Skip to main content

July 2012

ReadingGroupGuides.com Newsletter July 2012

Quick Links to Features on ReadingGroupGuides.com
 
Celebrating a Lifelong Love of Reading….

Last week, one of my closest friends lost her mother. In the obituary, there was a lovely line about how her mom, Marion, had instilled a lifelong love of reading in her children. In lieu of flowers, it asked for donations to be made to the library she had frequented in Richmond, or for people to donate to their local libraries. Earmarking a donation like this turned what was a very sad time into a time where I felt I was being asked to do something purposeful. Beverley and I have exchanged --- and talked about --- books a lot over the years, and it made me realize that, as we do this in the future, she will be remembering her mom in a lovely way, which is really nice to think about.

As I am writing this note, I am flying to San Diego for Comic-Con, which has turned into a convention of the popular arts more than a comics one over the past couple of years. Ardent comics enthusiasts really are up in arms about this, but I confess I love the opportunity to attend some “books into movies” panels, and also get to hear some of the sci-fi and fantasy authors who typically do not get on my radar, as well as other prose authors who will be on panels as well. We are zipping across the country, and almost everyone on this plane has their window shades down. This makes me a tad crazy because, even at 36,000 feet, I like to get to see what’s going on outside. There always comes a time when we zip over the Rockies that gives me a chance to ponder some of my favorite mountains from above and look for any snow cover, though this also signals the point that I am ready to bail out as I am tired of being in one place.

And now what’s new on the site…. We have an exciting lineup for you this month with FOUR contests, giving you plenty of opportunities to win books to share with your group. First up is Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub, the story of a Midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age. I love stories like this as I am still enamored with that age of movies and the backstory of Hollywood, which is such a company town. 50 readers will have the opportunity to each win an advance copy of the book, which will be in stores on September 4th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna is an emotional saga of Devi, the first girl to be born into the Nachimanda family in over 35 years, who is forced to make difficult choices following a gut-wrenching tragedy that changes the course of her life forever. The book releases in paperback on August 28th, but we’re giving 50 readers the chance to win an advance copy for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET. I loved this book when it released in hardcover, and upon its original publication, we featured a terrific two-part interview with the author. Click here for Part I and here for Part II, as well as our review here, as this was part of a Bookreporter.com One to Watch promotion last year.

Our third contest is for The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield, an unforgettable story about love and sacrifice, our responsibility to one another, and the profound meaning of family. It opens as
the Moses clan gathers for an annual reunion at a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. But just as the reunion is getting underway, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core and setting the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change. I had the pleasure of reading this a few months ago and found myself completely caught up in the family drama presented on the pages. I loved the spunky 11-year-old girl named Swan. It’s now available in paperback, and we have 25 copies to give away to readers who would like to share it with their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

Last month, we gave our registered book clubs the opportunity to win copies of Susan Wiggs’ forthcoming novel, Return to Willow Lake. This month, we’re happy to announce a contest for the book that’s open to ALL of our readers. In this latest installment of The Lakeshore Chronicles, Sonnet Romano will rediscover her family and her dreams --- and find a surprising new love --- in the idyllic town of Avalon. There are some wonderful mother/daughter themes running through it. If you’d like to be one of 10 winners who will receive 10 copies of the novel for your group, then the time to enter is now. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

Speaking of registered book group contests, we have two of them this month. Our featured titles are The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (
on sale July 17th) and My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos. Groups that have registered with us by Tuesday, July 17th will have the chance to win author chats and/or free books. If your group is not registered, click here to register.

The Sandcastle Girls is currently featured in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight on Bookreporter.com, where we’re giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of the book and comment on it. In the book, Chris turns to his Armenian heritage and tells a story of the Armenian genocide during World War I that is clearly going to spark conversation.


In My American Unhappiness, Zeke Pappas, a 33-year-old scholar, asks almost everybody he meets why they are so unhappy as part of an obsessive project, “The Inventory of American Unhappiness.” The answers he receives --- a mix of true sadness and absurd complaint --- create a collage of woe. Zeke decides he wants to focus his energy on finding a wife so that he can gain custody of his orphaned nieces and get himself a second look at life.

