Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Writing group, book club

My girls and I at Affairs of the Pen (our writing/crit group) have recently begun a book club. It isn't the traditional, read-a-literary-novel, book club that meets for coffee and sits in comfy chairs. Since we are all over the country (literally), we meet via chat. Since we all write romance, we select books to read that relate to what we write. We have a complex yet haphazard process for selecting books, but it seems to work well for us.

Our first book was Barbara Samuel's A Piece of Heaven. The second was Kresley Cole's Rita winner -- A Hunger Like No Other. We'll discuss Cole's book later this month. However, currently we are nominating two or three choices each for next month. After nominations we'll use a unique process to whittle it down to a few selections, and then we'll vote.

My nominations for next month are:

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman:
In lyrical words that "unfold like white flowers, petal by petal, each in its own time and season," Hoffman introduces us to Green, a gentle teen whose name reveals her connection to the earth and a peaceful beauty that contrasts with her sunny sister, Aurora. Yet when Aurora and her parents perish in tragic, fiery events in town, a solitary Green transforms herself into Ash: hard and closed, cropped hair, thorns on her sweater, with ink roses and ravens drawn on her skin. Facing an apocalyptic future of looters visiting her garden and suspicious looks from townsfolk, Green has only the family dog to keep her company. But when a ghostly greyhound and a hooded boy suddenly appear for companionship, she slowly realizes that "Ash" is only temporary, while "Green" is her soul, her life, healing all this time inside, waiting to be reborn.
Weaving magical words into images that caress the spirit, Hoffman's Green Angel is no less remarkable and awe-inspiring than nature itself. The author has not only told a life-affirming story about a girl who must survive on her own, she's captured emotion itself by using language to enchant and teach. Readers will be absorbed by the book's transcendent power, and as Green begins a new future that takes shape at end of the book, readers will come away feeling rejuvenated and uplifted themselves.

the Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff:
An achingly beautiful account of a young woman forced to bend loyalties, deny truths and betray her own beliefs . . .
With luminous simplicity, Jenoff's breathtaking debut chronicles the life of a young Jewish bride during the Nazi occupation of Krakow, Poland, in WWII. Emma Bau, a shy librarian, escapes the city's Jewish ghetto with the aid of the underground resistance movement that Jacob, her activist husband, has already joined. Emma assumes a new gentile identity as Anna Lipowski and goes to live with Jacob's elderly aunt, a wealthy Catholic widow who has also taken in Lukasz Izakowicz, the only surviving child of a famous rabbi and his murdered wife. As Anna, Emma catches the eye of Kommandant Georg Richwalder, second in charge of the General Government, at a dinner party. The handsome Nazi is so impressed by her German language skills (and her beauty) that he asks her to become his personal assistant. Emma accepts, hoping to secure valuable information for the resistance, but the chemistry between them presents challenges that test her loyalties to Jacob and her heart. This is historical romance at its finest.