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Books are Better Shared in Mission Viejo



Do you belong to a book club or want to join one? Would you like exposure to new authors worthy of a great book discussion? If you answered yes to either of these questions, we have the perfect way for you to spend a Sunday. Books Are Better Shared offers 22 authors, hundreds of book lovers, and some new/fun ways to share books with your existing/new book group. Also appearing are some of our most enthusiastic and informed publisher representatives. They will spend the day with us and talk to you about their favorite picks for book groups.

And if that wasn’t enough … take home a book bag filled with goodies, enjoy lunch, and meet other readers and book groups (or form a new one with new friends)!

Reservations are required. Please visit our website, for a list of attending authors and to make your reservation.

Event date: 
Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 10:00am to 4:30pm
Event address: 
Norman P. Murray Community Center
24932 Veterans Way
92692 Mission Viejo
Staff Pick Logo
Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250039811
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - March 11th, 2014

This brilliant debut is a lovesong to small town life, lifelong friendships, and the challenges of both, as told by five friends who grew up in Little Wing, Wisconsin. Henry Brown was born and bred to be a farmer and cannot imagine life anywhere outside this little town, despite the fact that times are often desperate and he knows that he cannot provide as well as he would like for his family. His wife, Beth, is his high school sweetheart and stands steadfast at Henry’s side through life’s ups and downs and the many visits from his three best friends. Lee Sutton has made it big time in the music industry, and is dating one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. But despite being world famous and the town’s single celebrity, he yearns for his home in Little Wing. Ronny Taylor was the first to break out of Little Wing and make a name for himself as a rodeo rider, until his penchant for liquor landed him on his head, with long-ranging consequences. Kip Cunningham also left town and made a lot of money for himself in Chicago as a commodities trader. When he returns home to marry Felicia, the love of his life, he is determined make Little Wing his home again and give back to his community and this is how Shotgun Lovesongs begins. This is a wonderful book of love and friendship and I did not want it to end.
– Terry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781616203214
Availability: Backordered
Published: Algonquin Books - April 1st, 2014

It is not often that I want to sit down and read a book in one sitting, but is also not often that I read a book that so thoroughly speaks to me and my passion as a bookseller and life-long reader. A. J. Fikry is a bookstore owner and passionate reader who lives on a small island off the Northeast coast. He is persnickety and difficult. He drinks too much and is largely a recluse … and let’s face it, he does not sell many books. He owns one book that that may provide him with a way out of life in this town and in this store, which has become unbearable since the death of his wife and partner. What happens next is a surprise – to A. J. and to us – and the many stories that follow are both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Booksellers across America are embracing this book, and so am I. This is a book for every bookseller and everyone else who has ever loved a book, a person, and life.
– Terry

Point of Direction Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781935439912
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Ig Publishing - May 13th, 2014

Weaver’s debut about two badly damaged people who hold back much of themselves despite their love for each other, had me hooked from the very start … as did the appeal of the remote Alaskan landscape, which is an equally compelling character in this novel.

Anna and Kyle are two fiercely independent souls hiding huge secrets from each other even as they decide to take a nine-month lease on a lighthouse on Hibler Rock, miles from the coast of Alaska where they are isolated during harsh weather conditions. The last caretaker disappeared over 20 years ago and this mystery is evenly woven into the discoveries these two make about themselves and about their futures. Point of Direction is also about why they are drawn to Alaska and why this beautiful stark landscape maintains a hold on both of them. It is both the secrets of the past, the adventure that is their lives, and the roads each of them take toward recovery that will keep you addictively turning the pages of this outstanding novel.

– Terry

My Accidental Jihad Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781616200688
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Algonquin Books - April 22nd, 2014

Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer would not have been able to imagine her life today: married to a Libyan-born Muslim, raising two children with Arabic names in the American South. Nor could she have imagined the prejudice she would encounter or the profound ways her marriage would change her perception of the world.But on a running trail in North Carolina, she met Ismail. He was passionate and sincere and he loved adventure as much as she did. From acquaintances to lovers to a couple facing an unexpected pregnancy, this is the story of two people a middle-class American raised in California and a Muslim raised by illiterate parents in an impoverished Libyan fishing village who made a commitment to each other without forsaking their own identities.It is the story of a bicultural marriage and aren t all marriages bicultural? In any marriage, we might discover that our mate is foreign to us, with very different language, memories, and assumptions about home and family. How we respond to difference shapes our world.Profoundly moving and often funny, this meditation on tolerance explores what it means to open our hearts to another culture and to embrace our own. It is Krista Bremer s unexpected struggle to reach beyond herself, her accidental Jihad."