Our newsletter contest book this month is Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, a debut novel that has been receiving lots of buzz and acclaim from booksellers, librarians and early readers. I had the pleasure of meeting Lydia in New Orleans in January. In this quirky book that almost defies being described in one genre, Sunny Mann has masterminded a life for herself and her family in a quiet Virginia town. But when a fender bender on an average day sends her coiffed blonde wig sailing out the window, her secret is exposed. As her facade begins to unravel, we discover the singular world of Sunny, an everywoman searching for the perfect life, and Maxon, her husband, an astronaut on his way to colonize the moon. And oh, Sunny’s brilliant husband has Aspergers and her son has autism. For your group to win 20 copies of this book, all you have to do is sign up for the ReadingGroupGuides.com newsletter by August 1st. If you are receiving this newsletter in your mailbox, you already are signed up!

I love the Olympics. Around our house, the two weeks of the Olympics mean a lot of late nights of watching competitions and absorbing stats. Sure, there are always grumblings about the pat pieces that accompany the athletics, but there is something very interesting about what it takes to get to that moment. In an Olympic frame of mind, we remind you that we shared advance copies of Gold by Chris Cleave with you a few months ago. Last week, this story of two professional cyclists competing for one slot on the British cycling team was released. I selected it as a Bookreporter.com Bets on selection, which you can read more about here, and you also can see our Bookreporter.com review where Norah Piehl says, “Chris Cleave...hits so many different emotional chords with Gold... It all adds up to a novel that will be appreciated at any time, but will be devoured especially now, as Olympic fans consider --- on the page and on their television screens --- what goes into making a true champion.” Along with the
review, we have a Q&A with Chris that you can read here. And you can see why I selected it as a Bets On here.

With the Olympics in mind, I am excited to share a fabulous debut novel, The Underwater Window by Dan Stephenson. I love to swim, but that is not the only reason that I am crazy about this book. It’s a coming-of-age story about two swimmers who are nemeses during the heat of competition, but friends away from the water. Archie Hayes is the best swimmer in the world and has Olympic medals, fame, money and women. Doyle Wilson, who has reached the end of his career with dreams unfulfilled, has a final chance in the 400 freestyle, in which Archie owns the world record. Doyle, a team player who is shy and very grounded, gets tapped for a role beyond being a competitor.

The author is an accomplished swimmer who recently competed in both Rome and Omaha on a Masters level -- and won gold medals. He not only understands swimming, he also understands the camaraderie and teamwork that goes into the sport. But it’s more than a book about swimming --- though the thoughtful pieces that open each chapter are the best descriptions of the sport that I have read. Pick it up now and get reading before the Olympics. When Phelps and Lochte get onto the blocks, you will understand a lot more about what people are seeing in the underwater window that shows the action kick by kick and stroke by stroke.

By the way, both Gold and The Underwater Window are among the Olympics-themed titles that can be found on Bookreporter.com’s Summer Olympics 2012 bookshelf.

With the summer well underway, we’re curious about which of the summer months, if any, you and your book group meet. Click here to let us know in our monthly poll!

As the summer heats up, so do our Summer Reading contests on Bookreporter.com! We're spotlighting a different title on select days through July 31st, so you have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter. We also are sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here. You can see a list of all the winners to date here.

Though we all love summer, we’re looking ahead to fall with Bookreporter.com’s Fall Preview Feature and Contests. Fall is known as the biggest season of the year for books! The titles that come out in fall often become holiday gifts, and many are blockbusters. On select days in August, we will spotlight a different title and offer a daily contest to win five copies of the book. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce each day's title. You can sign up here to receive the daily newsletter.

In early June, we were all out at BookExpo America (BEA), the annual trade show. During this whirlwind four days of racing around the Jacob Javits Convention Center to see all the new fall/winter titles, we also hosted a Book Group Speed Dating Session where 12 publishers presented their “Hot Book Club Titles for the Season.” We have the titles that were shared by these publishers (as well as those from a few more publishers who were not present that day) that you can view here in a Fall Preview. There are more than 80 titles, so take your time perusing them.

We also have linked from this page an Excel spreadsheet that you can download so you can check off the titles that you would like to share with your group as possible discussion titles. While you will not be able to feel the infectious energy that was in the room that morning, we hope you will enjoy viewing the titles and reading the descriptions of them that we have for you.

Many of the big BEA author presentations are available via streaming from the BEA website, which you can access
here. I have found myself re-watching some of the events that I attended as well as watching those that I missed. There were so many great moments of hearing authors speak about their work.

