Monday, April 11, 2011

April 2011

The following features and discussion guides began running on ReadingGroupGuides.com on Wednesday, April 6th.


Win a Paperback Copy of THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES by Brunonia Barry for Your Group
We are celebrating the paperback release of The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry --- an emotionally compelling novel about finding your true place in the world from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader --- with a special contest. 15 readers will have the opportunity to each win one paperback copy of the book, which is in stores now, for their group. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 4th at noon ET.

More about The Map of True Places:
A respected Boston psychotherapist, Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats. But the actions of a patient throw Zee into emotional chaos and take her back to places she thought she'd left behind. What starts as a brief visit home to Salem begins a larger journey. Suddenly having to care for her ailing father after his longtime companion moves out, Zee must come to terms with a strained and awkward relationship that has always been marked by half-truths and haunted by the untimely death of her mother. Overwhelmed by her new role, Zee must destroy the existing map of her life and chart a new course --- one that will guide her not only into her future but into her past as well.

Click here to read all the contest details.
Click here for the reading group guide.

Win a Paperback Copy of AS HUSBANDS GO by Susan Isaacs for Your Group
We are celebrating the paperback release of As Husbands Go --- in which Susan Isaacs draws on tony Long Island, gritty New York City, and a tabloid-friendly murder for this smart-alecky whodunit yet surprisingly sweet love story --- with a special contest. 50 readers will have the opportunity to each win one paperback copy of the book, which is in stores now, for their group. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 4th at noon ET.

More about As Husbands Go:
Call her superficial, but Susie B Anthony Rabinowitz Gersten assumed her marriage was great --- and why not? Jonah Gersten, MD, a Park Avenue plastic surgeon, clearly adored her. He was handsome, successful, and a doting dad to their four-year-old triplets. But when Jonah is found dead in the Upper East Side apartment of second-rate "escort" Dorinda Dillon, Susie is overwhelmed with questions left unanswered. It's bad enough to know your husband's been murdered, but even worse when you're universally pitied (and quietly mocked) because of the sleaze factor. None of it makes sense to Susie --- not a sexual liaison with someone like Dorinda, not the "better not to discuss it" response from Jonah's partners. With help from her tough-talking, high-style grandma Ethel, who flies in from Miami, she takes on her snooty in-laws, her husband's partners, the NYPD, and the DA as she tries to prove that her wonderful life with Jonah was no lie.

Click here to read all the contest details.
Click here for the reading group guide.

Win a Copy of THE HUNCHBACK OF NEIMAN MARCUS by Sonya Sones for Your Group
We are celebrating the release of The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem by Sonya Sones --- a funny, fresh and heartbreakingly poignant novel about the tricky balancing act of motherhood and career --- with a special contest. 15 readers will have the opportunity to each win one copy of the book, which is in stores now, for their group. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 4th at noon ET.

More about The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem:
Celebrated YA novelist Sonya Sones makes a HUGE splash with her first adult novel, The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, spinning a funny, fierce and piercingly honest coming-of-middle-age story about falling apart and putting yourself back together. Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck meets Elizabeth Berg --- boldly original and endlessly enthralling --- The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is a luminous, brilliantly told story of life, marriage and parenthood that you will not soon forget.

Click here to read all the contest details.
Click here for the reading group guide.


New and Recommended - Fiction

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party: The New No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith
At a remote cattle post south of Gaborone, two cows have been killed, and Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s No. 1 Lady Detective, is asked to investigate by a rather frightened and furtive gentleman. To complicate matters, Mma Ramotswe is haunted by a vision of her dear old white van, and Grace Makutsi witnesses it as well. Is it the ghost of her old friend, or has it risen from the junkyard? In the meantime, one of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s apprentices may have gotten a girl pregnant and, under pressure to marry her, has run away. Naturally, it is up to Precious to help sort things out. Add to the mix Violet Sephotho’s newly launched run for the Botswana Parliament and a pair of perfect wedding shoes --- will wedding bells finally ring for Phuti Radiphuti and Grace Makutsi?

Click here for the reading group guide.