Gemini Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451627930
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 4th, 2014

Indie Next List

March 2014
A medical mystery, a love story, and a novel of depth and complexity - Cassella manages all of this in Gemini. Jane Doe is transferred late at night into the care of ICU doctor Charlotte Reese. Jane may have been dropped on the hospital doorstep with a thick pile of papers detailing everything that can go wrong with her after a hit-and-run accident, but the crucial detail of her identity is missing, and with it the people who would speak for her while she dwells in a coma. As Charlotte attempts to unravel the mystery of her patient, she finds herself examining her own life. Full of suspense, heartbreak, insight, and a gripping, unexpected ending, Gemini is a pleasure to read. -- Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Ascendant: A Garrett Reilly Thriller Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781476725888
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - January 7th, 2014

This very hip techno-thriller will appeal to fans of conspiracy theory, government corruption, and those who believe that the internet is the next global warzone. Garrett Reilly has an extraordinary ability to look at series of numbers and find data patterns that no one else can see. This ability has allowed him to make a lot of money trading bonds for a Wall Street firm under the guidance of his college mentor, Avery Bernstein, who is also the head of the firm where Garrett works in NYC. When Garrett notices that billions of dollars of Treasury bonds are being sold off, he soon makes a connection to the possibility of a global war. When the Department of Intelligence enters the picture, the real action starts … and Garrett will never be able to return to the person he used to be.
The Ascendant is Chapman’s debut, but he is no stranger to action fiction. He has contributed to many screenplays, including Marvel’s original “Iron Man.”
– Terry

Killer Ambition (A Rachel Knight Novel) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780316220934
Availability: Special Order
Published: Mulholland Books - March 25th, 2014

When the daughter of a billionaire Hollywood director is found murdered after what appears to be a kidnapping gone wrong, Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller find themselves at the epicenter of a combustible and high-profile court case. Then a prime suspect is revealed to be one of Hollywood's most popular and powerful talent managers--and best friend to the victim's father. With the director vouching for the manager's innocence, the Hollywood media machine commences an all-out war designed to discredit both Rachel and her case. KILLER AMBITION is at once a thrilling ride through the darker side of Tinseltown and a stunning courtroom drama with the brilliant insider's perspective that Marcia Clark is uniquely qualified to give.

The Language of Flowers: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345525550
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - April 3rd, 2012

Indie Next List

September 2011
During the Victorian era, flowers conveyed expressions of love and were often used as a form of communication. Victoria Jones, an abandoned child who has been evicted from many group homes, learns this language, and upon her emancipation at age 18, eventually finds a job with a caring florist. A chance meeting at a flower market forces her to confront her past and learn to love and trust someone again. Diffenbaugh's extraordinary debut brings forth in elegant prose the emotions of anger and mistrust, love and loss, and the possibilities for a second chance at happiness. -- Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Little Book: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780452295513
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Plume - May 26th, 2009

Indie Next List

August 2008
Incorporating time travel and historical fiction with a life-altering love story, Selden Edwards' The Little Book magically weaves a believable tale of one family's multigenerational visit to 1897 Vienna. You will want to read this one slowly, savoring every elegantly crafted sentence. -- Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland, CA

Deep Winter Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780399165962
Availability: Special Order
Published: Blue Rider Press - February 20th, 2014

In the small town of Wyalusing in eastern Pennsylvania, a woman is found brutally murdered one winter night. Next to the body is Danny Bedford, a misunderstood man who suffered a tragic brain injury that left him with limited mental capabilities. Despite his simple life, his intimidating size has caused his neighbors to ostracize him out of fear of what he may do. So when the local bully-turned-deputy discovers Danny with the body, it’s obvious that Danny’s physical strength has finally become deadly. But in the long, freezing night that follows, the murder is only the first in a series of crimes that viciously upset the town order—an unstoppable chain of violence that appears to make Danny’s guilt undeniable.
With the threat of an approaching blizzard, the local sheriff and a state trooper work through the predawn hours to restore some semblance of order to Wyalusing. As they investigate one unspeakable incident after another, they discover an intricate web of lies revealing that not everything is quite what it seems.
With echoes of Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan and Tana French’s In the Woods, Samuel W. Gailey’s Deep Winter is a richly atmospheric and ingeniously plotted debut, surprising to the final page. It’s impossible to escape this bone-chilling story of deception, where the truth is uncertain and something sinister lurks just below the surface. . . .