Also, we have something else special to share. This year, a special eBook called
Buzz Books 2012 was created with exclusive excerpts from over 30 highly-anticipated books from the fall/winter 2012 publishing season that you can download and read for free right now. Consider this a great way to get a taste of what’s to come in the months ahead. Click here for details on how you can download new work from Junot Díaz, Mark Helprin, Rhoda Janzen, Barbara Kingsolver, Dennis Lehane, J.R. Moehringer, Neil Young, and other well-known authors.

We have some big news for all you Margaret George fans out there. From October 11-21, the author of Elizabeth I will be leading a tour through many of the places Henry VIII and Elizabeth I lived, loved and died, such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Sudeley Castle, to name a few. On this once-in-a-lifetime tour through London and the English countryside, participants will listen to exclusive readings and discussions with Margaret, see Shakespeare’s birth place and the Globe theatre in London, attend a banquet at Hatfield Hall, stay in conveniently located hotels with a professional tour manager throughout the entire tour, and meet other travelers who share a passion for English history. If you sign up with a friend, both of you will save $200!
Click here for more info about the Tudor Tour (the bookings must be closed by August 1st, so the time to register is now!), and you can check out Margaret’s other tour dates here. By the way, I have spent time with Margaret, and I can assure you that this would be an informative and enormously fun trip!

Whew…this was anything but a vacation month for us. Hope you find something to enjoy reading and discussing with your book group.

Read on….

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

 

Special Contest: Win an Advance Copy of LAURA LAMONT’S LIFE IN PICTURES by Emma Straub for Your Group

We are celebrating the forthcoming release of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub --- the enchanting story of a midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age --- with a special contest. 50 readers will have the opportunity to each win an advance copy of the book, which will be in stores on September 4th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

More about Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures:
In 1920, Elsa Emerson, the youngest and blondest of three sisters, is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child's game of pretend. While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her Laura Lamont.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 
Special Contest: Win an Advance Paperback Copy of TIGER HILLS by Sarita Mandanna for Your Group

We are celebrating the forthcoming paperback release of Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna --- an emotional saga about a young woman forced to make difficult choices following a gut-wrenching tragedy that change the course of her life forever --- with a special contest. 50 readers will have the opportunity to each win an advance copy of the paperback edition, which will be in stores on August 28th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

More about Tiger Hills:
A confident and carefree girl named Devi draws the attention of Devanna, a quiet boy whose young life is already touched by tragedy. Rarely apart, the children grow up “like two eggs in a nest.” When the two attend a tiger wedding, a celebration of a successful hunt, Devi meets Machu, the handsome tiger killer. That night she vows to marry him when she is older. Soon after, Devanna leaves to study medicine, dreaming of one day returning to marry Devi.

Devi grows into an alluring young woman, and soon she and Machu are lovers, waiting for the right time to marry. But before they can publicly declare their love, Devanna comes home from medical school having endured a term of extreme bullying and a horrific assault. The reunion of these two childhood friends leads to devastating consequences that are both immediate and lasting.


-Click here for the reading group guide.

 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 
Special Contest: Win a Paperback Copy of THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE by Jenny Wingfield for Your Group

We are celebrating the paperback release of The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield --- an unforgettable story about love and sacrifice, our responsibility to one another, and the profound meaning of family --- with a special contest. 25 readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book, which is now available in paperback, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

More about The Homecoming of Samuel Lake:
Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken 11-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core and setting the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 
Special Contest: Win 10 Copies of RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs for Your Group

We are celebrating the forthcoming release of Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs --- in which one woman will rediscover her family and her dreams, and find a surprising new love, in the idyllic town of Avalon --- with a special contest. 10 readers will have the opportunity to each win 10 copies of the book, which will be in stores on August 28th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

More about Return to Willow Lake:
When Sonnet Romano finds out her mother is unexpectedly expecting, and that the pregnancy is high risk, she puts everything on hold --- the job, the fellowship, the boyfriend --- and heads home to Avalon. Once her mom is out of danger, Sonnet intends to pick up her life where she left off. But when her mother receives a devastating diagnosis, Sonnet must decide what really matters in life, even if that means staying in Avalon and taking a job that forces her to work alongside her biggest, and maybe her sweetest, mistake --- award-winning filmmaker Zach Alger. So Sonnet embarks on a summer of laughter and tears, of old dreams and new possibilities and of finding the home of her heart.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 
THE UNDERWATER WINDOW by Dan Stephenson
Archie Hayes is the best swimmer in the world. Talent and luck have brought him Olympic medals, fame, money and women. Doyle Wilson has reached the end of his career with dreams unfulfilled, but he has a final chance in the 400 freestyle, in which Archie owns the world record. Doyle bets that hard work will enable him to beat Archie just once, but he can’t be single-minded. Archie is not just his nemesis --- they’re best friends. Danger lurks around every corner for Archie, a celebrity athlete with a reckless streak. On a training trip to Hawaii, when Archie is mauled by a wave while bodysurfing, Doyle sees his duty --- a purpose in life that transcends self-interest and even friendship. Archie’s incomparable talent must be preserved and nurtured, and only Doyle can do it.
 
