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My Reviews

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful
Magical journey

I love the way Katrina writes...everything is so down to earth, sometimes when you read words like insightful and inspiring you might be tempted to think it will be a preachy kind of book. Not so! Katrina writes about the everyday issues we all go through, making no claims to have the answers. It's a book you will reread because every year you are at a different place in your life

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
Before I Go to Sleep

Excellent book. Keeps you guessing through -- Are chris's new memories real? does she trust Ben or not? I wanted more at the end

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
 
Book Club Recommended
The Pieces We Keep

Excellent book. This book had me from the very beginning and was very hard to put down. You have to get used to reading each chapter from a different time period but its not hard. And I love how the charachters start to come together mid book. A definite book for your list!

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

I was disappointed in this book. Maybe because i spent the money to purchase the hard cover vs getting it fro the library. I loved the Red Tent. I did not think this book was of the same caliber. If you hadn't read the review o the book its wasn't very clear she was telling her story to her granddaughter..and I would have liked to see more of a 2 way dialogue between the two She really only concentrated on the very beginning of Addie;s life...what happened once she got married, had kids, how did her "career" do after that. A little too superficial for my taste. And that disappointed me because I thought the plot was wonderful. Having said all that, it rporably is a good book for a book club.

The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton
 
Book Club Recommended

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Romantic, Dramatic

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Romantic, Graphic

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Gloomy, Beautiful

Brothers and Bones by James Hankins
 
Book Club Recommended

The Professor by Robert Bailey
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
 
Dark, Confusing, Boring

The Stationery Box by Janice Blessington Kenny
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful

Vintner's Daughter: A Novel by Kristen Harnisch
 
The Vintners Daughter

good beach read but quick easy, not deep

 
Book Club Recommended
The Kept

a rather odd book -doesn't take you long to figure it out, but it is still odd and a bit gloomy

As Close As Sisters by Colleen Faulkner
 
As Close as Sisters

chic book; beach read; not my most favorite for a book club read

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
 
Fun, Romantic, Interesting
Garden Spells

I did like this book -- bit of whimsy and fantasy to it and if you don't mind this kind of story, its a good beach read. The Sequel FIRST FROST is ok, not quite as good

 
Book Club Recommended
Against Wind and Tide

its an interesting look into Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life...a bit boring at times but does make you think about choices you would make in life. And it covers a 40 year span in which culture changes dramatically

The Martian by Andy Weir
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
The Martian

you will either love this or hate it. Some of the technical parts were boring reading, but the concept of an astronaut being left on Mars and how to rescue them is an interesting one.

Sisterland: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
Sisterland

interesting concept that twin sisters are also psychic...one embraces her uniqueness, the other does not. But can you totally walk away from something like that? interesting read

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Inspiring, Dramatic
Secret Wisdom of the Earth

I loved this book. a type of "coming of age" story without being boring.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Confusing, Adventurous
The Book of Speculation

this is a quirky kind of book. Not my most favorite but a pretty good read. There is enough in here to keep you interested and to see what happens in the end. Good twists and revelations to the ending.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
Circling the SUn

love the characters and that they were real people. Well written, easy to ready, makes me want to know more about how people lived in Africa in this time period

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Adventurous, Slow
The Little Paris Bookshop

confusing in places but glad I stuck with it until the end. Interesting throughout but was happy with the ending

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
loved this book!

I was not a fan of "Museum of Extraordinary Things" but in this book Alice Hoffman redeems herself. Well written, a wonderful story, the characters intertwine and are wonderful. and in the end, you do understand the screts and why the characters acted as they did. Excellent discussion for book clubs

A Place at the Table: A Novel by Susan Rebecca White
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Interesting
interesting

The lives of three characters are interwoven in this story. While most of it centers on Bobby, a young gay man in the 70's, you spend time wondering how the other two women are going to be woven into his life. All are connected to a cafe in Manhattan and i really liked how the other brought it all together in the end.

Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Orhans inheritance

I knew very little about this part of history so in that respect it peaked my interest and does make me want to know a bit more. I wanted a little more from the ending but not quite sure how else it could have ended. well written

Nora Webster: A Novel by Colm Toibin
 
Insightful, Gloomy, Slow
Nora Webser

found it without substance and boring

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
The Double Bind

found this book to be excellent. Maybe also because I was aware of the homeless shelter in Vermont and could relate to some of the information. Ending is unexpected

Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel by Kimberly McCreight
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Reconstructing Amelia

how well does any parent know their child? some of it predictable, but good read

The Edge of Lost by Kristina Mcmorris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
The Edge of Lost

The author does a great job of interweaving the stories of two seemingly different characters. Easy read, good book

Nearer Than The Sky by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark
Nearer Than sky

if you like this author you will like this book. Interesting threads for a book club to discuss.

Necessary Lies: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Dramatic
Necessary lies

Loved the development of the characters in this book, learning about the Eugenics program, Would have loved to know more about Janes character and life after the initial story and through the rest of her life.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
 
Interesting, Dark, Boring
Silver Sparrow

i rated this as not for a book club but others might disagree. story is told from the perspective of both girls. I found the characters wimpy and wanted the second wife to stand up for herself more. But others might find the concepts interesting to discuss precisely because of that. I wanted a bit more from the ending. so not my favorite.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
The Invisible Wall

written in 2008 when the author was 92! He wrote this after his wife died. time period is right before WW I , set in England, where Harry's family can barely make ends meet. His father prefers to spend his money on drinking and gambling and it is Harry's mom that holds the family together. there is an "invisible wall" on Harry's street where christians live on one side and the Jews live on the other. Harry's sister does the unthinkable and falls in love with a christian and Harry must keep the secret.
this is a memoir. the author did write a sequel to this book which i have not read.

Clara Callan: A Novel by Richard B. Wright
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Interesting
not my most favorite book

not my most favorite book but now a bad story. set in the 1930's how the sisters' lives progress certainly make for a fair amount of discussion for a book club.

The House at Tyneford: A Novel by Natasha Solomons
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Insightful
house at tyneford

a kind of downton abbey book..but a little later in time and connected to the history of WW II. easy read. great romantic story laced with history

Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Addictive
good read

took me a little bit to get into it in the beginning but it is a very good story

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Informative, Adventurous
a bit dry

this is not an exciting book to read and when i first started i thought i might not finish But I fell in love with the main character Alma and found i had to keep reading got see what would happen. Its a long book but i did enjoy the story and there is a LOT for a book club to talk about.

The Orchardist: A Novel by Amanda Coplin
 
Slow, Insightful, Gloomy

I find it dificutlt to understand these characters and how they lived as they did with little or poor communication. i would have been interested to know how Angelene had functioned as an adult after the childhood she had and being left as an orphan at 17

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting

I love all of Kate Morton's books and this one was not a disappointment. I would get a little confused flipping between time frames and characters stories, so you need to pay attention and read carefully. Excellent read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Dramatic, Insightful

 
Dramatic, Adventurous, Insightful
death of lucy kyte

the premise of the book is interesting. But if you have not read prior novels with this character, you will have a hard time understanding the issues in her modern day life

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Insightful, Beautiful
A Man Called Ove

many reviews state that if you liked the Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Frye you will like this book. This wasn't a good incentive for me as I didn't care for Harold Frye. But I did love this book. The writing and the character in the beginning put me off a bit. But i have to admit as the chapters went on I really wanted to see what happened to this old curmudgeon. The impact one life can have on others is really the premise of this book. Its an easy read, the characters are great and it is funny as well as poignant. Great read

What She Knew: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
good read

a great who done it with a multiple list of who could have. keeps you guessing until the end! good read.

Singing Bird by Roisin McAuley
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Adventurous
good beach read

this was suprisiingly a good story..s.imple and easy to read and kept my interest!

The Uninvited: A Novel by Cat Winters
 
Book Club Recommended

Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor by Judith Magyar Isaacson
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative

there are many books out there about holocost survivors, This is a good one - gives you the perspective from a young girl who grows up quickly and information about what happened to women in the camps and during the war. would like to know more about what she told her family (children) as they were growing up , about her experience, as it seems she did not open up about her experiences until she was older.

The Turtle Warrior: A Novel by Mary Relindes Ellis
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Insightful
the turtle warrior

the lucas farm is in disrepair thanks to the neglect and drinking of John Lucas. He brutalizes his wife and two sons. The oldest, James, escapes by enlisting and going to Vietnam. That leaves young Billy tot take care of his mother. The story is told from a the point of view of a variety of characters which sometimes can be confusing - but in this case gives a variety of points of view which is excellent. The time period spans from the end of WW II to the year 2000. Very good read.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Cellist of Sarajevo

it is a dark, sad book. But tells the story of that time ...a story i think is easy for the world to forget

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
One Thousand White WOmen

Excellent book

The Guest Room: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
The Guest Room

Story about sex slave trafficking...so interesting from that perspective. It gives you some info regarding the background, but might not be the best book to read on it. Easy read and entertaining.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Rosemary

This book is about the Kennedy Daughter who was intellectually disabled. new sources bring her alive as a girl adored but left behind. What happened to Rosemary inspired her siblings to direct attention to the plight of the disabled. It is VERY interesting to see the thought of the times about how to treat and work with this population, how a family reacts and copes, and makes you think about what is different today from then Very good read

The Secret Chord: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
The Secret Chord

Reinterprets the well known episodes of David's life - inspired by biblical references it is told through the eyes of the courtier who both counseled and castigated David and who is said to have chronicled his life. I thought it was a good story and read other reviews after I read the book. While i find myself agreeing with some of the criticism of this book, I still enjoyed the read and think it is worthwhile

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative

am not sure if i would recommend this to a book club just because is such a simple, easy read - more of a beach read. and it is the first in a series of three. But it IS based on a true historical character and that in itself is interesting and could bring some good discussion about this time in history

The Muralist: A Novel by B. A. Shapiro
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Addictive
the muralist

Alizee Benoit is an artist in the US who vanishes in NYC in 1940. no one know what has happene to her - her Jewish family in France, her artistic patron Eleanor Roosevelt, or her abstract expressionist artist friends. 70years later , her great niece Danielle is attempting to piece together what may have happened to her as she believes some paintings found hidden behind possible works of art could be attributed to her. this is by the author or the Art Forger While I don't think it is a thorough as her first book I did like. Historical fiction - it does make yo think about things that happened in that historical era. Reading criticisms after I read the book, I do agree with some - the characters are not very deep and do tend to fall flat; not a lot of difference in how the story is told even though from two different viewpoints But having said that, it held my interest, and does make you think about the events of the time. Worth the read.

 
Dramatic, Slow, Romantic
seires

i have read the entire series. decent beach reads. my least favorite was the first one - Tess because it ended without you knowing what else happened in Tess's life. You do get a sense of it in the last book , where loose needs are tied up, but it still could have been done better. books are easy reads, not very deep, and the last one is the best - brings all the characters together.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark, Pointless

20 year old twin sisters have an intense attachment to each other. Their mothers sister has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. The conditions are that their parents cannot enter it and they hav ego live in it for a year (their mother and aunt were also twins). The girls move to London and become involved with their neighbors, one of which was their aunt's lover. They discover that much is still alive in that area, including possibly, their aunt.
this book was written by the same author as The Time Traveler's Wife, so it does have an underlying theme of oddness. If you can accept odd premises, very good read.

Noah's Wife by Lindsay Starck
 
Slow, Gloomy, Unconvincing
not sure I liked this...

NOah and his wife arrive in a little town in the hills where it has been raining since they can't remember when. But she and her minister husband attempt to revive the congregation but as the rain intensifies, so do all their problems. I'm not convinced I like this book I found it a bit boring at times, the plot implausible, characters were odd, and some had names and some didn't. What WAS the name of the main character? we never find out. Themes of faith, stories that connect and don't might be worth a discussion but found it difficult

Find Her by Lisa Gardner
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Insightful, Dark
Find Her

FLora Dane was a college student that was kidnapped and held for 472 days before being rescued. She has spent the past five years trying to reconnect with society. but when she is discovered bound and naked at the scene of a dead man, is she victim or vigilante? This book was excellent. A who dun nit , murder mystery, it looks at the issues of victim, perpetrator and survivor issues. So once you get past the mystery part, there are the survivor issues. Very well written

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
The Forgetting Tie

Single mom Jane is trying to figure out what is going on with her four year old Noah. He has never been ordinary - loves to make up stories and knows trivia he shouldn't know. But his behavior is getting more odd and worrisome. The school orders her to get a psychiatric evaluation. Jerry has been diagnosed with progressive degenerative aphasia. his research for his entire life has been on chidden who remember past lives. Jane, Jerry and Noah are drawn together to try and solve Noah's issues. Good book albeit an odd premise. Lots of good discussion for a book club. not a lot of action - the story is mostly about what the characters are thinking and their reactions to the story as it unfolds. So I did find myself skimming some areas. But a good story

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Unconvincing
the girl in the red coat

you can read the synopsis of the story on the jacket and all the reviews below. I do agree with many of the criticisms of this book - it really isn't a thriller in the true sense of the word; was the faith /religion theme of the book truly believable?; the whole issue of getting to America raises many questions; the conclusion of the book was a bit rushed. So having said all that , I still thnk it was an excellent book. Is the theme of kidnapping an 8 year old unsettling? yes, especially how easily the author makes it. But isn't that a real problem in today's society? The author does a great job of providing insight into the mind of a mother whose life is now filled with grief. It did amaze me how she kept the 8 year old character from losing her identity - and am not so sure that would really happen - - but who knows. Defnitely a book to read and one that you have to read in good size chunks to keep up with the story!

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Brilliant
no one knows

you can easily read the summary of this book from other reviews...so am not going to repeat myself....I totally enjoyed this book!! i get that some are tired of repeats of GONE GIRL, and it IS like that. So if you too are tired of it, do not read it. If you like a thriller with twists and turns, this one is for you. I actually do also agree with some of the criticisms but glad i didn't read them until i was done with the book. Good one to read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
go set a watchman

am glad i read this book and was interesting to see other reviews. Most people either loved it or didn't like it at all. hard to describe. I personally don't think its another TKAM, and the characters are different. I did have a hard time remembering that this book was written first and that did make it confusing as I read. I would also love to know what changed in Harper Lee's mind t change some things as she then wrote TKAM. There are some good points in this book and some redeeming qualities to make it a worthwhile read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Martha's Vineyard

if you are a Susan Branch fan, you will be adding this to your collection. It is the third in a trilogy - sort of autobiographical . if you've loved her cookbooks,these three books are an excellent answer to all your questions: how did she get interested in cooking, painting; how did she get her first book published; how did she end up on Marthas' vineyard and meet Joe? Definitely more fun to read in order although i did not: The Fairy Tale Girl, Martha's Vineyard, A fine Romance. while there are fewer recipes in this book , there is still her fabulous art work. This year will be the 30th anniversary of her first cookbook -Heart of the Home and a new updated edition will be out in June.

 
Informative, Interesting, Fun
geography of bliss

would give it 2.5 stars. Thought the idea behind the title of this book was great so was curious. The author travels to some of the world's most contented and uncontested places - what can we learn from the inhabitants of different cultures, and how changing your location can change your mood. he travels to India, Bhutan, Switzerland , Iceland. What i really wanted was the Cliff Note version of his book -- the stories that he thought were "related" were a little long and much for me

Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Dramatic
Drawing in the DUst

When called upon by a young Arab couple to investigate a cistern that lies beneath their home, Page Brookstone discovers more than she bargained for. The couple believes there is a reason the spirits of two lovers keep appearing in their home, while Page's colleagues believe they are insane and Page should stay away. However she investigates the site and discovers is is not a cistern but a tomb. In it are the remains of the prophet Jeremiah and possibly his lover, along with ancient scrolls. The story starts off a bit slow,,,but it does pick up and overall I did like it. At the end there are some areas that are a bit unbelievable and the scenes are stretching it a bit. but there are two love stories that intertwine and blend history and fiction.

Deadline by Sandra Brown
 
Dramatic, Interesting, Fun
deadline

mystery. Journalist back from Afghanistan suffering from post traumatic stress, covering a new development in a story that started 40 years ago with domestic terrorists. starts to cover the disappearance and presumed murder of Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of a pair who remain on the FBI"s most wanted list. As he delves into the story he finds himself having feelings for Jeremy's ex wife. Lots of twists and turns -- not a bad beach read. I liked her previous books better

Two Rivers by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
Two Rivers

In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes.

Then one fall day, a train derails in Two Rivers, and amid the wreckage Harper finds an unexpected chance at atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl with mismatched eyes and skin the color of blackberries, needs a place to stay. Though filled with misgivings, Harper offers to take Maggie in. But it isn't long before he begins to suspect that Maggie's appearance in Two Rivers is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be.

this was not my favorite Greenwood book. it did take me at least 1/2 of the book to get hooked. i don't agree with the reviewers who gave it 5 starts - don't think it was that fantastic. However I am glad I stuck with it and had everything come together at the end. I would agree with some of the constructive criticism that the characters are a bit cliche, and there did seem to be a lot of meandering around the story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Informative
the movement of starts

t is 1845 and Hannah Price has lived all her life according to the principles of the Nantucket Quaker community in which she was raised. She is an Astronomer and she dreams of discovering a comet (this is historical fiction based on the life of Maria Mitchell who WAS a young woman who discovered a comet) Then she meets Isaac Martin, a dark skinned whaler from the Azores who has ambitions beyond his expected station in life. Hannah agrees to tai him on as a student, meeting with him for private tutorials in her fathers' observatory. Their shared passion for astronomy develops into something deeper and her standing in the community begins to unravel , challenging her beliefs about life and love. There is a feminist thread, as well as a religious one involving quakers and questioning the beliefs. Not my most favorite book but interesting. I found the beginning sluggish and hard to get into. I did not find the "romance" part believable, at least based on how the author described it. But I did find her passion for astronomy interesting and her continued efforts to find what she knew was out there in the heavens. Also found the feminist thread interesting - that she would stand up and no fold into what society wanted her to do. I found the ending abrupt and would have liked a little more

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Difficult, Dark
the third life of grange copeland

would give this three 1/2 stars. Grange copeland is a black tenant farmer in Georgia. Despondent over the futility of life in the south, he leaves his wife and son to head north. Life isn't what he expected there either, and ends up coming back to Georgia to try and right some things he has done wrong. He returns to his where is son is grown, married, with children, and just in time to help raise his granddaughter after his son is sent to jail for killing his wife. It is a disturbing book about violence in the black community in the 50's and 60's and what life is like for them the. Some of this is based on real happenings in the author's life. It is her first book. I did find it hard to get into and did find it hard to read about this kind of life. but it is definitely worth the read.

Leisure Seeker, The: A Novel by Michael Zadoorian
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Difficult
Leisure Seeker

The Robinas have shared a wonderful life for over 60 years. Now in their 80's, Ella suffers from cancer and John has Alzheimers. Yearning for one last adventure, the self proclaimed "down on their luck geezers" kidnap themselves, leave their adult children and doctors, and leave their Detroit suburban home on a forbidden vacation. Ella is the co pilot and John drives their 78 Leisure Seeker RV along Rt 66 toward Disneyland in search of a past they are having a hard time remembering.
This is a bit of a depressing story - you know how it is going to end. It catches you because it is so real. If you were in their positions , you might make the same choices. They are taking their lives in their own hands and finishing it the way they want. Not a bad read

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Fun
the nest

you can read the premise of the book in other reviews so i won't reiterate here. It is not the best book I've ever read but definitely entertaining. I agree with most of the positive AND constructive comments. I do think the family dynamics are interesting and like the fact that the dynamics change from beginning to end, Having said that, the characters mostly drove me crazy and I wanted to slap all of them at some point throughout the story. But feeling so strongly about characters in a story must be a sign of a good read I think. Yes they are shallow and yes they are insufferable - as are many people in real life. Worth the read

The Widow by Fiona Barton
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
The Widow

would give this three stars. Not quite sure how I feel about it. jean is married to a man that is accused of kidnapping a child. There is not enough evidence to bring him to trial and she has always been the obedient wife, standing by him. when he is hit by a car and is killed, everyone wants her story. What was it like to live with that man, etc? i'm not so sure i would call it a "riveting" story. It is interesting , but the ending seems to be rushed and a little anticlimactic. You feel badly for jean and the circumstances she is put in, but you do wonder why she stays in the situation she does. Worth the read.

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Dramatic, Addictive
while beauty slept

Elise hears her great granddaughter recount a tale about a beautiful princes awakened by a handsome prince. It pushes open door to the past. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered - and she is the only one left who knows the truth of what happened so many years ago. As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back into that magnificent world. Fleeing a harsh existence, she builds a new life for herself as a servant to the royal family. Elise has guarded their secrets - and her own - for a lifetime. This is her story.
Not an exceptionally "deep" book, but definitely a fun and interesting read. In fact, i read it two years ago and reread for a book club choice and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

Tinkers by Paul Harding
 
Beautiful, Slow, Difficult
Tinkers

I had a hard enough time understanding the reviews on the back flap of this book, let alone understanding the book. george is dying and in his last fews days , as he drifts in and out of conscsiouness, he relives his life and memories of his father. But they are not just his memories. The story of his father is told as well. One paragraph you are in george's life, the next you are in his fathers - difficult to follow. The ending was abrupt. Did not care for this book at all.

The Yearbook by Carol Masciola
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Addictive
the yearbook

Misfit teen Lola is failing in school, living in a group home, social workers watching her like a hawk and wiring for her to show signs of the mental illness that killed her mother. She falls asleep in a storage room in the school after finding an old yearbook. she wakes up in that time period - 80 year in the past. She is determined to make a new future for herself in this past - but is it real? Short , easy read. a bit fantastic maybe but a good page turner! highly recommend it.

My Antonia by Willa Cather
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Pointless, Insightful
My Antonia

three and 1/2 stars. Read this in high school and just re read for a book club. I found that one reviewer states it didn't have much of a plot but that the words create pictures of the west. i would say that's an accurate description of this book. It is a story about home and homesickness and numerous other smaller stories about immigrants and their life when they come to the west. I sometimes find writers go overboard on "descriptions" and the story gets boring. But I don't think this does that - you get enough description of what it was like to live the hard life in the west without being ready to toss the book down. And its just the right length. Glad I reread this book.

The Things We Keep: A Novel by Sally Hepworth
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
The Things We Keep

i would give this 3 1/2 to 4. easy read. good beach read. A bit depressing since the main character is 38 with early onset Alzheimers. She is put in an assisted living facility where she unexpectedly finds love with another resident. Eve finds herself suddenly a single mother at the same facility and is put in a position where she has to decide how far she will go to help the two in love. Raises a lot of ethical questions for discussion.

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dark, Scary

Undressing The Moon by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Dramatic
undressing the moon

At 30 Piper feels too young to be dying. Cancer has eaten away her strength;; she'd be alone but for a childhood friend who has come home by chance. Yet with the questions of her future before her, she's adrift in the past, remembering the fateful summer she turned 14 and her life changed forever.
Her nervous father's job search seemed stalled as he hung around the house watching her mother's every move. Finally her restless, artistic mother finally left. With no one to rely on Piper struggled to hold on to what was important. She had a brother who loved her, a teacher enthralled with her potential.
A good story but I still felt things lacking. I would have liked closure between Piper and her teacher, closure between her and her mother. I wanted her and Becca to fight for the bone marrow transplant. I would have like Becca's character to be fleshed out a bit more. but definitely worth the read.

The Arrivals: A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative
the arrivals

It's early summer when Ginny and William's peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt.

First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood - only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.

By summer's end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family - and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true. (less)

many reviewers felt like this was real life. I thought the adult children were whiney and spoiled. I get a little of the whiney part because of the situations they were going through, but it continued and I found them thoughtless. Which is what led to the missing child at the end . You don't let a 3 year old out of car, tell her to go in the house and then leave. so seriously, that character annoyed me. It took a long time for Ginny to say something and then when she did, she backtracked when she found out why Lillian was there. Maybe realistic because all us adult parents would help our kids in these situations. Not my favorite book BUT a lot to discuss for a book club.

 
Fun, Interesting, Slow
stories I only tell my friends

three if you like to read star autobiographies. It was fair - - interesting stories and amazing situations he has been in , in his life. But I wouldn't have missed it if I didn't read it.

The Two-Family House: A Novel by Lynda Cohen Loigman
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
the two family house

In the middle of a blizzard in a two family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart. The mothers are sisters in laws. Rose has three girls and is a dutiful, quiet wife who wants nothing more than to please her husband. Helen is warm and generous and the exhausted mother of 4 boys. They raise their families side by side, supporting each other. When the storm passes, life seems to return to normal , but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and the once deep friendship between the two women begins to unravel. no one know why and no one can stop it. I did love this book. I loved how the characters evolved, even if you guessed the issues and why they were occurring. Good read

 
Interesting, Life Changing, Informative
the finest hours

n the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.



In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.



The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.
was a little dry to read but an amazing story and hard to believe men will go out into the sea for these kinds of rescues

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Insightful, Interesting
the awakening

the story of one woman's search for personal freedom. written in 1899 it was far ahead of its time and aroused a storm of controversy. I always have difficulty reading older books or classics. This one was easier to read. While it was not the most exciting book I've read, you do have to appreciate the subject matter and how the author follows it , for a book written in 1899. Although i can't agree with the descriptions some give it. Examples: I would not describe it as a "passionate physical love affair" - I didn't get that from the writing. Some other reviews find the main character self centered and believe she had other options - not so sure she did in that time frame. Would make for good discussion in a book group.

America's First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
america's first daughter

If you like historical fiction, this is a good one. Ihave to admit it started out slow for me and i wasn't too sure about it. But the more you get into the story and the history, the more you want to know. Patsy is Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter. She knows he loves his family but he devotion to his country runs deep. When her mother dies, Patsy has made a death bed promise and she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion. She witnesses two revolutions (american and french), learns about her fathers liaison with Sally Hemings, etc. The themes present throughout this book - sacrifice and women's limited choices in this revolutionary era- can create hours of discussion. Almost everything we know of Thomas Jefferson is what she let pass to us in posterity in family papers -- which historians agree were certainly edited, both in which ones we have and by what is not there. Makes you want to learn more of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello. Good read

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Most Wanted

Christine and her husband are desperate for a baby. Unable to conceive, they decide to use a donor. Two months pass and Christine is pregnant. But one day she is shocked to see a young blonde man on the TV news being arrested for a series of brutal murders. He bears an undeniable resemblance to her donor. Christine feels she must delve deeper to find out if he is indeed her donor. What would you do if the biological father of your unborn child was a serial killer? A major thread in this book is infertility and the issue of testing for sperm donors. Good information. but I did find the character of Christine unbelievable. Seriously......you would pick up everything and go to a prison to meet the arrested alleged killer in an attempt to find out if he was innocent and our donor? then you play detective because you do believe he is innocent? And her husbands reaction to all of what is going on is over the top.

The Affair by Colette Freedman
 
Book Club Recommended
the affair

would give this a three to 3.5. Ater 18 years of marriage , Kate has settled into a pattern of comfortable routines with teenagers, supporting her husband in his business and taking care of their home. Then one day she discovers a suspicious number on her husbands cell phone. Six years ago she accused him of infidelity which he denied. Now she must decide whether to follow her suspicions at the risk of losing everything or true the man with whom she has built a life. She is confronted with surprising truths about friends , family and her own motivations. An interesting premise for a book, and told from all three perspectives: the wife, the husband, the mistress. I did like that part of it but by the time you reach the mistresses viewpoint you are tired of reading the same story again - maybe necessary, but repetitive and boring. Seems reviewers either loved this or disliked it. It did resolve rather abruptly but it does a good job of looking at viewpoints.

 
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
A Good Man

 
Interesting, Beautiful, Adventurous
Death at La Fenice

There is little violent crime in Venice. But the evils that does occasionally rear its head is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane, vice commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable abilities must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice. As the investigation unfolds, a chilling picture slowly begins to take shape - - a detailed portrait of revenge. The challenge will be narrowing the suspects to one.
pretty good mystery....there is a series of books following with the same policy commissario.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
the rainbow comes and goes


Mother and son spend a year sharing their most private thoughts via email. It's helpful if you know a little of Gloria Vanderbilt's life history but Cooper tries to fill in where appropriate so you understand the conversations. Its an interesting way to write a book -- I liked it. When his mother turned 91 and was ill, Cooper did this because he didn't want anything left unsaid between them, as he realized her mortality. Thoughtful reflections on life, bonds between parent and child and certainly a fascinating life story.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin
 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Mrs Kennedy and Me

3.5 stars
secret service agent Clint Hill was assigned to guard First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. He envisioned read parties, etc. But as soon as he met her , he was swept up in her spirit, humor, etc. He was her SS agent for four years - through numerous family events both happy and sad. This is his story of the intimate moments of that assignment and his relationships with the then first family. He will forever be remembered as the agent who courageously raced to the back of the presidential limo in the middle of JFK's assassination. was an interesting book --his memoirs and take of that period in history. Its interesting to see how Jackie pictured how her life in the WHite House should be and how she tried to arrange her family's life. you keep having to remind yourself of the period in time - no cell phones, less of a visible role for the First Lady, journalism and TV not as immediately available as of today. Also interesting to see how much time she actually spent away from the WHtie House. AN interesting read.