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

From the New York Times bestselling author of Think Twice and Look Again comes an emotionally powerful novel about a split-second choice, agonizing consequences, and the need for justice. Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly’s school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who’s been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Rose is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos. Rose finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer
From Ann Packer, author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Dive from Clausen’s Pier and Songs Without Words, comes a collection of burnished, emotionally searing stories, framed by two unforgettable linked narratives that express the transformation of a single family over the course of a lifetime. A wife struggles to make sense of her husband’s sudden disappearance. A mother mourns her teenage son through the music collection he left behind. A woman shepherds her estranged parents through her brother’s wedding and reflects on the year her family collapsed. A young man comes to grips with the joy --- and vulnerability --- of fatherhood. And, in the masterly opening novella, two teenagers from very different families forge a sustaining friendship.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows
Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood --- the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms --- but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago. When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. In confronting secrets from her family's past, Sam comes to terms with deep secrets from her own.

Click here for the reading group guide.
Click here to see our One to Watch feature for Rae Meadows and Mothers and Daughters on Bookreporter.com.

One Was a Soldier: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming
On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town. The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.

Click here for the reading group guide.
Click here to see our Romantic Suspense feature for Julia Spencer-Fleming and One Was a Soldier on Bookreporter.com.

The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon
From the acclaimed author of Pearl and Final Payments comes a beautifully choreographed novel about first lovers meeting again after more than 35 years and rekindling their shared past. Miranda and Adam, high-school sweethearts now in their late 50s, arrive by chance at the same time in Rome, a city where they once spent a summer deeply in love, living together blissfully. At an awkward reunion, the two --- who parted in an atmosphere of passionate betrayal in the 1960s and haven’t seen each other since --- are surprised to discover that they may have something to talk about.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Already Home by Susan Mallery
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has captivated millions of readers with her heartwarming stories of the ties that bind. Now she introduces Jenna Stevens, who’s about to discover that sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back home again. After nearly a decade as a sous chef in a trendy eatery, Jenna is desperate for a change. She’s supported her ex-husband’s dreams for so long that she can’t even remember her own. Until she sees a for-lease sign near her parents’ home and envisions her very own cooking store. Her crash course in business is aided by a street-wise store manager and Jenna’s adoptive mother. But just as she’s gaining a foothold in her new life, in walk her birth parents --- aging hippies on a quest to reconnect with their firstborn.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
A million-plus-copy bestseller in Korea --- a magnificent English-language debut poised to become an international sensation --- this is the stunning, deeply moving story of a family’s search for their mother, who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway. Told through the piercing voices and urgent perspectives of a daughter, son, husband and mother, Please Look After Mom is at once an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love. You will never think of your mother the same way again after you read this book.

Click here for the reading group guide.

A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei
Now Available in Paperback

When her husband of 30 years is killed, Irene Shen and her three daughters are set adrift. In a desperate attempt to heal her fractured family, Irene plans a tour of mainland China, reuniting three generations of women --- her fiercely independent daughters, her distant poet sister, and her formidable 80-year-old mother. But each woman bears secrets big and small, and just as they begin to reconnect, the most carefully guarded secret of all threatens to tear them apart forever. Depicting a China at once timeless and ever changing, A Thread of Sky is a beautifully written story of love and sacrifice, history and memory, sisterhood and motherhood, and the connections that endure.

Click here for the reading group guide.


New and Recommended - Nonfiction

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war --- a rare achievement for any Afghan woman --- Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban.

Click here for the reading group guide.


For Christian Readers

Abigail’s New Hope: The Wayne County Series, Book 1
by Mary Ellis: The faith of a midwife in an Amish community is shaken after a difficult delivery.

The Caregiver: Families of Honor, Book One by Shelley Shepard Gray: The lives of two strangers intersect during a fateful train ride, leaving them to wonder if they will ever meet again.

The Dawn of a Dream: At Home in Beldon Grove, Book 3 by Ann Shorey: A woman pursues her life’s dream of becoming a teacher after her wedding suddenly ends under strange circumstances.

The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh: Newlyweds face tough decisions of faith, family and fortune when their steamship cruises into a violent hurricane.

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell: Three young Italian-American seamstresses gossip about the upper crust society they strive to be a part of.