Click here for the reading group guide.

 
July’s Registered Book Group Contests
For July, we have two very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles this month are The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian and My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos. Groups that have registered with us by Tuesday, July 17th will have the chance to win author chats and/or free books. If your group is not registered with ReadingGroupGuides.com, click here to register.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian --- Author Chat and Book Giveaway: Six groups will win up to 12 copies of The Sandcastle Girls and an opportunity to chat with Chris Bohjalian from September 24th to 27th.

More about The Sandcastle Girls:
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke College, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The First World War is spreading across Europe, and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There, Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo to join the British Army in Egypt, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost.

Flash forward to the present, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents’ ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed the “Ottoman Annex,” Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura’s grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family’s history that reveals love, loss --- and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.

My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos --- Book Giveaway: Twenty-five groups will win a copy of the paperback edition of My American Unhappiness, along with a DVD of Love, Actually. Click here to read about the connection between the book and the DVD.

More about My American Unhappiness:
A clairvoyant when it comes to the Starbucks orders, a renegade when it comes to bureaucracy, Zeke asks almost everybody he meets, “Why are you so unhappy?” The answers he receives --- a mix of true sadness and absurd complaint --- become the core of an obsessive project, “The Inventory of American Unhappiness," a project that becomes all the more personally meaningful as he follows steps outlined in a women’s magazine on finding the perfect mate. Incisively tapping the voice of one of the most charming, and deluded, narrators to come along in years, Bakopolous captures our zeitgeist with lacerating wit and a big heart --- confirming Jonathan Miles's (author of Dear American Airlines) claim that "there's no such thing as unhappiness when you're holding a Dean Bakopolous novel."

 
Click here to register your group.

 
Bookreporter.com's Latest "Bets On" Selections

Gold by Chris Cleave
You probably know Chris Cleave as the author of Little Bee, which was a bestseller and book group favorite. His latest, Gold is set in Manchester, England, with the protagonists Zoe and Kate, two world-class female cyclists who have known each other as both friends and rivals since their first day of Elite training. They are both in the hunt for their last Olympic gold. The chance to even be in the race has eluded one of the women for two Olympics, and at her age, this is her last shot. She has a young child who is desperately ill, and balancing the emotions that swirl around her as she tries to calculate her daughter’s odds for survival with her training raises the stakes and the tension.

-Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.

The Woman at the Light
by Joanna Brady

The Woman at the Light by Joanna Brady opens on Wrecker’s Cay in 1839, where Emily Lowry soon learns that her lighthouse keeper husband has not returned from a trip in his boat. Suddenly she is alone with her three young children, keeping not only her hearth and home, but also the lighthouse beacon burning. Wrecker’s Cay is isolated, and life there is lonely. So when a young black man with manacles attached to his hands washes up on their shore, there’s definitely time for tension to unfold. Who is he, and what is his story? Can he be trusted?

-Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.

The World Without You
by Joshua Henkin

Many of you may remember Joshua Henkin’s book of a few years ago, Matrimony, which was eagerly embraced by both book clubs and readers. Just out this week is The World Without You, which is set over a few days around the 4th of July in 2005 as the Frankel family gathers at their vacation home in Lenox, MA, to commemorate the unveiling of their son/brother Leo’s tombstone on the first anniversary of his death. Leo, the only son, was a journalist who loved adventure, and his death while on assignment in Iraq was devastating. The book opens with his parents awaiting the arrival of the rest of the family, and we learn the bombshell of a secret that they plan to share over the next few days.

-Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.

Heading Out to Wonderful
by Robert Goolrick

As many of you recall, I was just crazy about A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, which was a Bookreporter.com Bets On selection. In his latest book, Heading Out to Wonderful, Goolrick again grabbed my attention with a bold story and a group of flawed characters.

-Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.