Where the Peacocks Sing: A Palace, a Prince, and the Search for Home Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250044839
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - February 11th, 2014

How far would you travel for love? In her sparkling memoir, journalist Alison Singh Gee learns that love, riches, and a place to call home can be found in the most unexpected places.
Alison Singh Gee was a glamorous magazine writer with a serious Jimmy Choo habit, a weakness for five-star Balinese resorts, and a reputation for dating highborn British men. Then she met Ajay, a charming and unassuming Indian journalist, and her world turned upside down. Traveling from her shiny, rapid-fire life in Hong Kong to Ajay’s native village, Alison learns that not all is as it seems. Turns out that Ajay is a landed prince (of sorts), but his family palace is falling to pieces. Replete with plumbing issues, strange noises, and intimidating relatives, her new love’s ramshackle palace, Mokimpur, is a broken-down relic in desperate need of a makeover. And Alison wonders if she can soldier on for the sake of the man who just might be her soul mate.
This modern-day fairytale, WHERE THE PEACOCKS SING, takes readers on a cross-cultural journey from the manicured gardens of Beverly Hills, to the bustling streets of Hong Kong and finally to the rural Indian countryside as Alison comes to terms with her complicated new family, leaves the modern world behind, and learns the true meaning of home.

After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451676617
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner Book Company - February 18th, 2014

Indie Next List

March 2013
Hainey's search for the truth about his father's early death is one of the most compelling memoirs I've read. An insider's tribute to the hard-working and hard-drinking big city newsmen of the 1950s and '60s, After Visiting Friends is also an unsentimental love song to a Chicago of all-night bars, jazz clubs, and three major daily newspapers. I was engaged, moved, and kept guessing (as Hainey was for more than 10 years) until the truth won out. A brave, intimate, and honest portrait of a family and its secrets. -- Linda Bubon, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

Off Course: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374224479
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - April 1st, 2014

From the author of Blame, a new novel about the unexpected damage inflicted by romantic entanglements

It’s the early 1980s: Reagan is in the White House and his trickle-down theory is gaining traction in the national psyche. Cressida Hartley, twenty-eight, a PhD candidate in economics, has moved to her parents’ shabby A-frame in the Sierras, hoping to finish her dissertation about art in the marketplace. Though she came seeking solitude, she finds herself increasingly drawn into the life of the small mountain community, and she’s seduced by a local lodge owner, Jakey Yates, a big, burly, immensely attractive man in his late forties. Rick Garsh, the local contractor, gives Cress a part time job. Through Rick she meets the Morrow brothers, two talented fine-finish carpenters. They are handsome, amusing, intriguing, and married.
As Cress tells her best friend back home in Pasadena, being a single woman on the mountain amounts to a form of public service. Increasingly uninspired by her dissertation, Cress allows love, adultery, and obsession to commandeer her life, and soon she becomes the victim of her own perilous reasoning.
Michelle Huneven is one of our most searching, elegant novelists—Richard Russo has called her “a writer of extraordinary and thrilling talent.” In Off Course, she tells the cautionary tale of an intelligent young woman seeking her place in life only to discover that love is the great distraction, and impossible love the greatest distraction of all.

Staff Pick Logo
Ordinary Grace: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451645859
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - March 4th, 2014

An extraordinary exceptional book -- the best book I read in 2013.
Curated Fiction
Kent Krueger’s novel belongs on the shelves of readers’ hearts and minds somewhere between Stephen King’s “The Body” and Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. At the turn of the 21st Century, Frank Drum reminisces about the summer of his 13th year, growing up the son of a Methodist minister in a small Minnesota River Valley community. A series of events, including accidental deaths, murder, and the revelations of deeply-held secrets, test the characters’ faith and family bonds. Kent creates prose that resonates with readers who will care passionately about this story, even if they have no personal connection to the mid-Century middle America of the setting.
– Maryelizabeth

A Circle of Wives Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802122346
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - March 4th, 2014

ndie Next List

March 2014
What would you do if you discovered your husband had another wife, or even two, at the same time that he is married to you? Full of marital and murderous deception, LaPlante's new novel echoes the tension and suspense of her previous work, Turn of Mind, and leads the reader down a path of betrayal, power, passion, and terror. A fabulous read! -- Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Chanel Bonfire: A Book Club Recommendation! Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476745480
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - November 12th, 2013