Tea for Two: Tea with Millicent, Book 2 by Trish Perry: Two single parents bond over their parenting duties at the local café they frequent.

Tomorrow’s Garden: Texas Dreams, Book 3
by Amanda Cabot: A schoolteacher helps her siblings adjust to their new life while welcoming the charms of a Texas Ranger.

Registered Book Club Promotions

For April we have four very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles this month are The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, The Final Note by Kevin Alan Milne, On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling and False Witness by Randy Singer. Groups who have registered with us by Tuesday, April 19th have the chance to win an author chat and/or free books. If your group is not registered, click here to register.

Click here for details.
New Guides

31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan: Scandal, social climbing and corruption in Manhattan during the 1850s come alive in Ellen Horan’s historical mystery about a murdered dentist.

Already Home by Susan Mallery: A former chef takes on a new business venture only to have her progress interrupted by the sudden arrival of the parents who gave her up for adoption.

As Husbands Go by Susan Isaacs: Susan Isaacs has written an unconventional detective story about a woman who must solve her husband's murder, and prove that his loyalty to her was alive and well.

Devotion: A Memoir by Dani Shapiro: One mother’s quest for religious and spiritual understanding is prompted by her son’s difficult questions on the subjects.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: A former reporter stumbles across the inspiring story of a woman business owner in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

False Witness by Randy Singer: Two harrowing cases separated by four years are linked by the same prominent engineer and his code that can change the way the Internet operates.

A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer: Penicillin operates as the source of romance, murder and melodrama in Lauren Belfer's evocative WWII–era novel, her second after City of Light.

The Final Note by Kevin Alan Milne: A musician struggles to support his family, including the devoted wife whose faith in his musical gifts has never wavered.

Heart of Deception by M.L. Malcolm: A spy navigates World War II-era tensions while searching for his lost daughter in this sequel to Heart of Lies.

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem by Sonya Sones: A writer desperately struggles with the demands of being a wife, mother and professional while under a strict deadline from her publisher.

I’m Not Dead, I’m Different: Kids in Spirit Teach Us About Living a Better Life on Earth by Hollister Rand: A renowned medium discusses the unique experience of communicating with the spirits of children.

The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War by David Laskin: An engrossing and moving story of 12 men, all of them immigrants to the U.S., who were transformed by their brief but intense experiences as soldiers in WWI, and the fates that awaited them in America.

The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon: A teenage romance ends in a harsh betrayal only to be rekindled many years later as the adults find their relationship is still not entirely finished.

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry: Psychotherapist Zee Finch is dealt a blow when one of her patients, a troubled bipolar housewife named Lilly, leaps off a bridge to her death.

Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows: A young woman uncovers her family’s secret history, learning much about her grandmother’s immigration to America.

On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling: Estranged sisters reunite to help care for their ailing mother, reconciling their troubled pasts while tending the family’s wilted garden.

One Was a Soldier: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery:
by Julia Spencer-Fleming: Adjusting to civilian life after a tour in Iraq proves difficult for Rev. Clare Fergusson in Julia Spencer-Fleming's resonant and timely seventh mystery featuring Clare and her not-so-secret lover, police chief Russ Van Alstyne.

Other People’s Money by Justin Cartwright: An heir assumes control of the family bank during the world financial crisis that began in 2008.

Pao by Kerry Young: A Chinese immigrant rises to prominence in the seedy crime world of Jamaica, employing his heritage’s maxims and teachings in his new tropical home.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen: The bestselling author of Garden Spells welcomes readers to Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin: Park So-nyo, mother of four now-adult children, has gone missing in a Seoul train station with her story being told through alternating narrators.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party: The New No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith: At a remote cattle post south of Gaborone, two cows have been killed, and Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s No. 1 Lady Detective, is asked to investigate by a rather frightened and furtive gentleman.

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline: A mother faces the tough decision of whether or not to rescue the girl bullying her daughter during a freak accident at a local school.

Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer: This collection of short stories and novellas follows the complicated relationships between people of all ages, backgrounds and social status.

A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei: A widow tries to reconnect with her three grown daughters by booking them a tour of China.

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