The Chaperone
by Laura Moriarty
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty opens in the early 1920s in Wichita, Kansas, where Cora Carlisle lives with her husband, Alan, and twin sons. The boys are growing up, and Cora is restless. She seizes a chance to go to New York with Louise Brooks, then just a local girl, to chaperone her as she practices and tries out for the Denishawn dance troupe. Cora has a secret reason for wanting to get back to New York, and Louise provides the perfect opportunity to get there.

-Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.


The Innocents by Francesca Segal
The Innocents by Francesca Segal opens with the newly engaged Adam and Rachel, who have been together since they were 16 (they are now 28) celebrating the High Holidays at Temple Fortune in West London with the rest of their tightly knit community. The spotlight is on this well-matched pair who seem to have it all. By page two, a new player has entered the scene: Rachel’s ravishing cousin Ellie, who lives in New York and has “a story” behind her. The contrast between Rachel and Ellie could not be more drastic. It’s the classic “safe good girl” and “the temptress” story, which is handled so deftly in Francesca’s hands. Adam is clearly questioning his choices and seeing a world beyond the safe haven he has come to know.

-Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.


Gilded Age by Claire McMillan
Gilded Age, a debut novel by Claire McMillan, is set in Cleveland, “the Rust Belt,” and shows a stylish side to that city that I never expected. Readers meet Ellie Harr, who makes her return to her native city after a divorce in New York and stint in rehab. But she learns that what while her beauty is dazzling, her sexual reputation matters as much as her family heritage and bankbook. Her more grounded childhood friend is living a respectable Cleveland life, and the divide between their worlds exacerbates Ellie’s troubles all the more.

-Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.

 

Click here to see all the titles we're betting you'll love.

 
July’s New in Paperback Roundups on Bookreporter.com

July’s New in Paperback roundups on Bookreporter.com include the following highlights for book groups:

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
In a modern gothic dusted with a liberal amount of magic, a diary that can prophesy 16-year-old Tamara Goodwin's future shakes up her present after she and her mother must leave their luxurious life to rough it in a gatehouse in the remote Irish countryside.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
Lizzie and her best friend, Evie, are 13 years old and inseparable --- until the day Evie disappears. Lizzie is frantic to puzzle out the mystery behind the disappearance and to bring Evie home. Her desperate quest is entwined with her own coming-of-age story, in an intense and gripping tale of obsession, friendship and family.

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
The Kid is a former sex offender trying to make a new life for himself living under a Miami causeway with a group of fellow social miscreants. When a local college professor approaches the Kid and members of his shanty town, things get interesting. The Professor may not be who he claims to be, and his intentions will make the Kid question everything he ever believed in.

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
Open your mind to possibilities as you explore India, first in real time and then back into the volatile past of India’s revolution in the 1970s. The World We Found is the tale of four Indian women, activists in their youth who in middle age now plan a reunion in America.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of July 2nd, July 9th, July 16th, July 23rd and July 30th.

 

Bookreporter.com’s Books on Screen for July

Summer is well underway, and that means big summer blockbusters are battling it out for that top spot at the box office. When you aren't enjoying the Great Outdoors, be sure to check out July's books on screen adaptations, which are sure to entertain (or at least get you out of the hot sun for a few hours).

In
The Amazing Spider-Man, join a revamped Peter Parker on a new adventure to discover his own identity, by finding out the truth about what happens to his parents. Spider-Man is not the only superhero looking for answers in his city. Batman returns for the final installment of the mega-hit franchise in The Dark Knight Rises. What will happen when a new terrorist decides to attack Gotham City, and Batman refuses to protect the city that has labeled him a villain for the last eight years?

From award-winning director Oliver Stone comes the highly anticipated
Savages, in which two men share not just their love of marijuana, but also their love of a girl. The duo decides not to team up with an extremely powerful drug cartel, and their mutual love gets kidnapped as a result.

From drug empires, to the French empire,
Farewell, My Queen brings us the desperate escape attempt of Marie Antoinette just before she and her husband Louis XVI were beheaded at the start of the French Revolution. Another strong woman in Trishna must hold her own as her lover's wealthy family tries desperately to break them apart in this Thomas Hardy-inspired adaptation.

On the small screen, "Longmire", "Rizzoli & Isles", "True Blood" and "Pretty Little Liars" continue their respective seasons. And just in case you missed them in theaters, be on the lookout for Being Flynn, The Hunter and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which release on DVD this month.
 

Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in Bookreporter.com's Books on Screen feature for July.

