Book Club Chat Reminder: Bitter Melon on 31 March

Bitter Melon Book Cover A friendly reminder: we’ll be hosting the Sizzling Book Club Chat on Thursday, March 31 at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. Cara Chow will join us at 10pm EST to answer questions and discuss the book with us. We will be live here at the site with our rapidly-moving chat window, polls, merriment, and mayhem.

Sizzling Book ClubI’ve reread this book since I picked it for the club, and I am still thinking about the heroine, and her mother – and I cannot wait to hear what you think.

In the meantime, I have a question as I narrow down my selections for the April book club: what book are you really looking forward to reading in your TBR pile? It doesn’t have to be a new book – there are books that languish in my list of tempting books until a few months after the release date. I remember Richard Nash, formerly of Soft Skull Press, saying that the used to promote books a few months after the release because that’s when many folks would read them – long after they bought them. What’s in your TBR pile that you cannot wait to read – or what book would you love to discuss for the book club in April?


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Tina C. says:

    Speaking of books that are a little older, I’ve been reading The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne.  I don’t read a lot of historicals these days but this is one fantastic book!  I think it would be a great book club pick.

  2. 2
    Ben P says:

    I would love to see a discussion about Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ “Ain’t She Sweet” or “This Heart of Mine”.

    Things worth discussing

    Why Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s merciless recycling is totally made of WIN!
    How she manages to avoid the clichéd pitfalls of lazy romance writing.
    How can such completely silly melodrama be so plausible and so much fun to read?

    My TBR pile consists of the diminishing number of SEP’s books that I haven’t yet read. I should horde them like a clever squirrel but instead I’m going to blow them all in an orgy of romance reading instead.

  3. 3
    Chelsea says:

    Looking at my TBR pile, I’m noticing a shocking lack of contemporary that saddens me. That used to be my main genre, but now it seems I’ve been buying paranormal and urban fantasy by the truck loads and forgot all about contemporary. So…can we do a contemporary book, so I have an excuse to buy one?

  4. 4
    R.J. says:

    My tbr pile is (metaphorically and literally) under lock and key until the end of the semester, but I am really into reading suspense and am looking for new authors in this genre.

  5. 5
    Jae Lee says:

    I’m looking forward to River Marked by Patricia Briggs. I just got it from the library and I am EXCITED. After that, I’m going to read Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. I’ve had it since it was released but after investing the last 16 years of my life reading this series, shiny new books kept distracting me.

  6. 6
    Jessica says:

    I’d really like talking about something that is romance but not typically considered romance.  I’ve always thought one of the best love stories I’ve read was in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.  And Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiels Dart is equally amazing and powerful.  Both are pretty long which can really off a lot of groups….

  7. 7
    Emily says:

    My TBR pile has the following books:
    a couple by Tessa Dare
    Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale
    All I Ever Wanted by Kristian Higgins
    I would love to discuss a book by Higgins (not necessarily All I Ever Wanted).

  8. 8
    TracyTracy says:

    Wow- after being shocked to my socks when my local Public Library had an e-book of the new Suzanne Brockmann book on the very day of release, it also added Bitter melon today- and I got it (but missed the Brockmann by a mile, I am #5 on that list).  So, I will be able to participate in the book club this month!  Yay!

  9. 9
    kkw says:

    I’ve recently finished Blindspot by Jill Lepore and Jane Kamensky, and can’t stop thinking about how awesome it is.  It’s a couple years old now, and I didn’t pay any attention when it came out because it’s shelved as literature, but don’t be fooled, this is one of the absolute best historical romances I’ve ever read.  I have no words to adequately convey how smart this book is.  Or how gooey it made me feel inside.  Part of the appeal might be lost on someone who is not soft (both headed and hearted) on the 18th century, but even so there’s appeal to spare.
    I’ve just started reading the George Martin books as the HBO Game of Thrones is starting soon, and while they’re far more straight ahead fantasy than I usually read these days (I’ve been on a pretty strict romance diet for years now) I’m delighted by them.  My romance TBR is so heavily influenced by DABWAHA that it seems pointless to rehash here.
    I do have a SEP weakness myself, and it seems all her backlist has been recently rereleased, but I’m so mad at her publisher for extorting money from the libraries that I’m not buying them.  Or taking them out from the library. Which hurts only me, but still.  I like all the other suggestions.

  10. 10
    darlynne says:

    How about Meg Gardiner’s China Lake? Great mystery series, an intelligent and funny heroine and a smoking hot hero.

    For something completely different, I would love a discussion of Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair. His writing is superb, incredibly smart and so far up the Bitches’ alley … well, that went in a direction I hadn’t intended. Suffice to say, I think the Bitchery would greatly enjoy his very clever romp through the book world.

    Has anyone else read Rumer Godden’s In This House of Brede? I know I’m not picking books that are romances, but I love this book, read it at least once a year, and have no one to talk to about it.

    And if SEP turns out to be the consensus, my vote is for Natural Born Charmer. Any book that opens with a headless beaver walking down a dusty road is my kind of book.

  11. 11
    Carrie S says:

    I’m still rooting for Iron Duke, because I want to know if readers thought the hero was redeeamable, and if so, how and why.  Also, the book was so.  freaking. awesome.  Some elements to discuss re Iron duke:
    Roles of women in Victorian England
    Race/struggles of biracial people
    Gays in Victorian England
    and of course:
    Steampunk!  Zepplins!  Giant sharks vs KRAKENS!
    I love that stuff, can you tell?

  12. 12
    Jen G. says:

    I second Emily’s desire for a Kristan Higgins book!  She’s my “gateway author”—the author I use to convert my romance-hating friends.  The Next Best Thing and Just One of the Guys are two of my favorites.

