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January 23, 2009 Newsletter January 23, 2009
Heading West to Talk Books
I am heading to Denver tomorrow for the American Library Association Conference. I have spent a lot of time in Colorado over the years, and it still is one of favorite states to visit. There are lots and lots of memories from there, including some time in the mountains under some incredibly beautiful blue skies that almost looked purple --- and some views from mountains that no camera can ever really capture the grandeur of. This will be the first time I have gone to Colorado in winter without my skiis. I originally had hoped to get some time on the slopes for at least a couple of runs, but this trip is falling between my younger son’s birthday today and my older son’s birthday on Wednesday. Cakes are made and in the freezer ready to be frosted. Presents are piled for wrapping.

Well, almost all the presents. The boys both decided that they want me to knit them scarves out of this cool polar fleece fiber they found while they were bored waiting for me in the yarn store over the holidays. They actually both wanted socks, but I do NOT knit socks. Actually, my dear friend Jeanne at Knitting Addiction in North Carolina made a pair for Greg for graduation, and my mom made a pair for Cory for Christmas. Whew. Dodged that bullet. Now a scarf is an easy thing. It’s a beginner project, but I have managed to make this completely complicated.

I decided not to do what Jeanne said and instead “made up a pattern.” Instead of knit knit knit, I decided to make a border on the bottom, but not the sides. Well, that did not work since it was curling. Rip out number one as Jeanne said, it needs an edge. Start Cory’s again with strict orders on where the red and black should go; this from a child who tells me each morning that “he does not care what he wears to school. It does not matter.” Halfway into the project, I realize it’s too tight. Need to move up a needle size. It looks better; I FINISH it. Or so I think. It still curls. I press on it with my hands. It looks good for like two minutes, then curls. Soooo I start over; the way Jeanne suggested at the beginning, knitting every row. It’s 3 /4 done as I type this, and I am grabbing the needles between phone calls and emails. Oh, and the red polar fleece is shedding to beat the band, thus when I knit I am spotted in red. It’s amusing. I am trying not to think how when Cory wears this HE will be spotted red, but hey, it’s his favorite color! And the black is NOT shedding. Greg’s will be green/orange. I will be knitting during the entire flight and conference. Oh, and I bought turquoise yarn to make myself a scarf too, which will come after I finish the two sweaters I am working on. You know, in spring!

I have packed two advance reading copies for the trip: Linda Fairstein’s LETHAL LEGACY (going with the library theme of the book to the library conference, which I think is VERY clever) and Adriana Trigiani’s VERY VALENTINE, which will be in stores on February 3rd. It’s been a while in between books for Adriana, so I am looking forward to this one. It’s the first in a three-part series with a new character, Valentine Roncalli. As always, Adriana will be weaving her Italian heritage into the story. This time she takes a theme from the career of the grandfather she never knew, Carlo Bonicelli, a shoemaker who died at the age of 39.

VERY VALENTINE is one of the four books that are part of our Fourth Annual Valentine’s Day Contest going up this week. We created one very red and pink basket of treats. I had a lot of fun shopping for the items for it; the cherry lollipops for two are pretty cute. And as always, WE think a book is the perfect gift for a Valentine, and we have some really fun suggestions for you!

Authors I am looking forward to seeing in Denver include Abraham Verghese, whose novel CUTTING FOR STONE will be in stores on February 3rd. His book THE TENNIS PARTNER was a memoir that I still think about. Also, Sandra Dallas has a new one called PRAYERS FOR SALE, which will be out April 14th. The conference is a mix of hearing about upcoming titles and trends, and having an opportunity to sit in on the sessions where librarian committees debate the best books of the years in a number of categories. This year I am most interested in grabbing some time at the Great Graphic Novel and Alex Award (books for adults that work for teens) sessions. Another favorite event is one where teens talk about their favorite books of the previous year. At a time when people say teens are walking away from reading, their unbridled excitement really energizes the crowd.

Also, the ALA Youth Media Awards, which include the Newbery and the Caldecott Medals, will be announced on Monday morning. I always have wanted to be in the room for this announcement, which is the book Oscars for kids, thus I will be there at something like 7:30 to see this (hopefully I still will be on Eastern time), which I understand is pretty insanely crazy. It will be fun to be part of the excitement.

