Hour of the Rat

Title: Hour of the Rat

Author: Lisa Brackmann. She is the author of two previous thrillers, including a previous book following Ellie McEnroe, Rock Paper Tiger.

Genre:  Thriller

Readers: Stay at home moms Krysta and Sarah L., teacher Ninian and accountant Gina aka Slappy.

Summary: Iraq War vet Ellie McEnroe has a pretty good life in Beijing, representing the work of controversial dissident Chinese artist Zhang Jianli. Even though Zhang’s mysterious disappearance of over a year ago has attracted the attention of the Chinese authorities. Even though her Born-Again mother has come for a visit and shows no signs of leaving.

But things really get complicated when Ellie’s search for an Army buddy’s missing brother entangles her in a conspiracy that may or may not involve a sinister biotech company, eco-terrorists, and art-obsessed Chinese billionaire, and lots of cats—a conspiracy that will take her on a wild chase through some of China’s most beautiful and most surreal places.

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Parenting Without Borders

Title: Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us

Author: Christine Gross-Loh. She is a freelance writer and the author of 2 previous books for parents.

Genre: Nonfiction

Readers: Writer Nan, stay-at-home parents Megan V. and Sarah L., attorney (and dad) Maratai and accountant (and mom) Gina aka Slappy.

Summary: Research reveals American kids today lag well behind the rest of the world in terms of academic achievement, happiness, and wellness. Meanwhile the battle over whether parents are to blame for fostering a generation of helpless kids rages on. Christine Gross-Loh (who raised her young children in Japan for five years) exposes the hidden, culturally-determined norms we have about “good parenting,” and asks, are there parenting strategies that other countries are getting right that we are not? This book takes us from Finland, and Sweden to Germany, France, Japan, China, Italy, and more, and examines how parents successfully foster resilience, creativity, independence and academic excellence in their children. Revealing the surprising ways in which culture shapes our parenting, Gross-Loh also offers objective, research-based insight into what strategies are best for children and why.

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I’ll Take What She Has

Title: I’ll Take What She Has

Author: Samantha Wilde. She is the author of a previous novel, This Little Mommy Stayed Home.

Genre: Chick Lit

Readers: Librarian Erin, accountant Gina aka Slappy, project manager Andrea and stay-at-home mom Krysta.

Summary: Nora and Annie have been best friends since kindergarten. Nora, a shy English teacher at a quaint New England boarding school, longs to have a baby. Annie, an outspoken stay-at-home mother of two, longs for one day of peace and quiet (not to mention more money and some free time). Despite their very different lives, nothing can come between them—until Cynthia Cypress arrives on campus.

Cynthia has it all: brains, beauty, impeccable style, and a gorgeous husband (who happens to be Nora’s ex). When Cynthia eagerly befriends Nora, Annie’s oldest friendship is tested. Now, each woman must wrestle the green-eyed demon of envy and, in the process, confront imperfect, mixed-up family histories they don’t want to repeat. Amid the hilarious and harried straits of friendship, marriage, and parenthood, the women may discover that the greenest grass is right beneath their feet.

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The Engagement

Title: The Engagement

Author: Chloe Hooper. Author of one previous novel,  A Child’s Book of True Crime,  which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and a work of crime nonfiction, The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm IslandShe lives in Australia.

Genre: Thriller, Literary Fiction

Readers: Accountant Gina aka Slappy, lawyer Cait, stay at home mom A Military Mommy and policy wonk BakingSuit.

Summary: Liese Campbell has an engagement for the weekend: to stay with Alexander Colquhoun, the handsome, well-mannered heir of an Australian pastoral dynasty, at his country seat some hours from Melbourne. Liese is English. She’s come to Australia to work at her uncle’s real-estate business and pay off her debts. Alexander has been looking for a place in the city. The luxury apartments Liese shows him have become sets for a relationship that satisfies their fantasies—and her financial problems. Both players understand the rules. Or so she thinks.

Across the ancient landscape they drive at dusk to his grand decaying mansion. Here Liese senses a change in Alexander and realizes that a different game has begun.

Chloe Hooper’s riveting and provocative new novel is a psychological thriller for the modern age, an exploration of the snares of money and love and the dark side of erotic imagination. A trap has been set, but how and why? And for whom?

Read If You Enjoy: Books that throw you off kilter, erotic fiction that isn’t Erotica.

Don’t Read If You Dislike: Books with a cold tone, books that keep you at an emotional distance.

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Collateral

Book: Collateral

Author: Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Triangles and the Crank trilogy. She writes both Adult and Young Adult fiction.

Genre: Romance

Reviewers: Bookseller Pam, day care teacher EMarie, accountant Gina aka Slappy, professor Michal and teacher Ninian.

Publisher’s Summary: Meet Ashley, a graduate student at San Diego State University. She was raised in northern California reading poetry and singing backupin her best friend’s band. The last thing she ever expected was to end up a military wife. But one night, she meets a handsome Marine named Cole. He doesn’t match the stereotype of the aggressive military man she’d always presumed to be true; he’s passionate and romantic, and he even writes poetry. Their relationship evolves into a deeply felt, sexually charged love affair that goes on for five years and survives four deployments. Cole desperately wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a college professor, with similar professional pursuits and values, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war.

Written in Ellen Hopkins’s stunning poetic verse style, Collateralcaptures the hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield and the minds of the friends, family, and lovers they leave behind. While those at home may be far from the relentless, sand-choked skies of the Middle East and the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, they, too, sacrifice their lives and happiness for their country at war. And all must eventually ask themselves if the collateral damage it causes is worth the fight.

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