Elizabeth George’s Deception on His Mind Book Club

When my European friend recommended a British mystery for me to read, I did not hesitate for a minute.  Her first recommendation was a result of her laughing aloud hysterically while reading Jane Green’s Straight Talking (book club ideas coming soon) when we were on retreat together.  I am not a laugh aloud reader (more of a goofy smirk reader), but I was willing to try after her constant giggles during the night.  Thus, Deception on His Mind was soon stacked on top of my nightstand.
Being cartographically challenged, it took me a while to orient myself into the setting of the novel.  With the assistance of the inside cover maps, I was soon up to speed, though.  No-nonsense characters such as Barbara Havers, Emily Barlow, Agatha Shaw, and Taymulla Azhar intrigue the reader prompting her to keep those pages turning.  Reading this novel while hospitalized allowed me the concentration needed to fully absorb the multi-faceted characters as well as the complexities of the mystery in question, the murder of Haythem Querashi.
As a side note, I fell in love with the epigram found at the beginning of Deception on His Mind:

           -from the pillar erected on the Mount in the Dane John Field in Canterbury

When considering book club for this Elizabeth George novel, one may explore the contradiction between Emily’s healthful ways and Barbara’s less-than-healthful eating habits.  A buffet of yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit setting adjacent to popcorn, rainbow rock (what is this?), and ice cream seems to fit the bill.  Another direction book club may take in regards to refreshments is all foods mustard, in honor of the Malik’s mustard factory.

Elizabeth George

E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy Book Club

When a dear friend and author (@carolgalusha/twitter) texts you in the middle of the night imploring you to beg, borrow, or steal E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, my interest was piqued.  The next day while at my friendly village library, I think I blushed (my friend warned me of the novel’s amorous effects) when I requested the librarian perform a search for the trilogy in question.  Hearing there was a lengthy wait of 60+ requests for book one of the series, I graciously denied the request to be added to this list.  Knowing this was a read that could not wait, I caved and downloaded book one onto my phone.
Va, va, va, and voom!  Not having asked Ms. Galusha details, I took her at her word not having any idea what to expect (deep breath).  Reading definitely surpassed any expectations.  Complex characters with intense needs quickly unfold in book one.  Delving further into book one, I found similarities between Twilight characters and Fifty Shades characters, but far from the young adult genre.  With similar themes of tortured souls overcoming dark pasts, starry-eyed, opposites-attract lovers, and the happily ever after, E.L. James had me at page one.  
Consumed by the far-from-black-and-white (grey) story, I immediately downloaded books two and three at the conclusion of book one.  Instead of being disappointed by weak, redundant, cookie-cutter sequels, I was grateful for the interjection of more complex storylines and found books two (especially) and book three to be more engrossing reads.

For the purposes of book club, a Grey-Themed Party is definitely a must.  Have “bookies” come dressed in their favorite shades of grey (fifty of which to choose from) and provide masks to allow anonymity when answering discussion questions.  A prize, perhaps handcuffs, can then be given to the participant unanimously deemed “best dressed in character.”

A sparkling pink drink would be nice to bring to mind Christian and Ana’s favorite drink.  Because Christian would demand we eat, a splurge of oysters, perhaps, to mirror a first of Anastasia’s, or a warming chicken stew courtesy of (warning:  spoiler alert) Mrs. Taylor (a.k.a. Mrs. Jones).
Finally, after all of the meals have been eaten in their entirety, send book club members home with a goody bag containing cable ties and the like.

Janet Evanovich’s Metro Girl Book Club

Perusing the aisles at the quaintest little library (my new favorite), Maryville Community Library in Maryville, IL, I could not help but peruse the Evanovich titles as I always do.  Metro Girl caught my eye with its brightly-colored book jacket, so I flicked it loose from the shelf with my index finger and scanned the back synopsis.  Having continued withdrawals from the early Stephanie Plum series, I decided to give it a try.
Interesting enough, Evanovich’s main characters, Alex and Hooker, are fair-haired, but they do remind the reader of characters, Steph and Morelli (which is not disappointing to say the least).  The sexual tension builds throughout this novel as together Alex and Hooker overcome trouble and solve mystery after mystery.  Hooker’s protective ways and Alex’s independence mirror scenes read about in Jersey although the setting this time is Miami.
A quick, entertaining read which should be discussed over seafood (stone crabs anyone??) such as at the Gulf Shores Restaurant and Grill (yummo!).