I wanted to remind you that the movie adaptation of
THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury will be airing in two parts on NBC beginning Sunday, January 25th. You can read more about it here. The commercials have looked terrific; it looks very much like a feature film and not a TV movie. Enjoy!

You may remember the nice interviews we ran last week with T. Greenwood, author of TWO RIVERS, and Kevin O’Brien, author of FINAL BREATH. We’ve received some excellent responses from our advance readers of these titles. Click on the authors’ names above to read what they had to say.

By the way, there are two books on the lineup this week that I want to read after reading our reviews: THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS and THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY. I love when our reviewers inspire me!

In response to email from many of you, we revised the top of our newsletter to get you into the features more quickly. For those of you who would like to get quicklinks to our features like Coming Soon, Books Into Movies and Author Bibliographies, please see the bottom of the newsletter for these.

Okay, time to finish the scarf, wrap the presents and think about homemade pizza and cake. I’m gearing up for Cory’s pals, who always amuse me. He and his friends, Josh and Stephen, move around the house in a stealth pack. They are very very funny to watch, and I love having them around. And I need to pack. As always I will overpack. Got a notice this morning that I was upgraded to first class for my flight tomorrow. Wonder if that means extra luggage? Here’s to no snowstorms on the way out or back!

Have a great week... stay warm.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

Now in Stores: THE TREASURE by Iris Johansen
THE TREASURE by Iris Johansen (Historical Romance)
New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen returns with her first historical romance in a decade, a new novel of passion and exotic adventure that leads two unlikely and unforgettable treasure hunters on a perilous journey --- and into the heart of one of the most captivating mysteries of all time. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE TREASURE.

Click here to read a review of THE TREASURE.

Now in Stores: AGINCOURT by Bernard Cornwell
AGINCOURT by Bernard Cornwell (Historical Fiction)
One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt --- immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V --- pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry's hands. Here Bernard Cornwell resurrects the legend of the battle and the "band of brothers" who fought it on October 25, 1415. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

-Click here to read an excerpt from AGINCOURT.

Click here to read a review of AGINCOURT.

Now in Stores: BLACK OPS by W.E.B. Griffin
BLACK OPS: A Presidential Agent Novel by W.E.B. Griffin (Political Thriller)
The first disturbing reports reached Delta Force Lieutenant Colonel Charley Castillo in the form of backchannel messages concerning covert U.S. intelligence assets working for a variety of agencies suddenly gone missing and then inexplicably found dying. Or dead. Castillo finds the information both infuriating and fascinating, particularly after a recent experience with two CIA traitors whose own deaths were swift and suspicious. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

Click here to read a review of BLACK OPS.

Announcing's Fourth Annual Valentine's Day Contest --- Enter to Win a Romantic Basket for Yourself or Your Valentine
The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! Stuck on what to buy your Valentine? Our featured titles have the bookish answer. From January 23rd through February 6th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day Baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books. Whether you are looking for a humorous tale, a heartwarming love story or an escape into the world of paranormal romance, our Valentine's Day suggestions are sure to satisfy whatever you’re craving to give on this holiday.

Our featured Valentine’s Day titles are:

-NIGHT'S PLEASURE by Amanda Ashley
-ONE TRUE THEORY OF LOVE by Laura Fitzgerald
-VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani

Click here to read all the contest details.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Linda Fairstein, Author of LETHAL LEGACY
New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein is one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence. In her newest Alex Cooper novel, LETHAL LEGACY, Fairstein takes readers on a breathtaking ride through the valuable first editions, lost atlases and secret rooms and tunnels of the great New York Public Library. LETHAL LEGACY will be available in stores on February 10th.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LETHAL LEGACY.
-Click here to read Linda Fairstein’s bio.
-Click here to see Linda Fairstein's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for LETHAL LEGACY.
-Visit Linda Fairstein's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public Library and passionate rare book collectors.

Click here to read more about Linda Fairstein and LETHAL LEGACY.

