Finding Colin Firth

Title: Finding Colin Firth

Author: Mia March. This is her second novel after last year’s The Meryl Streep Movie Club.

Genre: Chick Lit

Readers: Production coordinator Joanna, writer Nan and stay-at-home moms Sarah L. and Megan V.

Summary: From the author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, a “heart-warming,  spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season” (Kirkus Reviews), comes a new novel about three women, connected in secret and surprising ways, who are  in for a life-changing summer when rumor has it that actor Colin Firth  is coming to their Maine town to film a movie.

After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy.

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Orders From Berlin

Title: Orders From Berlin

Author: Simon Tolkien. He is the author of 3 previous thrillers.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Readers: Attorney Elizabeth H., blogger From Grind to Whine Stacey and stay-at-home mom Sarah L.

Summary: It’s September of 1940. France has fallen and London is being bombed day and night. Almost single-handedly Winston Churchill maintains the country’s morale. Britain’s fate hangs in the balance and the intelligence agencies on both sides of the Channel are desperate for anything that could give them an edge.

Albert Morrison, ex-chief of MI6, is pushed over the banister outside his London apartment. He falls to his death at the feet of his daughter, Ava, but it is too dark for her to see the attacker before he escapes. Two Scotland Yard detectives attend the crime scene: Inspector Quaid and his junior assistant, Detective Trave. Quaid is convinced that this is a simple open-and-shut case involving a family dispute, but Trave is not so sure. Following a mysterious note in the dead man’s pocket, Trave discovers that Morrison was visited by Alec Thorn, deputy head of MI6, on the day of his death. Could Thorn—who is clearly carrying a flame for Morrison’s daughter—be involved in a plot to betray his country that Morrison tried to halt, and if so, can Trave stop it in time in this gripping and intelligent thriller?

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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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The Best of Us

Title: The Best of Us

Author: Sarah Pekkanen. She is the author of several previous novels including The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat and These Girls.

Genre: Commercial Fiction, Chick Lit

Readers: Nonprofit director Kimberly, librarian Erin, lawyer Abby R. and stay-at-home moms Sarah L. and Katie.

Summary: Following a once-in-a-lifetime invitation, a group of old college friends leap at the chance to bring their husbands for a week’s vacation at a private villa in Jamaica to celebrate a former classmates’ thirty-fifth birthday.

All four women are desperate for a break and this seems like a perfect opportunity. Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie needs to escape from the shattering news about an illness that runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her husband an unforgettable birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks that have already formed in their new marriage.

The week begins idyllically, filled with languorous days and late nights of drinking and laughter. But as a hurricane approaches the island, turmoil builds, forcing each woman to re-evaluate everything she’s known about the others—and herself.

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