 
Recent Bookshelves Featured on Bookreporter.com

Bookreporter.com’s newest feature is our Curated Bookshelf Collection, 20 titles that fit perfectly in a specific theme or category. Here are our most recent bookshelves, and please do keep an eye out for new ones coming soon!

Summer Olympics 2012
Did you know that there are very few novels about the Olympics? Most Olympic-themed books are nonfiction, but we did find a group of five novels about people who dreamed big, as well as 15 nonfiction titles ranging from memoirs to biographies of athletes to a history of the Summer Olympics. From the highly anticipated novel Gold by Chris Cleave to a look back at the Dream Team, this list has every sport covered!

Top Fantasy Series
Our sci-fi and fantasy expert Stephen Hubbard had his work cut out for him when creating a bookshelf of quintessential fantasy titles. At one point he had 80 titles on his list! After trying to narrow it down to just 20 titles, which seemed to be impossible, he opted to break his winnowed-down list into two bookshelves --- Top Fantasy Series and Best Stand-Alone Fantasy Novels. This bookshelf features several classic fantasy series, as well as a group of current fantasy writers you'll want to note.

20 Great Thrillers
Looking for books that keep you on the edge of your seat? You know, the kind of book that will keep you up all night. We asked our resident thriller reviewer Joe Hartlaub for a list of his favorite recently published thrillers --- and he shared the 20 titles you see on the shelf. If you are up reading all night, you can blame Joe!

 

Click here to see all of Bookreporter.com’s bookshelves.

 
Contests Running on Other Sites in TheBookReportNetwork.com

We have a number of contests currently running on our other sites in TheBookReportNetwork.com. Please take a look at them below, and enter for your chance to win some fabulous books!

Bookreporter.com

Where We Belong
by Emily Giffin

We have 25 copies of Where We Belong by Emily Giffin, which will be in stores July 24th, to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. The deadline for entries is Thursday, July 19th at noon ET.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
We have 100 copies of The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, which will be in stores July 17th, to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. The deadline for entries is Thursday, July 12th at noon ET.


Afraid to Die by Lisa Jackson
To celebrate the release of Afraid to Die, Lisa Jackson's new Selena Alvarez/Regan Pescoli thriller, we're giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Monday, July 23rd at noon ET.

Summer Reading Contest and Feature
Summer is officially here! At Bookreporter.com, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contest and Feature. We will be spotlighting a different title on select days through July 31st, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

20SomethingReads.com


Beach Bag of Books
In our First Annual Beach Bag of Books contest, five readers each will receive a beach bag filled with some of this summer's hottest reads: Ghost Crown: The Tracks, Book Two by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews, To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal, and Where We Belong by Emily Giffin. Along with the books, winners will find their striped beach bag stocked with a polka-dot beach towel, Coppertone Sport Sunblock, and a plastic sports bottle to keep your drink cool. The deadline for entries is Monday, July 30th at noon ET.

Teenreads.com

Beach Bag of Books
In our Sixth Annual Beach Bag of Books contest, five readers each will receive a beach bag filled with five outstanding books. Winners also will find their striped beach bag stocked with a polka-dot beach towel, Coppertone Sport Sunblock, and a plastic sports bottle. The deadline for entries is Monday, July 16th at noon ET.

Fierce Reads
To celebrate the release of four books that are being featured in Macmillan's Fierce Reads campaign, we're giving five readers the opportunity to win them all! Enter by Tuesday, August 7th at noon ET for your chance to be awarded Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne, Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and Struck by Jennifer Bosworth.

Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty and Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Style
We are celebrating the July 10th release of Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty: The Best Hair, Skin, Nails & Makeup Ideas for You, a girl's handbook to celebrating her natural beauty, with a special contest. 15 readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of the book, along with Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Style: How to Find Your Perfect Look. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, July 24th at noon ET.

Kidsreads.com

It’s the First Day of School...Forever!
by R. L. Stine

Artie Howard has the worst first day of school in the history of first days of school. When it’s all over, he’s relieved knowing it can never happen again. Or can it? Artie relives the first day of school over and over, and there’s nothing he can do to stop it! To celebrate the paperback release of It’s the First Day of School...Forever! by R. L. Stine, Kidsreads.com is giving 10 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, July 24th at noon ET.


FaithfulReader.com

FaithfulReader.com Monthly Contest

In our latest monthly contest, 25 readers will be awarded a copy of all three books in Linda Windsor’s historical fiction series, The Brides of Alba: Healer, Thief and Rebel. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, July 17th at noon ET.