Indie Next List

January 2013
Lawless has written a compelling, engaging, sometimes funny, and at times shocking tale of her childhood. Her mother, Georgann Rea, was a narcissist of the highest order, and Wendy and her younger sister suffered terrible emotional deprivation at her hands. From a very young age, when her mother attempts suicide for the first time, Wendy struggles to protect her sister and herself from a woman who lived a life of decadence, alcoholism, adultery, and lies. Lawless ultimately makes peace with herself and learns to live on her own terms, a process remarkably recounted in this searing memoir. -- Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Scent of Butterflies Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781402284434
Availability: Special Order
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - January 7th, 2014

A novel singed by the flavors of Tehran, imbued with the Iranian roots of Persepolis and the culture clash of Rooftops of Tehran, this is a striking, nuanced story of a woman caught between two worlds, from the bestselling author of Harem, Courtesan, and The Last Romanov.
A Love So Deep Can Forever Scar the Soul
Such audacity she has, Soraya, a woman who dares to break free of the diamond-studded leash of her culture. A woman who refuses to accept the devastating betrayal her husband has perpetrated. A woman who refuses to forgive her best friend.
Soraya turns her back on Iran, fleeing to America to plot her intricate revenge. The Shah has fallen, her country is in turmoil, her marriage has crumbled, and she is unraveling. The cruel and intimate blow her husband has dealt her awakens an obsessive streak that explodes in the heated world of Los Angeles.
Yet the secret Soraya discovers proves far more devastating than anything she had imagined, unleashing a whirlwind of unexpected events that will leave the reader breathless.

Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307453037
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - April 3rd, 2012

Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan—said to be one of the happiest places on earth.

Long isolated from industrialization and just beginning to open its doors to the modern world, Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place, devoted to environmental conservation and committed to the happiness of its people—in fact, Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in GNP. In a country without a single traffic light, its citizens are believed to be among the most content in the world. To Lisa, it seemed to be a place that offered the opposite of her fast-paced life in the United States, where the noisy din of sound-bite news and cell phones dominate our days, and meaningful conversation is a rare commodity; where everyone is plugged in digitally, yet rarely connects with the people around them.

Thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Lisa creates a new community for herself. As she helps to start Bhutan’s first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM, she must come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the impact of the medium on a country that had been shielded from its effects. Immersing herself in Bhutan’s rapidly changing culture, Lisa realizes that her own perspective on life is changing as well—and that she is discovering the sense of purpose and joy that she has been yearning for.

In this smart, heartfelt, and beautifully written book, sure to please fans of transporting travel narratives and personal memoirs alike, Lisa Napoli discovers that the world is a beautiful and complicated place—and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is.

Midnight Rumba: Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781482753745
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Createspace - April 15th, 2013

A gripping read on its own, Midnight Rumba also rips a page out of history to offer readers keen and unique insight into the decisions currently facing everyday people in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other societies wrestling with their futures. How do you choose between gangsters, crooks, corrupt politicians and wild-eyed revolutionaries? How do you tear down a broken society in order to build a better one? Can you ever know for sure which decision is right? Or do you just keep singing, just keep dancing, just keep praying and hope for a better world? Midnight Rumba is a page-turning epic story that readers will be unable to put down.

Dreams of Joy: A Novel (Shanghai Girls #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812980547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 7th, 2012

In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime. Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Love Water Memory Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451684841
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - January 14th, 2014

A bittersweet masterpiece filled with longing and hope, Jennie Shortridge’s emotional novel explores the raw, tender complexities of relationships and personal identity.
Who is Lucie Walker? Even Lucie herself can’t answer that question after she comes to, confused and up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay. Back home in Seattle, she adjusts to life with amnesia, growing unsettled by the clues she finds to the selfish, carefully guarded person she used to be. Will she ever fall in love with her handsome, kindhearted fiancé, Grady? Can he devote himself to the vulnerable, easygoing Lucie 2.0, who is so unlike her controlling former self? When Lucie learns that Grady has been hiding some very painful secrets that could change the course of their relationship, she musters the courage to search for the shocking, long-repressed childhood memories that will finally set her free.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451655094
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 6th, 2014

In this funny, frank, and tender new memoir, the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "A Homemade Life" and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the f irst crisis of her young marriage.
When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream-making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive--not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn't think he would. Before she knew it, he'd signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly's assumptions about her marriage were about to change.
Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until--in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen--she realized that she hadn't been honest with herself or Brandon.
With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, "Delancey" is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together.