Beautiful Player

Title: Beautiful Player

Author: Christina Lauren. This is the third book in her Beautiful Bastard series.

Genre: Romance

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.

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The Boleyn Deceit

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura AndersenTitle: 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.

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Goat Mountain

Goat Mountain by David VannTitle: Goat Mountain

Author: David Vann. He is the author of several previous novels, including Legend of a Suicide and Caribou Island.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Readers: Project manager Andrea, reading teacher Emry, retiree Nancy, administrative coordinator Cyn and editor Kristina.

Summary: In the fall of 1978, on a 640-acre family ranch on Goat Mountain in Northern California, an eleven-year-old boy joins his grandfather, his father, and his father’s best friend on the family’s annual deer hunt.

Every fall they return to this dry, yellowed landscape dotted with oak, buck brush, and the occasional stand of pine trees. Goat Mountain is what this family owns and where they belong. It is where their history is kept, memories and stories that will be shared again by these men. And for the first time, the boy’s story will be added if he can find a buck. Itching to shoot, he is ready.

When the men arrive at the gate to their land, the father discovers a poacher and sights him through the scope of his gun. He offers his son a look-a simple act that will explode in tragedy, transforming these men and this family, forcing them to question themselves and everything they thought they knew.

Our Take: Right away you should know if this book is for you. While one reviewer found she just couldn’t get into it, the other 4 were quickly immersed. Not an easy book, but one that will get deep under your skin. It’s no mistake that two of our reviewers compared it to a Cormac McCarthy novel.

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The Light in the Ruins

Title: The Light in the Ruins

Author: Chris Bohjalian. He is the author of several books, including Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Readers: Editor Kristina, retiree Nancy, attorney Elizabeth H. and professor Michal.

Summary: 1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

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The Boleyn King

Title: The Boleyn King

Author: Laura Andersen. This is her first novel.

Genre: Historical Fiction.

Readers: Production coordinator Joanna, copy editor Lori, retiree Nancy, stay-at-home mom Colleen B. and homemaker/writer Nan.

Summary: What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted?

Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

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