Featured Romantic Suspense Authors: Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush, Authors of WICKED GAME
Lisa Jackson is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 75 novels, including SHIVER and FATAL BURN. In WICKED GAME, Jackson teams up with Nancy Bush --- her sister and acclaimed author of the Jane Kelly mystery series. Together they deliver a suspenseful tale in which a group of old friends find themselves being killed off one by one. WICKED GAME will be in stores on January 27th.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from WICKED GAME.
-Click here to read Lisa Jackson’s bio.

-Click here to see Lisa Jackson's backlist.
-Click here to read Nancy Bush’s bio.
-Click here to see Nancy Bush's backlist.
-Visit Lisa Jackson’s official website,
-Visit Nancy Bush’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about WICKED GAME:
Twenty years ago, wild-child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth’s high school. Most in Jessie’s tight circle of friends believed she simply ran away. Few suspected Jessie was hiding a shocking secret --- one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer. Two decades pass before a body is unearthed on school grounds and Jessie’s old friends reunite to talk. Most are sure the body is Jessie’s and the mystery of what happened to her has finally been solved. But soon, Jessie’s friends each begin to die in horrible, freak accidents that defy explanation.

Click here to read more about Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush and WICKED GAME. is Now on Facebook!
We are thrilled to announce that has just created a fan page on Facebook! Here we will feature our daily blogs and put out questions for discussion. We would love you to share pictures of your groups as well as comments on the books that we suggest. While we have a very vibrant message board on the site, we know that many of you like to share your thoughts via Facebook. We look forward to seeing you as fans of on Facebook.
Click here to view's new Facebook page.

What's New This Month on, our website for Christian readers, is celebrating its fifth anniversary! This site provides 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

for Grace
by Susanna Foth Aughtmon
-THE EDGE OF LIGHT: At Home in Beldon Grove, Book 1 by Ann Shorey
-FIREFLIES IN DECEMBER by Jennifer Erin Valent
-THE HEALING CHOICE: How to Move Beyond Betrayal by Brenda Stoeker and Susan Allen
-LOVING CEE CEE JOHNSON by Linda Leigh Hargrove
-NO PLACE FOR A LADY: Heart of the West Series, Book 1 by Maggie Brendan
-PAPER ROSES: Texas Dreams Trilogy, Book 1 by Amanda Cabot
-PRAYER POWER: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God by Peter Lundell
-THE RED SIREN: Charles Towne Belle Series, Book 1 by M. L. Tyndall
-REST: Living in Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent
-SARAH'S PROMISE: Country Road Chronicles #4 by Leisha Kelly
-STAND-IN GROOM: Brides of Bonneterre, Book 1 by Kaye Dacus

Click here to visit

Special Contest: Win an Advance Copy of ECSTASY by Jacquelyn Frank
We’re celebrating the release of ECSTASY: The Shadowdwellers --- New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank’s stunning new paranormal romance --- with a special contest. Ten readers will have the opportunity to each win one advance copy of ECSTASY, which is now available in stores. Readers who answer the question correctly by reading an excerpt from the book will be automatically entered to win.

Enter between now and Thursday, January 29th by filling out the form found here.

More about ECSTASY:

After a terrifying car crash, Ashla wakes up to find the bustling New York she once knew is now eerie and desolate. Just when she’s convinced she’s alone, Ashla is confronted by Trace, a dark warrior who draws her deeper into a world she never knew existed. The bond between them is a mystery to both, but searching for answers will mean confronting long-hidden secrets, and uncovering a threat that could destroy everything Trace holds precious.

-Click here to read more about ECSTASY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ECSTASY.
-In addition to our contest, click here for a chance to win a FREE Shadowdwellers tattoo from Kensington Books!

Click here for more details about the contest and how to enter.

This Month's Grab Bag of Books Giveaway
Every month in our Grab Bag of Books contest, five readers are awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peak at titles that haven’t been released yet. This contest period’s winners will each receive a copy of ABSOLUTELY MAYBE by Lisa Yee, ENVY: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen, PRINCESS DIARIES, VOLUME X: FOREVER PRINCESS by Meg Cabot and WONDROUS STRANGE by Lesley Livingston.

