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My Reviews

The Hunger Games (Book 1) by Suzanne Collins
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
The Hunger Games

Engaging, quick page turner with creative, controversial plot; great to talk with teens about. Touches on themes of family loyalty, individual liberty and government control without the "heavy" literature feel of similar genres. Easy, quick read that really makes you think long after the book is done...

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Boring
Sparked great book club discussion!

This book, surprisingly, sparked an excellent discussion! Not because it was great literature but because it spoke to our deeply buried search for meaning in our lives: \\\\\\\"The days are long but the years are short\\\\\\\" (the tagline of the book) created a huge and positive debate over how we spend our time, is it worthwhile and what is the passion or talent that each of us brings to this life? Unexpectedly powerful discussion for what originally appeared to be a fun, upbeat read!

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
 
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
For Hemingway Fans

Read before watching "Midnight in Paris"! Well written story about self absorbed artists. Best for Hemingway fans

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
 
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Starts strong

Starts as a real page turner; fascinating look at a troubling time in American history from a new perspective. Middle and end not quite as strong but still absorbing and worth the read

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Fun
Great characters

This is a favorite of mine; terrific characters and funny, appealing narrative that drew me in. I usually don't like historical books like this but I really did not want it to end.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
Looking for something totally different?

This extremely different book will not appeal to everyone. Memorable in that it really streteches how you think; it will not be lost in a parade of similar books and clubs will have much to talk about. Intense but very well written.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
How to escape poverty and succeed

Quick read about escaping poverty; at times I wish the author had been less factual and more emotional about how she felt like when she ran into her mother at the end of the book; felt unfinished to me

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Inspiring
Don't let the title fool you

This is a funny and smart novel about the incredible effort and love for family and friends put forth by "ordinary" women. I loved the book club fomat

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
 
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Slow start, Forced ending

Unappealing, shallow characters are not saved by clever plot twists later in the book. First half very slow and then the second half feels forced.

Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
How far would you go to save your child?

Well written saga of accused child from father's point of view. If he had included more of the mother and son's view could have been a 5 star all time great book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Inspiring, Interesting
Adventure Genre: Rare female main character

Well written and more interesting than it sounds! If you like the adventure genre and what drives people to extremes, this is an interesting combination of a hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and overcoming a challenging childhood.

 
Romantic, Fun, Insightful
Sweet, upbeat book

Funny, endearing characters make for a quick and enjoyable read in classic English countryside tale

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Difficult, Adventurous
One of the top adventure books of all time

Heartstopping, true story of Everst climb gone terribly wrong. Interestingly, mention this book to most men and it will likely be listed as a favorite.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
Update your Bucket List!

Humorous, charming and quick read about a woman fullfilling the life long goals of another woman she accidentally kills, thereby finding her own meaning in life.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
Terrific book club discussion

Would you take a test to find out if you have early onset if it ran in your family? That started a rousing discussion that never slowed down from this positive, informative and important book

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Informative
Thought Provoking: Your kids future roles at work & home

Well researched book exploring why US women are still so far behind in being represented at top positions and how future roles of men & women at home & work could evolve.

Inferno by Dan Brown
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Fun
History, travel & conspiracy theories

Back to the classic Dan Brown format; a page turner with interesting travel tips for Florence and Venice. Quirky interpretaion of Dante\\\'s Inferno. For the Venice bound: Also try the City of Falling Angels

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
Pointless

Had potential but contrived feel and lack of character development derailed the book for me

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful
Terrific characters; great discussion points

Flawed but realistic characters caught in everyone's worst nightmare with terrific ending

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
historical perspspective of women in era of slavery

This felt like a textbook to me; well researched but never connected with the characters like in Secret Life of Bees; a favorite book of mine

We Are Water: A Novel by Wally Lamb
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Lots of twists and turns at the end

Some thought this started slowly but everyone agreed they did not see the end coming!!! Well written, loved the characterizations

The Round House: A Novel by Louise Erdrich
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
Leaves much to the reader to decide

Good discussion around many points left up to the reader to decide; felt hollow and pointless to me at the end

The Art Forger: A Novel by B. A. Shapiro
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Great way to learn about the art world

Tons of great insights into how the art world works behind the scenes with forgeries and stolen paintings. Fun characters and a few twists make this a great beach read with a point

