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My Reviews

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
 
Dark, Dramatic, Interesting
A Reliable Wife

It is a well written story and two of our book club members read Goolrick's memoir which offered insight into the development of the three main characters in A Reliable Wife. We had a healthy discussion about child abuse and how the abuse has an effect on the individual later in life. We also came to the conclusion that this story was the "child's" search to forgive his parents for physically and emotionally hurting him and in the end there was a sense of forgiveness.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
Favorite Quote

On p. 464, Death (the narrator) says, "It kills me sometimes, how people die". A very moving story, very much worth reading.

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Room

A very scary kidnapping with an unlikely hero; and I'm relieved there was a hero. Very well written; I couldn't put the book down.

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
 
Dramatic, Informative, Unconvincing
Saving Max or saving mom?

It is too much in one book -- is it a romance novel or a story about single mother's raising autistic children or a about a psychopath who has children just to destroy them or about the mental health industry and how psychiatric hospitals manage their patients (and their respective families) -- and whichever theme you choose, none of it is believable. The author comes across as a novice writer working really hard on using descriptive words. The author was so clever with her words, the story lacks character depth or credibility.

 
Slow, Boring, Informative
Mona Lisa

If you are interested in the history of the famous Mona Lisa painting, then you will absolutely love this book. It is well researched and factual. However, if you were looking for a good mystery, then this is not the book for you (or your book club). This text is a historical narrative about da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson
 
Interesting, Confusing, Brilliant
Jackson Brodie lacks star quality

The Bibliomanics book club (8 members reviewing) all agreed Kate Jackson is a superb writer. We all read the book because we really appreciated her writing style, but all agreed the story lacked something -- a well developed character, perhaps. Why did Jackson's (the supposed main character and the character future stories of this series is based on) background come so late in the story? By then, group members shared they already found him to be uninteresting and an individual we didn't have much empathy for, for instance, there were several dramatic scenes in which he was almost killed and none of these instances seemed to spark any worry or concern for any of the readers. The most likeable character turned out to be Theo; we all decided he was the hero of the story as he took in Tanya. We all agreed that we may read other Kate Jackson stories, but not about Jackson Brodie -- especially if he is going to be hanging with the Land sisters. Really? Julia? Yuck!

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Finding a Voice

We were all surprised by the Reader\\\'s Guide question which noted the central theme of the book was \\\"who gets to speak and who is silent or silenced\\\" as none of us picked up on that (we were all focused on the plot), but once it was pointed out to us, that seemed to make a lot of sense. We were reminded that prior to the 60s many of us did not have a voice and often did not have a choice in our lot in life . . . thank goodness some things have changed, but not enough and not for all. We all recognized that \\\"hatism\\\" and prejudicial treatment of others based on some characteristic deemed \\\"unworthy\\\" by society-at-large is really hard to eradicate. And so -- “What we can\\\'t speak, we say in silence” (Hillary Jordan, Mudbound). The many topics raised in the book -- women bound to their husbands and respective family, being Black in the South, coming home from war and coping with post-traumatic stress -- gave us a lot to talk about, both past history and current conditions. The last chapter leaves the reader with the reality of the situation but also, with hope and promise for the future.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Fantastic
Mysterious and Captivating

The Circus is magical and with every new visit, I was equally drawn in and yearned for more; I couldn\\\\\\\'t wait for the story to take me back to the Circus. But just like a clock works, the pieces that makes this Circus operate are dark and disturbing. The timeline presented in the text did not always seem to fit or be correct; once I let that go, I was able to just enjoy the story and the Circus. I look forward to a visual (e.g. movie) especially of some of the elaborate tents.

Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates
 
Too close to home

The book is about an abduction. Being from Cleveland, OH, we felt the subject matter was too close to home and very disturbing. It did make for a very interesting discussion about the recovery especially when a child is abducted and the events disrupt "normal" development.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Mystery Solved; A History Restored

The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene
 
Book Club Recommended
A Twisted Path

I would suggest this book is a psychological thriller and reminded me in some ways of the \\\\\\\"Double Bind\\\\\\\" by Chris Bohjalian. All members of my book club gave it a thumbs up and we had quite a lively discussion about entitlement, marriage, raising children, grief and loss, aging, and perspective -- our individual perspective and how others might tell the story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Interesting, Informative
Confidence

During our book club discussion, each member of the group was able to share at least one behavior they became more aware of and implemented a more positive way of addressing that behavior. This was a terrific text, well researched, explaining possible reasons for low self-confidence, confidence assessments, and strategies for improving self-confidence.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
Page Turner

Doerr had me at the beginning with the Tale of the Sea of Flames. Once I started reading the book, I could not put it down. Other members of the book club said the same thing.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Well Written

The author has a writing style that stimulates great visuals; for instance, I can see the three children and their neighbor on the beach; I can visualize their school, their small-town neighborhood, the footprint on the ceiling . . . the story was not uplifting; there is no happy ending and the lesson learned could be a response to the question the parents have "where did I go wrong" or "how could I have missed all of these signs" . . . heartbreaking.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Addictive, Dramatic
Soccer Moms come together to battle DV

This book starts out very "chic lit" with a mystery to solve . . . and then, all of a sudden, it turns serious and the book is about how everyday life is altered/spoiled, due to domestic violence. Moriarty opens our eyes to all the ways DV affects all of us -- through bullying, date rape, marital relations. Really appreciated the author's use of a news reporter interviews with all the characters (likened to a Greek Chorus in another review) and the mystery; the dropping of clues; and the justification (? you decide) in the end.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Pointless, Poorly Written
Dysfunctional Family

There may have been some parts that members of Book Club described as "TMI" and "raunchy, but overall, it was a good read and had some very humorous moments.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
 
Interesting, Insightful, Dark
Science Fiction

I'm not a big science fiction fan or have an appreciation for dystopian novels, and most of the members of my book club agreed. The author's writing is brilliant and the book is worth reading for her insight on lifestyles and what may become of the human race should an infectious disease wipe most of us out. For some, the ending read like "hope" but I was depressed because I interpreted the outcome as SSDD (same stuff different day). I would have liked an ending depicting a brighter future.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
The past meets the future

Life is going along fine and then one day, a letter comes in the mail with a photo from the past attached. Memories flood in, a stranger comes to town and enters your life, and the present begins to unravel because of a "small" indiscretion that took place 20 years earlier. An emotional roller coaster impacted by the swift turning of pages.

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Dramatic
Psychological Thriller

The opening reminded me of "The Lovely Bones" as a horrible event is revealed with one of the "suspects" narrating the story. There were parts that were horrible to read (SPOILER ALERT: dog cruelty) and all the "data" served as evidence as to how sick some people are and the maladaptive behaviors they use as an expression of their illness. Oy!

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