-Click here for previous winners.
Click here to read all the contest details.

Calling All Teens! Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2008 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book Award
Have a teen in your house? If so, we have something they may want to explore. In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is giving teen readers a very special opportunity to share 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. Once this first round of nominees is ready, we will have more information on where teens can vote for the winner, which will be announced in May 2009.
Click here for all the details.

This Week's Reviews
Tiffany Baker bursts onto the literary scene with her terrific debut, which blends murder, magic and dark family secrets in a larger-than-life story. THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY finds loveliness and meaning in the most unusual guises --- and it marks the advent of a unique new talent. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

A FACE AT THE WINDOW: A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves (Mystery)
Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree's eternal home repairs on her ancient money pit Maine island home are interrupted when the little girl she is caring for is kidnapped. She knows who is behind it, but no one quite believes her, which leaves Jake to play detective while pulling her into some heart-thumpingly suspenseful situations. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

NEVER TELL A LIE by Hallie Ephron (Suspense)
In preparation for the birth of their first child, Ivy and David hold a yard sale to clean out the junk they’d inherited with the old Victorian house they'd bought three years before. And who should show up but Melinda White, a former high school classmate of David and Ivy's. Little does Ivy know that this strange encounter is only the beginning of a hellish nightmare of deceit and betrayal. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BRIGHT FUTURES: A Lew Fonesca Mystery by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mystery)
Award-winning mystery writer Stuart Kaminsky has a varied stable of sleuths stretching from Moscow to Los Angeles, with stops in between. Investigator Lew Fonesca toils in sunny Florida still piecing back the parts of his life shattered by the death of his wife. In BRIGHT FUTURES, the sixth novel in this series, he takes on a client accused of murder only to discover that the case is not what it appears to be. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

VOLUNTARY MADNESS: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin by Norah Vincent (Memoir)
Suffering from severe depression after her 18 months living disguised as a man, Norah Vincent felt she was a danger to herself. On the advice of her psychologist she committed herself to a mental institution. Out of this raw and overwhelming experience came the idea for her next book. She decided to get healthy and to study the effect of treatment on the depressed and insane “in the bin,” as she calls it. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

SOMEWHERE TOWARDS THE END: A Memoir by Diana Athill (Memoir)
Aging is not necessarily depressing. Or boring. Or the end of pleasure. This bulletin from the last chapters of life, by a celebrated nonagenarian memoirist and editor, is not only honest and brave (she doesn’t evade painful memories or regrets) but also overflows with passion, profundity and wit. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian’s Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Debut author Erica Bauermeister whips up a feast of tastes, smells, textures and memories through the characters she profiles. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE PIANO TEACHER by Janice Y. K. Lee (Fiction)
The growing season may be far off, but 2009 is already providing a bumper crop of outstanding books by first-time novelists. THE PIANO TEACHER, the debut novel of former Elle editor Janice Y. K. Lee, is no exception. It's a blistering portrait of Hong Kong during and after World War II as well as a gutsy exploration of the often dangerous and damaging choices made by individuals during wartime. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS by David Oppegaard (Thriller)
The Despair has plagued the earth for five years. Most of the world’s population has inexplicably died by its own hand, and the few survivors struggle to remain alive. A mysterious, shadowy group called the Collectors has emerged, inevitably appearing to remove the bodies of the dead. But in the crumbling state of Florida, a man named Norman takes an unprecedented stand against the Collectors, propelling him on a journey across North America. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Relaxing with a Book

What is your beverage of choice when you are relaxing and reading a book?

Hot chocolate
Mineral water
A cocktail
Other (Please specify)
I am not sure I have a favorite.
I never drink when I read.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Where is your favorite place to read in your house?

-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 ASSOCIATE by John Grisham, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford and TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on February 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 [email protected]. Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by January 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: 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. Kathy from Apalachin, NY was last month's newsletter winner. She won BORN TO RUN by James Grippando, THE CHARLEMAGNE PURSUIT by Steve Berry, THE INDEPENDENCE OF MISS MARY BENNET by Colleen McCullough, THE MESSENGER by Jan Burke and SCARPETTA by Patricia Cornwell.

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

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