The Rift by Walter J. Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic
the Rift

wrtten in 1999....NOvel about the largest earthquake since 1755...8.9 on the Richter scale. Takes place in New Madrid Missouri. Scientists had predicted the disaster but no one paid any attention. Within minutes there is nothing but chaos and ruin as America's heartland falls into the nightmare know as the rift. - a fault line in the earth. The real terror begins for the survivors: nuclear waste in the water supply, a sheriff KKK who seeks racial vengeance, et.c. A very long book but interesting, especially since there is in deed a large fault across middle America.

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Addictive
The Flyng Circus

From the bestselling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farm boy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America’s heartland in the Roaring Twenties.

Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price—and one of them won’t be able to survive it.

As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable, and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure—worldly or private—they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.
some did think this book was a bit gloomy...and in some spots it was. But I liked the way the author developed the characters and intertwined them. I liked reading about this period in history....I would have liked the ending to be a bit more in depth. But still an excellent book.

 
Epic, Interesting, Informative
Fortune's Children:The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt: The very name is synonymous with the Gilded Age. The family patriarch, "the Commodore,” built a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after his death, no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Written by descendant Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, Fortune's Children traces the dramatic and amazingly colorful history of this great American family, from the rise of industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt to the fall of his progeny—wild spendthrifts whose profligacy bankrupted a vast inheritance.

A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
a star for mrs blake

would give this three and a half
The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women.

They are strangers at the start, but their lives will become inextricably intertwined, altered in indelible ways. These very different Gold Star Mothers travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to say final good-byes to their sons and come together along the way to face the unexpected: a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.

None of these pilgrims will be as affected as Cora Blake, who has lived almost her entire life in a small fishing village off the coast of Maine, caring for her late sister’s three daughters, hoping to fill the void left by the death of her son, Sammy, who was killed on a scouting mission during the final days of the war. Cora believes she is managing as well as can be expected in the midst of the Depression, but nothing has prepared her for what lies ahead on this unpredictable journey, including an extraordinary encounter with an expatriate American journalist, Griffin Reed, who was wounded in the trenches and hides behind a metal mask, one of hundreds of “tin noses” who became symbols of the war.

Interesting book....I do like historical fiction and this is a time period where there is very little. Seems reviewers either liked it or not...very mixed. I do thnk it was on the slow side . But while it was a book i could easily put down, I am glad I finished it. As usual, i wanted more closure for some of the characters at the end. It was a bout a little know fact and time period of American history. I think that it would lend itself to interesting discussion at a book club!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Life Changing, Dramatic
Sudden Sea

3-4 stars
It was the perfect storm but instead of raging far out in the Atlantic, the Great Hurricane of 1938 left a wake of death and destruction across seven states. Sudden Sea re creates that terrifying september day in detail, focusing on the human drama that unfolded in an unlikely alignment of meteorological conditions. The entire coastline of New England was remapped. The book draws on newspaper accounts, personal testimony of survivors and archival footage. Families and communities were totally changed. Fascinating book and shows you how little we could forecast in this time period and how slow communication was. Good read if you like this kind of book

 
Informative
Growing up Patton

if you like history info, you will like this. Written by the grandson of the WW II general George S. Patton. Benjamin is a documentary filmmaker, and explores his family legacy. You learn a bit more about the WW II general and how , even though absent, he was a parent to the authors father , who followed in the generals footsteps and became as respected and decorated as the general. some of it is dry, but interesting insight into both military figures and a time in history.

The Precious One: A Novel by Marisa de los Santos
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Romantic
The Precious One

In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk—her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once.

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?

Told in alternating voices—Taisy’s strong, unsparing observations and Willow’s naive, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings—
themes are second chances, starting over and the dynamics of the family unit
i liked the fact that it was told from two different viewpoints....did not make it confusing. And I loved the two major characters. Good read.

 
Interesting, Slow, Boring
Calico Palace

his thrilling story of the California gold rush is not about the forty-niners, the prospectors who came rushing to the San Francisco area in 1849, but about the men and women who were there when it all began with the first discovery of gold in 1848, when San Francisco was a village of 900 people. These were the people who went up to the hills and came back staggering under the weight of the treasure they carried, and who began transforming San Francisco from a shantytown into one of the most brilliant cities in the world.

This novel tells the unforgettable story of how these people walked into one of the most spectacular adventures in the world’s history. They saw the first samples of gold brought to the quartermaster, who said they were flakes of yellow mica. They were there when the first people who saw the gold were laughed at and called “crackbrains.” And they laid the foundation of the golden empire before the first forty-niners got there. Some of them could not meet the demands of this strange new world; others grew stronger and shared the greatness of the country they had helped build. Calico Palace is their story brought to vivid life.
I did find it interesting to her about 'life" in SF during this time...not just gold rush stories. But it is a slow book in a lot of places ....the ending was drawn out so much it was painful. Not sure I would recommend this to read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting
The Shortest Way Home

Three decades ago, Sean Doran’s mother died at 33 of Huntington’s disease, and his father, a merchant marine, left Sean and his two siblings in the care of their cold and distant Aunt Vivian. Though the siblings grow up aware of the threat of Huntington’s, they’ve never been tested; Sean’s sentiment, “I didn’t take it. I didn’t want to know,” is shared by all. Sean, now 44, has spent years exploring the world as a nurse, from one war-torn region to another. But when his brother, Hugh, dies of pneumonia, his sister, Deidre, puts her acting career on hold to care for Hugh’s son, Kevin, and their aunt, who she says has “lost it.” Sean returns from Africa and assumes the parental burden, a responsibility for which he is ill equipped. Soon, he reconnects with Becky, his childhood friend, but their budding romance is threatened by Sean’s pathological reluctance to put down roots, and he has to finally decide what’s most important to him.
I like this author and I liked this book...even though the main character of Sean annoyed me a bit. Yes he has been in out of touch places but seriously -- he could have gotten a cell phone and computer for the time he was coming back to his family in order to assimilate SOMEWHAT into every day life. That was bit unbelievable to me. there was not a not of development of the sister character (Deirdre)..while you know she stayed home and held down the fort , you do not get much of a sense of what her life was really like. A good read though.

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Informative
space between us

Set in contemporary Bombay, Umrigar's second novel (Bombay Time, 2001) is an affecting portrait of a woman and her maid, whose lives, despite class disparity, are equally heartbreaking. Though Bhima has worked for the Dubash family for decades and is coyly referred to as "one of the family," she nonetheless is forbidden from sitting on the furniture and must use her own utensils while eating. For years, Sera blamed these humiliating boundaries on her husband Feroz, but now that he's dead and she's lady of the house, the two women still share afternoon tea and sympathy with Sera perched on a chair and Bhima squatting before her. Bhima is grateful for Sera, for the steady employment, for what she deems friendship and, mostly, for the patronage Sera shows Bhima's granddaughter Maya. Orphaned as a child when her parents died of AIDS, Bhima raised Maya and Sera saw to her education. Now in college, Maya's future is like a miracle to the illiterate Bhima-her degree will take them out of the oppressive Bombay slums, guaranteeing Maya a life away from servitude. But in a cruel mirror of Sera's happiness-her only child Dinaz is expecting her first baby-Bhima finds that Maya is pregnant, has quit school and won't name the child's father. As the situation builds to a crisis point, both women reflect on the sorrows of their lives. While Bhima was born into a life of poverty and insurmountable obstacles, Sera's privileged upbringing didn't save her from a husband who beat her and a mother-in-law who tormented her. And while Bhima's marriage begins blissfully, an industrial accident leaves her husband maimed and an alcoholic. He finally deserts her, but not before he bankrupts the family and kidnapstheir son. Though Bhima and Sera believe they are mutually devoted, soon decades of confidences are thrown up against the far older rules of the class game. A subtle, elegant analysis of class and power. Umrigar transcends the specifics of two Bombay women and creates a novel that quietly roars against tyranny.
I did like this book....well written but there were spots that were a bit slow and agree with most reviewers that the ending left something to be desired.

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Interesting, Unconvincing
what the dead know

thirty years ago, the Bethany girls, ages eleven and fifteen, disappeared from a Baltimore shopping mall. They never returned, their bodies were never recovered, and only painful questions remain. Now, in the aftermath of a rush-hour hit-and-run accident, a clearly disoriented woman is claiming to be Heather, the younger Bethany sister. Not a shred of evidence supports her story, and every lead she reluctantly offers takes the police to another dead end—a dying, incoherent man; a razed house; a missing grave. But she definitely knows something about that terrible day—and about the shocking fissures that the tragedy exposed in the foundation of a seemingly solid family.
this story was very good and a good mystery. However I did not like how the author kept going to different places in time to tell it. Made it hard to follow . But a good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Brilliant, Inspiring
The Tumbling Turner Sisters

in 1919 the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father ,a bookmaker, has an accident that crushes his hand and can no longer work. Their mother decides that the vaudeville stage is the families best chances to make the rent, and build a more exciting life for herself into the bargain. so the girls go on the road with an acrobatic act. It isn't long befure they discover a new type of freedom among the company of performers as diverse as their acts. The story is told in turn by Winnie and Gert , two of the sisters. It is a story of awakening to unexpected possibilities, during an interesting time in American history. the author states that one of the criteria she used for where the turner sisters performed was that the vaudeville houses had to remain in existence today. How fascinating! She wove real vaudeville acts into the story, including her great grandfather. The characters were interesting in this book and while i love this author, I enjoyed this book the best our of the ones I have read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark
The Bright Forever

Few things cause as much distress as the abduction of a little girl; a multiple narrated story. Katie Mackey is nine and lives with older brother Gilley and her parents in the small town of Tower Hill, Ind. The Mackeys own a glassworks, the town's largest business, and Katie is a child of love and privilege, aglow with innocence. On the other side of the tracks is Henry Dees, a lonely bachelor and math teacher, who is Katie's private tutor this summer of 1972. His neighbor is the equally lonely widow, Clare Mains, who has taken up with the self-styled Raymond R., a new arrival and, like Dees, victim of a grim childhood. Ray is not well liked for his know-it-all ways and synthetic folksiness, but Clare, all heart and no brains, is charmed, and marries him. Then, on a perfect summer evening, Katie disappears. Earlier that day, Dees had kissed her and then felt ashamed. He has an out-of-control crush on Katie, having snuck into her bedroom and taken some of her hair. Ray knows all this and has blackmailed Dees, but it's Ray, Dees claims, who took Katie for a ride that evening. It will be days before Katie's body is discovered. While the killer's identity is fairly clear, the author keeps a nagging doubt, serving his theme of the shattering of small-town innocence, Katie's parents feel this guilt as they recall the abortion they agreed on when they were 18. Dees feels it as he acknowledges he had been "dumb to his own mysterious heart." The searchers for Katie feel burdened by "the weight of all their sins." Small wonder, then, that in time Katie's murder will leadto vigilante justice and another missing body. You do have to read this to the end for all the threads to come together. Pretty good book

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Addictive
before the fall

On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
when you read other reviews, people either liked it or not. I think a good beach read and I did find it hard to put down. Kind of ended abruptly I thought. but still worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Addictive
the watchmakers daughter

India Steele is desperate. Her father is dead, her fiancé took her inheritance, and no one will employ her, despite years working for her watchmaker father. Indeed, the other London watchmakers seem frightened of her. Alone, poor, and at the end of her tether, India takes employment with the only person who'll accept her - an enigmatic and mysterious man from America. A man who possesses a strange watch that rejuvenates him when he's ill.

Matthew Glass must find a particular watchmaker, but he won't tell India why any old one won't do. Nor will he tell her what he does back home, and how he can afford to stay in a house in one of London's best streets. So when she reads about an American outlaw known as the Dark Rider arriving in England, she suspects Mr. Glass is the fugitive. When danger comes to their door, she's certain of it. But if she notifies the authorities, she'll find herself unemployed and homeless again - and she will have betrayed the man who saved her life.

classified as historical fantasy -- its a quirky book that held my interest throughout ! Great beach/summer read, not long. my only disappointment was getting to the abrupt end because i didn't realize it was a series. I definitely cannot wait for the next one!!! I need answers!! not sure i would recommend it for a book club....but definitely worth a read on your own

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
the girl who wrote in silk

Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt's island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara's life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.
Some of the critical reviews I read called the writing cliche, cheese, and felt it was trite and juvenile. Most reviewers liked it. Is it a "deep" book, no. But i did think it was entertaining and an easy read. It is a part of history you do not find in the history books and I find that disturbing, but not surprising. We were not a very "tolerant" country in those days. In fact, we still are not. Worth the read

The Next Best Thing: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
 
Fun
the next best thing

at 23 Ruth Saunders headed west with her 70 year old grandmother,hoping to be hired as a television writer. Four years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets "the call". The sitcom she wrote has gotten the green light. But the dreams of Hollywood success is threaened by an avalanche of disasters: demanding actors, number crunching executives, and a crush on the boss. Add to that her grandmothers upcoming nuptials.
Basic beach read, not bad. there were numerous times towards the end that you would think it could end. SO ending a bit drawn out.

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Boring, Pointless
Radio Girls

London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity.

Soon, she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air…and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.

This was not a bad read although I felt the character of Maisie was a bit contrived and a bit hard to believe. However, it is historical fiction and based upon the real director of the BBC when it started - the fact that it was a woman and she was also involved in MI5 activities. The development of the BBC and how it was open in its hiring practices and pay, regardless of gender, makes for interesting reading.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Optimistic
the sparrow sisters

i would give this three and a half stars
Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

this is shades of practical magic
not a bad book.. a good beach read. most reviewers either love it or dislike it...i think its a good read. I would have liked to see more of the relationship between the sisters and how Patience came to be what she is. but it 's a good read.

Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky
 
Romantic
blueprints

Caroline and Jamie McAfee are close. Not only do they enjoy their relationship as mother and daughter, they're in business together as the team that fronts the popular home renovation show Gut It! All is well with these two strong women, but when the network tells Caroline that Jamie is to replace her as host, Caroline feels betrayed by her daughter and old in the eyes of the world.

Jamie is unsettled by the cast change and devastated by her mother's anger, but she has little time to brood when a tragic accident leaves her two-year-old half-brother in her care. Accustomed to a life of order and precision, Jamie suddenly finds herself out of her depth, grappling with a toddler who misses his parents and a fiancé who doesn't want the child.

Amid such devastation, Caroline and Jamie find themselves revising the blueprints they've built their lives around. With loyalties shifting and decisions looming, mother and daughter need each other; but the rift between them is proving difficult to mend. As the women try to remake themselves and rebuild their relationship with each other, they discover that strength and even passion can come from the unlikeliest places. For Caroline, it's an old friend, whose efforts to seduce her awaken desires that have been dormant for so long that she feels foreign to herself. For Jamie, it's a staggering new attraction that allows her to breathe again-and breathe deeply-for the first time in forever.

basic Barbara Delinsky book - decent beach read. not very deep but held my interest

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
the tin ticket

three to three and a half stars


The Tin Ticket takes readers to the dawn of the nineteenth century and into the lives of three women arrested and sent into suffering and slavery in Australia and Tasmania-where they overcame their fates unlike any women in the world. It also tells the tale of Elizabeth Gurney Fry, a Quaker reformer who touched all their lives. Ultimately, this is a story of women who, by sheer force of will, became the heart and soul of a new nation.

a bit slow in some parts since this is not a novel....but a part of history few of us probably are aware of. Much of the story is very sad and hard to believe. Worth the read

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
 
Graphic, Unconvincing, Gloomy
frog music

Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.

The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice—if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.
I did not care for this book and would agree with the rest of the critical reviewers: dark, tedious, characters totally unlikeable. I only finished it so I could find out who the murderer was.
It is historical fiction and the events in SF did indeed happen at that time. I know a lot of research when into it. But it didn't make me like it any better.
there were some reviewers that DID like it so maybe a good one for book clubs. Certainly a lot of historical issues to discuss

The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Pointless, Difficult
the headmasters wife

Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the headmaster of Vermont's elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control. Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family, and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges. Luminous and atmospheric, bringing to life the tight-knit enclave of a quintessential New England boarding school, the novel is part mystery, part love story, and an exploration of the ties of place and family.
I was excited to read this book due to the great reviews it got here and other places. I have to say it was not my cup of tea. It was an easy read and did totally throw me when i finally got the the middle and the second part of the story. But honestly I did not feel the depth of the story OR the characters. Ending was abrupt. I only finished it because it was an easy read and i had to find out what happened.
the only reason I recommended for book clubs is that there are many positive reviews vs mine

A Certain Age: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Fun
a certain age

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties to life i.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

I liked this authors first book and liked this one as well. I did find it a little confusing going back and forth between time periods although they were short spans. The story is told through different characters each chapter. there are surprising twists by the end . You do get a fair amount of historical information about the time period, and the twists and turns are excellent.

The Last One: A Novel by Alexandra Oliva
 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Dramatic, Adventurous
the last one

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
this was a hard book for me to get into....it got confusing going back and forth between the reality game and the current state of affairs. but I'm glad I stuck with it -- a good story.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Dramatic
Truly Madly Guilty

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

reading the reviews here, they seem to be mixed. it takes until the MIDDLE of th book for you to understand what the issue was that occurred at the BBQ. This seems to be what some reviewers did not like about the book. For me, yes it drove me crazy...but drove me crazy to keep reading so i could find out what it was! I really enjoyed this book - but I also like this author. I have enjoyed all her other books as well. There are some twists at the end and there is certainly a lot for a book club to talk about. The one character that I wish had been explored a bit more at the end was Pam. If you liked her other books, definitely give this a try!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
the truth according to us

n the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.

At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion—a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla’s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed—and their personal histories completely rewritten

in the beginning i thought i would be bored by this story. but the author is so good with descriptions and character development that you feel that you are right in this town in the middle of summer. there are no huge surprises..in fact what is great is that the ending is very realistic. Good book

 
Epic, Adventurous, Addictive
the city of mirrors

Cronin delivers a near-perfect finale for his award-winning, best-selling series. With eleven of the twelve Virals destroyed, it seems like humanity can finally breathe a sigh of relief and begin reclaiming the world—but Zero, the last Viral, remains in New York and has other plans. Cronin explores the world before the virus and the people directly responsible for the apocalypse, while also bringing together the characters we’ve come to love and pitting them into a satisfying, heartbreaking climax that will have readers white-knuckled as they read and completely satisfied when they’re done. The final book in the Passage trilogy rewards readers’ patience in a big way.
this is a great series if you like science fiction and apocalyptic kind of stories.
I was waiting for this to end in three different spots....and couldn't figure out why it didn't. but the authors ending was indeed perfect. Excellent book . Do not let the length of the book deter you. A good read but not so sure for book clubs.

The Japanese Lover: A Novel by Isabel Allende
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful, Romantic
the japanese lover

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family—like thousands of other Japanese Americans—are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

loved this book. Was hard in the beginning because I thought that I was missing something about Irinia. But as you get into the book you realize you haven't, So many stories are intertwined. Great read

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
the boy at the top of the mountain

When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler.

Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler's wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.

interesting that the author would choose to write a second book in the time era and about the second World war. A good read

The Status of All Things: A Novel by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke
 
Fun, Optimistic, Romantic
the status of all things

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.

Kate's two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.
this was a decent beach read and cute...just in no way probable so if you like whimsy, its ok
I would read it,just not choose it for a book club choice

The Lost Girls: A Novel by Heather Young
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Gloomy, Dark
the lost girls

In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family—her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine. For Justine, the lake house offers freedom and stability—a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he’s telling.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives to steal her inheritance, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.

I do think this was a "dark, gloomy" story. But a good read....you want to find out what happens in both stories in the book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Dark
remember me this way

Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.

A year after her husband Zach’s death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.

As she makes her way along the road, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.

At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.

Lizzie loved Zach. She really did. But she’s starting to realize she didn’t really know him. Or what he was capable of…

i would give this a 3.5 Its dark, gloomy, spooky, but a good mild thriller. Sometimes I dislike Lizzie, sometimes I don't. The author brings it to good closure. might be good for some book clubs.

 
Fun, Adventurous
last ride to graceland

Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death when she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth.

A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. She quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity—Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took thirty-seven years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling deep south with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind—who is my father?—takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister's daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.

could be a 3.5 starts. Fun read and an interesting premise. I found the main character, Cory, difficult to like. For a 37 year old she was not the brightest lightbulb in the chandelier and was quite annoying. but the major story line was fun and made for a decent read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Optimistic
nine women one dress

Natalie is a Bloomingdale’s salesgirl mooning over her lawyer ex-boyfriend who’s engaged to someone else after just two months. Felicia has been quietly in love with her happily married boss for twenty years; now that he’s a lonely widower, she just needs the right situation to make him see her as more than the best executive assistant in Midtown Manhattan. Andrea is a private detective specializing in gathering evidence on cheating husbands—a skill she unfortunately learned from her own life—and can’t figure out why her intuition tells her the guy she’s tailing is one of the good ones when she hasn’t trusted a man in years. For these three women, as well as half a dozen others in sparkling supporting roles—a young model fresh from rural Georgia, a diva Hollywood star making her Broadway debut, an overachieving, unemployed Brown grad who starts faking a fabulous life on social media, to name just a few—everything is about to change, thanks to the dress of the season, the perfect little black number everyone wants to get their hands on…

there are some negative reviews on this and I respect them..if you are looking for a deep book this is not it. If you are looking for something lighthearted, charming, witty, and fun then this is the book for your. I loved reading about how this dress affected the lives of the pattern maker thru the women who wore it. Easy, beach kind of read. but also the kind of fun book to read on a nice dreary day. Definitely recommend.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Informative
once we were brothers

Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Solomon persuades attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing that the true Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon's own family only to betray them during the Nazi occupation. But has Solomon accused the right man?

it is interesting to read reviews after reading the book. Seems most loved this or disliked it. One reviewer questions that someone in modern times could be so ignorant about the Holocost. to that I would say yes The longer time goes by the more people forget and wonder if that "history" is true. Another felt it was unrealistic to expect that Ctherine , the lawyer , would sit with Ben for so many unbillable hours . Probably so, but its a story!! Some people are tired of reading stories about WWII - i get that...there seem to be a lot lately. But if you are willing to take another on, this is a good one.

Miller's Valley: A Novel by Anna Quindlen
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Beautiful
Millers Valley

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”

I love all of Anna's book and this was no exception. Most of the reviews were excellent and it is hard for me to expand on their comments. Is this an exciting, suspenseful book? No. but as one reviewer stated, it is a "quiet novel, but meaningful". "a subtle read". It didn't start out that way, but the further you go, the less you want to put it down. I wanted a little more at the end on a few characters, but that is life anyway...not everything is wrapped up and finished. the epilogue was beautiful and well written...close to the perfect ending. Definitely a good read

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Insightful, Inspiring
After You

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future...

seems like reviewers either like it or truly did not. Not a bad read, but I don't necessarily agree that a book needs a sequel to wrap up the loose ends of someone's life. I did like Me Before You....this one was fair, I did not like the character of Lily...I know, i know...troubled teen, be sympathetic, etc but I wanted to shake Louisa because she put up with so much from her. Not totally realistic in my opinion. The ending was good and some good lines on how people grieve and move on.

worth for a book club to read and discuss if they read the first one

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Informative, Fun
First WOmen

The first lady is one of the most underestimated and challenging positions in the world. The author discusses the first ladies rivalries and friendships and explores their political causes and their public/private relationships with their husbands. Covers Jackie Kennedy through Michelle Obama.
It does do a lot of bouncing back in forth in time...she tells their stories by "topic" vs time line which does compare all of them in similar situations. Interesting insight in how they support each other regardless of political affiliation and how some get along better than others.
Interesting read.

 
Graphic, Dramatic, Addictive
End of Watch

Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney, who delivered the blow to Hartsfield's head that put him on the brain injury ward. Brady also remembers that. When Bill and Holly are called to a murder-suicide with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put not only their lives at risk, but those of Hodges’s friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Because Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Bill Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

I had gotten a little tired of stephen kings books and had not read any in awhile. But this trilogy is good. Its a good murder mystery with a little bit of King's "weirdness" in it as well. Good reads!

Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Addictive
dark matter

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable--something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

this is a bit of a weird book...improbable but it does make you wonder if it could be true scientifically. Worth the read
might be a bit hard for a book club discussion

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
the life we bury

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.

joe unravels the truth slowly but may not be in time
this was an easy ready and a very good story!!

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Informative
girl in the garden

The redemptive journey of a young woman unsure of her engagement, who revisits in memory the events of one scorching childhood summer when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her home to an Indian village untouched by time, where she discovers in the jungle behind her ancestral house a spellbinding garden that harbors a terrifying secret.
I really liked this book..loved the story and the intricacies of family and secrets. Easy read and hard to put down!

Lottery by Patricia Wood
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Insightful, Addictive
Lottery

Perry L. crandall knows what its like to be an outsider. With an IQ of 76, he's an easy mark. Before his grandmother died, she armed Perry well with what he'd need to know, the importance of words and writing things down, and how to play the lottery. Most important, she taught him who to trust - a crucial lesson for Perry after he wins the lottery. As his family descends, moving in on his fortune, his fate, and his few true friends, he has a lesson for them: Never ever underestimate Perry L Crandall
this was a great book. You hate Perry's family from the very beginning - lots of strong characters in this book. Not the deepest, but you will be cheering for Perry in the end.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
the pearl that broke its shell

In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.

But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-aunt, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?

this is an excellent story. It highlights the current culture regarding women in afghnistan and how it ws years ago...not that different. Good read.

Termination Orders (A Dan Morgan Thriller) by Leo J. Maloney, Caio Camargo
 
Dramatic, Adventurous
termination orders

Once a trained killer for the CIA, Dan Morgan has built a new life for himself. But when he receives a desperate plea from his former Black Ops partner - reportedly killed in a foreign battle zone - he flies to help. It should be a routine mission, extracting a human asset from the region. But it's not routine; it's an ambush. Now Morgan is running for his life, holding crucial evidence. With his contacts dead and family in danger, Morgan must take on a full-scale conspiracy in the highest echelons of a vast global network that plays by its rules - when it suits them.

not necessarily great for a book club but was a good murder/spy mystery. It is the first in a series and will be interesting to read the others.

 
Beautiful, Persuasive, Inspiring
Big Magic

author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. she offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness
i have always liked this author but sadly this book did nothing for me. It did not resonant to me, but maybe it will for someone else.

The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston
 
the midnight witch

When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes the title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her charming fiancé and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt.

Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves.

To tell him will risk everything.

pretty basic witch book...nothing outstanding but a decent read

House of Thieves: A Novel by Charles Belfoure
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
the house of thieves

probably 3.5 stars
In 1886 New York, a respectable architect shouldn’t have any connection to the notorious gang of thieves and killers that rules the underbelly of the city. But when John Cross’s son racks up an unfathomable gambling debt to Kent’s Gents, Cross must pay it back himself. All he has to do is use his inside knowledge of high society mansions and museums to craft a robbery even the smartest detectives won’t solve. The take better include some cash too —the bigger the payout, the faster this will be over.
With a newfound talent for sniffing out vulnerable and lucrative targets, Cross becomes invaluable to the gang. But Cross’s entire life has become a balancing act, and it will only take one mistake for it all to come crashing down —and for his family to go down too.

i thought this was a good book but to the nail biter, can't put it down some reviewers called it.
I did find it hard to believe some of the premises. Not sure in that day and age the 10 year old son would have had the freedom of movement that Charlie had.
But still a good read

The Race for Paris: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Boring, Slow
the race for Paris

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have already had to endure enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can do. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over.

based on the stories of the female journalists in WWII.
I have read this author before and liked her works. Ilove historical fiction and the premise of this book drew me in. The first chapter hooked me and I loved the last chapter where thing were tied together. But was a bit disappointed in everything in the middle. I felt it was dry reading , didn't hold my interest (altho the thread of the the story SHOULD have). I am glad i finished it to read how the author wrapped it all up , but have to admit I was tempted many times to stop.

 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Interesting, Addictive
in the light of what we see

Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

interesting intertwining stories. somewhat predictable , yet an interesting read. Little bit psychological thriller, little bit supernatural Good read

Leave Me: A Novel by Gayle Forman
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
leave me

Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

this not an earth shattering book; its predictable, yet a good basic read

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Difficult, Confusing
THe Children

Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother’s home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at “Lakeside,” their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace—and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancé home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near, and flaws surface in the family’s polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.
most reviews loved this book Not my favorite, I felt it took a long time to get to the real story..the last 1/3 of the book. And then it went fast. You really don't get a sense of why Laurel does what she does and how she chooses Spin Many reviews compared this to THE NEST and liked this better...I liked THE NEST better. still worth the read to see if you like it.

Mischling by Affinity Konar
 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Dark, Confusing
Mischling

Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad.

It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.

As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.

