrorist group unleashes the weapon, there is only one team close enough to sabotage them: a band of Marines and civilians led by Captain Shane Schofield. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

JAMES MADISON AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA by Kevin R. C. Gutzman (Biography/History)
Historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen --- as "The Father of the Constitution” -- to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today's United States. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

FLATSCREEN by Adam Wilson (Fiction/Humor)
Eli Schwartz, the 20-something narrator of Adam Wilson’s debut, spends much of the novel dressed in a bathrobe, and even more of it in drug-induced indifference. When his mother sells their suburban Boston home to Seymour Kahn, a paraplegic fond of Viagra and guns, Eli embarks on not only a dangerous friendship but also a series of sexual liaisons and pharmacopeial adventures that lead to YouTube infamy. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

DRIFTING HOUSE by Krys Lee (Fiction/Short Stories)
Spanning Korea and the United States, from the postwar era to contemporary times, debut author Krys Lee's stories illuminate a people torn between the traumas of their collective past and the indignities and sorrows of their present. Reviewed by Shelby Wardlaw.

This Week's Poll, Question and Word of Mouth Contest


Which of the following television shows do you enjoy on a regular basis? Please check as many as apply.

"30 Rock"
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Boardwalk Empire"
"CSI" (any version)
"Downton Abbey"
"Game of Thrones"
"The Good Wife"
"Law and Order: SVU"
"The Mentalist"
"Modern Family"
"NCIS" (any version)
"Nurse Jackie"
"The Office"
"Rizzoli and Isles"
"The Walking Dead"
I don’t watch television.
Other (Please specify up to three other shows that you enjoy on a regular basis.)

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name up to three television shows that you wish were still on the air.

-Click here to answer the question.

Word of Mouth:

Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from February 17th to March 9th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw, LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult, and THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont.

-Click here to enter the Word of Mouth contest.
-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, 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.

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

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107
connect with us twitterfacebook