What Happens in Scotland

Title: What Happens in Scotland

Author: Jennifer McQuiston

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

Readers: Non-profit director Kimberly, day care teacher EMarie, teacher Julie S, retiree Nancy and blogger From Grind to Whine Stacey.

Summary: Lady Georgette Thorold has always been wary of marriage, so when she wakes up next to an attractive Scotsman with a wedding ring on her finger, it’s easy to understand why she panics and flees. Convinced that Georgette is a thief, her may-be husband, James McKenzie, searches for her. As both try to recall what happened that fateful night, they begin to realize that their attraction and desire for each other is undeniable. But is it enough?

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The Real Jane Austen

Title: The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things

Author: Paula Byrne. She has written other biographies, including one on novelist Evelyn Waugh.

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Readers: Reading teacher Emry, stay at home mom Julie J., production coordinator Joanna and art history professor JoLee.

Summary: Literary scholarship has revealed that letters and tokens in Austen’s novel’s often signal key turning points in the unfolding narrative. This groundbreaking biography explores Jane’s own story following the same principle. As Byrne reveals, small things in the writer’s world-a scrap of paper, a simple gold chain, an ivory miniature, a bathing machine-hold significance in her emotional and artistic development. The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things introduces us to a woman deeply immersed in the world around her, yet far ahead of her time in her independence and ambition; to an author who was an astute commentator on human nature and the foibles of her own age. Rich and compelling, it is a fresh, insightful, and often surprising portrait of an artist and a vivid evocation of the complex world that shaped her.

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The Burn Palace

Title: The Burn Palace

Author: Stephen Dobyns, author of several previous psychological mysteries, including The Church of Dead Girls.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Literary Fiction

Readers: Retiree Nancy, stay-at-home mom Krysta, and teachers madriscoll and Ninian.

Summary: At two-thirty in the morning at the local hospital in the small town of Brewster, Rhode Island, Alice Alessio — also known as Nurse Spandex — is given the surprise of her life. Coming back from a secret tryst with a doctor, she peeks in to check on the newborn baby she was supposed to be watching, and finds a huge, writhing red-and-yellow snake in the bassinet instead. So begins the series of strange and disturbing events that start to plague this sleepy little community and confound the police. Woody Potter, the detective on the case, simply can’t put it all together — what is the thread that ties a missing baby, a dead insurance investigator, and a local Wiccan sect together? Why do all roads seem to lead to the town yoga center (known to all as the You-You)? And what exactly is going on with Carl Krause, the local man who works at the funeral home, who has taken to growling at his neighbors?

An epic, twisted portrait of small-town America, The Burn Palace captivates with dozens of richly rendered multidimensional characters and a plot that keeps you guessing all the way to the end. It is the literary equivalent of Richard Russo crossed with Stephen King.

Should You Read It?: Our readers all enjoyed this thrill ride filled with eerie atmosphere. But as Krysta notes, this may not be for the faint of heart. A fun read for literature lovers who don’t normally read genre fiction. A strong choice for genre-lovers, too.

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An Affair to Dismember

Book: An Affair to Dismember

Author: Elise Sax. She spent several years as a journalist before working as a private investigator. This is her first novel and it begins her Matchmaker series. She also writes for The Huffington Post.

Genre: Mystery, Chick Lit

Readers: Non-profit director Kimberly, social worker A Military Mommy and stay-at-home moms Sarah L. and Megan V.

Summary: Three months has been Gladie Burger’s limit when it comes to staying in one place: She’s always been a temp agency kind of girl, ever ready to move on. That’s why Gladie is more than a little skeptical when her eccentric Grandma Zelda recruits her to the family business in the quaint small town of Cannes, California. Gladie is also highly unqualified: Her beloved grandmother’s business is matchmaking, and Gladie has a terrible track record with romance. Still, despite evidence to the contrary, Zelda is convinced that her granddaughter has “the gift.” But when the going gets tough, Gladie wonders if this gift has a return policy.

When Zelda’s neighbor drops dead in his kitchen, Gladie is swept into his bizarre family’s drama. Despite warnings from the (distractingly gorgeous) chief of police to steer clear of his investigation, Gladie is out to prove that her neighbor’s death was murder. It’s not too long before she’s in way over her head—with the hunky police chief, a dysfunctional family full of possible killers, and yet another mysterious and handsome man, whose attentions she’s unable to ignore. Gladie is clearly being pursued—either by true love or by a murderer. Who will catch her first?

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