That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks--a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin--travel through Poland's devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it.

seems like most reviews either loved it or didn't like it. I agree with the good reviews that its a dark book, a sad story, etc. But also agree with the others that although I wanted to like it, i did not. I didn't like the way the author wrote, felt it was hard to follow the story and decide between what wa real or not, especially the ending seemed rush when they all come together and not clear how they reacted together after the war, This was not an engaging book for me.

and while I did not like it, I think it would be interesting for a book club to read to get different perspectives on it

Here I Am: A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer
 
Interesting, Insightful, Brilliant

Dancing in the Dark by Mary Jane Clark
 
Dramatic, Addictive
dancing in the dark

Trying to mix business with pleasure, KEY News correspondent Diane Mayfield has brought her children and her sister to the New Jersey shore town of Ocean Grove to investigate a story on "girls who cry wolf" for the season premiere of Hourglass, television's highly rated news magazine. Diane lands an exclusive interview with a troubled young woman whose tale of being abducted and held against her will for three terrifying days had been disbelieved by the authorities. No sooner does Diane finish taping the interview, though, than a second victim disappears. The small community, already in the grip of a record heat wave, is now wracked by fear and terror—no one knows who could be next. With only the first victim as eyewitness, Diane and the police turn to her for clues. But it may be too late to save Diane and her loved ones from the mortal danger that lurks in Ocean Grove.
basic beach kind of read...easy fast, not bad

Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Inspiring
Lilac girls

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

historical fiction and based on a true story about caroline ferriday, a debutante and broadway actress who dedicated her life to helping women others had forgotten. The German doctor in the novel was also a real person. IT is definitely hard reading about the terrible thing done to these Polish women during WWII. the characters are interesting. I found myself disliking Kasia, especially post war...but not sure I wouldn't be the same after all she had gone through. Interesting Read.

Glad Farm: A Memoir by Catherine Marenghi
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Life Changing, Insightful
Glad Farm

Raised in a primitive one-room farmhouse with no indoor plumbing, the fourth of five children, Catherine Marenghi begins her life in poverty and isolation. She leaves home at the age of seventeen. A decade later, she is a successful journalist with the means to buy her family their first decent house. But the past will not be put to rest so easily. Catherine unravels a web of long-buried family secrets, and a terrible betrayal that robbed her family of the home that was rightfully theirs. And she finally uncovers the story her parents never shared: the gladiolus farm that was once their dream.
I enjoy reading memoirs but they can also be a bit dry. I could not put this one down. I am about the same age as the author and cannot imagine growing up in the environment she did. And how the family remained positive and loving through all of that is amazing. Jimmy Carter's comment on the back rings true - "reminds us of the role our habitats play in shaping our lives".
somewhat sad that all she found out about her family in the end was after her mom passes, and unable to answer all the questions I' m sure she had. But we are all like that I think - - we don't ask the questions of our elders while they are around and able to share family history.
definitely a book to read!

The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe
 
Book Club Recommended
The girl with no name

Thirteen-year-old Lisa escapes from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport and arrives in England in August 1939. She can't speak a word of English and her only belongings are crammed into a small suitcase. Among them is one precious photograph of the family she has left behind in Germany.

Lonely and homesick, not knowing if she will ever see her family again, Lisa is adopted by a childless couple and then bullied at school for being German. But worse is to come when the Blitz blows her new home apart and she wakes up in hospital with no memory of who she is, or where she came from. The authorities give her a new name and despatch her to a children's home. With the war in full swing, what will become of Lisa now?

There were mixed reviews on this book and have to say all had valid points. Many grammatical and typo errors. The story was good and the Kindertransport is not an issue you hear a lot about from that era. Just when it seems things settle down for Lisa something else happens. Just as in real life. So all in all a good story although I did feel the ending was a bit rushed. IN two chapters the author winds up what happens with Harry, Lisas mother and where she goes from there. could have been a little more involved.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
the daring ladies of lowell

Determined to forge her own destiny, Alice Barrow joins the legions of spirited young women better known as the Mill Girls. From dawn until dusk, these ladies work the looms, but the thrill of independence, change in their pockets, and friendships formed along the way mostly make the backbreaking labor worthwhile. In fact, Hiram Fiske, the steely-eyed titan of industry, has banked on that. But the working conditions are becoming increasingly dangerous and after one too many accidents, Alice finds herself unexpectedly acting as an emissary to address the factory workers' mounting list of grievances.

After traveling to the Fiske family's Beacon Hill mansion, Alice enters a world she's never even dared to dream about: exquisite silk gowns, sumptuous dinners, grand sitting parlors, and uniformed maids operating with an invisible efficiency. Of course, there's also a chilliness in the air as Alice presents her case. But with her wide, intelligent eyes and rosy-hued cheeks, Alice manages to capture the attention of Hiram's eldest son, the handsome and reserved Samuel Fiske.

Their chemistry is undeniable, soon progressing from mutual respect and shy flirtation into an unforgettable romance. But when Alice's best friend, Lovey, is found strangled in a field, Alice and Samuel are torn between loyalty to "their kind" and a chance for true love.
technically historical fiction - there was indeed a young mill girl murdered in 1832 which caused an uproar during a time when mill workers were becoming restless and angry about low wages and dangerous working conditions.
it is an easy ready, decent story and what i call a good "beach read".

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
 
Pointless, Boring, Slow
a touch of stardust

maybe 3.5 Not a deep book but interesting. Julie Crawford leaves Indiana and goes to Hollywood to be a screenwriter. Amazingly enough she becomes friends with Carole Lombard who is also from her home town. She find herself on the set of GONE WITH THE WIND as Carole hires her to be her assistant. Which draws her into the world Carole shares with Clark Gable. Its an interesting story as Julie becomes involved with one of the production assistants on GWTW who is also Jewish -- which brings in the the world history going on at that time as well. Not very deep but not a bad read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Insightful
the summer before the war

not my favorite book While it was very interesting to get the perspective of women and their rights (or lack of) in this time period, it was too long, boring for most of it, too much time spent on the "little town" type of things, not great writing. I was committed to finishing it and must say the ending was better - basically because it moved along. wouldn't recommend it. However there are excellent reviews on this , and does leave a lot for discussion for book groups


East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha's husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent sabre rattling over the Balkans won't come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.

When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking — and attractive — than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.

But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha's reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Dark
my grandfather would have shot me

“I am the granddaughter of Amon Goeth, who shot hundreds of people—and for being black, he would have shot me, too.” In an instant, Jennifer Teege’s life turns upside down; the shock of discovering her ancestry shatters her sense of self.

Teege is 38—married, with two small children—when by chance she finds a library book about her grandfather, Amon Goeth. Millions of people worldwide know of him through Ralph Fiennes’ chilling portrayal in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List. Goeth was the brutal commandant of the Plaszów concentration camp—Oskar Schindler’s drinking buddy, and yet his adversary. Responsible for the deaths of thousands, Amon Goeth was hanged in 1946.

Goeth’s partner Ruth, Teege’s much-loved grandmother, committed suicide in 1983. Teege is their daughter’s daughter; her father is Nigerian. Raised by foster parents, she grew up with no knowledge of the family secret. Now, it unsettles her profoundly. What can she say to her Jewish friends, or to her own children? Who is she—truly?

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me is Teege’s searing chronicle of grappling with her haunted past. Her research into her family takes her to Poland and to Israel. Award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair supplies historical context in a separate, interwoven narrative. Step by step, horrified by her family’s dark history, Teege builds the story of her own liberation

this was a fair book...pretty short, a bit of a boring read, yet amazing that she would find out her history at the age she does.

The Dollhouse: A Novel by Fiona Davis
 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Unconvincing, Informative
the Dollhouse

not an overly deep book for a book club but a decent read.
When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

called the Dollhouse by the boys -- this was the authors first novel and a decent read. Its a fast read, and not overly deep . but an interesting story , especially the insight inot what the Barbizon must have been like in the 50/s. entertaining and worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Adventurous
the snow child

laska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
I did like this book - just not as enthralled with it as many of the other reviewers are. You have to know its basically a fairy tale type of story therefore do not be surprised if the ending doesn't make sense. But basically a good read.

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Dramatic, Addictive
hello from the gillespies

For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth....

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways....

good read, good story...although a bit long. I did find the daughters annoying. they are all adults yet act like teenagers and very stupid. Especially Lindy. get a grip girl and stop your whining. but in the end...a good story

The Royal Nanny: A Novel by Karen Harper
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative
the royal nanny

Not the best written book but if you like to read about Britain's royal family , this is for you. Based on true characters and history, it is fiction and very fascinating to see how royal children in that era were raised.
Based on a seldom-told true story, this novel is perfect for everyone who is fascinated by Britain’s royal family—a behind the scenes look into the nurseries of little princes and the foibles of big princes.

April, 1897: A young nanny arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. She is excited, exhausted—and about to meet royalty. . . .

So begins the unforgettable story of Charlotte Bill, who would care for a generation of royals as their parents never could. Neither Charlotte—LaLa, as her charges dub her—nor anyone else can predict that eldest sons David and Bertie will each one day be king. LaLa knows only that these children, and the four who swiftly follow, need her steadfast loyalty and unconditional affection.

But the greatest impact on Charlotte’s life is made by a mere bud on the family tree: a misunderstood soul who will one day be known as the Lost Prince. Young Prince John needs all of Lala’s love—the kind of love his parents won’t…or can’t…show him.

 
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful
what was mine

Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

the premise is a good one but the story reads a bit flat. it is told through various characters -- each chapter a different one. Not all of them are so believable and the ending was not very good.

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Empty Mansions

When Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?

very interesting book about the super rich. who has three homes and hasn't lived in them for decades. stories like this are sometime boring to read but the author makes it very interesting, keeps chapters short and doesn't go into a lot of unnecessary detail . Unbelievable to think that this is a true story. Good read.
not necessarily a great book for book clubs

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
small great things

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

so most of the reviews of this book are very good And I will say i enjoyed the read. having said that I do agree with many of the criticisms...typical Jodi Picoult book in that its a story with a message and a current 'social" cause of the day; pretty predictable;
But if you don't mind those critiques, it is a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
under the influence

this could be a 3.5 -4
Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.
I did enjoy this book. Most have rated it highly.....a few criticisms i could agree with ..a tlittle unbelievable, but still an interesting book

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Addictive
I am Pilgrim

A breakneck race against time...and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.

seems people either loved or hated this book. while i can understand the criticisms and agree with some, I still found that I liked this book. Thought it was a good mystery, spy novel. It is NOT an easy read -- you have to pay attention. The story of the main character unfolds in bits and pieces. I enjoyed it.

 
Poorly Written, Interesting, Fun
boys in the trees

Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters performing folk songs with her sister Lucy in Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song "You're So Vain." She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, for her song "Let the River Run" from the movie Working Girl.

The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture, but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. Simon brilliantly captures moments of creative inspiration, the sparks of songs, and the stories behind writing "Anticipation" and "We Have No Secrets" among many others. Romantic entanglements with some of the most famous men of the day fueled her confessional lyrics, as well as the unraveling of her storybook marriage to James Taylor.

I am a big fan of memoirs but this was very disappointing. I am sorry that she seemed to have a difficult life but geez...every guy she met she either had fantasies about, had sex with, or wanted to. A little too much for me. did not enjoy this book AT ALL!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Unconvincing, Interesting
the book that matters most

Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.
was slow for me in the beginning but better the second half. the concept of picking a book that matters most to you is interesting, although a point made int he book was that it could be different books depending on where you are in your life.
is it predictable in the end? maybe so. but still a good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Insightful, Beautiful
the magic strings of Frankie Pesto

Is this book a little unrealistic? yes.
Is it a little sappy? yes
is it a little preachy ? yes
is it a bit too long? yes?
Yet I loved this book and loved Frankie. Read th official summary below. It is like a Forrest Gump type of story. If you like that , you will like this book . Frankies life is told by Music , the narrator. And he weaves in various musicians that tell his story as well. I found it fascinating that the ones the author uses - Tony bennet, Darlene Love, Burt Bacharach, Lyle Lovett, Wynton Marsalis, among others - he asked permission to use them in the book. Totally made it real and interesting. There is also some historical issues in here since it takes you from the 1930's through current day - music history. Loved this book
This is the epic story of Frankie Presto—the greatest guitar player who ever lived—and the six lives he changed with his six magical blue strings

Frankie, born in a burning church, abandoned as an infant, and raised by a music teacher in a small Spanish town, until war rips his life apart. At nine years old, he is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. His amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, with his stunning playing and singing talent affecting numerous stars (Duke Ellington, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley) until, as if predestined, he becomes a pop star himself.

He makes records. He is adored. But Frankie Presto’s gift is also his burden, as he realizes the power of the strings his teacher gave him, and how, through his music, he can actually affect people’s lives. At the height of his popularity, tortured by his biggest mistake, he vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, having finally healed his heart, does Frankie reappearjust before his spectacular death—to change one last life. With the Spirit of Music as our guide, we glimpse into the lives that were changed by one man whose strings could touch the music—and the magic—in each of us.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful
Baklava, Biscotti, and an Irishman

I must make a disclaimer - the author is a friend of mine, so I was a little nervous to read this book. What if I didn't like it? How would I write a review. So I decided that if I didn't like it , no review. Obviously that didn't happen. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! There were times that some of the characters annoyed me and times that I loved them The sign of a good story I think. The book does jump back and forth between four time periods - so you have to pay attention. I did not mind this although I know some people do. But it is well worth it in the end when all the threads come together and it all makes sense. Definitely a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Adventurous
the curious charms of Arthur Pepper

Harold Frye (altho better -- I wasn't thrilled with that one) and a bit of Ove. A good book for a first time author. An easy read, yet you are drawn in to the characters. A bit predictable, not a deep story, but a very pleasant read. Definitely recommend it.
ixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon
 
Dramatic, Dark, Addictive
the dark sister

3.5 stars
It is a bit of a page turner; horror story, mystery combined, with a bit of the supernatural. Not a deep read but entertaining.
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper's kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel's past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock's next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come. (less)

The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict
 
Interesting, Informative, Slow
the other einstein

Interesting story...reviewers are all over the place with this one...loved it or hated it. The major criticism seems to be there is no real basis for believing Einstein treated his first wife this way. I still think its an interesting story considering there is speculation on what, if any, collaboration his wife had on his theory of relativity. a good biography of Albert is EINSTEIN, which also questions some of her involvement and their relationship. Still a decent read.

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica
 
Addictive, Dramatic, Scary
don't you cry

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

I had a hard time fora about 1/3 of third of the book...trying to go between the two stories and not getting a connection at all. Yet you finally are drawn into both stories and really start wanting to know where they are going. A good read. Just not sure I would want to discuss this at a book group...but many might

 
Adventurous, Addictive
the mapmakers apprentice

second in the Glass/Steele series. Not the greatest for a book club discussion but a fun read if you like fantasy series. Read the first one , then this one. Matt and India continue to look for the watch magician to help save Matt's life....can't wait for the third one.

No Time to Die by Kira Peikoff
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Fun
No time to die

n a Washington, D.C. research lab, a brilliant scientist is attacked by his own test subjects. At Columbia University, a talented biochemist is lured out of her apartment and never seen again. In the Justice Department's new Bioethics Committee, agent Les Mahler sees a sinister pattern emerging. . .

Zoe Kincaid is a petite college student whose rare genetic makeup may hold the key to a powerful medical breakthrough. When she is kidnapped, the very thing mankind has wanted since the dawn of time threatens to unleash our final destruction.
this was an interesting concept. I did find the characters annoying and not realistic...Zoe and Natalie both seem to lack common sense, no matter whether you want to argue that zoe is 14 or 20. But the storyline raises excellent ethical questions and a good read.

Maiden Flight: A Novel by Harry Haskell
 
Boring, Informative
Maiden Flight

Maiden Flight is the true-life story of the Wright sister who in 1926 left her world-famous and intensely possessive older brother to marry newspaper editor Harry Haskell, the man she loved, and suffered the unhappy consequences. An international celebrity in her own right, Katharine embodied the worldly, independent, and self-fulfilled New Woman of the early twentieth century. Yet she remained in many ways a Victorian. Torn between duty and love, she agonized for months before making her devastating break with Orville at age fifty-two.
this book was written by Harry Haskells grandson. After reading the WRIGHT BROTHERS, it was interesting to read this part of history. But it read like a textbook to me vs a novel... It is told in narrative format between the three main characters. While the content is interesting I can't agree with all the reviewers that gave it 4-5 stars. Found it very dry to read.

Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb
 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Gloomy, Interesting
among the living

I thought the threads in this book were interesting....how two different people feel differently about their experience in the camps and how people in the US would see them, issues of race in th south after WWII. But found that the chapters from the prison camp were confusing and did not enhance the story; not sure I understood the issues of the union and dock workers and what it had to do with the story. Probaby plenty for a book club to talk about,,,not sure i would recommend the book

Say No More: A Jane Ryland Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive
say no more

When Boston reporter Jane Ryland reports a hit and run, she soon learns she saw more than a car crash—she witnessed the collapse of an alibi. Working on an expose of sexual assaults on college campuses for the station’s new documentary unit, Jane’s just convinced a date rape victim to reveal her heartbreaking experience on camera. However, a disturbing anonymous message—SAY NO MORE—has Jane really and truly scared.

Homicide detective Jake Brogan is on the hunt for the murderer of Avery Morgan, a hot-shot Hollywood screenwriter. Her year as a college guest lecturer just ended at the bottom of her swimming pool in the tight-knit and tight-lipped Boston community called The Reserve. As Jake chips his way through a code of silence as shatterproof as any street gang, he’ll learn that one newcomer to the neighborhood may have a secret of her own.

A young woman faces a life-changing decision—should she go public about her assault? Jane and Jake—now semi-secretly engaged and beginning to reveal their relationship to the world—are both on a quest for answers as they try to balance the consequences of the truth.

this is the 5th in a series by this author and although i have not read any of the previous books, it did not detract from the reading at all. A little confused in the beginning as she introduces all the characters but stick with it because she quickly pulls the threads together. An excellent who done it.

The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino
 
Inspiring, Fun, Optimistic
the magnolia story

a fun book
Are you ready to see your fixer upper?

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people?What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

if you like this show and this couple you will like this book. Easy read, nothing new and exciting but interesting to chronicle how they got where they are today.
but not a book for a book club I wouldn't think

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Inspiring
bookshop on the corner

i'd give it a 3.5 Most reviews are very positive and this is a cute little book. not especially deep, and a little bit unrealistic I think . but a good read.
Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

 
Slow, Boring
the nine of us

a bit superficial, not very deep. portrays a rosy picture

The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Fun

The Perfect Girl: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Brilliant, Insightful

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
they left us everything

So here's an interesting concept -- instead of clearing out our possessions before we die, author Plum Johnson urges us to leave everything for our children to sort -- on the grounds that it will lead them to better understand our lives!

That's what happened when her own parents died, leaving a massive house full of "stuff" ranging from valuable antiques to pockets full of used Kleenex! It took her about a year to sift everything, and her personal journey through the lives of her parents made her a better person, or at least a happier one.

the above is a review by another reader...it IS an interesting concept. And its a good memoir -- many of us have already or will end up doing the same thing Plum Johnson did. Good read

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
I let you go

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Scary
the trespasser

I had difficulty with the "slang" language used in this book since it was set in the UK. it was distracting at times. But if you can get past that, its a good murder mystery and worth the read

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Confusing, Insightful
Commonwealth

you can read a summary on your own. Very intricate with all the characters you are following. Had a hard time in the beginning and thought about giving up...but so glad I did not. It all comes together in the second half...very real life mixing of two families. Loved the characters. A must read.

When I'm Gone: A Novel by Emily Bleeker
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Unconvincing
when i'm gone

you can read the review...pretty basic...some of it is predictable,some twists and turns. You do think its going to be cheesy in the beginning but it has a lot of good points. Definitely a good read.

Oh My Stars: A Novel by Lorna Landvik
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Brilliant, Life Changing
oh my stars

read the summary....Some reviewers felt it a little too sappy, characters not realistic., too slow a book. I did not think any of this. I thought this was a great story with various threads.....occurs during the depression, the beginnings of rock and roll, race relations, the design world...so many worlds rolled into one story. Excellent read

The Hours Count: A Novel by Jillian Cantor
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
the hours count

On June 19, 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to commit espionage. The day Ethel was first arrested in 1950, she left her two young sons with a neighbor, and she never came home to them again. Brilliantly melding fact and fiction, Jillian Cantor reimagines the life of that neighbor, and the life of Ethel and Julius, an ordinary-seeming Jewish couple who became the only Americans put to death for spying during the Cold War.
The neighbor ,Millie, is not the brightest, but having the story told through her is very interesting. I loved MARGOT and so was anxious to read this book....was not disappointed. It makes me want to read more about the Rosenbergs and their sons. It was an easy read, yet plausible. Definitely recommend this book!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Pointless, Romantic
All the stars in the Heavens

It was interesting to read this after reading a Touch of Stardust , about Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. This one is about the romance between Clark Gable and Loretta Young, although much more about Loretta Young's life and career. IT is fiction. I enjoyed reading it -- maybe I am a sap for old Hollywood romances. And I'm sure we really don't know all that went on in the Golden Age of Hollywood, no matter what biographies have been written. I had not read reviews until after finishing the book and was surprised to see so much criticism of it. However I do understand where people are coming from -- one of the biggest criticisms seemed to be writing about people when there is still family left that could be hurt by some of the story. But Frankly I think that happens all over. I still think its worth the read and I enjoyed it.

The Sound of Glass by Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Inspiring
the sound of glass

It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.
good book Definitely a must read.

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Adventurous
the river at night

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

middle of the road book for me. Kind of predictable based on the jacket cover. I wonder how realistic it is in this day and age== I know they are friends but four of them go off to the middle of no where on a trip where they can't find any reviews or online information? not so sure about that. Pia and the guide's relationship did not feel realistic to me. However , a decent read and the relationships between the four friend would make for interesting discussion. Quick , easy read

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Optimistic, Fun
stars over sunset boulevard

would give it 3.5 stars
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.
while it was tedious in some spots, it really is about two girls who become friends and have their ups and downs. I do think there is a LOT to talk about with these two characters. Would have like to see more written about their later life, but maybe that would have ended up being too much. A good read and worth your time.

 
Adventurous, Graphic, Interesting
Stars of Fortuen

have read the whole trilogy.....Bay of Sighs and Island of Glass
A typical Nora Roberts trilogy...three guys, three girls, they get paired off, have great sex, and join forces to make it all right.
If you like her trilogies, you will like this as well. I enjoyed it. I just don't always think her trilogies have a lot for a book club to discuss...i think they are "fun" books to read


To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the fire star. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

But Sasha and Bran are just two of the six. And they all must all work together as a team to find the fire star in a cradle of land beneath the sea. Over their every attempt at trust, unity, and love, a dark threat looms. And it seeks to corrupt everything that stands in its way of possessing the stars… (less)

A Gentleman in Moscow by AMOR TOWLES
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Insightful
a gentleman in moscow

Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery

I wasn't going to read this book but so glad I did. Yes its long, but I was caught up from the very beginning. The thread of food and wine was outstanding; the friendships that developed in such an odd time when friendships must have been rare, were wonderful to watch unfold. This is a definite must read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Dark, Confusing
my dear i wanted to tell you

From the day in 1907 that eleven-year-old Riley Purefoy meets Nadine Waveney, daughter of a well-known orchestral conductor, he takes in the difference between their two families: his, working-class; hers, "posh" and artistic. Just a few years later, romance and these differences erupt simultaneously with the war in Europe. In a fit of fury and boyish pride, Riley enlists in the army and finds himself involved in the transformative nightmare of the twentieth century.

While Riley and his commanding officer, Peter Locke, fight for their country and their survival in the trenches of Flanders, Peter's lovely and naive wife, Julia, and his cousin Rose eagerly await his return. But the sullen, distant man who arrives home on leave is not the Peter they knew. Worried that her husband is slipping away, Julia is left alone with her fears when Rose joins the nursing corps to work with a pioneering plastic surgeon treating wounded and disfigured soldiers.

Only eighteen at the outbreak of the war, Nadine and Riley want to make promises to each other—but how can they when their future is out of their hands? Youthful passion is on their side, but then their loyalty is tested by terrible injury, and even more so by the necessarily imperfect rehabilitation that follows.

I'm sure this would be great for a book club -- lots to discuss and describes the horrors of the first World War which we tend to forget. but I personally didn't care for the writing style and felt the book was just so so. I am glad i finished it -- many times during the first half i wanted to give up. But there were some interesting threads

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Scary, Interesting
we are unprepared

Ash and Pia's move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia's marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with "preppers" who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools.

This was a fair book - - It was a bit confusing when Ash goes back and forth in time, I really didn't feel connected to Pia. Worth the read but not the best I ever read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Dramatic, Adventurous
the shepherdess of sienna

Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has always harbored a deep love for horses—though she knows she may never have the chance to ride. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, Virginia’s possibilities are doubly limited by her peasant class and her gender. Yet while she tends her flock, Virginia is captivated by the daring equestrian feats of the high-spirited Isabella de’ Medici, who rides with the strength and courage of any man, much to the horror of her brother, the tyrannical Gran Duca Francesco de’ Medici.

Inspired, the young shepherdess keeps one dream close to her heart: to race in Siena’s Palio. Twenty-six years after Florence captured Siena, Virginia’s defiance will rally the broken spirit of the Senese people and threaten the pernicious reign of the Gran Duca.

Iloved this book - its like reading the history of Tuscany and some of the de Medici family.

Pretending to Dance: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
pretending to dance

Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family—the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?
Good read!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Graphic
all th wonderful and ugly things

As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible "adult" around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.
this is a controversial book with a lot of threads going through it that are not easy to read about. It's also emotionally draining. Having said that , I thought it was well written and really liked it. Not going to be for everyone though.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
counted with the stars

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she's only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she's ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

Biblical fiction about the Exodus. Good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Beautiful
last bus to wisdom

Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Ivan Doig’s beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old’s imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for “female trouble” in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate–bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical—is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German, and Donal can’t seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate packs him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But as it turns out, Donal isn’t traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him.
Coming of age story. First one I have read by this author and will try some of his other book. This was an excellent read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Romantic
The True Memoirs of Little K

Exiled in Paris, the frail, elderly Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Kschessinska’s riveting storytelling soon thrusts us into a world lost to time: that great intersection of the Russian court and the Russian theater. Through Kschessinska’s memories of her own triumphs and defeats, we witness the stories that changed history, from the seething beginnings of revolution to the end of a grand, decadent way of life that belonged to the nineteenth century. Based on fact, The True Memoirs of Little K is “an engrossing tale of love, loss, and historyâ€
if you like historical fiction you will like this I think. I did find that it was a book that you had to pay attention to while reading. However I did not find it a dry fiction read. It was entertaining and I Loved the history part. Definitely a good read for me.

Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Difficult, Confusing
where I lost her

Eight years ago, Tess and Jake were considered a power couple of the New York publishing world--happy, in love, planning a family. Failed fertility treatments and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption have fractured their marriage and left Tess edgy and adrift. A visit to friends in rural Vermont throws Tess's world into further chaos when she sees a young, half-dressed child in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.

The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police and Jake point out, Tess's imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, not only to save the little girl she can't forget but to salvage her broken heart as well.
i enjoy reading this author, but this was not my favorite book. I found it difficult to follow the adoption story and didn't really get it until the end. There is much here for discussion for a book club however so for some it may be a worthwhile read. I just didn't care for it

The Glasswrights' Apprentice by Mindy L. Klasky
 
Unconvincing, Dark, Confusing
the glasswright apprentice

A mere glasswrights' apprentice must uncover an elusive brotherhood whose deadly venom reaches out to stain the heart of her guild, the heart of her family -- and the heart of her king....

first in a series..am glad i did not buy the others in the series...not a particular good read. just ok, now written very well, character not really believable.

The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent
 
Difficult, Dark, Confusing
the memory watcher

When Autumn Carpenter stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself instantly drawn into their picture-perfect existence.

From behind a computer screen, Autumn watches Grace's every memory, from birthdays to holidays to bedtime snuggles. But what starts as an innocent fascination spirals into an addictive obsession met with a screeching halt the day the McMullen family closes their Instaface account without so much as a warning.

Frantic and desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Autumn applies for a nanny position with the McMullens, manipulating herself into Grace's life under false pretenses. And it's only then that Autumn discovers pictures lie, the perfect family doesn't exist, and beautiful people? They have the ugliest secrets

I have to disagree with most of the reviews...i'd give this a 2.5 stars...I had to get 2/3 of the way through before it really got me interested. I know with psychological thrillers you can't get too much information in the beginning...but you really got nothing that would make you interested in these characters. not my favorite.

One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Inspiring
the one in a million boy

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?
So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

Ona is set to discover that even at her age the world can surprise you, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find yourself again. (
without giving the book away --- the young boy dies and his father is tasked with completing the boys's commitment to Ona. Which he does. The boys parents (who are divorced), On a, and others, all grieve differently throughout the book and develop relationships they might not have developed if it had not been for the boy.
An interesting book...there were ways I did not like the writing...but I enjoyed the concept and how the relationships developed. Worth the read.

Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
Henry's sisters

Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother, River, has written them a letter on pink paper when she has something especially important to impart. And this time, the message is urgent and impossible to ignore--River requires open-heart surgery, and Isabelle and her sisters are needed at home to run the family bakery and take care of their brother and ailing grandmother.

Isabelle has worked hard to leave Trillium River, Oregon, behind as she travels the globe taking award-winning photographs. It's not that Isabelle hates her family. On the contrary, she and her sisters Cecilia, an outspoken kindergarten teacher, and Janie, a bestselling author, share a deep, loving bond. And all of them adore their brother, Henry, whose disabilities haven't stopped him from helping out at the bakery and bringing good cheer to everyone in town.