 

New Guides Now Available

Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin: “Darkly comic… A thoroughly modern tale of humiliation and resilience. DeWoskin gives us an irresistible heroine --- one who rises above misfortune with grit and grace.” - Marion Winik, More
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield: Set in small-town Arkansas in 1956, this is an unforgettable story about love and sacrifice, our responsibility to one another, and the profound meaning of family.
Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub: Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures is the enchanting story of a midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age.
My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos: This witty and emotionally raw novel from the award-winning Dean Bakopoulos introduces Zeke, a scholar looking for love --- and a second chance at life.
The Nightmare by Lars Kepler: The piercing sequel to The Hypnotist, Lars Kepler’s bestselling international debut, The Nightmare puts Detective Inspector Joona Linna on a case that takes him face-to-face with one of the world’s deadliest power brokers.
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian: The Sandcastle Girls, a sweeping historical love story, is steeped in the author's Armenian heritage --- a subject his legions of fans have been asking him to write about for years.
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer: A debut unlike any other, Shine Shine Shine is a shocking, searing, breathless love story, a gripping portrait of modern family, and a stunning exploration of love, death and what it means to be human.
Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews: The New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental delivers her delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames and deep secrets.
Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna: Tiger Hills is an emotional saga about a young woman forced to make difficult choices following a gut-wrenching tragedy that change the course of her life forever.
The Underwater Window by Dan Stephenson: Two swimmers, close friends and arch rivals, chase after the same Olympic gold medal.
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin: The author of five blockbuster novels, Emily Giffin delivers an unforgettable story of two women, the families that make them who they are, and the longing, loyalty and love that binds them together.
Widow's Might: A Liv Bergen Mystery by Sandra Brannan: With a mind for crime solving, headstrong about protecting her family, Liv Bergen finds herself trailing a vengeful killer with a crooked sense of justice.
The World Without You by Joshua Henkin: From the author of the New York Times Notable Book Matrimony (“Beautiful…. Brilliant” - Michael Cunningham) comes a moving, mesmerizing new novel about love, loss, and the aftermath of a family tragedy.

The following new guides are now available for Christian book groups:

The Gifted
by Ann H. Gabhart: Jessamine Brady loves her Shaker sisters and brothers but can’t stop imagining the outside world. What will she do?
The Ride of Her Life: Lake Manawa Summers, Book 3 by Lorna Seilstad: The Ride of Her Life will have you laughing out loud and sighing contentedly as you spend the summer of 1906 at Lake Manawa.

 

This Month’s Poll
During what months does your book group typically meet in the summer? Please check as many as apply.

June
July
August
We don’t meet in the summer.
I am not in a book group.

 
Click here to answer our poll.

 
This Month’s Newsletter Contest Book: SHINE SHINE SHINE by Lydia Netzer

Win copies of Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer for your group!

To be a group to win 20 copies of this book, all you have to do is
sign up for the ReadingGroupGuides.com newsletter by August 1st. If you are receiving this newsletter in your mailbox, you already are signed up!

More about Shine Shine Shine:
When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and 18 days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together.

Now, 20 years later, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be “normal.” She’s got the housewife thing down perfectly, but Maxon, a genius engineer, is on a NASA mission to the moon, programming robots for a new colony. Once they were two outcasts who found unlikely love in each other: a wondrous, strange relationship formed from urgent desire for connection. But now they’re parents to an autistic son. And Sunny is pregnant again. And her mother is dying in the hospital. Their marriage is on the brink of imploding, and they’re at each other’s throats with blame and fear. What exactly has gone wrong?


Sunny wishes Maxon would turn the rocket around and come straight-the-hell home.

When an accident in space puts the mission in peril, everything Sunny and Maxon have built hangs in the balance. Dark secrets, long-forgotten murders, and a blond wig all come tumbling to the light. And nothing will ever be the same.…

-
Click here for the reading group guide.
 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 

Do you like what you see here, and want to forward it to a friend? Then click our link on the bottom of the page to do just that!

Happy reading. We'll see you next month.

Don't forget to visit our other websites from TheBookReportNetwork.com:


www.Bookreporter.com, www.20SomethingReads.com, www.Teenreads.com, www.Kidsreads.com, www.GraphicNovelReporter.com, www.FaithfulReader.com and www.AuthorsOnTheWeb.com.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107