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Hoot : Movie Tie-In by Carl Hiaasen
 
Suitable for kids' reading groups perhaps

This book had its moments (sarcastic humor was a plus), but didn't lend itself to any worthwhile discussion. One of our members chose it because of the newly released film, and she thought it would be fun to read and then see with our families. We found the story to be somewhat predictable and the characters (especially the "villains") exaggerated. My 10-year-old daughter enjoyed it, but I think grown-ups should give it a pass.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
 
Adventurous, Interesting, Dramatic
Stimulating discussion

We really enjoyed discussing the elements of this book. With a diverse mix of Christians (Protestant and Catholic) and agnostics, we had an entertaining discussion regarding faith, religious foundation and spirituality. I don't think anyone in our group with strong spiritual beliefs prior to reading this book ended up changing their viewpoints, but those who were unsure were motivated to find out more.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
 
Persuasive, Inspiring, Insightful
A wonderful read

Some of us had read this before (many years ago) and for some, it was the first time they'd read it. All of us, though, enjoyed it thoroughly. A very thought-provoking and poignant story.

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
 
Elegant prose, but slow reading

For the most part, our group liked this book: rich detail, well-defined characters and interesting storyline. However, although Mr. Frazier's writing is elegant, it did make for difficult reading at times. More than once, some of us had to reread a passage to understand where Mr. Frazier was taking us. The language was similar to the rather formal communication of the 19th century which lent it an air of authenticity, but it didn't "flow" like more modern novels.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
 
Adventurous, Romantic, Addictive
Wonderful escapism!

Once you make it through the first 100 pages, which are understandably slow since the author is setting up an incredible storyline, you'll be richly rewarded. You'll fall in love with the characters and be swept up in a totally believable time-travel story. Not just a wonderful beach read, but an all-time classic. Don't miss this one, or its sequels.

 
Dramatic, Romantic, Interesting
Pleasant beach read

I read this book at a friend's recommendation. I found it to be a well-researched period novel, but it didn't "speak" to me like it did to my friend. Some situations felt forced, but overall, it was an entertaining book to read while lounging by the water.

Atonement by Ian McEwan
 
Slow, Dramatic, Difficult
One of those "love it or hate it" books

Our group was evenly split on this one: half raved about it, the other half thought it was boring. As a fan of the book, I thought it was riveting, one of McEwan's better efforts. Loved the ambiguity in the storyline, but that's what turned off some in our book club.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Fun, Beautiful
Somewhat formulaic

Entertaining read, if somewhat "Lifetime" movie-ish.

Matrimony: A Novel by Joshua Henkin
 
Beautiful, Insightful, Informative
Move along, there's nothing to see here . . .

Not one person in our book club enjoyed this selection. What more needs to be said?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic, Beautiful
Atmospheric Drama!

I read this book years (and I mean YEARS) ago, and was happy when it was selected recently by our book club to read. Time did not diminish its appeal. If you love a good gothic tale, you will not be disappointed.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Makes for a good book club discussion!

This certainly sparked some interesting debates among our members: pedophile vs. lover? post-war guilt vs. national identity? If you like a lively discussion or if you're just looking for a well-written story, this is a good choice.

Little Children: A Novel by Tom Perrotta
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Pointless, Dark
Controversial

Even though none of us truly cared for the characters in the story, it did lend itself to extensive discussion. Subject matter is distasteful, at best.

Lucky Me: A Novel by Debra Borden
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Fun
Fun, quick read

We enjoyed reading this book, and it was further enhanced by our delightful telephone discussion with the author, Debra Borden. As daughters and mothers, we could identify with most of the situations faced by the protagonist.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Scary
Read it if you're a Stephen King fan

This book was our October selection, which we felt would tie in with the Halloween season. We were evenly divided on this one: half of us liked the book, half did not. Those of us who enjoyed it were already Stephen King fans; the rest did not care for horror stories. It's a genuinely creepy read, and as a mom, I was really affected by the story's plot.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun
Fun little mystery

This was a quick, entertaining read. At times it read like a winemaker's primer, but the author obviously did her homework.

Once Upon a River: A Novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Pointless, Informative
Still figuring out whether I liked this book

I read this as a potential suggestion for a book club choice, but several days later, I'm still wondering if I really liked it. As the mother of a teenaged daughter, I found the events befalling Margo, the main character, disturbing, if not downright repugnant. Her actions were questionable, but then, she is 16 and I'm . . . well, much older than that! I certainly learned a lot about roughing it and gun usage, two topics that still are not on my bucket list. Overall, the author's writing style was fluid; I just didn't enjoy the travails Margo endured throughout the story.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
 
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Really, REALLY wanted to like this, but . . .

I just couldn't buy into this storyline. The characters were predictable and two-dimensional, and the plot seemed like a Lifetime movie rerun. I literally laughed out loud at some of Mia's ridiculous actions--was she 14 or four?? On the plus side, however, we really enjoyed our discussion for this book---not one member liked it, but that didn't stop us from talking about it! I've read and enjoyed some of Ms. Hannah's other efforts, but this one--meh.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
A great read

Although the writing style was initially jarring (short, abrupt chapters that alternated with a different character\'s point of view), the story began to develop and ultimately hooked us in. We really enjoyed this one!

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Unconvincing
Great Book Club Discussion

This was an interesting, if somewhat slow-paced, book. We all loved the time period (World War 2), and the imagery was evocative. However, the characters were somewhat thinly written and the overall storyline was somewhat predictable. Despite those shortcomings, we still enjoyed a lively discussion about the main characters and what we might've done in a similar situation.

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Fun, Romantic
Quick Read

This was a light-hearted novel set in southwestern Virginia. The semi-romantic tone would lend itself to a Lifetime movie adaptation.

With by Donald Harington
 
Difficult, Dark, Graphic
Can I give it a half star?

My, but this book was horrid! The beginning was intriguing (*spoiler* the first chapter is told from the dog's point of view!), but then it's just an absolute train wreck of a story from there. Child sexual abuse, sex with a ghost (?)--yep, it's in here. However, it lent itself to an AMAZING book club discussion (and yes, those of us who actually finished the book detested it!).

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Interesting

The Girls by Emma Cline
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Dark, Insightful

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