But going home again has a way of forcing open the secrets and hurts that the Bommaritos would rather keep tightly closed--Isabelle's fleeting and too-frequent relationships, Janie's obsessive compulsive disorder, and Cecilia's self-destructive streak and grief over her husband's death. Working together to look after Henry and save their flagging bakery, Isabelle and her sisters begin to find answers to questions they never knew existed, unexpected ways to salve the wounds of their childhoods, and the courage to grasp surprising new chances at happiness.

excellent story...but make sure you have tissues for the end!

 
Adventurous, Inspiring, Interesting
a wrinkle in time

our book club decided to read this book and I was excited because I had never read it Even when it wa one of my son's favorite books growing up . I realize in the time that it was written there were few girl heroines who were into math. My reads were really Nancy Drew, cherry ames, bobbsey twins, etc. I have to say I'm not a fan of this book. I do agree it was probably different for its time. but I didn't find anything alluring about the character Meg, and thought the ending very abrupt. Sorry.

 
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
the little book of hygge

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That's down to one thing: hygge.

'Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight...'

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

points are well taken....although they are no brainers. which is what i think people who rated this low are trying to say. however the point they seem to be missing is that yes, they are no brainers but we still don't seem to do them! And it IS easier if you live in a socialized country to adopt this kind of lifestyle. Are workers in the US ever going to leave the workplace by 4 or 5pm? I doubt it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Confusing
sisters one two three

i give this a three to 3.5
After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.

i had mixed feeling about this book. I did not like Glory at all; was annoyed with Ginger's relationship with her husband and daughter, thought we maybe did not get enough information about Julia growing up to understand why she rebelled against her mother. Then just when I was really disliking the book, the last quarter of it started pulling things together, giving it a purpose and explaining somewhat why everyone was the way they were. I think a read is still going to have parts they dislike, parts of the story not totally pulled together, etc. But still a worthwhile read and lots there for group discussion!

The Sleepwalker: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Slow, Insightful
the sleepwalker

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge.

The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home.

As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?
I do find it unrealistic that a policeman would act the way Gavin did , suppressing evidence. Not my most favorite of this authors' books...just an ok read

Glory over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Inspiring, Informative
glory over everything

The year is 1830 and Jamie Pyke, a celebrated silversmith and notorious ladies' man, is keeping a deadly secret. Passing as a wealthy white aristocrat in Philadelphian society, Jamie is now living a life he could never have imagined years before when he was a runaway slave, son of a southern black slave and her master. But Jamie's carefully constructed world is threatened when he discovers that his married socialite lover, Caroline, is pregnant and his beloved servant Pan, to whose father Jamie owes his own freedom, has been captured and sold into slavery in the South.
Fleeing the consequences of his deceptions, Jamie embarks on a trip to a North Carolina plantation to save Pan from the life he himself barely escaped as a boy. With the help of a fearless slave, Sukey, who has taken the terrified young boy under her wing, Jamie navigates their way, racing against time and their ruthless pursuers through the Virginia backwoods, the Underground Railroad, and the treacherous Great Dismal Swamp.
this was a pretty good read. The character of Jamie was not my favorite. While i was taking into consideration the era he was supposed to be in , and how conflicted he was about his race, he was still an adult when he went to rescue Pan. And yet he had a very difficult time listening to the advice and recommendations of others. Which is what got him into trouble.

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Dark tide

round noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-"Oh my God!" he shouted to the other men, "Run!"

A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn't known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.
Not a great read , however well written for historical non fiction which can be boring at times. If you didn't live in Boston, this is an interesting story and also gives some insight into the labor movement at this time in history.

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Confusing, Boring
swimming lessons

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

there was very little I liked about this book --I definitely did not like the characters....found nothing redeeming about them. I honestly didn't get the high ratings other readers gave it. Left me with a lot of questions -- had Gil found all the notes Ingrid wrote and left in the books? Is that why he burned them all? Flora seemed so unreasonable and in la la land to me. OF course the big question is what is really Ingrid in the end? Lots to talk about for a book club - but not my favorite story

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Inspiring
LIllian Boxfish Takes a Walk

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.
As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

This book is based on the life of Margaret Fishback who was a poet and ad writer for Macy's in the 30's. I believe i may have to take the author up on reading some of her poetry and books. Surprisingly to me, I loved this book. Not sure all her encounters are realistic in real life, but I loved reading her summary of her life as she wanders the streets of NYC on new Years eve. Would definitely recommend this. Excellent read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous
Pancakes in Paris

I might not have picked this book up to read if I had not seen it advertised in a local bookstores newsletter for an event with the author. I found the concept interesting so decided to go. Therefore I HAD to read the book. I do like reading memoirs - but some can be a bit dry. I was totally not disappointed by this book!! It was a great read. I at first thought it would be boring to read about the business side of this venture, but the author has a great writing style and there is plenty of humor in this! As other reviewers have noted....seems much easier to be an employee vs employer in France. And I'm not sure I wouldn't have quit if it were me. But the author stuck to his dream, learned a lot, and evidently has quite the tourist destination in his diner! A very good read. Highly recommend it

Craig Carlson was the last person anyone would expect to open an American diner in Paris. He came from humble beginnings in a working-class town in Connecticut, had never worked in a restaurant, and didn't know anything about starting a brand-new business. But from his first visit to Paris, Craig knew he had found the city of his dreams, although one thing was still missing-the good ol' American breakfast he loved so much.

Pancakes in Paris is the story of Craig tackling the impossible-from raising the money to fund his dream to tracking down international suppliers for "exotic" American ingredients... and even finding love along the way. His diner, Breakfast In America, is now a renowned tourist destination, and the story of how it came to be is just as delicious and satisfying as the classic breakfast that tops its menu. (less)

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
Little Deaths

his book was inspired by a true story. I did have to keep reminding myself that it was taking place in the mid 60's.....its made that clear in the beginning. SPOILER: it was a very good murder mystery but brought up a lot of questions at the end when you finally find out who did it....like why didn't they investigate the father better than they did? did the neighbor make up the whole story about the couple on the street at 2am?
Definitely worth the read.!

t's 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone--a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress--wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy's body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.'s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth.

As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth's life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth's little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman--and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children's lives.

Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete's interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there's something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance--or is there something more sinister at play?

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting
lincolns bodyguard

In "Lincoln s Bodyguard," an alternative version of American history, President Lincoln is saved from assassination. Though he prophesied his own death the only way he believed the South would truly surrender Lincoln never accounted for the heroics of his bodyguard, Joseph Foster. A biracial mix of white and Miami Indian, Joseph makes an enemy of the South by killing John Wilkes Booth and preventing the death of the president. His wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped, sending Joseph on a revenge-fueled rampage to recover his daughter. When his search fails, he disappears as the nation falls into a simmering insurgency instead of an end to the War. Years later, Joseph is still running from his past when he receives a letter from Lincoln pleading for help. The President has a secret mission. Pursued from the outset, Joseph turns to the only person who might help, the woman he abandoned years earlier. If he can win Molly over, he might just fulfill the President s urgent request, find his daughter, and maybe even hasten the end of the War."

interesting concept; especially as the author looks at certain points i.e. what would have happened if the southern generals had not surrendered like Lee did; etc. Not a bad read and an interesting concept.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
Just Mercy

I probably would not have picked this book up to read if it had not been a book club choice. I agree with many other readers -- it is a must read. I really did not understand the system and how easily people are determined guilty with little to no evidence or without looking at circumstances. It was certainly an eye opener and has much for discussion.
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Dramatic, Interesting
the twelve lives of samuel hawley

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife's hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother's mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter's present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.
there are many reasons I should not like this book - all have been in other reviews: its violent; should a man such as Hawley be raising a child?; Loo 's lack of conscience, etc. etc
However...I really did like it. I thought it was intriguing to tell the tale through the twelve bullet hole in his body, there were redeeming qualities about Samuel. Not sure if I did or did not like the grandmother. The other characters were not so realistic - the boyfriend, the principal, the boyfriends mother.
Definiteliy an interesting and good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Dramatic, Dark
The Final Day

This is the last in a series with One Second After being the first book. That is probably th ebook I would recommend for a book club to discuss. then read the following two. This is a very real and scary premise and should make us all nervous! and should make us all preppers

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Scary, Addictive
the widow's house

a good thriller; good ghost story; it keeps you guessing until the end and still leaves you with questions. Thought this was a very good read.
When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess's writing career.

They take a caretaker's job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their twenties. It's been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare's hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.

But their new life isn't all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night, and sees strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is—this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate—it seems to be after Clare next

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic
now and then

Anna O'Shea has failed at marriage, shed her job at a law firm, and she's trying to re-create herself when she and her recalcitrant nephew are summoned to the past in a manner that nearly destroys them. Her twenty-first-century skills pale as she struggles to find her nephew in nineteenth-century Ireland. For one of them, the past is brutally difficult, filled with hunger and struggle. For the other, the past is filled with privilege, status, and a reprieve from the crushing pain of present-day life. For both Anna and her nephew, the past offers them a chance at love.
The past and present wrap around finely wrought characters who reveal the road home. Mystical, charming, and fantastic, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan's Now & Then is a poignant and beautiful tale of a remarkable journey. It is a miraculous evocation of a breathtaking place in a volatile age filled with rich, unforgettable, deeply human characters and one unforgettable dog named Madigan.

I liked this book although I did feel you got thrown into the time travel part abruptly without a lot of explanation on what is happening. you don't really get it til the end of the book Why the book jacket describes the dog Madigan I have no clue...its not a major character although the author does link the wolfhound to the Irish but I only felt this as a more subtle thread. the ending was a bit abrupt for me...i would have liked the explanation to take longer..it felt rushed to me. ZBut the book was a good read

Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Addictive
Eternal on the water

From the day Cobb and Mary meet kayaking on Maine's Allagash River and fall deeply in love, the two approach life with the same sense of adventure they use to conquer the river's treacherous rapids. But rivers do not let go so easily...and neither does their love. So when Mary's life takes the cruelest turn, she vows to face those rough waters on her own terms and asks Cobb to promise, when the time comes, to help her return to their beloved river for one final journey.

Set against the rugged wilderness of Maine, the exotic islands of Indonesia, the sweeping panoramas of Yellowstone National Park, and the tranquil villages of rural New England, Eternal on the Water is at once heartbreaking and uplifting ? a timeless, beautifully rendered story of true love's power.

So....Some will see this as a "schmaltz " kind of book -- you know the ending from the very beginning. Its not the deepest book I've ever read. Some will say its too sappy, sad, etc. All that might be true. However......I loved the characters, I loved the chungamunger camp girls and the story of their adventures. I loved the crow stories that Mary told, and I loved how it was about her living, not dying. Keep your tissues close by....but I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

 
Optimistic, Insightful
the mighty queens of freewill

Amy Dickinson has made a career out of helping others, through her internationally syndicated advice column "Ask Amy." Readers love her for her honesty, her small-town values, and for the fact that her motto is "I make the mistakes so you don't have to." In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares those mistakes and her remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the people who helped raise them after Amy found herself a reluctant single parent. Though divorce runs through her family like an aggressive chromosome, the women of her family taught her what family is about. They helped her to pick up the pieces when her life fell apart and to reassemble them into something new. It is a story of frequent failures and surprising successes, as Amy starts and loses careers, bumbles through blind dates and adult education classes, travels across the country with her daughter and their giant tabby cat, and tries to come to terms with the family's aptitude for "dorkitude." Though they live in London, D.C., and Chicago, all roads lead them back to her hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny village where Amy's family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for more than 200 years. Most important, though, her family members all still live within a ten-house radius of each other. With kindness and razor-sharp wit, they welcome Amy and her daughter back weekend after weekend, summer after summer, offering a moving testament to the many women who have led small lives of great consequence in a tiny place.

a quick easy read. parts i liked and parts i did find a bit boring. However I salute the fact that this seems to be a wonderful family of women who stuck together and were always there for each other. worth the read

The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel by Elizabeth J. Church
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Beautiful, Inspiring
the atomic weight of love

In 1941, at seventeen years old, Meridian begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. She is soon drawn to Alden Whetstone, a brilliant, complicated physics professor who opens her eyes to the fundamentals and poetry of his field, the beauty of motion, space and time, the delicate balance of force and energy that allows a bird to fly.

Entranced and in love, Meridian defers her own career path and follows Alden west to Los Alamos, where he is engaged in a secret government project (later known to be the atomic bomb). In married life, though, she feels lost and left behind. She channels her academic ambitions into studying a particular family of crows, whose free life and companionship are the very things that seem beyond her reach. There in her canyons, years later at the dawn of the 1970s, with counterculture youth filling the streets and protests against the war rupturing college campuses across the country, Meridian meets Clay, a young geologist and veteran of the Vietnam War, and together they seek ways to mend what the world has broken.

so after I read this book I read the other reviews...both positive and negative. All very interesting. You should definitely read the less starred reviews. I can see some points in their criticism. I don't always agree but I can see it You will like this book or not...just as with any other book Personally I loved the story and had to keep reminding myself of the time period in which it took place. We tend to forget the role of women in those times. Definitely a lot of discussion for a book club!

The Wicked City: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Adventurous
the wicked city

(a summary from another reviewer....copied because she said it very well and briefly..thanks Jessica)
It’s a romp through Prohibition-era Manhattan, where flapper Geneva (Gin) Kelly has landed after running away from her abusive stepfather in rural Western Maryland. She gets caught up in a sweep of the speakeasy next to her apartment and the dashing agent, Oliver Anson, persuades her to help him take down her stepfather, who has since become one of the country’s most notorious—and dangerous—bootleggers. Twists and turns abound in her storyline, but meanwhile, in 1998, Ella Hawthorne moves into that same apartment building after leaving her cheating husband. Intrigued by rumors of ghosts in the former speakeasy next door and the handsome fix-it-man upstairs, Ella is looking for the inspiration she needs to start a new life.

having said all the above..I really couldn't give it the five stars everyone else did. I've only read one other book by this author: The Secret Life of Violet Grant - and loved it. So i can't speak to the fact that there were recurrent characters in this book from others. Maybe that made a difference. Also the fact that others KNEW this was the first in a new series -- not sure how they know this -- there was nothing in the beginning or end of the copy of the book I had that alluded to this. Which made me very disappointed in the end that many of the threads were not pulled together. I loved reading it until the end.

American War: A novel by Omar El Akkad
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dark, Addictive
american war

ee summary below. I agree with many reviewers both positive and constructive criticism. It is NOT a beach read...you have to pay attention and take your time with it. Its a bit depressing...maybe because its seems realistic. you get to feel strongly about the character Sarat. This book will generate great discussion - worth the read

An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be.

Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
the beginners goodbye

Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances—in their house, on the roadway, in the market.

Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace.

Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

I knew i had read this book before but since it was for a book club and i had forgotten all the nuances, i reread it. easy because it was short. A good read....interesting to see how Aaron evaluates the relationship as he goes through his grieving process.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
the tea girl of hummingbird lane

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

as in all her books you learn a lot about culture. predictable outcome but good read....although ends a bit abruptly.

 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Slow, Dark
all is not forgotten

In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

in the beginning i thought the narrator was a highly intelligent , perceptive clinician. Only as you read on do you begin to wonder about his motives and how he can do what he does. Many twists and turns and still a somewhat surprise ending! good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Beautiful
the orphan's tale

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

while i do see where the criticisms come from on those reviews that ranked it low, I still think it was a good read and a little different setting than the other WWII books that seem to be out there so much. WOrht the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Slow, Difficult
MOnticello

From the critically acclaimed author of The Widow's War comes a captivating work of literary historical fiction, set in America in the years after the Revolution, that explores the tenuous relationship between the brilliant and complex founding father Thomas Jefferson and his devoted daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

this is an interesting story to read. I had already read the book America's First Daughter on the same subject...that was not historical fiction - it was considered non fiction. It covered more of Martha Jefferson's life in more depth i.e. spent more time on her time in Paris.

It is interesting to read about this family...what we thought their life would be like is not entirely true. they were all in such debt; such confliction over slavery; and TJ's relationship with Sally Hemmings. Slow reading book but very interesting. Martha does come across as privileged and a bit whiney...however one must take into consideration the time in which she lived and the social lifestyle she was brought up in.

Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Addictive
Beartown

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain.

I have loved all of Backman's books but agree with other reviews that this one is a bit different. Excellent read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
the women in the castle

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

as one reviewer commented, sometimes we think that if we read one more story it will help us make sense of all this. It doesn't but its interesting that its told from the women's point of view vs the soldiers, some Nazi points of views as well. I thought it was a good read

Our Souls at Night (Vintage Contemporaries) by Kent Haruf, Alan Kent Haruf
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Inspiring
our souls at night

I would give this a three and a half. while i loved the realistic issues in the story, I agree with some reviewers: i find it difficult to believe someone would invite someone into such personal space as bed , as a beginning to get to know each other. And I strongly disliked the writing of dialogue without quotation marks. I found it difficult to read. If you can' get past those two pieces, the story line and the issues it addresses make for a simple, yet effective story.

Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. So she invites hi to share her bed so they would have someone to talk to. Their pattern gets disrupted when Addie's son asks her to take in her grandson for the summer.

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
the back widow

if you like Silva's series on Gabriel Allon you will probably like this book. The criticsm is that it was published last fall during the presidential election and was biased regarding the rise if ISIS and the then current presidential administration. it is what it is.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Epic
the red coat

interesting comments in other reviews...yes parts of it was slow, but it is a bit like a Boston Downton Abbey. I enjoyed this read but would have liked to hear more of what happened to Cordelia and her family.....and some more specifics about after california.

Think Downton Abbey, but set in the heart of Boston . . . Irish domestic worker Norah King's decision to ask her wealthy employer, Caroline Parker, for an elegant red coat the Beacon Hill matriarch has marked for donation ignites a series of events that neither woman could have fathomed. The unlikely exchange will impact their respective daughters and families for generations to come, from the coat's original owner, marriage-minded collegian Cordelia Parker, to the determined and spirited King sisters of South Boston, Rosemary, Kay, and Rita. As all of these young women experience the realities of life-love and loss, conflict and joy, class prejudices and unexpected prospects-the red coat reveals the distinction between cultures, generations, and landscapes in Boston during the 1940s and 50s, a time of change, challenge, and opportunity. Meet the proud, working-class Irish and staid, upper-class Brahmins through the contrasting lives of these two families and their friends and neighbors. See how the Parkers and the Kings each overcome sudden tragedy with resolve and triumph. And witness the profound impact of a mother's heart on her children's souls. Carlson brings us front and center with her knowing weave of Celtic passion-both tragic and joyful-words of wisdom, romance, humor and historical events. We are in Boston feet first and loving every step. The red coat is a rich legacy from both sides of the city, Southie and the Hill. (less)

 
Epic, Fun
taming of the queen

not sure this series is what i would recommend for a book club, however I like her novels and this has brought the queens to a close which made it interesting

The Halo Effect: A Novel by Anne D. LeClaire
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
the halo effect

It was supposed to be a typical October evening for renowned portrait artist Will Light. Over dinner of lamb tagine, his wife, Sophie, would share news about chorus rehearsals for the upcoming holiday concert, and their teenage daughter, Lucy, would chatter about French club and field hockey. Only Lucy never came home. Her body was found, days later, in the woods.

The Eastern Seaboard town of Port Fortune used to be Will’s comfort. Now, there’s no safe harbor for him. Not even when Father Gervase asks Will to paint portraits of saints for the new cathedral. Using the townspeople as models, Will sees in each face only a mask of the darkness of evil. And he just might be painting his daughter’s killer.

As Will navigates his rage and heartbreak, Sophie tries to move on; Father Gervase becomes an unexpected ally; and Rain, Lucy’s best friend, shrouds herself in a near-silent fugue. Their paths collide in a series of inextricably linked, dark, dangerous moments that could lead to their undoing…or to their redemption.

an interesting read...I did feel that the ending was very rushed after going through all that she did with the story. Am not sure i think its AS wonderful as other reviewers but a decent read

Nest: A Thriller by Terry Goodkind
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Adventurous, Addictive
Nest

interesting that the reviews were so mixed...seems people either loved it or not. Since I am not a reader of the authors other books I can't compare. However I will agree with one criticism....he explains way too much!! I could do with a lot less. Having said that I thought it was an excellent sci fi thriller! there needs to be a second book although am hoping it wouldn't be a HUGE series. I haven't seen any reviews yet that compare the book to what is going on in todays world -- makes it a little scary!

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes.

Trying to grasp the implications of this revelation, Kate is drawn deep into a world of terror. She is tracked down by Jack Raines, a mysterious author with shadowy connections to those who share her ability. He tells Kate that her unique vision also makes her a target, and only he can help her.

Now, hot on Jack and Kate’s heels are a force of super-predators, vicious and bloodthirsty killers who will stop at nothing until Kate is dead. But even as she fights for her life, Kate still isn’t sure if Jack is really her salvation, or another killer coming to slaughter her.

An explosive mix of action and suspense, Nest is a landmark new novel from worldwide bestselling author Terry Goodkind, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Life Changing
water from my heart

Charlie Finn had to grow up fast, living alone by age sixteen. Highly intelligent, he earned a life-changing scholarship to Harvard, where he learned how to survive and thrive on the outskirts of privileged society. That skill served him well in the cutthroat business world, as it does in more lucrative but dangerous ventures he now operates off the coast of Miami. Charlie tries to separate relationships from work. But when his choices produce devastating consequences, he sets out to right wrongs, traveling to Central America where he will meet those who have paid for his actions, including a woman and her young daughter. Will their fated encounter present Charlie with a way to seek the redemption he thought was impossible--and free his heart to love one woman as he never knew he could?

Excellent read...a couple of different threads but they all come together well. Great ending.

I Liked My Life: A Novel by Abby Fabiaschi
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Fantastic
I liked my life

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch...until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself.

this is the author's first novel and an excellent read. Tough subject but I really liked the character development and the honesty portrayed around this subject.

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
 
Dramatic, Adventurous, Interesting
one perfect lie

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He's applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he's ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he's being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Jordan's baseball games. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon's wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

a good beach read...and a good twist about half way through. I did have a hard time with the Heather character...she seemed very self centered on herself and her son....would you really push into someone else's room in their apartment? argue about why they weren't taking HER issue seriously? so I felt no connection with the love interest at all.

The Pocket Wife: A Novel by Susan Crawford
 
Interesting, Fun
the pocket wife

Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia's death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

not a bad read....decent murder mystery...decent for beach read

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Difficult, Boring
while i was gone

Jo Becker has every reason to be content. She has three dynamic daughters, a loving marriage, and a rewarding career. But she feels a sense of unease. Then an old housemate reappears, sending Jo back to a distant past when she lived in a communal house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drawn deeper into her memories of that fateful summer in 1968, Jo begins to obsess about the person she once was. As she is pulled farther from her present life, her husband, and her world, Jo struggles against becoming enveloped by her past and its dark secret.

I'm not sure how this got on my "read" list but wish it hadn't. seems people either loved it or not. not too much in between. I read it all the way to the end waiting for something to happen. it did not grab me at all, I thought it was boring, and I thought the main character was selfish and really concerned only about herself. Which also seems to be echoed by her daughters throughout. Way too much description and a lot of sections you can skip over. sorry but this was not my cup of tea.
And now i've just realized why it was on my list,...was an Oprahs book club choice and sorry to say, I rarely like her choices

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Beautiful, Scary
the bear and the nightingale

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Basically a medieval , Russian Fairy tale -- so very fantasy type of story. If you like that type, you will like this.
First in a series of three. Very good for a first time author

 
Unconvincing, Difficult, Dark
Pefection

ulie Metz seemed to have the perfect life--an adoring if demanding husband, a happy, spirited daughter, a lovely old house in an idyllic town outside New York City--when in an instant, everything changed. Her charismatic, charming husband, Henry, suffered a pulmonary embolism and collapsed on the kitchen floor. Within hours he was dead, and Julie was a widow and single mother at 44. Just like that, what seemed like a perfect life melted away. But the worst was yet to come.

Six months after his death, Julie discovered that her husband of 12 years, the man who loved her and their six-year-old daughter ebulliently and devotedly, had been unfaithful throughout their marriage, going so far as to conduct an ongoing relationship with one of Julie's close friends.

I cannot understand the title or the wonderful descriptions of this book. I found it disagreeable on many levels: too much information on every aspect of her life; the fact that there was so much dishonesty in the marriage and she did not see it and was more upset with the women it seemed that he cheated with , than himself. I know we are all flawed in many ways, I'm sorry she had to go through this, and am glad she found happiness in the end or has seemed to. guess i just didn't need to read about it.
Not my cup of tea

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous
the keeper of lost things

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

while I do agree with some of the constructive criticism, i still really liked this book. I had some difficulty with the parallel stories and no know ing how they connectect for much of the book. but as you realize where they come together it is wonderful. A good read!!

 
Unconvincing, Slow, Boring
you don't look your age

n You Don t Look Your Age, Sheila Nevins has put together an incredibly surprising, funny and poignant collection of short stories, essays, and poetry that, taken together, tell not only her life story but the life stories of a generation of women.
Unfortunately I cannot sing the praises of this book like others are. I'm glad they liked it. But I found nothing humorous or otherwise about the book..Just plain boring to me. And I love reading Nora Ephron. so 1/2 through I cut my losses and left it. Sorry

 
the seventh plague

Two years after vanishing into the Sudanese desert, the leader of a British archeological expedition, Professor Harold McCabe, comes stumbling out of the sands, frantic and delirious, but he dies before he can tell his story. The mystery deepens when an autopsy uncovers a bizarre corruption: someone had begun to mummify the professor's body--while he was still alive.

His strange remains are returned to London for further study, when alarming news arrives from Egypt. The medical team who had performed the man's autopsy has fallen ill with an unknown disease, one that is quickly spreading throughout Cairo. Fearing the worst, a colleague of the professor reaches out to a longtime friend: Painter Crowe, the director of Sigma Force. The call is urgent, for Professor McCabe had vanished into the desert while searching for proof of the ten plagues of Moses. As the pandemic grows, a disturbing question arises.

Are those plagues starting again?

this is a 'save the world" group who has been the subject of the authors books before. I haven't read all of them so was not particularly bored by this one , where others who have reviewed it were. It 's pretty predictable, however I do like the way the author wove historical figures into the story: Mark Twain, Teslor, Stanley and Livingston. Decent plot, good beach read.

The Scribe of Siena: A Novel by Melodie Winawer
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Insightful
the sscribe of siena

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

this was an interesting read! Held my interest and enjoyed the historical intrigue. good beach read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Difficult, Dramatic
THe Leavers

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an “all-American boy.” But far away from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind.

i know most of the reviews of this book are very positive. Its not a horrible book -- i just could not get into the characters. There wasn't anything I liked about either Polly or Deming. He's trying to find himself all through the book and I kind of understood that -- however he did nothing to help himself either. Illegal immigration, coming of age, etc are some of the threads....but it didn't ring for me. Sorry.
I did recommend it for a book club only because there were so many positive reviews and I do think there are numerous threads to discuss

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Confusing
someone else's love story

At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Catholic mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.

I'm mixed about this book. I usually don't mind books that go between past and present but didn't like the way the author did it....she combined both in the same chapters and interrupted the story to do it...found it hard to follow that way. Parts I found slow and boring. However 3/4 thE way through you get some twists and turns that make it worth the read. Not the most outstanding book ut not bad.

 
Difficult, Confusing, Boring
leaving lucy pear

One night in 1917 Beatrice Haven sneaks out of her uncle's house on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, leaves her newborn baby at the foot of a pear tree, and watches as another woman claims the infant as her own. The unwed daughter of wealthy Jewish industrialists and a gifted pianist bound for Radcliffe, Bea plans to leave her shameful secret behind and make a fresh start. Ten years later, Prohibition is in full swing, post-WWI America is in the grips of rampant xenophobia, and Bea's hopes for her future remain unfulfilled. She returns to her uncle’s house, seeking a refuge from her unhappiness. But she discovers far more when the rum-running manager of the local quarry inadvertently reunites her with Emma Murphy, the headstrong Irish Catholic woman who has been raising Bea's abandoned child—now a bright, bold, cross-dressing girl named Lucy Pear, with secrets of her own.
I really wanted to like this book -- but there were too many threads going on and I really didn't think it came together. It was a boring story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Poorly Written, Insightful
the tea planters wife

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother. But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected.

The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous, and there are clues to the past - a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds - that her husband refuses to discuss.

Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can't stay buried forever.

I did like this book I had some difficulty with the husbands reaction to his new bride in the beginning..things settle in and you learn in the end what it was all about. I think the ending is somewhat predictable...but still a good read.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel by Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Confusing, Adventurous
the rise and fall of DODO

seems that most reviewers loved this book. It IS an interesting premise..so you have to buy into the time travel/magic concepts I suggest reading the other reviews..there are pros / cons. I'm glad I read it but found it hard to follow it due to being told in so many different ways: Journals, power point presentations, memos, etc

Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace—the world’s fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world "jams" the "frequencies" used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why.

And so the Department of Diachronic Operations—D.O.D.O. —gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive . . . and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial—and treacherous—nature of the human heart.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
before we were yours`

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation . . . or redemption

A Piece of the World: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Beautiful
a piece of the world

3.5 starts
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

I did like reading this book..it did make me want to find out what happened to Christine.
this is the author of the Orphan Train and I do like how she envisions Christine's life

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Dramatic, Dark
every last lie

Clara Solberg's world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick's death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

told from the alternating perspective of Clara and Nick. I had a hard time liking these characters especially Clara. she just seemed to go off the deep end and imagine so much. However who knows how we would react in the same circumstances. So would make for an interesting book club discussion.

Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
 
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
underground airlines

A young black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service in exchange for his freedom. He's got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called "the Hard Four." On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn't right--with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself.
he works to infiltrate the local cell of a abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines

not a bad read, since the premise is interesting But the character is not overly fleshed out,,although I'm not sure that you could. Bit of a wooden read.

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
 
Interesting, Insightful
the sunshine sisters

this COULD be a book club read...i just personally don't think beach reads are that good for clubs and this is what i would characterize it as....you know whats gong to happen along the way between three sisters...which is typical in beach reads I think.
Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother's overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother's fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.

not a bad beach read...Total dysfunctional family and how each girl deals with their mother.

 
Insightful, Dramatic, Informative
the underground railroad

I struggled with this book. While I find the concept interesting and good historical information I could not relate to the characters. Also found it confusing to have the book being told in present day, then going back to the past with characters. Not my style.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Confusing, Boring
cheap cabernet

I only gave this two starts however there are many good reviews on this -- so maybe it will b good for a book club to read/discuss. That's the reason i recommended it

I really did not like this book..I got 2/3 of the way through and was still wondering why I continued to read it. I understand that it was a memoir, and those are difficult to write and read. However even up to the point when I stopped reading, I really was not drawn to either woman. I disliked the way that she stopped in the middle of an experience to related something else from her past, and then pick up the original experience again. Definitely not my kind of book.

Cathie Beck was in her late thirties and finally able to exhale after a lifetime of just trying to get by. A teenage mother harboring vivid memories of her own hardscrabble childhood, Cathie had spent years doing whatever it took to give her children the stability--or at least the illusion of it--that she'd never had. More than that, through sheer will and determination, she had educated them and herself too. With her kids in college, Cathie was at last ready to have some fun. The only problem was that she had no idea how to do it and no friends to do it with. So she put an ad in the paper for a made-up women's group: WOW . . . Women on the Way. Eight women showed up that first night, and out of that group a friendship formed, one of those meteoric, passionate, stand-by-you friendships that come around once in a lifetime and change you forever . . . if you're lucky.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
when breath becomes air

read the summary of this book on your own. Its an easy read - is sad and uplifting at the same time if that is possible. Sad because a young talent's life is ended so soon. But to read his story of going through the diagnosis and process is indeed poetic , uplifting and informative. Not many can go through this like the author did. Yet I do think there are many that do and we don't hear about it. To be able to articulate it as well as the author did and put on paper, makes one hopeful that if presented with the same situation , they might be able to have at least SOME of the qualities the author had. Good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Interesting, Confusing
the little french bistro

I really give it a 3.5. Most reviewers give it a 4....I almost gave up on this as it was difficult to plod through in the beginning but I'm glad I stayed with it. However for me...there were too many characters and story threads going on at the same time and I found it confusing and interfering with Marianne's story.
Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage. After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as the end of the world.

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

The Fix (Memory Man series) by David Baldacci
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive, Interesting
The Fix

not really sure this is a book club type of selection. However if you like the author you will like this book. Good murder mystery!!

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Beautiful, Addictive
the light we lost

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

seems reviewers either loved or hated this book.. I really did like the read, maybe because there is so much to dissect with the story and characters. SPOILER

Am not sure that lucy and gabe would have had a lasting relationship if they had stayed together when younger -- it was all about him and he wasn't wiling to compromised on anything to get what he wanted. It was only later when he was older , more experienced that I think it might have worked for him.
Definitely worth the read and plenty to discuss.

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Addictive
the forever summer

Set in Provincetown, so for those of us who are Cape Codders, it makes for a delicious read - to recognize places we've been and the culture of that town. I loved this book. There were traits in certain characters that were annoying...but that is why it makes the characters interesting and believable. While many will tout this as a beach read (and it is), it is very much more than fluff. definitely a good read.

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it's paid off: at twenty-eight she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and the hard-won admiration of her father. But one moment of weakness leaves Marin unemployed and alone, all in a single day. Then a woman claiming to be Marin's half-sister shows up, and it's all Marin can do not to break down completely. Seeking escape, Marin agrees to a road trip to meet the grandmother she never knew she had. As the summer unfolds at her grandmother's quaint beachside B&B, it becomes clear that the truth of her half-sister is just the beginning of revelations that will change Marin's life forever. THE FOREVER SUMMER is a delicious page-turner and a provocative exploration of what happens when our notions of love, truth, and family are put to the ultimate test.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Fun, Optimistic
Britt Marie was HEre

interestingly enough I did not remember this character from MyGrandmother told me to tell you she's sorry. but it didn't matter....i think the book stands on its own. i did have a hard time in the beginning and almost put it down. Very glad I did not...the book picks up and is an excellent story!! Great read.
Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory.

SPOILER: I am a little surprised she goes back with Kent. I almost want her to stay in Borg. But its a good ending. Maybe she doesn't stay with him either!

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Insightful
the delight of being ordinary

What happens when the Pope and the Dalai Lama decide they need an undercover vacation? During a highly publicized official visit at the Vatican, the Pope suggests an adventure so unexpected and appealing that neither man can resist. Before dawn, two of the most beloved and famous people on the planet don disguises, slip into a waiting car, and experience the countryside as regular people. Along for the ride are the Pope's overwhelmed cousin Paolo and his estranged wife Rosa, an eccentric hairdresser with a lust for life who cannot resist the call to adventure—or the fun.

this was a whimsical book to read, and a decent read. Just not the 4-5 stars others have given it.
would not be my choice for a book club but i can see where it would have enough for discussion

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
 
Confusing, Addictive, Dark
into the water

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she'd never return.

this book is a good mystery HOWEVER I agree with many of the other reviews -- hard to get into because of so many characters. That fact alone almost made me give up, if someone had not said they really liked it.

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Dramatic
the velvet hours

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.

this is the third book i have read which was based on the true account of the abandoned Parisian apartment. It was a good story and maybe if I had not read the others first I might have given it 4 starts. Each book was a little different. My problem with reading this one is that all of it seemed familiar due to having read the other two. If you haven't read any of them , this was a good read.

The Bridge by Doug Marlette
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Beautiful
the bridge

story of Pick Cantrell, a successful newspaper cartoonist whose career has hit the skids. In the grip of a midlife meltdown, Pick returns with his wife and son to a small North Carolina town, where he confronts the ghosts of his past in the form of the family matriarch and his boyhood nemesis, Mama Lucy. What follows is an extraordinary story within a story, as Pick uncovers startling truths about himself and about the role his grandmother played in the tragic General Textile Strike Of 1934

I wasn't sure i was going to love this book -- maybe because it was written so long ago? however it was a wonderful read. The characters are real and wonderful to talk about.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring
Helen on 86th street

In Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories, girls grow into women and women become wise in portraits filled with biting humor and small but hard-earned victories. One girl makes a burnt offering of letters written to her wayward father, while another struggles to leave her dying father and face adult life. Women navigate the rocky shoals of adultery, illness, and infertility as they make their way in an unsteady world, where the heart is easily betrayed and loyalty is rarely a straightforward matter. Wendi Kaufman writes intimately of daughters, mothers, and lovers, of first loves and difficult truths.
i'm not a big short story reader but a friend recommended this book. Am very glad I picked it up. I really enjoyed the stories and loved the fact that they were short...easy to read in a short span of time when you only have 10 minutes.
Definitely worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
denting the bosch

would actually give it a 3.5
I do agree with tsome of the criticism - The women seem to be a bit of a throwback to the 50's.. they need to pay attention to their family finances, etc. But if you keep reading , the characters go a bit deeper and really are not all that much different from many women today. A little choppy reading in the beginning but it really pulls you in. Has an epilogue that ties things up which I liked. The title is odd and really comes from one line in the book So don't let that throw you.


Three couples in San Diego—best friends, empty nesters living the California dream—have reached a tipping point. With the blurry years of child rearing and corporate ladder-climbing over, each pair is finally free to enjoy the golden years together. Until two of the husbands suddenly announce they want a divorce. As marriages and friendships unravel and the prosperity of the last few decades spins toward financial meltdown, Adele, Maggie and Sylvia find their carefully established footholds and expectations crumbling.

 
Addictive, Adventurous
the magician's diary

India and Matt thought all their problems would come to an end once they found Chronos. But the watch magician brings with him as many questions as answers, and a load of trouble. To fix Matt’s magic watch, they must find an old diary that once belonged to a doctor magician murdered decades ago. The hunt drags them into a sordid mystery involving two of London’s craft guilds. With old and new enemies determined to stop them, and long-held secrets unearthed, Matt and India must work together better than ever.

4th in the Glass and Steele series - and i do like it. but starting to get impatient about bringing it to some resolution. but i love the characters!

 
Interesting, Insightful, Confusing
goodbye vitamin

OH Lord I am sorry. I am so far in the minority here ---if i could have given it a zero I would have. I only finished it because it was short and wanted to say I read it all in case there was a gem at the end. There wasn't . I could not related to the characters -- no depth to Ruth and even less to Linus. I saw no beauty, no emotion and did not find it moving as many others used these words to describe this book SO sorry. the only thing I did like was the fact that the grad students came together for Ruth's father and "created" a class for him to teach because they loved him and knew he missed teaching.
A few days after Christmas in a small suburb outside of L.A., pairs of a man's pants hang from the trees. The pants belong to Howard Young, a prominent history professor, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Howard's wife, Annie, summons their daughter, Ruth. Freshly disengaged from her fiance and still broken up about it, feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job and arrives home to find her parents' situation worse than she'd realized. Her father is erratically lucid and her mother, a devoted and creative cook, sees the sources of memory loss in every pot and pan. But as Howard's condition intensifies, the comedy in Ruth's situation takes hold, gently transforming her grief. She throws herself into caretaking: cooking dementia-fighting meals (a feast of jellyfish!), researching supplements, anything to reignite her father's once-notable memory. And when the university finally lets Howard go, Ruth and one of her father's handsome former students take their efforts to help Howard one step too far.

The Good Widow: A Novel by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Addictive
the good widow

a solid 3.5 Great book for the beach or vacation -- easy read and not too long. Good suspense story although getting close to the end you may be able to see where its going. Still a very entertaining book and kept my interest! Finished it in one day.

Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Interesting
the salt house

not a bad beach read - decent story . Easy to see where it is going.
In the coastal town of Alden, Maine, Hope and Jack Kelly have settled down to a life of wedded bliss. They have a beautiful family, a growing lobster business, and the Salt House—the dilapidated oceanfront cottage they’re renovating into their dream home. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter doesn’t wake up from her afternoon nap, taking her last breath without making a sound.

A year later, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Hope spends hours staring at her daughter’s ashes, unable to let go. Jack works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid his crumbling marriage. Their daughters, Jess and Kat, struggle to come to terms with the loss of their younger sister while watching their parents fall apart.

When Jack’s old rival, Ryland Finn, threatens his fishing territory, he ignites emotions that propel the Kelly family toward circumstances that will either tear them apart—or be the path to their family’s future.

 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Interesting, Insightful

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
the alice network

probably a 3.5. you can read the summary on line.

I like historical fiction so was looking forward to this. There have been a lot of books out in the past few years about WW II - - so some readers may have had enough of war stories. And I have to admit, I am getting there myself. This one however mainly takes place in WW I and is based on a true person, which made it interesting. It is told through two characters - Eve in WWI, and Charlie in 1947. I have to say the character of Charlie did not really appeal to me. Eve was more interesting. But it does make the connection between the two eras in a good way. Defnitely worth the read.

You Were Meant for Me by Yona Zeldis McDonough
 
Unconvincing, Slow, Interesting
you were meant for me

this book was just ok for me...I didn't find the characters having a great deal of depth. especially Jared who I found very immature and self centered. None of it seemed that realistic and not a huge amount of depth in the story. very predicable.
Thirty-five-year-old Miranda is not an impulsive person. She’s been at Domestic Goddess magazine for eight years, she has great friends, and she’s finally moving on after a breakup. Having a baby isn’t even on her radar—until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn on the platform of a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little girl to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays she’ll be all right and that a loving family will step forward to take her.

Yet Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind and keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks whether she’d like to be the baby’s foster parent—maybe even adopt her. To her own surprise, Miranda jumps at the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new-mother love—or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s father surfaces....

Swerve by Vicki Pettersson
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Dramatic, Addictive
swerve

It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert, and Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancé again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait.

best thriller I've read in a longer time. This had me on the edge of my seat the entire read. There is some strong scenes and porn so if you don't like that, this may not be for you. But it is relevant to the story and is not overdone. you get to the middle and you think you know what's going on and then BAM! you're starting all over again. A great read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Dark
the lying game

actually a 3.5. Some of the plot is typical and easily recognizable. You guess where this is going

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four were notorious for playing the "lying game", telling lies at every turn to students and faculty. But their little game had consequences as they realize in modern day.

as the story moves on you know something happened that they are still all lying about. However there are good twists and turns at the end that keep you interested.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
bfreakfast at sally's

wow! reviews were either great or not good. It was interesting to read the comments after reading the book. I do agree that you really are not sure why he ended up homeless -- he could have gotten a job of some sort. however thats not the real point. It points out a lot of issues the homeless have and how easy it is to go down that slippery slope unless you have someone helping you. All in all, a good read and creates a lot of discussion.
One day, Richard LeMieux had a happy marriage, a palatial home, and took $40,000 Greek vacations. The next, he was living out of a van with only his dog, Willow, for company. This astonishingly frank memoir tells the story of one man's resilience in the face of economic disaster. Penniless, a failed suicide, estranged from his family, and living "the vehicular lifestyle" in Washington state, LeMieux chronicles his journey from the Salvation Army kitchens to his days with "C"—a philosopher in a homeless man's clothing—to his run-ins with Pastor Bob and other characters he meets on the streets. Along the way, he finds time to haunt public libraries and discover his desire to write.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative
HIssing Cousins

sreally a 3.5 If you like history and especially from this era and family , its a good read . Well written, not dry at all, and fun to read.

When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, his beautiful and flamboyant daughter was transformed into "Princess Alice," arguably the century's first global celebrity. Thirty-two years later, her first cousin Eleanor moved into the White House as First Lady. Born eight months and twenty blocks apart from each other in New York City, Eleanor and Alice spent a large part of their childhoods together and were far more alike than most historians acknowledge.

But their politics and temperaments couldn't have been more distinct. Do-gooder Eleanor was committed to social justice but hated the limelight; acid-tongued Alice, who became the wife of philandering Republican congressman Nicholas Longworth, was an opponent of big government who gained notoriety for her cutting remarks (she famously quipped that dour President Coolidge “looked like he was weaned on a pickle”). While Eleanor revolutionized the role of First Lady with her outspoken passion for human rights, Alice made the most of her insider connections to influence politics, including doing as much to defeat the League of Nations as anyone in elective office.

The cousins themselves liked to play up their oil-and-water relationship. “When I think of Frank and Eleanor in the White House I could grind my teeth to powder and blow them out my nose,” Alice once said. In the 1930s they even wrote opposing syndicated newspaper columns and embarked on competing nationwide speaking tours. Blood may be thicker than water, but when the family business is politics, winning trumps everything.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Romantic
the stars are fire

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Persuasive
love and other consolation prizes

If you liked the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I think you'll like this. It s an easy ready. But from the first chapter I did not want to put down this book. Sign of a good choice for me. And it was so interesting to read about that time period in Seattle. Definitely a good read.

From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off--a healthy boy "to a good home."

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known--and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

 
Interesting, Slow, Informative
Miss Davis and me

If you like reading about the old Hollywood stories and Bette Davis in particular , you will like this book. It is interesting to read about Miss Davis' last years.
For ten years Kathryn Sermak was at Bette Davis's side--first as an employee, and then as her closest friend--and in Miss D and Me she tells the story of the great star's harrowing but inspiring final years, a story fans have been waiting decades to hear.

Miss D and Me is a story of two powerful women, one at the end of her life and the other at the beginning. As Bette Davis aged she was looking for an assistant, but she found something more than that in Kathryn: a loyal and loving buddy, a co-conspirator in her jokes and schemes, and a competent assistant whom she trained never to miss a detail. But Miss D had strict rules for Kathryn about everything from how to eat a salad to how to wear her hair...even the spelling of Kathryn's name was changed (adding the "y") per Miss D's request. Throughout their time together, the two grew incredibly close, and Kathryn had a front-row seat to the larger-than-life Davis's career renaissance in her later years, as well as to the humiliating public betrayal that nearly killed Miss D.

The Bullet: A Novel by Mary Louise Kelly
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive
the bullet

Caroline Cashion, a professor of French literature at Georgetown University, is stunned when an MRI reveals that she has a bullet lodged near the base of her skull. It makes no sense: she has never been shot. She has no entry wound. No scar. When she confronts her parents, they initially profess bewilderment. Then, over the course of one awful evening, she learns the truth: she was adopted when she was three years old, after her real parents were murdered in cold blood. Caroline had been there the night of the attack, and she was hit by a single gunshot to the neck. Buried too deep among vital nerves and blood vessels, the surgeons had left it, and stitched up the traumatized little girl with the bullet still inside.

That was thirty-four years ago.

Now, Caroline returns to her hometown to learn whatever she can about who her parents were and why they died. Along the way she meets a cop who worked the case, who reveals that even after all these years, the police do not have enough evidence to nail their suspect. The killer is still at large. Caroline is in danger: the bullet in her neck could identify the murderer, and he'll do anything to keep it out of the police hands. Now Caroline will have to decide: run for her life, or stay and fight?

This was a decent read -- it draws you in from the beginning. And despite the fact that the jacket tells you what is going to happen, it does not detract from the story. The ending for me wasn't great. Just not sure I can think that the characters' persona can change the way it did, for her to do what she did. Not plausible for me. But still worth the read.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Insightful
The Stolen Marriage

In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. It is also the time of summer polio epidemics and as one strikes the town the townspeople band together to build a hospital.

I would rate this a 4-4.5. I do enjoy this author immensely. I do agree with some of the constructive criticism - a lot going on between interracial relationships, women's rights, life during the war, polio epidemics , and maybe a bit overdramatic. however it did not impede my understanding of the story which i thought was quite good. I enjoyed the charters and enjoyed the twists at the end.

Find Me: A Novel by Laura van den Berg
 
Difficult, Dark, Confusing
Find me

Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. When Joy’s immunity gains her admittance to a hospital in rural Kansas, she sees a chance to escape her bleak existence. There she submits to peculiar treatments and follows seemingly arbitrary rules, forming cautious bonds with other patients—including her roommate, whom she turns to in the night for comfort, and twin boys who are digging a secret tunnel.

As winter descends, the hospital’s fragile order breaks down and Joy breaks free, embarking on a journey from Kansas to Florida, where she believes she can find her birth mother, the woman who abandoned her as a child. On the road in a devastated America, she encounters mysterious companions, cities turned strange, and one very eerie house. As Joy closes in on Florida, she must confront her own damaged memory and the secrets she has been keeping from herself.

i agree with much of the constructive criticism...i was enjoying this book until half way through -- it really did fall apart. the travels to find her mother were annoying, made no sense, etc. Not a book for me.

Sleeping Beauties: A Novel by Stephen King, Owen King
 
Slow, Unconvincing, Interesting
Sleeping Beauties

n a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is wildly provocative and gloriously absorbing.

i wanted to like this book...and obviously must have missed something based on the other reviewers. But after 100 pages I could not get into it....life is too short to waste on books you don't like...so stopped reading. Sorry.

Friction by Sandra Brown
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Addictive
Friction

am a fan of this author's books....and if you are as well, you will like it.
Definitely a good read and one I did NOT want to put down.
A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

 
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
uncommon type

this was also a DNF (did not finish ) for me. His writing was decent, and I did like the first story. and i did find it interesting that he wove a typewriter into every story....you almost don't even notice it unless you are looking for it (and the fact that you are told there is one in every story). But after that first story I really couldn't get interested in the characters or the story itself. So I'm glad there seems to be a lot that like his book. Just didn't do it for me.

Magic Time: A Novel by Doug Marlette
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Addictive
Magic time

after reading "The Bridge" I was anxious to read this one. Too bad this author only wrote two books before his death. I liked this one as much as the first. It is a little confusing at times when he moves between the 1990's and 1964 -- the chapter titles don't clarify that for you. But if you can get past that, the story line is very very good. Love story, court drama, civil rights history all wrapped into one. An excellent era.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Carter Ransom came to New York as a young man and has risen to become a columnist with a major city newspaper. But when his life in New York falls apart and he heads back home to recover, the still-live conflicts of his youth in the civil rights era rise up all around him again. A twenty-five-year-old murder case has just been reopened, a church bombing that killed Carter's first love. Carter's father was the judge in the case, and now there's evidence that the trial was flawed, even fixed, and the case's reopening threatens the foundation of Carter's identity, as well as his relationship to his family.

Q: A Novel by Evan Mandery
 
Slow, Difficult, Confusing
Q: a novel

not my favorite book. The plot of time travel intrigued me. Howerver too many negatives to enjoy this book: vocabulary of large words was overused and confusing. stories within the story were both distracting, frequently had little to do with the story,
I wanted to like this but just didn't.

Still Life by Louise Penny
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Addictive
Still LIfe

could be a 3.5 Recommended to me by friends. First in a series. I honestly don't know that i can read all the books that follow....i tend to get tired of the same character over and over. HOwerver I will read at least a few. While i found the constant playing of back stories a little tedious, I thought it was a good mystery novel and had me guessing until the end.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

 
Difficult, Slow, Boring
the golden age

It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia.

At the Golden Age Children's Polio Convalescent Hospital in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow-patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs, love and desire, music, death, and poetry. Where children must learn that they are alone, even within their families.

this book just didn't do it for me. Many of the reviews were excellent.....I thought the characters fell flat and there wasn't much of a story there. I was tempted to give it up 1/2 way through but stuck it out till the end. Didn't help me Sorry

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Dark, Confusing
raven stole the moon

I really would give this a 2.5 -3. I loved the Art of Racing in the Rain and this one was recommended to me, since it was Mr Stein's first novel. It was a bit weird for me and I had a hard time relating to the characters. Not my favorite. having said that, it probably would create a lot of discussion for a book group

In this haunting debut, Garth Stein brilliantly invokes his Native American heritage and its folklore to create an electrifying supernatural thriller. When a grieving mother returns to the remote Alaskan town where her young son drowned, she discovers that the truth about her son's death is shrouded in legend— and buried in a terrifying wrinkle between life and death. When Jenna Rosen abandons her comfortable Seattle life to return to Wrangell, Alaska, it's a wrenching return to her past. Long ago the home of her Native American grandmother, Wrangell is located near the Thunder Bay resort, where Jenna's young son, Bobby, disappeared two years before. His body was never recovered, and Jenna is determined to lay to rest the aching mystery of his death. But the spectacular town provides little comfort beyond the steady and tender affections of Eddie, a local fisherman. And then whispers of ancient legends begin to suggest a frightening new possibility about Bobby's fate. Soon, Jenna must sift through the beliefs of her ancestors, the Tlingit— who still tell of powerful, menacing forces at work in the Alaskan wilderness.

The Shadow Land: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Difficult, Confusing
the shadowland

I really can't recommend for a book club or not ....I am probably going to be in the minority here...and cannot really rate this since I didn't finish the book. I loved her novel the Historian , so was looking forward to this. I read 200 pages of this and decided its not for me. It didn't grab me, I found the story not plausible , and couldn't get into the characters. I've recently decided that if a book doesn't grab me, life is too short to spend my time reading them. Judging by the other reviews, it will appeal to a lot of others. So if you decide to pick it up I hope you enjoy it! judging by other reviews its probably good for book club discussion

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Interesting, Fun
a fatal grace

second in the inspector gamache series. I was ok with the first and didn't really think I'd continue with the series. However I tried this second book and found it once again, an excellent murder mystery and not quite annoying as the first. There are still things I want to find out in terms of what is happening with some characters so I think I WILL continue the series for now. Easy read, draws you in and keeps you guessing

The News from the End of the World by Emily Jeanne Miller
 
Gloomy, Dark
the news from the end of the world

When Vance Lake—broke, jobless, and recently dumped—takes refuge with twin brother Craig back home on Cape Cod, he unwittingly finds himself smack in the middle of a crisis that would test the bonds of even the most cohesive family, let alone the Lakes. Craig is strangely mournful and angry at equal turns. His exasperated wife, Gina, is on the brink of an affair. At the center of it all is seventeen-year-old Amanda: adored niece, rebellious daughter, and stubborn stepdaughter. She’s also pregnant.
I am glad I finished this book as I wanted to find out what happened in the end. However I can't agree with most of the reviews. Didn't care for it at all. The characters had too many issues, they really didn't connect with one another, they are not very deep or sympathetic. Told from too many points of views. The adults barely acknowledged poor little hannah....and the ending really didn't pull anything together. You are still left wondering what happens to everyone.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Adventurous
Caroline: Little House Revisited

I wanted to love this book more than I did....but watching a tv show and reading about their life are two very different things. I thought it was very slow moving and really covered a short amount of time - but I guess they didn't stay in Kansas very long. I probably need to go back and read the Little House series. Howerver it is still worth the read. The life that settlers lived was very hard -- not sure why anyone wanted to travel and settle in new land the way the did. A woman really needed dozens of skills to survive for both her and her family. It is also appalling how we treated Native Americans - - and what our attitudes were towards them at the time.

In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

Odd Child Out: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dark
Odd Child Out

It has been interesting to read the lower ranked reviews after reading the book. However I have to agree with the majority --- i really liked this book It drew me in from the very beginning and while it was not the "thriller" i thought it would be, it had a lot of unanswered questions, and I really enjoyed the social and political issues it brought up. Yes, you can porbably figure out why things happened the way they did, but its the personalities that really make this story.

Best friends Noah Sandler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable. But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol's Feeder Canal, Abdi can't--or won't--tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident. But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle. Noah is British. Abdi is a Somali refugee. And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol. Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth. Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Interesting
Happiness

True story -- very sad at times but its a what happens in real life kind of story. And how hard it is to make decision regarding your child's health. Good read.

Happiness begins with a charming courtship between hopelessly attracted opposites: Heather, a world-roaming California girl, and Brian, an intellectual, homebody writer, kind and slyly funny, but loath to leave his Upper West Side studio. Their magical interlude ends, full stop, when Heather becomes pregnant - Brian is sure he loves her, only he doesn't want kids. Heather returns to California to deliver their daughter alone, buoyed by family and friends. Mere hours after Gracie's arrival, Heather's bliss is interrupted when a nurse wakes her, "Get dressed, your baby is in trouble."

This is not how Heather had imagined new motherhood – alone, heartsick, an unexpectedly solo caretaker of a baby who smelled "like sliced apples and salted pretzels" but might be perilously ill. Brian reappears as Gracie's condition grows dire; together Heather and Brian have to decide what they are willing to risk to ensure their girl sees adulthood.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
the 100 year old man who climbed out the window

you can read all the reviews. I tend to agree with the critics - sometimes annoying, too smooth, too convenient, a little out there. However I did find it humorous and did enjoy the book . Glad I read it.

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun and feel-good book for all ages. (less)

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Unconvincing, Boring
The vengeance of mothers

the journal of Margaret Kelly, a woman who participated in the government's "Brides for Indians" program in 1873, a program whose conceit was that the way to peace between the United States and the Cheyenne Nation was for One Thousand White Women to be given as brides in exchange for three hundred horses. These "brides" were mostly fallen women; women in prison, prostitutes, the occasional adventurer, or those incarcerated in asylums. No one expected this program to work. The brides themselves thought it was simply a chance at freedom. But many of them fell in love with the Cheyennes spouses and had children with them...and became Cheyenne themselves.

The Vengeance Of Mothers is a novel that explores what happens to the bonds between wives and husbands, children and mothers, when society sees them as "unspeakable." What does it mean to be white, to be Cheyenne, and how far will these women go to avenge the ones they love? As he did in One Thousand White Women, Jim Fergus brings to light a time and place in American history, and fills it with unforgettable characters who live and breathe with a passion we can relate to even today.

Make sure you read One Thousand WHite Women first as this is a sequel There is a lot of controversy evidently regarding the "history" on which these two books are presented. whether or not there was such a bride program (which sounds ridiculous - however how we treated Natvie Americans then was also ridiculous), it still makes for an interesting read. It just ended abruptly for me and I wanted a bit more. Still a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Inspiring
the greater weight of glory

Read the summary of the book first.....

This is not the easiest book to read. Personally I think memoirs can sometimes be hard to read -- everyone has their own stories and issues. But no matter what you believe in or not, this is a well written true story of how not just one person deals with tragedy, but how one life can affect so many others - knowingly or not. And for me, however hard faith and forgiveness can be, it can be done....and is being done.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Fun, Beautiful
The rules of magic

i really give this a 4.5. You can read the summary of the story. I agree with all the positive reviews, and also agree you don't have to have read Practical Magic first. I had only seen the movie, but will probably read that book as well. I thought these characters were wonderful, and loved reading about their magical powers.
The negative reviews I read were really from readers who have a hard time connecting with "magic" as a subject. So if that is you, this book is probably not a good one for you.
Otherwise , a definitely good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Adventurous
beneath a scarlet sky

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
Sister Sister

Claire and Alice had been separated as young children, when their father took Alice on a long holiday to America and never came back, splitting the family. As Claire grew up and became a solicitor she was able to afford to high private detectives, but they never found Alice. Suddenly this year though, Alice makes contact with her mum, and shortly afterwards she is back in the family house, and everyone is making up for lost time trying to reconnect.

