Title: Beautiful Player
Author: Christina Lauren. This is the third book in her Beautiful Bastard series.
Readers: Day care teacher EMarie, retiree Nancy, teacher Ninian, attorney Rochelle and at-home parent Colleen B.
Summary: When Hanna Bergstrom receives a lecture from her overprotective brother about neglecting her social life and burying herself in grad school, she’s determined to tackle his implied assignment: get out, make friends, start dating. And who better to turn her into the sultry siren every man wants than her brother’s gorgeous best friend, Will Sumner, venture capitalist and unapologetic playboy?
Will takes risks for a living, but he’s skeptical about this challenge of Hanna’s…until the wild night his innocently seductive pupil tempts him into bed- and teaches him a thing or two about being with a woman he can’t forget. Now that Hanna’s discovered the power of her own sex appeal, it’s up to Will to prove he’s the only man she’ll ever need.
Our Take: It’s a split. Romance readers EMarie gives it a big thumbs up as does newbie Rochelle. But Fifty Shades lover Nancy thought it was derivative, as did Ninian, also new to romance novels. But everyone seems to agree that the male/female double narration is a great device.
Title: The Boleyn Deceit
Author: Laura Andersen. This is the sequel to her first novel, The Boleyn King.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Readers: At-home parent Colleen B., retiree Nancy, production coordinator Joanna, and editor Lori.
Summary: After presenting readers with an irresistible premise in The Boleyn King (what if Anne gave birth to a healthy royal boy who would grow up to rule England?) Laura Andersen returns in this deepening saga, into the dangerous world of the Tudor court, where secrets can bring down an empire, and even the strongest of monarchs may not be able to prevent history from repeating…
Our Take: This sequel continues to deliver a frothy re-imagining of English history for fans of Philippa Gregory. We look forward to the third book, coming next summer.
Title: Lighthouse Island
Author: Paulette Jiles. She is the author of several novels, including Enemy Women.
Readers: Professor Michal, teacher Shannon, stay-at-home parents Colleen B. and Kristi.
Summary: In the coming centuries the world’s population has exploded and covered the earth with cities, animals are nearly all gone and drought has taken over so that cloudy water is issued by the quart. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years. On this urban planet the only relief from overcrowding and the harsh rule of the big Agencies is the television in every living space, with its dreams of vanished waterfalls and the promise of virtual vacations in green spaces, won by the lucky few.
It is an unwelcoming world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan. Abandoned by her parents on a crowded street when she was four, the little girl is shuttled from orphanage to orphanage, foster-family to foster-family. Nadia grows up dreaming of the vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest. And beyond the confusion and overcrowding and the relentless television noise, comes a radio voice from an abandoned satellite that patiently reads, over and over, the great classical books of the world-Big Radio, a voice in the night that lifts Nadia out of the dull and perpetual Present. An opportunity for escape appears and Nadia takes it, abandoning everything to strike out for Lighthouse Island in a dangerous and sometimes comic adventure.
Our Take: Such a promising idea, but our readers are in agreement that the execution falls flat. We need solid worldbuilding in dystopian fiction and we never felt like we understood this one.
Title: If You Could Be Mine
Author: Sara Farizan. This is her first novel.
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Readers: Stay-at-home moms Marina, Katie and Colleen B.; attorney Elizabeth H. and non-profit director Kimberly.
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.
So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.
Our Take: This debut novel shows promise and takes a unique look at a teenage romance. Some of our readers found it rewarding but others thought it didn’t live up to its premise.
Title: Dangerous Girls
Author: Abigail Haas. This is a pen name for Abby MacDonald, the author of several YA novels, including Getting Over Garrett Delaney.
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Readers: Teacher Ninian, prosecutor Rochelle, project manager Andrea, higher ed professional Renee and stay-at-home mom Colleen B.
Summary: It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
Our Take: A serious thrill ride of a book, a dark and fast read that will take you for a ride. Mature material may not make it ideal for younger teens. Great for grown-ups. Read if you liked Gone Girl, Pretty Little Liars and other stories about girls gone bad.