Book Club Kit: State of the Onion

State of the OnionState of the Onion (#1)
by Julie Hyzy
First Published: 2008
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Never let them see you sweat-that’s White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras’s motto, which is pretty hard to honor in the most important kitchen in the world. She’s hell-bent on earning her dream job, Executive Chef. There’s just one thing: her nemesis is vying for it, too. Well, that and the fact that an elusive assassin wants to see her fry.

No Reading Guide?
ReadingGroupGuides – General Questions for Mysteries & Thrillers
LitLovers – General Questions for Fiction

Review:
Mysterious Reviews – “Review” by Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
Devourer of Books – “Book Review” by Jen

Around the Web:

Series Order:

  1. State of the Onion 
  2. Hail to the Chef
  3. Eggsecutive Orders
  4. Buffalo West Wing

Book Club Kit: Sins of the Assassin

Sins of the Assassin (Book #2)
by Robert Ferrigno
First Published: 2008
6 Copies & Reading Guide

The year is 2043. Rakkim Epps battles radical fundamentalist forces in a futuristic America, now a divided blood-soaked dystopia. New York and Washington, D.C., have been leveled by nuclear bombs. New Orleans is submerged beneath fifty feet of water and treasure hunters scavenge its watery ruins. The United States no longer exists, and in its place two new nations maintain an uneasy coexistence. Will Rakkim survive? Can America ever be unified again?

No Reading Guide?
ReadingGroupGuides – General Questions for Mysteries & Thrillers
BookBrowse – Can’t Find a Reading Guide? Create Your Own!

Reviews:

Author’s Website: www.robertferrigno.com

Series Order:

  1. Prayers for the Assassin
  2. Sins of the Assassin
  3. Heart of the Assassin (not available in Pinal County — ask your librarian about requesting an ILL.)

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Book Club Kit: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
by Amy Chua
First Published: 2011
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Traces the rewards and pitfalls of a Chinese mother’s exercise in extreme parenting, describing the exacting standards applied to grades, music lessons, and avoidance of Western cultural practices.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Book Summary, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Reviews:

Author’s Website: amychua.com

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Book Club Kit: The Water is Wide

The Water is Wide

The Water is Wide
by Pat Conroy
First Published: 1972
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Yamacraw Island was haunting, nearly deserted, and beautiful. Separated from the mainland of South Carolina by a wide tidal river, it was accessible only by boat. But for the handful of families that lived on Yamacraw, America was a world away. For years these families lived proudly from the sea until waste from industry destroyed the oyster beds essential to their very existence. Already poor, they knew they would have to face an uncertain future unless, somehow, they learned a new life. But they needed someone to teach them, and their run down schoolhouse had no teacher. The Water is Wide is Conroy’s experience as the only teacher in a two-room schoolhouse, working with children the world had pretty much forgotten.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Brief Reviews, Author Info, and Discussion Questions.

Reviews:

On the Web:
Author’s Website – http://www.patconroy.com
Moon Travel Guides – “Pat Conroy’s Lowcountry
Wikipedia – More about Daufuskie Island (aka “Yamacraw”) 

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Book Club Kit: Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to SleepBefore I Go to Sleep
by S.J. Watson
First Published: 2011
6 Copies & Reading Guide

An amnesiac attempts to reconstruct her past by keeping a journal and discovers the dangerous inconsistencies in the stories of her husband and her secret doctor.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes a Summary, Author Info, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Reviews:
Los Angeles Times – “Book Review” by Jonathan Shapiro
The Guardian (UK) – “Review” by John O’Connell
Lesa’s Book Critiques – “Book Review

On the Web:
Author’s Website – www.sjwatson-books.com
The Guardian (UK) – “Paperback Q&A: SJ Watson on Before I Go to Sleep

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Book Club Kit: In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
In the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson
First Published: 2011
6 Copies & Reading Guide

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodd’s experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Reading Guides:
LitLovers – Includes a Book Summary, Author Bio, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions.
Crazy Running Legs – Includes Discussion Questions.

Reviews:

On the Web:


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Book Club Kit: State of Wonder

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
First Published: 2011
6 Copies & Reading Guide

A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh journeys into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years–a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past.

Reading Guides:

Reviews:

On the Web:

More by Ann Patchett:

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Book Club Kit: The Last Child

The Last Child
by John Hart
First Published: 2009
6 Copies & Reading Guide

After his twin sister Alyssa disappears, thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon is determined to find her. When a second girl disappears from his rural North Carolina town, Johnny makes a discovery that sends shock waves through the community in this multi-layered tale of broken families and deadly secrets.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Author Info, a Book Summary, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Reviews:

Author’s Website: http://us.macmillan.com/author/johnhart

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Book Club Kit: Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box
by Joe Hill
First Published: 2007
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Rock star Judas Coyne is a collector of the bizarre and grotesque, so when he sees a ghost for sale on the internet he buys it. It comes delivered in a black heart-shaped box.

No Reading Guide?
JLBenet.com – Horror Genre Discussion Questions
LitLovers – Generic Questions for Fiction

Reviews: 
Sfffworld.com – “Book Review” by Rob H. Bedford
The New York Times – “Clothes Make the Man…Scared” by Janet Maslin
The Boston Globe – “Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box Guaranteed to Keep You Up All Night” by Chuck Leddy

Around the Web:
Joe Hill’s website – http://joehillfiction.com/
Follow the author on Twitter – @joe_hill
The AtlanticHighlights from a Twitter Chat with Joe Hill from October 2011

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Book Club Kit: The Watchman

The Watchman (Joe Pike #1)
by Robert Crais
First Published: 2007
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Working as a bodyguard for a spoiled federal witness, Joe Pike hatches a desperate plan to disappear with the woman in the underworld of Los Angeles and turn on her would-be killers, an effort in which he enlists the help of private investigator Elvis Cole.

No reading guide?
LitLovers – Generic Discussion Questions for Fiction
ReadingGroupGuides – Mystery & Thriller Discussion Questions

Reviews:
January Magazine – “In Pike We Trust” by Anthony Rainone
Chicago Tribune – “Joe Pike Leads the Way in Crais’ The Watchman” by Colette Bancroft

Author’s Website: http://www.robertcrais.com/

Looking for more Joe Pike novels?