However Claire can't really feel much for Alice, and despite being happy her sister is home, also suspects something is fishy, but the way everything is presented, the rest of her family think she is going mad.

I would give this 3.5 starts. I did find it predictable ...interesting that so many others did not. However I like this author and her style, so I still felt this book was intriguing. there were times in the beginning that you could go either way with this. But I did have a few criticisms SPOILER!!

If I didn't know Clare was a solicitor I would not have guessed. do you really just take someone's word that she is your long lost sister without checking her out?
you never find out why Leonard asked Clare in the end if Tom had showed her anything on his phone. Why would he ask that unless he knew tom had the pictures?
should clare have told Luke about Hannah's questionable paternity? Isn't she just recreating her mothers mistake?
definitely a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
the silver music box

not so sure I would recommend for a book club -- especially if they have read a number of other WWII stories...there are better ones.
you can read the summary of what this book is about.

I do agree with some of the constructive criticism - a bit choppy; the third sec ion of the book did indeed seem rushed and more time could have been given to Paul and Clara's attempt to escape and what happens afterwards. You really don't know What paul actually did during WWII or I missed that part.
It was a translated version so I have to wonder if something gets lost when stories are translated. However I still enjoyed reading this book.

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters
 
Interesting, Confusing, Dramatic
mrs sinclairs suitcase

read the summary of the book first....

I found the plot and the story line intriguing...but the read was just so so for me. It was confusing in the beginning switching back and forth between time periods. I didn't feel especially connected to the characters...especially Roberta. There was no depth to her. All the loose ends were tied up at the end but haphazardly and quickly.
I read it to the end to see what happened...but just an ok read for me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Adventurous, Brilliant
year one

I have read a lot of Nora Roberts books and usually love her trilogies. this is a different kind of writing for her -- some are liking it, some not. I personally did. Its a bit apocalypse, sci fi, magic rolled into one. I fyou are ok with that type of genre you will like this. I read it almost in one day and did not want to put it down. Can't wait for the second installment.
am not sure its a book club kind of book

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Dramatic
Practical Magic

as many other reviewers note, don't expect this book to be like the movie. The movie was great, but is LOOSELY based on the book. Book is more in depth and you can tell the story more intricately than you could a movie. So be prepared for that and if you liked the movie, you will love the book. I had just finished the new one "rules of magic" so thought it was time to reread the original. Glad I did after the newest one. You pick up on a lot more stuff.
Good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring
karolina's twins

you can read the summary of this book. I had read "Once we were brothers" and enjoyed it so decided to pick this one up as well. Didn't realize at the time that the characters of the lawyer and the PI were in the first book and the author's second (Which i have not read). It doesn't matter if you haven't read the previous two. Once again there seem to be a lot of WW II novels out now...this is the second I've read in a month. If you are tired of that topic, you will not enjoy this. I don't mind and i enjoyed the authors first novel. This one did not disappoint. It is a bit predictable, the writing is not always the best, but it is a good story, and loosely based on actual events. It was a book I didn't want to put down until the end.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Insightful
the story of arthur truluv

yes its predictable, a bit sad, maybe sappy. But the characters are good and one hopes that lonely people would really find themselves like they do in this book. read the summary -- its a short book and worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Addictive
the romance readers guide to life

Read the review of the book here:
As a young girl, Neave was often stuck in a world that didn’t know what to do with her. As her mother not unkindly told her, she was never going to grow up to be a great beauty. Her glamorous sister, Lilly, moved easily through the world, a parade of handsome men in pursuit. Her brother didn’t want a girl joining his group of friends. And their small town of Lynn, Massachusetts, didn’t have a place for a girl whose feelings often put her at war with the world -- often this meant her mother, her brother, and the town librarian who wanted to keep her away from the Dangerous Books she really wanted to read.

But through an unexpected friendship, Neave finds herself with a forbidden copy of The Pirate Lover, a steamy romance, and Neave discovers a world of passion, love, and betrayal. And it is to this world that as a grown up she retreats to again and again when real life becomes too much.

Neave finds herself rereading The Pirate Lover more than she ever would have expected because as she gets older, life does not follow the romances she gobbled up as a child. When Neave and Lilly are about to realize their professional dream, Lilly suddenly disappears. Neave must put her beloved books down and take center stage, something she has been running from her entire life.

quick summary of other reviewers points:
story is told through the two main characters
Coming of age for a young woman who finds the world of books appealing
Bond of 2 sisters and how they grew up together, go into business together
begginning is the best, story gets a little strange at the end.

the book is all of the above and more. while i can understand some of the negative criticism and know this won't be for everyone, I loved this book . and while the ending IS a bit strange , it held my interest and I enjoined reading it!

Since We Fell: A Novel by Dennis Lehane
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Adventurous, Dramatic
since we fell

I always find it interesting to read the reviews of a book after I've read it. And that doesn't disappoint in this case. I agree with some of the constructive criticism...starts out a bit slow, ends rather quickly, hard to talk about with out spoiling the story. All I know is that the backstory that starts at the beginning had me hooked early on. Made me think it was going to be a different kind of book than how it turned out. I like this author's writing, I couldn't wait to finish it, and yes maybe it was a bit rushed in the end. But I think it had to kind of be that way. Did it leave some unanswered questions? yes maybe however its a story!!! you have to know its not going to end up with everything neatly packaged. Definitely a good read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
 
Slow, Informative, Interesting
the rooster bar

you can read the synopsis yourself. Reviews are all over the place on this one. I must say though, while i have always liked this author....i really don't get the 4-5 stars and raves. it was a fair book. Characters were too shallow for my taste, seemed to glorify their scam, not so sure the ending is plausible. Just a fair read for me.

Shtum: A Novel by Jem Lester
 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Interesting, Informative
Shtum

you can read the synopsis of the story. This is not an easy book to read. I had a hard time with Ben's character. He made me angy in what he didn't do. Then I felt bad, because of all that he had to deal with. Its when you get 3/4 of the way through the book and you start learning about what makes him tick that the pieces fall together. All are flawed characters: ben, emma, georg. which makes this story so real I guess. Its not an easy topic to read about, but probably so true. Good read.

 
Pointless, Fun, Optimistic
the whole town's talking

Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. Original, profound, The Whole Town’s Talking, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.
as others have described it...quirky plot, silly, whimsical, fantastical,
A tad on the long side for me.....drew in too many characters in the end. and not sure the ending was the quite the way i would hav liked in some ways. But an easy read and cute story.

 
Slow, Beautiful, Boring
the essex serpent

The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.

They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

reviews on this book ranged all over. I do get some of the better reviews, but this was not a book for me. Thought it was wordy, boring, not a great story. sorry.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Persuasive
emma in the night

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

there were mixed reviews on this book - interesting. and while i respect the constructive criticism I really felt the story was a good one. I suspected how some things would turn out however there were plenty of twists and turns to keep my interest. I found it hard to put this book down and would recommend giving it a try. Especially if you read the authors first book and liked it.

 
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
my name is lucy barton

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.
As one reviewer states, nothing happens in this book . It is mostly introspective and psychological If you like that in a book, its one for you. I do not and found nothing redeeming about this story.
Not for me. sorry

 
Slow, Boring
abide with me

i actually give it a 2.5
you can read the summary of the book....
It is a christian , inspirational type of read. which I don't mind. However I did find it a bit preachy, and a bit unbelievable at times. but might not be a bad read for some.

 
Fun, Interesting, Optimistic
cafe by the sea

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up -- and she hasn't looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It's a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious... and hopelessly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she's suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers -- all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework -- and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking -- and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.

not the deepest read but a nice entertaining book....good beach read, not sure its book club choice!

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Beautiful, Interesting
the great bridge

really a 3.5 -4
you have to like this authors books and you have to like history. there was a bit of technical bridge buidling stuff that i would skip over. but its a great biography of the two men who designed and built the bridge, great history of the politics in NY at the time the bridge was built, and fascinating that it was built in the era it was. If you like all that...a good read.

The German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
the german girl

the story of a twelve-year-old girl’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.
if you are tired of WW II books you might not want to read this. However it is well written, based on a true happening. Its dark and links three events: WW II, Cuban revolution and 9/11
a good read.

Three Wishes: A Novel by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Boring, Unconvincing
three wishes

this is the authors first book, which I read after reading her later books. While i loved her later books this one was not my favorite. Its not a bad read. But read a little disjointed for me. Did not love any of the characters . But finished because I wanted to see what happened....she does wrap everything up nicely

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Interesting, Adventurous
the marsh king's daughter

synopsis: Helena Pelletier has a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a business that fills her days. But she also has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature, and despite her father’s sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too...until she learned precisely how savage he could be.

More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marsh. The police begin a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.
probably more a 3.5
pretty creepy story, yet fascinating Good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Poorly Written
the child finder

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

the subject matter is a bit disturbing but the book handles it beautifully. good writing and a page turner. easy and fast to read.

Chasing the Sun: A Novel by Natalia Sylvester
 
Unconvincing, Difficult, Confusing
chasing the sun

Andres suspects his wife has left him—again. Then he learns that the unthinkable has happened: she’s been kidnapped. Too much time and too many secrets have come between Andres and Marabela, but now that she’s gone, he’ll do anything to get her back. Or will he?

As Marabela slips farther away, Andres must decide whether they still have something worth fighting for, and exactly what he’ll give up to bring her home.

unfortunately I could not relate or like any of these characters. so not good book for me.

The Address: A Novel by Fiona Davis
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
the address

despite some of the constructive criticism in reviews i really liked this book. I liked the NYC history part of it and I did like the twists / turns and did not find them contrived and irrelevant as some of the other reviewers. ITs an easy read and I recommend it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Addictive
into the light

Sara Adams awakes blind, unable to remember the most basic details of her life, but her darkness seems a blessing when she discovers the terrors of The Light.

Stella Montgomery investigates the news on the mean streets of Detroit, where she’s noticed a disturbing trend: young women are vanishing. When her best friend disappears, Stella investigates—despite warnings from her police detective boyfriend—following a twisted trail that leads her through the city’s most dangerous and forsaken precincts. There she uncovers something more sinister than she could have imagined: a shadowy organization known as The Light, led by the enigmatic Father Gabriel.

As Sara struggles to understand her place in the strange world she’s awakened to—an oppressive cult demanding unquestioning obedience—and her feelings for Jacob, the husband she can’t recall and whose harsh and tender attentions confuse and beguile her, Stella risks all to discover the truth. But enlightenment always comes with a price

this is an excellent mystery/thriller. I can't wait to start the second in the series.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive
away from the dark

excellent sequel to the first one...Into the Light

What I Remember Most by Cathy Lamb
 
Book Club Recommended
Persuasive, Dramatic, Inspiring
what i remember most

probably more a 3.5 Good story line although i do agree the second half was bit drawn out. Ending especially. However it tied up all loose ends nicely. I liked the main character and Ilike the story.
Good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Inspiring, Insightful
cleo

3.5
very good read....well written!!!
Helen wasn't in the market to adopt a kitten but her two boys changed her mind. When the cat was delivered weeks later, she had no way of know ing the family had suffered a tragic loss. helen was not going to keep the cat until she saw something she thought she would never see again....her son's smile.

For a memoir , treads more like a story and is very insightful and entertaining.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Dramatic
The Ocean a t the end of the Lane

read the summary on your own, This is not going to be a book for everyone. It mixes fantasy, magic, darkness, alone with mythology and "lessons". Its short and an easy read. If the previous themes are not your thing, don't read it. If you are open to those, this is an excellent book

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dark, Confusing
Seveneves

3.5 I'm glad I did not read the reviews before I read the book...This meant I was surprised along the way as to how the story unfolded. Reading the reviews after helped me appreciate segments more. Its interesting to read the good and the not so good reviews. Really boils down to whether you like sci fi or not. I'm in the middle. I got stuck at many of the technological explanations and found I skimmed over those frequently. Howerver the storyline is good I thought. Reality in the beginning - could it really happen ? to a bit of disbelief in the last third -- could those few survivors really create the future as they did? doesn't seem plausible Then again - that's sci fi!

Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Addictive
modern girls

3.5
you can read the review of the story For a debut novel I thought it was well written and a great mother/daughter story. However the book just ends. no hint of a sequel or an epilogue. while loved the book the ending left me very disappointed.

A Separation: A Novel by Katie Kitamura
 
Boring, Difficult, Confusing
a separation

I tried, but cannot agree with the other reviewers. One of the worst books i ever read. I can't relate to the charters...nothing about any of them is appealing; prose is awful. The only reason i finished it , is because it was short and was looking for some kind of conclusion. Left me high and dry.

The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor
 
Dark, Confusing, Boring
the daylight marriage

Who Do You Love: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Fun, Romantic
who do you love?

could be a 3.5 Interesting the range of reviews. I had stopped reading this author for a while because as another reviewer mentioned, i felt her books were chick lit....which isn't bad...just had had enough of them for awhile. Despite the range of reviews, i really liked this one.. More than chick lit, i felt this was little deeper and a good story.

Slade House: A Novel by David Mitchell
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Scary, Dramatic
slade house

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .

a creepy horror story --- But good!!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful
little fires everywhere

read the review of the story yourself. I loved this book. I Had also enjoyed the authors first book. Most of the reviews are very positive...but i also enjoy reading the ones not so complementary. There are some good points in those and while i may disagree with the overall review, they make for good discussions. This was well worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Adventurous, Pointless
celine

this was an ok book for me. I agree with a lot of the constructive criticism: too much background info on the main character (some of which is really not all that relevant), a little bit too pat and unrealistic, the character is a bit unrealistic, the others could be developed more.. I feel like i was being set up for the sequel..and maybe we are. I certainly can't give it 5 stars. However after saying all of that, the story line is a good one and if you can get through some of the background stuff, while the ending is a little too pat, it was a decent read.

The Breakdown: A Novel by B. A. Paris
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic
the break down

3.5
Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

decent mystery , thriller. Predictable. some spots went into more depth and description than necessary. some good twists in the end and pulls everything together nicely.

Shattered Lies by J M Hughson
 
Unconvincing, Difficult, Confusing
shattered lies

Same Beach, Next Year: A Novel by Dorothea Benton Frank
 
Unconvincing
same beach next year

you can read the summary of the plot.....
I usually really like this authors book....but The Hurricane sisters was still my favorite.
This is more chick lit; plot is predictable; not very deep; Adam is not a believable character for me/ most of the characters are shallow. Best part was the trips to Greece.

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
every note played

you can easily read the summary of the story yourself.
This was not my favorite Genova book. I Have read every one, love the author, and appreciate how she brings each disease/condition she writes about to life, yet making it an interesting story with interesting characters. While i would continue to read anything she writes, this one just didn't do it for me. I wasn't invested in the characters and couldn't find myself connecting to them. For me it was really a description of ALS and what a caregiver goes through, both of which were described well, as only Genova can do. For that reason this book is definitely worth the read.

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Dark
behind closed doors

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

some areas might be predictable but this was a good psychological thriller and the last few pages are awesome!

The Hush: A Novel by John Hart
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Addictive
the hush

It’s been ten years since the events that changed Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Since then, Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, but books have been written of his exploits; the fascination remains. Living alone on six thousand acres of once-sacred land, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his old friend, Jack. They’re not boys anymore, but the bonds remain. What they shared. What they lost.

But Jack sees danger in the wild places Johnny calls home; he senses darkness and hunger, an intractable intent. Johnny will discuss none of it, but there are the things he knows, the things he can do. A lesser friend might accept such abilities as a gift, but Jack has felt what moves in the swamp: the cold of it, the unspeakable fear.

this is a follow up story to The Last Child --- if you haven't read that already you should read it first. It enables you to understand the relationship between Johnny and Jack much better.
The second book is a little different -- a little bit of supernatural to it. Not exactly what I expected, but still enjoyed the story!

Carnegie's Maid: A Novel by Marie Benedict
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Insightful
carnegie's maid

you can read the summary of the story.....Not a deep book, however the premise is interesting and it held my interest throughout. Good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Fun
the girls in the picture

you can read the summary for yourself.
If you like historical fiction and books about old hollywood, you will like this. The story of the lives an d friendship of Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, it really tells a lot about the treatment of women in the workplace during that time, specifically the hollywood studios.
Was a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
Pachinko

really a 3.5
I did enjoy this book...just not as a full 4 or 5. I liked the first 2/3 better than the last 1/3. So many characters that I found it hard to relate to any of them in depth. And felt the last 1/3 was even harder to get into the characters. However it was fascinating to read about the Korean/ Japanese relationships and what happened in that time period -- history that we westerners do not usually hear about or understand.
Worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Insightful
the female persuasion

I wanted to read this book for the new B/N book club coming up. There was something about this book that did not grab me and i could not figure out why until i finished and read some of the reviews. I had to agree with a lot of the criticisms: Greer a bland character; storydoesnt really pin down what its all about; no real human insights. Yet some of the praise was also correct: cory the best character, which i agree with. My bottom line is, I thnk it is a good book for a book club --- there will be a lot of discussion about the character and the themes of power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. The ending tied everything up in too neat a package for me.

Iris & Lily: Book One by Angela and Julie Scipioni
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Slow
Iris and Lily

you can read the review yourself. I agree with another reviewer -- if this hadn't kept coming up on my FB page as one of the best books to read, maybe I would have liked it more. Not one of my favorite books. Not a bad read and obviously so many more LOVED this book. the relationship between the two sisters is probably very real -- i just couldn't get close to either one of them. They both kept annoying me with their choices, their lack of standing up for themselves, etc. As I said , this is probably real life. it just didn't do too much for me. Seemed more gloomy than anything good happeingng. I have read all three

 
Dramatic, Addictive
force of nature

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

this story is second in a series about a police officer....you do get the sense that the two police officers have worked together and there is a history but nothing that would make you read the first book first.
Not a bad story....a few twists and turns, but basically predictable.

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke
 
Interesting
rules for a knight

an unforgettable fable about a father's journey and a timeless guide to life's many questions.

A knight, fearing he may not return from battle, writes a letter to his children in an attempt to leave a record of all he knows. In a series of ruminations on solitude, humility, forgiveness, honesty, courage, grace, pride, and patience, he draws on the ancient teachings of Eastern and Western philosophy, and on the great spiritual and political writings of our time. His intent: to give his children a compass for a journey they will have to make alone, a short guide to what gives life meaning and beauty.
Basic little book of parables.

And Then You Loved Me by Inglath Cooper
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
and then you loved me

actually a 3.5 Good beach read. Many threads: not judging those who appear different than you, relationships between mothers,daughters, sisters;
good mix of story lines; love story and sacrifice.
good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
the brutal telling

his is the 5th book in the series and the 4th I have read. I find it amazing that although most of the characters stay the same and there is always murder to be solved, each book seems to get better, and is different enough to keep your interest. I have a few more on my Kindle I will read. I have expected to get bored and be ready to put them down, but not yet!!!

 
Addictive, Slow, Scary
brilliance

It is interesting to read the variety of reviews on this book. I tend to agree with the most positive and even the less positive points. However it was an interesting read for me and kept me entertained. Lack of character development didn't bother me...i was too caught up in the action. So for me it was a good read and I recommend it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Send down the rain

Allie's second husband is killed tragically when his 18-wheeler crashes into the rocks near their home in Cape San Blas--the tanker was full of fuel and the explosion could be seen on overhead satellites. She'd already lost the beloved waterfront restaurant her parents started and now losing her husband, no matter how unfulfilling their marriage was, might just push her over the edge.

Joseph's time in Vietnam left him with scars that never seemed to heal. No matter how he's tried to love or what he's tried to do since then, he can't pull himself out of the wreckage of his former life. His trust and security shaken, he isolates himself in a cabin. But every morning, he faithfully pours two cups of coffee, drinking his while he sits with the second, and then pouring out the full cup.

It's no small coincidence that Joseph found a mother and her two young children lost in the woods near his cabin. Or that when he helps them return to family in Florida, he's near enough to see that explosion. Near enough to know it's close to home. Near enough to know that his childhood sweetheart needs him.

The years have built so much distance between them, but it's the secrets that may be their final undoing. Send Down the Rain reminds us of the beauty of truth . . . and the power of love to wash away the past.

i am not so sure that all the threads in this story are believable: Joseph being able to have his Vietnam experience tied to Bobby, finding Jakes first family, getting let off in the end in court. However I really like this author and enjoyed this book immensely Highly recommend it as a good read

 
Addictive, Interesting, Fun
the flight attendant

really a 3.5
Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police--she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home--Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

I like this author but have to say this wasn't my favorite book of his. It was a good read...slow thriller and I would recommend it. For me, I really did not like the main character....a mess and a bit unbelievable for me

Only Child: A novel by Rhiannon Navin
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Gloomy, Dramatic
only child

i gave this a four because i think its an excellent book for discussion. It is amazing how she has told the story from a six year olds perspective. One critic had a hard time believing that a six year old could reason like this...i tend to agree. But who knows? I did have a hard time with how the adults, especially the mother seemed to ignore Zach's reactions to the incident. However maybe that is real life. I think the fact that this family had issues before the shooting makes the situation more complicated. A good read

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Addictive
bury your dead

you can read the summary yourself...this is the 5th book i've read in this series. I keep waiting to be bored and finished with the characters....but that hasn't happened yet!! so I'l keep reading. It amazes me that there is something different enough in each book to keep my attention and make me want to continue reading. I never figure out "who done it" until the end. Anohter well done story!

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen
 
Romantic, Informative, Interesting
the tuscan child

you can read the summary for yourself.
This was a decent read. Another WW II book, told between two time periods, trying to solve a mystery, with a murder thrown in. Somewhat predictable and similar to some of the other WW II stories. Not outstanding but a decent read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Beautiful, Insightful
the hearts invisible furies

you can easily read the summary yourself --- i have enjoyed John Boyne's previous books....was not so sure I would like this one. It is an excellent read. I have heard the author speak and he stated that he likes to think that the story is more about a country coming of age , than anything else. Being Irish, this is the first time he has written a book about his own country. I'm not sure it would have been a book i would have gravitated towards and not sure why it ended up on my list of "to reads". But I'm glad I did. The writing is excellent, the characters are wonderful , and I enjoyed the way the author divided the segments into 7 year periods. Made it very interesting. Definitely worth your time.

 
Optimistic, Beautiful, Fun
still me

actually a 3.5
Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

not a bad read , but I think I am done with Louisa Clark. something about her character just doesn't entice me. I did however LOVE the little old lady in the apartment building and her vintage clothing. that was a great side story line.
the first book was so excellent, its hard to have follow ups...especially two.

 
Addictive, Dramatic, Adventurous
the woman in cabin 10

this was just an ok read for me. Glad i read it, but really not the 4-5 starts everyone was raving about. the plot was pretty good...just couldn't like the main character...not very deep, not very likable, not very reliable. however a decent read for the beach .

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Informative, Adventurous
women in sunlight

Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit's own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women--Julia, Camille, and Susan--all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit's friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten--
I wanted to like this book more than I did . i loved the touring and cooking part and made me feel like I was back in Italy. but I don't especially care for this authors style of writing.... it felt choppy to me in terms of sentences and found it difficult to follow who she was talking about. She would switch characters in the middle of a chapter.

 
Interesting, Slow
the book of lost and found

there are other books relating to WW II that are better. not a bad read..just not outstanding

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
 
Difficult, Dramatic, Unconvincing
after anna

Noah Alderman, a doctor and a widower, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie, and for the first time in a long time he and his son are happy. But their lives are turned upside down when Maggie’s daughter Anna moves in with them. Anna is a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble that is brewing. Events take a deadly turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her only daughter, but the realization that her daughter's murder was at the hands of a husband she loves. New information sends Maggie searching for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

I usually like this author's books -- have read numerous ones. This was just ok for me. The storyline does grab you and you have to read to the end to see what happens. I did not like Maggie as a character - I felt her actions and how she handles Anna a bit unrealistic.

SPOILER ALERT:
I felt the ending was rushed and also a lot of unrealistic actions --- how fast Noah was rescued in prison ; the fact that all is forgiven when he gets out of jail and they are one happy family again; Maggie accompanying the police to rescue the girls and then running into the house when she sees Anna. not realistic to me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Inspiring
the radium girls

you can read the summary for yourself. This is a non-fiction story of the girls in the early 1900's who thought they had a fun, good paying job. In the end , it cost most of them their lives. Similar story to Henrietta Lacks -- if you liked that , you would like this as well. I kept getting all the girls names confused, but that doesn't really matter. Its a sad story that they were not taken seriously. Good read.

We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
we were strangers once

3.5
On the eve of World War II Egon Schneider--a gallant and successful Jewish doctor, son of two world-famous naturalists--escapes Germany to an uncertain future across the sea. Settling into the unfamiliar rhythms of upper Manhattan, he finds solace among a tight-knit group of fellow immigrants, tenacious men and women drawn together as much by their differences as by their memories of the world they left behind.

They each suffer degradations and triumphs large and small: Egon's terminally acerbic lifelong friend, bestselling author Meyer Leavitt, now wears a sandwich board on a New York street corner; Catrina Harty, the headstrong daughter of a dirt-poor Irish trolley driver, survives heartbreak and loss to forge an unlikely alliance; and Egon himself is forced to abandon his thriving medical practice to become the "Cheese Man" at a Washington Heights grocery. But their spirits remain unbroken, and when their little community is faced with an existential threat, these strangers rise up together in hopes of creating a permanent home.

some of the constructive criticisms were about lack of character development; rushed
While I agree with that slightly, I liked this book because , while it was about WW II, it was a different setting than all the others you usually read - taking place in NYC. And in light of recent issues around immigration I think it provides great insight into what it was like to be be an immigrant in the early 1900s into WW II era. The dedication says it all: To everyone from somewhere else.
go back far enough and that it all of us.
Good read

The Burning Girl: A Novel by Claire Messud
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
the burning girl

This was an ok book for me. Glad i read it, it held my interest...just not outstanding.

The Chalk Man: A Novel by C. J. Tudor
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Graphic, Addictive
the chalk man

More of a 3.5
I really like this book, despite the mixed reviews. It is not overly long, so an easy read. Thought the storyline was unique, and the ending definitely a surprise. The character of Eddie is surprising throughout. Definitely a good read.

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
 
Romantic, Dramatic, Adventurous
come sundown

really 3.5
periodically i think i'm going to get tired of Nora Roberts books. Then I read another one and realize....nope, I'm not. I liked the fact that this was a stand alone story and not part of a series (although I like her series books as well). Romance, mystery, thriller, sex...this book has it all and a great summer read.

Grist Mill Road: A Novel by Christopher J. Yates
 
grist mill road

Was a bit of a weird book for me. The beginning was a bit boring...but then it started getting a bit more interesting....there are indeed two sides to every story. But the ending was not satisfying for me. So just an ok read for me.

Clock Dance: A novel by Anne Tyler
 
Slow, Boring, Unconvincing
clock dance

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: when she was eleven and her mother disappeared, being proposed to at twenty-one, the accident that would make her a widow at forty-one. At each of these moments, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others.

So when she receives a phone call telling her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot and needs her help, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the-moment decision to look after this woman – and her nine-year-old daughter, and her dog – will lead Willa into uncharted territory. Surrounded by new and surprising neighbours, she is plunged into the rituals that make a community and takes pleasure in the most unexpected things.

I thnk you are either an Anne Tyler fan or not and sad to say I am not. Someone mentioned that her books are not earth shattering but they are about life and people. I would agree with that, but none of the characters in this book grabbed me at all. I really didn't like Willa - She makes no decisions for herself until the end. I'd like something to "Happen" in a story but sadly it really doesn't.

 
Romantic, Addictive, Interesting
Letters to the lost

1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…
Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.

… He promised to love her forever
Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?

It seems there have been quite a few books recently that are similar types of stories: WW II and told during that time and present day. Or else I've just read a lot of them lately. So that part was a little boring for me, but the story itself is pretty good. A good beach read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Inspiring, Informative
we were the lucky ones

It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

seems i have been reading a lot of WW II books lately....I agree with a lot of the constructive criticism:
too many characters to follow, more non-fiction than fiction, too much of a happy ending, not typical of what happened to most jewish families, didnt' feel strongly connected to characters.

But the fact that it WAS a true story and this author's family history is what made me like it. Yes they were very lucky as a family - most were not. But nice to read about a family that WAS lucky. And because it WAS a large family , it is hard to get really connected to anyone. So it did read a bit like non fiction...from many perspectives it was.
I recommend this ...good read

 
Informative
hank and jim

New York Times bestselling author Scott Eyman tells the story of the remarkable friendship of two Hollywood legends who, though different in many ways, maintained a close friendship that endured all of life’s twists and turns.
not an in depth biography of either one however a decent Hollywood read

 
Interesting, Addictive
a secret history of witches

After Grandmére Ursule gives her life to save her tribe, her magic seems to die with her. Even so, her family keeps the Old Faith, practicing the spells and rites that have been handed from mother to daughter for generations. Until one day, Ursule’s young granddaughter steps into the circle, and magic flows anew.