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Great for parents of \"alternative\" kids

I liked Blink and Outliers better but this is still an interesting look at what we ASSUME incorrectly are strengths and weaknesses. Ex: 1/3 of all successful entrepreneurs have dyslexia

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
Well written, realistic portrayal

Sometimes tough to read, this is a gritty story of lost kids without hope who somehow keep fighting back, not always with the best of outcomes. The language of flower portion was fascinating.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Great book club discussion about personal style & how we fit into our culture

Many in our book club were surprised to find that we were a combination of introverts and extroverts in a society that only values extroverts. It actually changed the way we ran our meetings; absolutely worth the read if you know, are married to or have a child with some introverted tendencies!

Divergent by Veronica Roth
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Choose your personality trait!

Clever page turner in which you choose your dominant personality trait (adventurous, a learner, a giver, etc) to live with in a future society. Themes of family loyalty, power and conflict.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Informative
Voted a Top Pick by our Book Club

I thought i had read a fair amount in this genre, but Unbroken is in a class by itself. Brilliant and haunting, a true testament to human spirit and will

 
Insightful, Informative, Dramatic
Could have been a great book...

The story line is fascinating but the characters were never fully developed. I loved "Me Before You" but this did not have the same depth.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Insightful
Bookstore lovers heaven

An inspiring and delightful read for those who love bookstores and the quirky and funny people who populate them. Great for book clubs: short, easy read, best seller and thoughtful.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
 
Fun, Insightful, Interesting
Repetitive

The author could halve the length of the book and not lose any information; the letters were too long, in my opinion and characters not well developed.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Easy beach read

A very hip grandmother tells the immigration story of her Jewish family. Fun if you know Boston and great look at how far women have come. Red tent lovers may be disappointed by lack of plot; this is memoir style.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
Inspires and haunts simultaneously

The incredible courage of average people up against the overwhelming peer pressure to conform in wartime. I know I have a read a great book when I can still picture the characters many months later.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
Out of Africa untold story!

Beryl is third leg of untold romance in Out of Africa. WAY more interesting than lead in Out of Africa; this tells the true story! Outstanding discussion

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Insightful, Inspiring
Not as compelling as Me Before You but a fun follow up

If you really enjoyed the characters in Me Before You, this is an enjoyable follow up with interesting plot twists.

The Martian by Andy Weir
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
Page turner for adventure lovers

Don't let the heavy science orientation at the beginning of the book put you off! Great characters and clever plot create a surprisingly successful and plausible tale

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
 
Beautiful, Insightful, Fun
Formula driven; no substance

Slow and formula driven. I think it would be hard for book clubs to have a lot to talk about beyond nature vs nurture

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
Short and Inspiring

Remarkable, beautifully written book about 36 year old Neurosurgeon's quest for spiritual clarity becomes more than philosophical when he gets terminal cancer

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
Sparked great club discussion

Classical writing style not loved by all but topics of race, women, equality resonate today. Great discussion over how time and place shape views both then and today.

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Fun
Engaging & Fun

An engaging and fun "beach read". Familiar characters and issues from substance abuse to family inheritances to birth order impact; lots to discuss!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Slow
For Downton Abby fans

Engaging, memorable women characters striving for the best in changing and challenging times. Beautifully written, a rare 5 star review from me!

 
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Slow and gloomy

Hard to get into and hard to stick with; poor character development

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Interesting
Quirky and fun beach read

Upbeat book store story; bit contrived but funny and engaging

America's First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Stranger than fiction...

Well researched historical fiction. Fast paced epic about Jefferson's daughter, twists and turns galore.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
Feel good, little known 9/11 backstory

Had the potential to be a fabulous book but the factual style got in the way of character development. Wonderful story of ingenuity and generosity in face of adversity

The Sympathizer: A Novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Brilliant
Vietnam from a perspective you never saw coming

An unforgettable book that will not blend in with all the bestsellers; a clear and humorous yet intense voice from a totally different perspective.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Insightful
Addictive Beach Read Thriller/Mystery

Beach read with a twist; interesting plot based on a private jet crash with survivors

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Graphic
Sparked great club discussion

Cleverly written and epic journey of black history and slavery. Sparked a rapid fire discussion on multiple topics. The material was equally or less graphic than Kitchen House, Invention of Wings and similar genre

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