  13. 13
    Nadia says:

    I would vote for the Iron Duke, such a crazy interesting world she’s built.

    I just finished SEP’s latest, which I enjoyed but is very much a reunion novel so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’ve read her all the way back to her first novel.  Otherwise, you are going to think that it’s full of incomplete secondary characters.  But, it would be interesting to talk about how she goes kind of throwback on this one as you don’t get inside the hero’s head until way late in the book, and I wonder how readers fall on whether that added or detracted to the overall story.

    The day ain’t long enough to list all the books in my TBR closet, to which I just added St. Clair’s “Edge of Sight.”  But my From-the-Library TBR pile has:
    Feehan’s “Ruthless Game”
    Ashley’s “The Mad Bad Duke”
    Warren’s “Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here”
    Jeffries’ “Don’t Bargain With the Devil”
    Robb’s “Visions in Death”
    And in-process is “Pemberley Ranch” by Jack Caldwell, which is a re-imagining of P&P in post-Civil War Texas.  ‘Sokay.  This Darcy gets to swear and drink and have sex and everything!  And I snorted loudly when “Beth” had a fantasy of “Will” coming out of a pond in a wet shirt, LOL.

    I want to read Warren’s book next, I’m in the mood for paranormal on the lighter side, but I am trying to read them in order of due date, so I think it’s the Robb.

  14. 14
    Carolyn says:

    @darlynne:  Yes! I’ve loved In This House of Brede for years, decades, lol. A fascinating look at cloistered nuns, the way they live, their problems and the emotional rollercoaster they ride. It’s not all peace and prayer.

    The writing format was unusual, or maybe it was just that I’d never before read a book written in quite that manner. But I had no problem following the story and the ending just broke my heart. Thank you for reminding me – time for another reread.

    As for future book discussions, how about one of the Sebastian St Cyr series?

  15. 15
    jayhjay says:

    I’d love something contemporary and ideally not in the middle of a series.

    Sadly I have about 50 books in my TBR (that is just ones I own that I need to read, not including things I can get from my library or those I haven’t bought yet!). 

    But out of that, I still haven’t read Iron Duke so I’d love to do that one.  Maybe the first book in the Maya Banks Kelly series? Or something that has done well at DAWBAHA? 

    Most of my TBRs are m/m so not sure how those go over for the book club.

  16. 16
    Carin says:

    My TBR pile has quite a few DABWAHA books on it.  I read Here There Be Monsters last week and now I’m really looking forward to reading The Iron Duke, so I’d LOVE it if that was a book club book.

    I’m on the last book of the Kate Daniels (Magic ___) series, which I started last week, and it is AWESOME.

    And I know the odds are low, since we already read Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey, but looking ahead, her next book, Yours by Design is coming out in June…

  17. 17
    Jen B. says:

    River Marked by Patricia Briggs was great.  I love the whole series.  Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey was also great.  I think she is one of the best authors I’ve ever read.  I have recently discovered steampunk and I love Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series.  But right now I am stoked because two books came out this that I have been so excited about.  The first is Suzanne Brockmann’s Breaking The Rules.  It’s the last book in the series (for now) and that is so sad.  And the second is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Invincible.  This is a good YA series that even my 12 year old son is looking forward to reading.  I am in the middle of Bitter Melon.  I am so excited for the discussion next week.

  18. 18
    Merrian says:

    I have just recieved the reservation notice from the library for ‘The Tokaido Road’ which I first read about here on SBTB.

  19. 19
    SonomaLass says:

    Julie James’ A Lot Like Love or Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism would both be good picks, if you’re leaning towards contemporary. 

    If you want to go back to historical.  I’d love an excuse to re-read The Forbidden Rose if you can get Jo Bourne to participate. I was going to suggest Midnight’s Wild Passion by Anna Campbell, but I checked and that’s not actually out until May.

  20. 20
    Elaine L. says:

    Can’t wait for the chat with Cara Chow about Bitter Melon!  I just finished Bitter Melon today, and enjoyed it very much.  As a San Francisco resident, I can see that Ms. Chow really nailed the details about life among the Cantonese speaking Chinese community in the Richmond District.  I really appreciated the realism and the daily struggles of the characters. 

    By the way, has anyone here actually read the Amy Chua memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother?  I read it last month (borrowed a friend’s copy).  It would be interesting to compare and contrast Ms. Chua and Frances’ mother, and their influence over and love for their daughters.  I think that Ms. Chua and Frances’ mother are night and day when it comes to family backgrounds and parenting styles, though they may could be described as “domineering” mothers.

    Finally, for the next book club chat: I like the idea of reading Meljean Brooks’ Iron Duke.  That would be the first steampunk selection of the book club, right?

  21. 21
    Aryn says:

    I loved the Iron Duke, all of the Parasol Protectorate, and Kristan Higgins is my go-to woman when I need a boost.

    However, on my TBR is Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper (came out Tuesday last). Her Garden Spells ls is one of my all-time favorite books. I’d really love to see a discussion about Garden Spells; magic, abuse and renewal and how easy it is to get caught up in it and how difficult to get out; sisters; love; god, it’s a great book. The Peach Keeper will be on my already read shelf by Saturday.

    Thanks to all of you who listed your TBRs; I’m always looking for new authors!

  22. 22
    SB Sarah says:

    And I know the odds are low, since we already read Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey, but looking ahead, her next book, Yours by Design is coming out in June…

    I read Yours by Design already, and it is SO GOOD. I mean, omg. So good.

    And you are all HELL on my TBR list, too. So I’m glad the TBR-overpile is mutual!!

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