From early 19th century Brittany to London during the Second World War, five generations of witches fight the battles of their time, deciding how far they are willing to go to protect their family, their heritage, and ultimately, all of our futures.

I do agree with some of the constructive criticism - repetitive in the characters, not a huge amount of depth, ending abrupt. Some people will have a hard time with the concept of magic, etc. But I did enjoy this book and found it entertaining.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Interesting
the optimists guide to letting go

you can read th estory summary yourself. So i read this book because i had just joined a new book group on Facebook and am looking to read some of the authors i have not read before. In addition , the kindle version was on sale.
Its an easy read and what I would call a beach read -- not the deepest , most intellectual story you would read, but a pleasant, entertaining read.
I do have to say in the beginning there were many times i wanted to shake lorriane to her senses, and Gina annoyed me a bit. But you keep reading and learn the stories of all the women and are drawn into their feelings and begin to understand why they may have done what they did.
Worth the read.
They only thing i didn't care for is the fact that I felt Lorraine was portrayed as an elderly woman and seriously...she is only late 60's. maybe I'm sensitive to that because I'm in my late =60's as well!! HAHA!!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive, Confusing
a trick of the light

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Fantastic
shelter in place

really a 3.5 -4 stars
you can read the summary yourself.
Honestly there are very few Nora Roberts books I don't read!!! they vary in topics. T his particular one I know hits home for many due to so many mass shootings. It was a bit drawn out for me towards the end. but still a very good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Brilliant, Beautiful
the beautiful mystery

Something in the Water: A Novel by Catherine Steadman
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Dark
something in the water

maybe a 3.5
Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .
Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .
I don't think i could give this the full 4 and 5 everyone else does...for me it was an average thriller, average read. Erin does annoy me at times -- sometimes thats the sign of a good character and good writing. And I did like the way the book starts out - it grabs you right away and you want to see why she is burying the body (no spoiler) decent read

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
 
Unconvincing, Poorly Written, Boring
the favorite sister

i truly did not like this book -- which is why i finished it - somewhere i thought the story would have some redeeming qualities but for me it did not. The concept intrigued me but honestly could not get into the stories. Too many characters to follow -- not just the five girls - the niece, the two associated with the show, Yvette...in addition i found the characters without any depth and totally unlikeable. They all do whatever it takes to stay on TV - is that realistic? maybe so . I don't watch reality tv. You should read some of the more likable reviews to see if this book is for you.

 
Interesting, Adventurous, Addictive
how the light gets in

never thought i would read more than one or two of these books - couldn't figure out how i could keep reading about the same characters. But this series has me hooked. this was the best one yet!!
the only reason i don't suggest it for a book club is because it doesn't stand on its own....should read from the beginning of the series.

 
Slow
the long way home

a bit of a let down after # 9 - not as much action. and just seems to tie up one minor loose end. However the series continues and can't wait to read # 11

 
Adventurous, Addictive

 
Addictive, Dramatic, Adventurous
a great reckoning

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Brilliant, Fantastic
us against you

this book is a sequel to BEARTOWN I was not as fond of the writing style in this one as I was of the authors previous books. However once I put that aside, this wraps it all up, lets you know what happens to all the wonderful characters that were in BEARTOWN. I love this author and recommend ANY of his books.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Difficult, Gloomy
girls burn brighter

you can read the summary of the plot for yourself. I wanted to like this book and might have given it a higher rating if not for the ending. there was a lot of suffering in this book and i don't doubt that the domestic abuse, human trafficking, etc is true. but the ending just wasn't complete enough for me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Inspiring, Brilliant
Glass Houses

so!! I've been binge reading all of the books in this series since early spring. And am done! until the new release in November. NEVER have i ever been so caught up in a series. And I would never have expected that I would have read THIRTEEN books about the same characters, the same village, etc and totally enjoyed every single one. Kudos to Louise Penny!! Love the way she weaves history into almost every story; love he characters and the humanness she puts in all of them. Yes they are great murder mysteries, but also great studies in character.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark
the forgotten ones

read the summary for yourself. i liked this book but the ending left me a little bit wanting. Not sure I would give it the four and five stars everyone else is but a good read. Lots for a group to discuss

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Slow
we are not ourselves

read the overview for yourself. This is a hard book to rate. and for that reason i would recommend it for a book club because i would like to hear other people's take on it. I found it boring at times, and interesting at other times. I disliked Eileen at some points, and by the end I liked her a lot better. SPOILER: i think the description of a caregiver was well done --- all she went through to keep Ed home. The ending disappointed me a bit. So was Collen early on set or not and if so, why change his mind about having a child?
Lots to discuss. Not my favorite book, but a decent read

 
Dramatic, Adventurous
demon crown

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
the immortalizes

not the best book but a decent read. I do agree with some of the criticism that the characters weren't all that deep. I do agree i Liked the last two stories better than the first two. Definitely worth the read...just not the 4-5 stars others have been giving it.

The English Wife: A Novel by Lauren Willig
 
Dramatic, Adventurous, Insightful
the english wife

really a 3.5 Not quite a 4 for me.....i liked it from the beginning , unlike some other readers. However the ending got a little convoluted for me...but it had some good twists and turns
Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
the girl in the tower

actually 3.5 -4
If you like Bear and the Nightingale, you will like this...a very good sequel. the author does a good job of reminding you in the beginning, what took place in the first book, if its been a while since you read it...without making it feel like a rehash.
While Vasaya annoys me in the beginning, not listening , doing what she wants, etc. You really get drawn up in her character.
A good read unless you don't like fairy tales.

The Wife Between Us: A Novel by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
the wife between us

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

unlike some others , I really did not figure some of this out until about 1/2 way through. it is a very good read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Dark
the death of mrs west away

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

the creepy atmosphere lends itself to the characters. Read carefully at the end to catch all the nuances. it keeps you guessing!

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Addictive
the great alone

this was just an ok read for me. certainly a decent one and glad I read it, but not the 4-5 stars everyone else is giving it. I should say that I really like this author so was excited to read it. but from the beginning, i felt i knew pretty much most of what was going to happen. Having said that , its not an easy story if you know anything about abuseive relationships....so from that perspective , it truly hits home. And having children that lived in Fairbanks for only one year, ON the grid, , her descriptions of life there are right on point. I just felt like i loved her other book better.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
 
Interesting, Insightful, Brilliant
how to stop time

you can read the reviews...i have read other novels about extended life spans that were better. Thought the ending was wordy and drawn out.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Beautiful, Interesting

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
 
Dark, Addictive, Scary
sharp objecets

DNF
Did not finish this book... i read as much as I could, hoping it would get better. Thinking i would read the book before watching the series. couldn't do it...too much foul language, mental instability, and nothing about the story drew me in. Sorry.

 
Insightful, Confusing
run you down

second in a series. Its been awhile since Iread the first one so there was much that I had forgotten. I suggest reading the two closer together than I did. It was an ok read for me. I think the second half got a bit disjointed for me and a confusing. but still a decent read.

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Difficult
as bright as heaven

read the book review for yourself
I have really liked the other books by this author and this one is no different. Definitely an worthwhile read --- good book!!

The Book of Essie: A novel by Meghan MacLean Weir
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
the book of essie

more 3.5
you can read the summary for yourself. This is a good book. Lots of issues for discussion and while you might guess the outcome of some of the threads, the issues are well done

 
Book Club Recommended
Persuasive, Optimistic, Interesting
carousel beach

this was a good beach read book...i did have trouble with the main character in the beginning...i wanted her to "shape up" knowing she was going to lose what was important to her. But I guess she had to come to it in her own time. Ended a bit abruptly though for me.

Fierce Kingdom: A Novel by Gin Phillips
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Adventurous
fierce kingdom

actually 2.5
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.

Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

i have mixed feelings about this book . I had to finish it to see what happens. But many things about it disappointed me. Too much time spent on the make believe of Lincoln and the mother in the beginning. Silly to throw the phone away. Find a way to delete the light. Call the police yourself...she never did. The shooters could have looked at the phone and seen her texts to see what she had already communicated.
The ending: incomplete and abrupt. Did she live? what about the others? what about the baby?
maybe that would have been too pat an ending but it would have competed the story.
Having said all that, it was a good description of what people may / may not do in a horrific situation such as this.

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Confusing, Addictive
the sewing machine

more a 3.5
it was interesting to read how this book was published - i had not heard of unbound before.
the basic story is interesting. I did find it difficult to be going back and forth between characters AND various time frames. I found Fred a bit unbelievable -- his aversion to phone and emials in this day and age; not quite sure how he had an income after being let go from his job; and what exactly did he sew? would have liked the story to go on a bit longer to really pull the pieces together. having said all that , it was an interesting story and a decent read.

The Middleman: A Novel by Olen Steinhauer
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark, Adventurous
the middleman

traces the rise and fall of a domestic left-wing terrorist group. Told from the individual perspectives of an FBI agent, an undercover agent within the group, a convert to the terrorist organization, and a writer on the edges of the whole affair, this is another tightly wound thriller, and an intimate exploration of the people behind the politics, from a master of suspense.

but is the group really a terrorist group? or a protest group? Not a bad spy fiction piece, but as someone said, not compelling literature. decent read, but read carefully. Lots of twists/turns and you have to pay attention. Got a little too wordy in some spots.

never very sure if this is the right kind of book for a book club. So I guess if your group likes to read spy thrillers then this would be a good choice

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting
Bellewether

3.5
you can read the story summary for yourself
I fyou like historical fiction you will like this. I like that it took place on LI and the going back and forth between two time periods was easy to follow. A good story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Fun
the masterpiece

3.5...maybe a four
you can read the book summary for yourself.
I did enjoy this book. I thought Clara's story was better than Virginias and while clara was a character that grated more on your nerves I think, I liked her better than Virginia. I had to keep reminding myself that Virginia lived in the 70's so how she reacted to her divorce would be different than in today's times. But i didn't find some her actions all that believable -- i.e.. her liaison with Dennis , especially when she did it for a reason.
however the ending was excellent and I did like reading about the attempt to save the terminal Maybe because I lived in the state at the time and it was always big news, especially when Jackie O got involved.
If you like this author you will not be disappointed by this book

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
gracie's secret

3.5
you can read the summary for yourself.
This book kept my interest all the way through. You kind of figure which way its going to head towards the end but it has good ups and downs.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Inspiring
a tree grows in brooklyn

I read this book when i was a teenager and KNOW that I didn't get everything. So it was great to read it now and appreciate everything I did't first time around. My copy had a forward by Anna QUindlin which was so interesting and put a lot of things into perspective.
Yes its a classic and a wonderful one!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful, Inspiring
the storytellers secret

I really liked this book. I can understand the criticisms - a bit cheesy at the end, predictable. and you can indeed predict how some of the story lines are going to go. I can't comment on the review that felt very little was true about actually being in india. But I liked the story and didn't want it to end either. Good read for me.

 
Interesting
the ink masters silence

hese are short , easy books to read. I find that just as I am getting tired of them, i have to read the next to see what happens!

The Cemetery Keeper's Wife by Maryann McFadden
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Informative
the cemetery keeper's wife

3.5
i did enjoy this book and appreciated the link between Rachel and Tillie...and the exploration of what happened to both of them and how their reputations were treated. There were a few spots that were a bit vague...the night Rachel dresses up for the "walk" and how quickly you are supposed to accept what she experiences...i found that wasn't explained much . But a good read.

In Her Bones: A Novel by Kate Moretti
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic
in her bones

3.5
first book i have read by this author.....good read! by the end you have an inkling of who done it, but not until then. Good twists and turns.

The Summer Wives: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic, Addictive
the summer wives

you can read the summary for yourself. This book goes between three time frames - 1930, 1951, 1969. I found the 1930 the most confusing and felt it didn't need to be there. Until towards the end where you learn that is the key to the whole story. A have, have not kind of story. Living near Nantucket, MA, which is a similar type of island to the one in the book, I could appreciate the issues included in this story. The story was a very good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive
the reversal

you can read the summary for yourself.....you can guess some of the ways this story goes ===a typical courtroom drama read. However it held my interest, made you want more and some very good twists at the end.
Definitely worth the read.

Sister of Mine: A Novel by Sabra Waldfogel
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Addictive
sister of mine

actually a 3.5
you can read the summary yourself.
I did like this book, mainly because it covers a not so well known area of the south. there were indeed Jewish plantation owners in this area of the south and they did own slaves. I had never heard about that before. The ending was a little too sweet and tidy for me, but it was a very good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Optimistic
the city bakers guide to country living

you can read the summary for yourself.
Livvy bothered me a bit in the beginning re: not being responsible, fly by night , etc. But some other readers point out correctly , through the book she "comes of age" so to speak. Its a pretty predictable book. what I like to call a beach read but a nice story..worth the read.
You would have to decide for your own book club if something simple and what i call a beach read is a good one to discuss. There is certainly many themes here to expand on.

The Glass Ocean: A Novel by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Informative
the glass ocean

summary is lengthy so you can read for yourself.
I really liked this book. Contrary to other reviewers , I did not find it difficult to go between the two time periods. Seems a lot of books are being written that way these days. YOU kind of get a sense what is going to happen in the end but the authors do a nice job of wrapping it up. I find it fascinating that a book can be written by three different people and still seem to flow well and be cohesive. I loved the first book these three collaborated on so expected this to be good as well. They are all good authors in their own right.
A very good read.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
educated

you can read the summary of the story for yourself.
This is a memoir...i have read others that are difficult to comprehend such as this one...The Glass Castle, The Glad Farm. so i know there are tough stories out there. It was an interesting read but I can also see where some might find some sections "far fetched". I do find it a bit difficult to figure out how someone with no formal education makes their way to a PhD from Cambridge and finds the money for incidentals such as travel, food, etc. But I also know that many have lived through unimaginable circumstances -- that unless you yourself have come from a smililar community its hard to imagine.
Worth the read.

Sold on a Monday: A Novel by Kristina McMorris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Interesting
sold on a monday

3.5
you can read the summary for yourself. This was based on an actual photograph taken in 1948....I can believe that a photo would have come from the depression days...just surprised that it was in the late 40's , so would have been interested in a follow up to THAT photo. Wasn't the deepest story I have ever read, however it is a good story for the time frame it was set in. I find Lily's character a bit unplausibe...she seemed a bit impulsive for me given the time frame and women's roles back then. but it was a good read for me.

The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher
 
Slow, Pointless, Boring
the kennedy debutante

i really can't rate this book...it was a DNF for me (did nt finish)
i got through 1/2 of it. while i loved the book about Rosemary Kennedy, this one seemed dull, draggy, and not engaging. so sorry...can't recommend this one

The Dream Daughter: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Dramatic, Adventurous
the dream daughter

3.5
I have read other books by this author and love here style. It is a decent read for me , although probably my least favorite of her books I've read. It is a bit far fetched in its premise I thought, although the scientific explanation is probably pretty good. Still a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Graphic, Addictive
good me bad me

closer to 4...3.5
you can read the summary yourself. For a debut novel this was really good. Creepy and chilling are two good descriptive words. the story line is a bit hard to read --torturing of children. But you are really left guessing which way this is going to go until the end. Well worth the read

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
Let Me lie

3.5
you can read the summary for yourself. Hard to review without giving away information
Suffice it to say I did like this book -- a good psychological thriller with great twists / turns at the end. I'm not quite sure about the very last page. Good for book clubs.

 
Interesting, Persuasive, Adventurous
becoming mrs lewis

I could not get into this book at all. Maybe i would do better with an actual biography of Joy Davidman but as a novel, it did not draw me in or make me want to read more. Very blah. After 150 pages I cut my losses and have moved on. I'm glad that others have found it interesting though.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Beautiful, Inspiring
the tattooist of auschwitz

3.5
summary of the book speaks for itself. I disagree with some reviewers who felt it was poorly written. I disagree. I like the fact that that it is an easy ready and not drawn out. There are many holocaust stories...this is one more. But based on a true story, it is another fascinating story of survival One of the reviewers tells her own story of her grandmother going every year to the German Consulate to prove she was alive to receive her reparation check -- another fascinating story. We need these to remember -- there are too many out there that would sweep it away.

Bring Me Back: A Novel by B. A. Paris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Slow, Addictive
bring me back

I liked the authors previous two books better than this one.
It wasn't bad...but the middle was slow moving.....i was getting tired of Finn second guessing and sending all the emails. Ending a bit abrupt. not sure I would call it gripping. Not a bad read though.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Addictive
you were always mine

3.5
you can read the summary of the story.....
I had a hard time connecting with Jessica - - however no one ever knows how they would react in the same situations...just seemed to me she didn't really think about things before she did them However it doesn't take away from the story. There are so many threads in this one -- it can be a murder mystery, psychological thriller, and the adoption thread is just touched on. A good read.

Dreams of Falling by Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Romantic
dreams of falling

you can read the summary for yourself....i know there were some who felt this was a soap opera type story....maybe so. However I really liked it. Have read other books by this author and she does not disappoint. Well worth the read.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean
 
Informative, Interesting, Inspiring
the library book

sorry...could just not give it the high reviews others did....this was very slow moving for me and there was a lot I skimmed. however it IS an interesting history of libraries in general and what people go to libraries for. but that was only a small part of the book and the interesting part for me

The Man She Married by Cathy Lamb
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Addictive
the man she married

you can read the summary yourself.
I like this author and one of my faves of hers is Henry's Sisters. So I was excited to read this one as well. it starts out exciting, but in my opinion gets a little bogged down during her recovery phase. Some of the constructive criticism is true --- a little predictable and soap opera type. However its a good story, entertaining and well worth the read. lots of threads to discussion from adoption, to finding birth parents, to friendship, etc

Pieces of Happiness by Anne Ostby
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Beautiful
pieces of happiness

maybe a 3.5
you can read the summary yourself.
There are parts I liked and parts i didn't. I liked that it is a book about older women and I liked the story line for each and to see how it played out. Not sure that it is very realistic - - would you really move to across the world to live with people you haven't seen in 40 years? and in such a different place as Fiji? The beginning seemed like the characters were just "dropped" into the house as each one was introduced. But having said all that , it was interesting to see how they all ended up relating to one another again. worth the read especially for a book club - will stimulate a lot of discussion

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Adventurous
the lighthouse keeper's daughter

3.5 -4
you can read the summary for yourself.
a very good read. In the beginning it was hard for me to keep the women in both time periods straight. so you have to take it a bit slow --at least I did. But you get caught up in the story and trying to figure out the relationships between the two centuries. Based on a true story, this was done very well

Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard
 
Pointless, Confusing, Boring
visible empire

I stopped reading at page 137. Skimmed through the rest to see if something would grab me. It did not. After reading the first chapter I had high hopes...it grabbed me. Continuing to read I was disappointed. There was no connection or flow for me. Sorry.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Interesting, Beautiful
a ladder to they sky

you can read the summary for yourself. I will start out saying I have read all of Boyne's books and like them all very much. He's an excellent writer. If you had asked me about 1/2 through this one, I would have said it was ok and my least favorite. I hated the main character (sometimes that's how you can tell its a good book! ) and he was annoying me. However I kept on and was indeed not disappointed! And the ending was excellent. So i would put this on my TO READ list and if you find yourself giving up, DON"T. it continues to get better and is very well written.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dark
the collectors' apprentice

you can read the summary yourself...
the story was basically a good one. But I couldn't really like Paulienne/Vivienne's character. Even though she was plotting, i can't believe how she was going to work with George in America. Didn't ring true to me. I do like this author - just liked her previous two books better

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Dark
we were mothers

you can read the summary for yourself.
this book reminds me of Big little Lies , but I thought that was a bit better. As others have pointed out, timeline is short, story is complex and layered. Its a decent read however I felt the characters were a big hard to get into. Cora seems to second guess everything she says and does in the beginning which makes it hard to like her. Not sure Sarah is quite believable in some of her acts.

The Witch Elm: A Novel by Tana French
 
Gloomy, Dark, Interesting
the witch elm

I wanted to like this book but sorry to say I could not.
It was a difficult read starting with how it was set up - the chapters were so long and with so few breaks within them that you really have to be able to have the time to read for awhile. Not so easy to do. I didn't connect with Toby - there was nothing about the character that grabbed me. In addition the story was very very long to get to the point. Not my favorite. Sorry

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Addictive
then she was gone

really 3.5
I enjoyed this book. It was an easy read. I agree it was predictable, however you want to keep reading to know WHY it is predictable. And although you suspect something is off with one of the characters, you don't really know why until the end and its not exactly what I suspected.
well worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
everything i never told you

actually 3.5
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

thought this was a good book...good character development. I was disappointed in the ending....a little abrupt and not quite what i was looking for.

The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Beautiful
the ragged edge of night

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.

As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.

this was yet another WW II story - - what did make it interesting is that it was based on fact. if you can stay away from the "Politics" of when she decided to write this novel (she is entitled to her own opinion) and the reviewers who disagree with her, thereby giving it low ratings, you will find it an interesting story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Optimistic
the bookshop of yesterdays

you can read the summary for yourself. I did enjoy this book although agree with some of the constructive criticism. I never could figure out why Miranda was with her boyfriend to begin with....both of them seemed a bit self absorbed and not very good at sharing and taking care of each other. Miranda didn't have much depth as a character - - was not very 'nice" to the people around her in general....or at least didn't give much thought as to how to relate to them. however the story is a good one and although you may guess the what the real issue is, you have things to learn about your guess. Worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
false testimony

although this is an older book it was a good read. Simple murder mystery - - the two different cases intertwine well, good beach read because it is not complicated, easy to read. This is the first one of this author I've read and am surprised she hasn't written more recent books

 
Addictive
bitter roots

short read; good beach read
nothing in depth, however a good decent murder mystery. Character development is pretty good and I'd look forward to the next two for further development. Keeps your interest without going off on unnecessary tangents.

 
Interesting, Addictive
a bitter truth

3.5 I liked this one even better than the first in the series. You CAN read this as a stand alone and still understand the characters. However I think you have a better appreciation for the character development if you've read the first one. Again, a simple, easy read....not so detailed you get lost. What I call a good beach read. But a good murder mystery. even when you don't think there's a murder.
Just don't think its deep enough for a book club discussion UNLESS you just want to have fun with it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Persuasive, Interesting
kingdom of the blind

I have read all 14 of the books in this series. As with any series, some are better than others. This one has to be one , if not THE best. Just when you get to the end and think everything is settled, there are more surprises on the last three pages. Excellent read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
the last days of night

you can read the summary yourself. As someone else mentioned in a review, it is very obvious that the author loves his characters. You might think this book would get too scientifically complicated...but it does not. Even though its historical fiction, you become amazed at the interactions of the main characters. I actually could not put down this book.....its excellent.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
 
the identicals

basic beach read; not deep, similar to most of her books. will keep you busy sitting in the sun

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Brilliant, Adventurous
of blood and bone

have always loved this author and have waited a year for book # 2 in this series. Read it in two days and now bummed i have to wait another year or book # 3. She did a great job in the opening chapters of reminding us what happened in book # 1. I think you do have to like sci/fi and odd magic/supernatural to want to read this book If you do, i don't hank you'll be disappointed.

Passing Through by R W K Clark
 
Dark, Graphic, Dramatic
passing through

really creepy. good story and a bit scary...but it was a little too graphic for me in the end.....seemed like an abrupt ending besides, but I think it had to be that way. Worth reading but don't read while you are home alone

 
Dark, Interesting
the soul of the matter

the overall story is not bad, however there is a lot of religious dogma and scientific explanations to go through. A decent read.....just really no conclusion

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Optimistic, Adventurous
last christmas in paris

3.5
a basic good read. IN the beginning I had a hard time with the format - - the story being told by letters. However by the time you get to the end you realize that its the perfect way to tell the story of World War I -- the changes in women's roles, the medical issues...it was a war like no other the world had seen and brought a great many societal changes.
Well done

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Fun
ELeanor Oliphant

3.5
It took me awhile to appreciate this story - you keep reading because you want to find out what actually happens. Some critiques question how she functioned in the world - - but i think you can figure that out. some might question whether she was indeed really functioning. Stay with it if it starts out slow for you...its a good read and can create a lot of discussion.

The Hamilton Affair: A Novel by Elizabeth Cobbs
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
the hamilton affair

interesting to read the variety of positive and not so positive comments. Personally I enjoyed this book . Have read books about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Interesting to read about Hamilton and find out how little we know about other figures from this era. If you like historical fiction I think you'l like this.

Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Addictive
silent victim

I found Emma's character hard to like...so many problems in present day alone. What were her problem and what was Luke really responsible for? however i did think it was a good psychological thriller and while you may be able to guess where some of it is going to go, it makes for a good read.

All the Beautiful Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth J. Church
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark, Dramatic
all the beautiful girls

i appreciated reading the other reviews, both positive and constructive criticism. I thought it was a good read -- although i would have liked it not to end where it was and go into Lily's growth in character a little more after she had sloane. It would have made me feel a bit better I think about her constant Vegas struggle with issues. However you do have to remember the time period you are reading -- a lot of the issues were not talked about at the time. And I did like how the author wove current affairs into the almost make believe world of Vegas. Good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Beautiful, Dramatic
where the forest meets the stars

you can read the summary for yourself.
I will say this book might not be for every one. You need to like a book with whimsy and magic in it. This story grabs you on the first page and has you going between believing in magic vs reality. Its a good read and the characters are excellent.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Brilliant
a matter of chance

3.5
you can read the summary for yourself. I thought at some points it was a little too long and convoluted - - however it was a good interpretation of how a mother who loses her child might feel None of us would know that unless we experienced it. I was disappointed that it ended so abruptly. but a good read

True Places: A Novel by Sonja Yoerg
 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Interesting, Insightful
true places

3.5 - 4
You can read the summary. I do like this author and once again was not disappointed in her latest book. while there were times that Suzanne drove me crazy in her relationships with her children....the story was partly about her journey to becoming herself...so it made sense. I did feel the ending was a bit anticlimactic ---probably because I wanted MORE!!! Good read!!!

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Boring
i am wtching you

nteresting to read the rviews that are 2 nd 3 stars. I actually did not agree with them. The characters are indeed not deeply developed, however this isn't a classic book , its a psychological thriller. So in my mind they don't need to be. It kept my interest throughout and leads you in a lot of directions until the end. A good read for me!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Addictive
the wife before me

3.5
I agree with a lot of positive and not as positive criticism from many reviewers. However still a good read. It is indeed a psychological thriller type of book, deals with abuse, and is also quite graphic. So if this is not your style, you might want to skip it. I did have a hard time in the beginning...I wasn't very drawn to Elena. But if that's what you find as well, stick with it, because it gets better. i did find it a little difficult to understand Leanna at the end. but still a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Addictive
the orphan sisters

you can read the summary yourself --- good book for a debut author. You become invested in Dorothy and Ettas story from the very beginning. And while you may guess the turns the story will take it still makes for a very good read

Maude by Donna Foley Mabry
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Beautiful
maude

not the most well written book - a bit still and not engaging. written more like a narrative and not very enticing. Howerver to learn about the era that people live in and how you got along is interesting to see. Other than so much tragedy in one life, life itself was probably like this for most people. You do want to just shake some of the charachers and tell them to wake up , but I'm suspecting many people were like this in those days. Depressing and sad and you do wish Maude had a better life in many ways. while not my most favorite book I'm guessing a book club would find many interesting things to discuss in this one

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Difficult
the sound of gravel

very similar to Glass Castle. It is very sad that there are true stories like this and that there are people who can relate to this. I'm glad that the author could forgive her mother for all that happened....not sure I can after reading this. I'm sure she DID do the best she could with what she had at the time....but I still felt it was awful
sad story but well written.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark
the bone witch

interesting book. Hard to follow all the names and kingdoms. category of fantasy / sci fi so many might not like this. I find it interesting that it is in the young adult category. but a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Dark
the heart forger

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Dramatic
the perfect mother

you can read the summary for yourself. I do agree with some criticism that there are a lot of characters -- i did find it a bit hard to keep track of the ladies. But if you like a LIanne Moriarity stories I think you'll like this one. Good thriller and I had a hard time figuring out until the very very end. Good read.

When the Men Were Gone: A Novel by Marjorie Herrera Lewis
 
Inspiring, Interesting, Informative
when the men were gone

Kitchen Canary by Joanne C. Parsons
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Addictive
kitchen canary

I did not find this the best written book, however the story line is good and the author did a nice job of telling the characters stories

Through the Open Door by Joanne C. Parsons
 
Book Club Recommended
through the open door

a bit hard to describe this book You read it because you've read the first one and you want to know what happens to all the characters. but I didn't feel any depth to any of it -- almost just a listed of what happens to every one as the years go by. Hving said that, I still needed to read it to bring closure to the story

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Interesting
lthe gown

3.5
this was a good story...just not the 4-5 stars for me that everyone else is giving it.
It is interesting to read about england post WW II...you tend to forget that it still was a very hard world for the english --- rebuilding needed to take place and the economy was in tatters.
the story was a different take on that time period.....you still wonder why Ann and Miriam did not stay in touch, especially after Ann saw her design in canada

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
 
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
the children act

more of a short story for me. not a bad one, but not the 5 starts everyone is giving it felt like it just started and ended. Zcouldn't get really invested in it. Sorry.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Insightful
i have lost my way

Story of three young adults. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven't been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they're supposed to be. Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives,

I liked her previous book better...this was not the most in depth story, but it is still well written and something about it grabs you. I like that the author didn't extend it and make it longer than it needed to be --- ended when it should. Worth the read.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M Montgomery (author)
 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Optimistic, Inspiring

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Dark
the darkest child

you can read the summary for itself. I agree with many of the comments: the story is brutal, violent, a difficult read, yet well written. At times I did think it could have ended sooner....the tragedy and abuse just keeps going on. You begin to hate Rozelle for what she does to her children - - could it be a story/ situation that really could have taken place? who knows. but worth the read

The Yellow House: A Novel by Patricia Falvey
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Dramatic
the yellow house

3.5
you can read the summary for yourself. The characters can be annoying at times -- i do agree with some of that criticism. And you want to shake Eileen and make her realize what is going on around her. But the story of the turn of the century and irish issues is a good one and worth the read.

 
Beautiful, Brilliant, Adventurous
i've been thinking

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Dramatic
the secret, scone and book society

you can read the summary for yourself.....basic "chick" book, first in a series, but a good decent beach read. Story line is good - grabs you from the beginning. Characters are likeable. so a good read for me.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
 
Unconvincing, Pointless, Fun
nine perfect strangers

this book fell flat for me. I wanted to really like it as i've liked previous books. But I felt the characters were all annoying, and the turn that the story takes is unbelievable to me. sorry

Need to Know: A Novel by Karen Cleveland
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Fantastic, Dramatic
need to know

this is a quick easy read and an excellent spy thriller! not usually what I like to read but was thoroughly entertained by this!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Confusing, Addictive
the 71/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

really a 3.5. Well maybe a 4. Can you tell i can't decide? read the summary for yourself and read other reviews...much better than mine. You have to be ok reading a book that involves the concept of time travel. The plot is amazing --- difficult, intricate and full of layers. but really the story grabs you and you keep reading because you HAVE to find out what happens. You don't until the very end. Not sure the author explains all the "whys" sufficiently enough for me at the end. But this is a very interesting read. Especially good for a debut author.

 
Dramatic, Adventurous
the rescue

3.5
you can read th summary yourself. I typical CIA type of spy book, but a good plot and good twists.

Worth the read. Good beach read

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Addictive
the strongman and the mermaid

not sure what book 1 was about but I didn't read it before book 2 and found it was fine. However you will need to read this one before reading book 3 when it comes out.
Patryk is in his 90's and his granddaughter and great grandson have come to take him from his home to an assisted living facility. He doesn't want to go so hides in the attic hoping they won't find him. However they do and take him downstairs to the kitchen while he is holding a scrapbook put together by HIS grandmother, which tells the story of their family and life in Donora Pennsylvania. If they won't take him to the facility until the next day he promises to tell them the story of their family, dating back to the early 1900's....how they came from Poland and how they are connected to Stan Musial, the baseball player.
An easy read and a very good story.
also interesting to get the history of the mill towns at that time - sacrifices families made, and the damage to health that came with it.

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
my own words

like other reviewers, i am a little disappointed that this was not a memoir nor biography as originally thought. It is a collection of her writings, some speeches, dissents etc. I found it a bit dry, especially after viewing the movie first. HOWEVER, it was also very interesting to read things she has actually written, as this is who the woman is. The pieces chosen for this book are not hard reads -- she's an excellent writer which is one of the major characteristics of her --- so very interesting to see that she is really succinct in her writing and easily to the point. I have to say until this came out and people have been learning more about her, who knew she was such a fascinating woman. And the relationship between her and her husband was absolutely fascinating. To have found a man so supportive in the time period they both grew up in , is as amazing as the fact that she is so fascinating.
Worth the read.

The Outsider: A Novel by Stephen King
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Dark
the outsider

I think you either like stephen king or you don't. You have to be willing to have a little paranormal in yur story. If this is not for you, neither is this book. I do recommend reading the Bill Hodges trilogy first --- you see some same characters in this book. But you don't really have to. That trilogy has the paranormal in it as well and I liked that series. this is a good read and one that I couldn't put down!

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful
rise and shine

heartwarming is a good adjective for this authors' books. Not the deepest story, but a very good read. worth your time

I'll Be Your Blue Sky: A Novel by Marisa de los Santos
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Addictive
I'll be your blue sky

you can read the summary yourself....I did not realize this was the third book in a trilogy > Alhtough i did the first two books it was a while ago. I didn't feel I was missing out on anything by not remembering the first two....still loved this story. Good read

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
the silent patient

mixed reviews but I liked it. thought it was a good story and good twists at the end. easy read and finished it quickly. Good book for a first time author.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Addictive
where the crawdads sing

I was almost afraid to read this book due to all the hype and was afraid i would be disappointed. I was watching the sunday am CBS show and there was an interview with the author --- she now lives in Idaho and is 70 years old. this is her first fiction book. So that intrigued me It took her 10 years to write it. For someone to put in that effort, I figured I should at least give it a shot. So I purchased the book rather than wait for my turn at the library. I did enjoy reading this book immensely. Its a great story and you really wonder how Kya ends up the way she does!! well worth the read

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
 
Interesting, Slow, Romantic
two by two

I like this author but have to say this book did nothing for me. I really would give it a 2.5 and it was almost a DNF. There were no redeeming qualities for either Russ or Vivienne...in fact she seems a bit psychotic to me. And it was drawn out much more than it needed to be. Sorry..not for me.

 
Romantic, Slow, Confusing
the clockmakers daughter

I enjoy this author and really wanted to like this book. However i was tempted to put it down many times. I only didn't because i needed to find out in the end who was narrating this story. I think it was long and drawn out. I normally do not mind reading something that jumps between time, but this one jumped too much and too many times . I had a hard time following the characters and never truly did understand why the house called to some of the characters. I would not hesitate to recommend any of her other books...just not this one.

The Dinner List: A Novel by Rebecca Serle
 
Interesting, Boring, Romantic
the dinner list

while i could suspend my disbelief in the topic,,,it really did not grab me. Nothing about it engaged me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
the woman in the window

you can read the summary for yourself.....
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down Someone called it a popcorn thriller. LOL! good description though. Its not a "deep" book, yet it holds your interest and though some things are predictable, some are not. I like the way the author weaves in the movie theme and relates it to Anna' problems. Definitely a great read for me.

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Beautiful, Addictive
what the wind knows

you can read the summary for yourself---
you have to be ok with time travel , similar to the Outlander series.
I loved this story. i wish it had a bit more about Eoin as an adult, but the story was great and the history part of it as well. Makes me want to see Ireland!

 
Book Club Recommended
an orphan's war

3.5
you can read the summary for yourself. A pretty predictable story line, however written well and a good read. the kind of story you keep reading because you have to know what happens.

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Addictive
the light over london

3.5
you can read summary for yourself....i do think that this is a typical WW II story and there are so many of them out there, i think i need to stop reading them for awhile. Typical in that it takes place in two different time places....this one current and WW II. the current day character trying to find out something about the earlier historical person. So if you've read a lot of these type of stories lately you might be tired of them. However, it is a good story, entertaining, and well written and I like this era of book so I enjoyed reading it.

Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Life Changing
once upon a river

i'ave read a few of the not as highly rated reviews and I get their comments. Some felt the blackness and racism of the time was not portrayed appropriately and realistically. I say this is just a story. Was Armstrong treated the way he described in real life...probably not. But its a STORY. having said that I truly enjoy reading this author.. Her writing is excellent and while there are a lot of characters and stories going on, i did not feel lost like i do in some books. Her writing stayed on point. I loved the THIRTEENTH TALE so was pretty sure this might be good as well. yes its part fairy tale, part fable, a little science thrown in , which i thought made it very interesting. Takes place in the 1800's when some of that is coming up and society is going to be changing. I think it was well worth the read.

 
Slow, Confusing, Interesting
the bridge of clay

could even be a 2.5 Certainly don't get the 4 and 5 star reviews and REALLY don't get that its classified as YA fiction. I can't imagine a young reader getting past 100 pages. This is a patchwork of pieces of this family that you have to work really really hard to follow. too hard for me. Which is a shame because the basic components of the story are good. Sorry

 
Book Club Recommended
Pointless, Unconvincing, Slow
the last romantics

I'll give this a 3 - 3.5 I can't in all honesty give it the four and five starts others are giving it. I did enjoy reading the book however can totally agree with some of the criticism coming from the lower ratings. I really don't see the purpose of setting the storyline in the future - 2079. Didn't seem to make a difference in the story line. Same thing for the blog, other than getting the title name from it. Could have easily told the story with out her doing the blog. But still a decent read for me.

The Dreamers: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker
 
Confusing, Interesting, Dramatic
the dreamers

this story pulled me in ....and I wanted to like it. But by the end i was left wanting something more. It was just an ok read for me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Fun
the overdue life of amy byler

3.5
while i enjoyed this book, not so sure its a 5.
Its and easy read, now heavy, and while in the beginning I didn't think i was going to like it, Its quite humorous and I enjoyed it. To me its the perfect beach read for this summer

The Reckoning: A Novel by John Grisham
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Unconvincing
the reckoning

has been awhile since i've read a Grisham book -- was growing a bit tired of them. This one is a bit different than the others. While other reviewers did not like the war part of the story , saying it wasn't very relevant, I actually see this as two separate stories. You can take part II out of the equation and it would stand alone, as would 1 and 3 stand together. As horrible as it was to read, I did enjoy reading about that arena of the war , since we don't hear much about it. I would have liked him to explain where he got his history from to write it though.
Good read. I actually thought the ending was a bit predictable, but that's just me.

In Another Time: A Novel by Jillian Cantor
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Addictive
in another time

its always interesting to read others reviews after I have finished a book - - so i can agree with some of the constructive criticism and the raves. I totally enjoy this author so was excited to get this book to read and I wasn't disappointed. While I agree it might not be the best one to describe the tragic occurrences during that time, it was still an excellent story. and there were still twists at the end that I did not anticipate.....a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Graphic, Addictive
before she knew him

oh my!!! read the summary for ourself....and once you start reading, you are really given the whole scenario in the first two chapters. It IS a creepy book and wasn't sure i wanted to keep reading. But since you know what happens so early on, you have to keep reading to find out how the heck is the author going to keep your attention for an entire book. IF you don't like psychological thrillers, this is not for you. But all the positive reviews are spot on for the right reasons - -characters are flawed and it IS creepy but well written and holds your attention. and then it swings you around in the end!

Lost Roses: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
Lost Roses

3.5
pre quel to the Lilac Girls...again historical fiction and based on real people. In the Lilac Girls, the major character was Caroline Ferriday. IN this book, she is a teenager and the major character is her mother Eliza Ferriday. Based on a true story about an American woman who was helping the white russians who immigrated to the US during and after WW I while at the same time trying to find her friend , who was Russian and a cousin to the Romanovs. Its an interesting book...not much excitement. But the history is the story. Similar to the first book in that there are three main female characters that you get to know. Its interesting to read and see how the characters change but the personalities are not portrayed very deeply or intensely , especially Varinka.

The Huntress: A Novel by Kate Quinn
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
the huntress

4.5 for me.
I have read a lot of the reviews after reading the book - - especially the two and three starts (of which there are not that many). I do appreciated the constructive criticism readers have and can see their point of view, even agree with a lot of it. However, for me, this was a very good book, and especially enjoyed Ninas story and the russian female bombers. Derinitely worth the read.

 
cemetery road

i've read a number of books by this author and usually like them. This wasn't my favorite. while I do like his writing and I'm sure some of what is in this book really happens, i'm not so sure it does to the extent that the author takes it. A bit unbelievable for me and a bit drawn out.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Addictive
here and then and now

I like time travel books if they are well done and this one is. Even with some of the technical stuff , its an easy read. A good story, likable and believable. worth your time

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Persuasive, Insightful
when all is said

3.5
maybe i should give it a 4. I did really enjoy this book...Not exciting or very deep. But a good one for a first time author. Characters a re well developed and the storyline is good. Made me wish that Kevin had heard all the stories Maurice told throughout.

House of Gold by Natasha Solomons
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative
house of gold

I could only give this a three --- i really wanted to LOVE this book but could not. It was just a decent read for me. Was disappointed in the ending. Seems like we go through the book to build up and learn about this banking family and then we race through the war and it just 'ends".

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Fantastic
miracle creek

3.5
agree with many of the reviews. Lots of twists and turns. Lots of suspects. If you are a parent, you can see yourself in many of these mothers. will make for excellent discussion

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Confusing, Boring
bookshop of the brokenhearted

i'm going to be the different reviewer here....i can't understand the 4-5 stars, but I can see where they are coming from if you read the reviews. For me --- i couldn't connect with any of the characters and found the whole story boring. Sorry
however based on the reviews of others I can see where this will generate good discussion for a book club

Cross Her Heart: A Novel by Sarah Pinborough
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive
cross her heart

interesting to read others reviews. although i do agree with some of the constructive criticism, i actually really liked this book. Is it realistic? probably not. but its a book, fiction, and I don't expect everything to be realistic when i read some stories. There were good twists in this one. Worth your time I thought.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
the guest book

I really did like this book although had some issues:
I don't mind books flipping between time periods...but like it better when the chapter title tells you
what time period you are starting
Felt that most of the female characters were not very likable or realistic...maybe its the times and the
"class" they were in
Felt it starts out slow and as a usually fast reader, I found I had to go slowly to make sure I got it all.
having said all that , i think the story line is good, and opens lots up for discussion

After finishing the book i went back and read other reviews here on GOODREADS, specifically the lower rated ones. There was some excellent criticism, and I enjoyed reading the reviewers' reasons for their lower marks.
But in the end for me, it was still a story and I enjoyed it very much

 
Book Club Recommended
thin air

some predictable twists and turns andyou'lll figure it out before the end. However a decent beach read

not so sure a book club choice unless your club is really into murder mysteries,

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Addictive
the book woman of troublesome creek

probably 3.5.
Loved this story and thought it very interesting that some could look past Cussy's blueness and others could not. Probably the same in today's world as well.
excellent read

My Sister’s Lies by S.D. Robertson
 
my sisters lies

this is not a bad read and there are some good twists and turns. But it seems we spend too much time with Hannah and Mark over explaining their issues . I didn't think it was especially realistic for Hannah to be so nice when Diane arrives on her doorstep, considering the issues that went before.
However still a good beach read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Addictive
the lost girls of paris

you can read the review yourself..
this is not a bad book and an interesting concept about the female spies sent to occupied france. A decent read, but the characters lacked a bit of depth and realism I thought. Is it realistic that Grace would find the pix and keep them and not the suuitcase? marie an unlikely recruit for a spy....not a good relationship among the females in the field and felt that Marie was a bit impulsive for a spy...amazing she lasted as long as she did.
Still a decent read.

City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Addictive
city of flickering light

read the review for yourself.

I really liked THE TUMBLING TURNER SISTERS, so wanted to love this one as well. Not so much.
It was a decent read. I love the era. She did her research well. However I didn't feel invested in any of the characters except maybe Henry. None of the reviews I read mentioned the ending and that's what really did it in for me. Maybe because i was reading on a device and did't see the remaining number of pages. SPOILER: but was so disappointed it ended as abruptly as it did It seemed to think it tied everything together and now done.
A lot of issues to be addressed by just three characters....almost like th author was trying to show you EVERYTHING not so good in hollywood at the time
I still enjoy this author...just a disappointment for me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Addictive
american princess

really a 3.5
you can read the summary for yourself. If you like historical fiction and like this era, OR don't know much about this era, this is a book for you. Alice Roosevelt Longworth is quite the character and as a younger girl, i remember reading about her in the newspapers as an icon in Washington DC. Loved reading this book and the history intertwined.

 
Dramatic, Boring, Unconvincing
harvesting the heart

not my favorite Picoult book...and i do like this author
Didn't feel the story was relatable, didn't care for the ending...not even sure what it was. Characters lacked depth. Definitely could not relate to nicholas..

The Forgotten Wife by Lorna Cook
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous
the forgotten wife

so is the name of the book the Forgotten Village or the Forgotten Wife? not that it matters but is a bit confusing. pick one. A decent beach read. I could have done without describing Guy's first marriage in the length that it did. Didn't have as much to do with the story. You can guess which way the twists and turns will go on our own. But still made for an enjoyable read.

These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Adventurous
these withes don't burn

really a 3.5
If you are ok with a witch story, YA novel, and lesbianism this is a very good debut novel. Author sets it up for a possible sequel and I would read it. The only thing I found a little confusing was the constant referral to an experience in NYC prior to this story - - makes you think there was a previous novel, but there wasn't. I think a lot in here is predictable, but it doesn't matter. The story moves right along, doesn't get bogged down, and has good twists and turns.
Good read!

Once (Once Series) by Morris Gleitzman
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Informative
Once

A friend gave me this book. Her granddaughter had given it to her to read --she had read it for an assignment in school as they were studying the Holocaust. They were also experiencing anti semitism in the school at the time. This made me sad that young children would be experiencing that in this day and age. this is an excellent book - very graphic, yet very poignant.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Inspiring, Insightful
nanaville

I have always loved Anna Quindlen's writing - - some better than others. Maybe it was the fact that we were fellow new yorkers and I always read her column in the paper. If you've read her over the years, you've seen her progress in style, prose, and life. So its only fitting that she has now written a book about grand parenting. As others have said, it reads like she is sitting here talking with you. The advice and experiences are excellent and she is spot on. A great book for new grandparents but good also for those of us experienced. Her take on granparenting in general and how it has changed over the years due to advances in society, demographics, generations is spot on as well. A short read but profound, funny, and well worth your time.

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Addictive
the red address book

my rating i somewhere between a 3.5 and 4
I agree with some of the constructive criticism , in that it is not a "deep" book, and maybe not the greatest literature. And the ending may indeed be a little too pat. however I loved Doris and I really liked this book...so a definite read in my opinion.

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
the last year of the war

I like reading other readers reviews after I've finished a book. So was a little surprised to read the three star reviews and the comments. I understand the issues ( a little slow, more like a YA book, not as descriptive about internment camps as other book, etc) but i do have to disagree. For me it was an intriguing story about an adolescent having to cope with life during the war in the many ways as Elise did. So it was a good read for me.

City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Addictive, Adventurous
city of girls

maybe a 3.5. Not a bad book....just a bit long; got a bit tired of the sexual exploits; didn't really like the character of Viviene until about 2/3 through.
was looking for the point of the book - - but the point was really the character of Viviene i think.

The Daughter's Tale: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
the daughter's tale

3.5
I enjoyed THE GERMAN GIRL by this author as well. This was a pretty good read, loosely based on two events that occurred during WW II. But more about the resistance and what people went through during that time, although there are many books with similar stories.

Then (Once Series) by Morris Gleitzman
 
Book Club Recommended

Now (Once Series) by Morris Gleitzman
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative

Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Gloomy
mrs everything

i had mixed feelings reading this book. I do agree with the constructive criticism that is has every problem imaginable - - drugs, rape, pregnancy, racism, etc. which is a bit unrealistic maybe. And there are times where I don't like some of the characters, and then something happens and I like them again. So maybe that's indicative of a good story. Its and easy read and in the end enjoyable! well worth your time.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
the art of racing in the rain

I usually read the reviews of a book after I've read it. I like to see what i might have missed both positive and not so positive. I do get the negative reviews: hard to picture a philosophizing dog, didn't like using car racing as a metaphor for life, hollow characters, etc.
However to me , this was a STORY, not something real. I loved the humor in it, i loved the dog trying desperately to be human in his next life. To me this was one of my most favorite books - - and this is the second time I've read it...to refresh myself and get ready for the movie!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
the island of sea women

I do not give star ratings lightly and have always felt many books reviewed here are rated too highly. However for me this might have even been a 4.5. I also like to read the reviews that are opposite of my ratings....so I will tell you ...those that rated it lower had the following consistent criticism:
depressing, draggy, repetitive, boring, story not compelling, difficulty connecting with characters.
All though agreed, the author did an extensive amount of research on a topics (the role of the sea women in Korea and Korean history) that many know little about.
having said all that, it still did not persuade me away from giving it the rating I did. I did find that I had to read slower than I usually do to make sure I caught anything. But still, I thought this an excellent book!
A reviewer mentioned that if you like PACHINKO, you would probably like this book and vice versa. i tend to think she is correct.....I have read many of Lisa See's books and usually like them. This is on e of my favorites!

 
Unconvincing, Confusing, Inspiring

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive
never have i ever

a YA read. but good suspense story. Ending left me hanging...i really wanted it to all wrap up.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Slow
the electric hotel

3.5
this was a slow start for me. I actually dreaded reading about the early start of Claude Ballard and didn't think i would finish the book But stuck with it and it actually grew on me. Another book that paints Edison in a bad light, so you really wonder what he was really like. I had a hard time connecting with the characters, hence the 3.5 rating. but the historical aspects of it were very good and i ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would

Light from Other Stars by Erika Swyler
 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Interesting
light from other stars

I read this author's first book and enjoyed it. This one was a bit different. I don't mind science fiction, but had a hard time wrapping myself around the concepts, where it was going, and how long it took to get there. HOWEVER, I found that i really couldn't put it down and had to finish it to see what happens. while i don't think its a four star, it was a good read.
i said yes to a book club read but you have to know your book club...there are people who will not like this book and not finish it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Interesting, Slow
the 7 or 8 deaths of stella fortuna

this is not a bad story == I didn't connect with the characters all that well, so for me I don't see it as a 4-5 star book. But not a bad read.
a bit slow for a book club recommendation, but it might appeal to some

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
the secret keeper

while i do think Morton's novels all follow a similar type of set up, i still enjoy them and this one was no different. There were many pieces i guessed at and was right most of the time, but still a very good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Addictive
american duchess

if you like historical fiction you will like this book. Of course hard to tell how much is truth, its based on history and is a very likable story.

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Addictive
a fire sparkling

I usually think that books are too highly rated here...but not this one. I'm sure many might be tired of reading books based on WW II, and I do understand that . But this is an excellent story, well written and every time you think its all tied up, another turn comes along. Definitely worth your time and attention to read.
just not quite sure where the title fits in.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Adventurous
searching for sylvie lee

actually a 3.5
i picked up this book because it was Jenna Bush Hager pick for may or june so was interested to see what she chose.
for me it was a decent story. As others have said..the middle dragged a bit, and I had a hard time liking the character of Sylvie. I was a bit surprised that she chose suicide.
I did not guess all the answers to the twists and turns....and I think it was a good read

This Is Home: A Novel by Lisa Duffy
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
this is home

this was an ok read for me. there is a lot going on and hard to follow all the stories. the main story is obviously Quinn and the PTSD her husband is going through, and the relation ship between her and Bent and Libby. But then you have Libby's friendship/relationship with Flynn and his brother Jimmy; Desirees issues with her live in boyfriend and Lucy with a possible relationship with Quinn's boss. just not sure a story needed this many issues. But still an ok read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Addictive
the last collection

really 3.5, close to a 4
Was good historical fiction about a fun subject - fashion. If you ike that you'll ike this book. Good summer read.

 
Adventurous, Slow, Insightful
war light

wow. seems you either loved this book or hated it. Since I fall into the latter, it was very interesting to read the reviews from those who loved it. While i respect their opinions, it didn't change mine. Pointless story, boring,, not even sure what it was about. Not a good one for me. sorry.

Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan
 
Informative, Boring, Confusing
manhattan beach

maybe a 1.5
another reviewer put it perfectly....it reads as several stories trying to come together as one. And it doesn't. Lacks cohesion. don't feel connected to ANY of the characters.

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
 
Fun
waiting for tom hanks

this is definitely not a 4-5 star book However i didn't expect a lot going in.
Its cheesy, predictable, not the deepest book, not the deepest characters.
However its cute, a quick, easy beach read and was entertaining.

The Lost Letter: A Novel by Jillian Cantor
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Interesting, Insightful
the lost letter

some people will not care for this book as they might be tired of WW II stories. there are indeed a lot of them out there. some criticism was about the writing -- basic and not deep. i get that. however I like this author and her stories...there is always enough historical issues in there to grab my attention so for me a very good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Unconvincing
lock every door

3.5
good thriller and a bit creepy.
well written and a good beach read

Paper Wife: A Novel by Laila Ibrahim
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
the paper wife

I don't think this was a five star book but i do think it was entertaining and held my interest, with enough history in there to make it interesting.

Girls on the Line: A Novel by Aimie K. Runyan
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Interesting, Informative
girls on the line

3.5
I seem to be reading a lot of books lately about women in WW I and WWII so maybe that is why i didn't rate it higher. Its historical fiction which I do enjoy and I do think the author did a good job with the character of Ruby. makes me want to learn more about the Hello Girls and the hard time they had getting the military benefits owed them

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Adventurous
the ghostwriter

you can read the synopsis for yourself ---
this is not a thriller but has a lot of suspense in it. I really liked the development of the main character. This was a really good read for me and found it difficult to put down.

Of Windmills and War by Diane H Moody
 
Slow, Boring
of windmills and war

not my favorite book and doubt i'll read the rest in the trilogy.
I do appreciated the story behind operation chowhound -- a part of WW II i didn't know about and most have probably forgotten. However I do agree with some other reviewers. I thought the characters a bit superficials and not very interesting.

The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dark, Insightful
the nickel boys

I think I am just not a fan of this author. However I did like this book better than the Underground Railroad, and appreiciate this subject matter and the reason he wrote the book. I found the forward to the book written by the author very enlightening and helpful in understanding the subject matter and why he chose to write it. there was a twist at the end I did not expect and won't mention so as not to spoil it for readers. while not my favorite book, still a very worthwhile read.

The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive
the ghost manuscript

3.5
when i read this I thought it was fairly entertaining. Then I started reading some of the reviews and found I had to agree with some of the constructive criticism. Seems that a lot of characters getting killed off in the end; hard to believe a rare book dealer would really have no idea about mold in some of these books, etc.
But still an entertaining read, even if some twists an turns are not quite logically believable. its a story!

The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
the two lila bennetts

3.5
a good psychological thriller ...good story about choices. interesting to see how the authors wrote the two parallel story lines - similar and parts of one in the other. Just not sure which ending I would have gone with!
good beach read

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Gloomy, Difficult
the lost family

its possible i've had enough of reading the WW II Themed stories that seem to blanket the market lately. Peter is obviously a flawed character and his guilt over surviving the camps and not making the correct decisions for his family have a distinct impact on his relationship with June and his daughter Elsbeth. So probably the deepest character. I could not relate to June at all. Seemed selfish to me when she was dating peter -- it was all about her; i think maybe she thought she could change him? Was obvious that it wasn't going to happen. Then she becomes a bored housewife - surprise. And with affairs to boot. I could not like her character at all. Then we have Elsbeth who seems to get the worst of both her parents. The ending was too pat and dry - Peter couldn't have fought to have custody of his daughter?
Some will like this book...wasnt' my favorite.

 
Unconvincing, Slow
together forever

this was just a so so read for me. The subject matter of the orphan trains is interesting. the romance thread was just a typical so so read for me. However a decent beach read

The Fallen Architect: A Novel by Charles Belfoure
 
Boring, Slow
the fallen architect

I did fine parts of this interesting...the history of the musical theater in the early 1900's, and the mystery of the balcony collapse. However I thought it was slow moving, went off on tangents in some areas and took longer than necessary to tell the basic story line. If you can ignore those items, its not a bad read and could be worth your time.

Someone: A Novel by Alice McDermott
 
Insightful, Beautiful, Inspiring
someone

I'm almost hesitant to write anything as a review since so many seemed to love and appreciate this book For this I am glad - but it wasn't for me. I get what the author was trying to do == maybe a similar story like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"; and I don't mind a story that really isn't much about anything...but this never got off the ground for me. And felt it was confusing as it bounced a bit between time frames. Just not for me. Sorry

 
Interesting, Epic
1944

I like reading history and this did not disappoint. some criticism was that it wasn't all about 1944. but in this instance I think its hard to stay in that one year without knowing the history that ran up to it. Giving us all that gives you more perspective I think. Much of it was sad -- to think the US (and other countries to be fair) could have done much more to aid a whole group of people. I guess I just don't understand anti-semitism and why it's there. This was a good eye opening book. It got a little repetitive at the end, but still very good. While i would recommend this to read, i would think it would be hard for a book club because its so long and maybe not for everyone

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive
the secrets of lost stones

i'd say a 3.5...maybe a 4
Not the deepest story you will read but something hard to put down, well written, straight to the point without wandering like some books do. Good read!

Until the Day I Die: A Novel by Emily Carpenter
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive
until the day i die

3.5
Is it a bit unrealistic? probably.
Is it convoluted a bit? Probably
however it was a good read and didn't want to put it down.

Tin Man: A Novel by Sarah Winman
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Romantic
tin man

I think this book has so many high ratings because you are either going to love it, or not. I don't think there will be much in between. This is not the typical kind of book I read or like . HOWEVER, i really liked this one. well written, and touches on a number of threads. Short easy read and that's also what makes it alluring --- it's not dragged out...gets to the point.
wroth your time.

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess
 
the last book club

this was a fair read for me. Pretty predictable and just so so
seems that every book i go to on this site is 4 and 5 starts.
nothing wrong with 3 stars - means its a good read. But many reviews here seem to go over the top with the ratings, so i find it difficult to pick a book based on them.

The Escape Room: A Novel by Megan Goldin
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Unconvincing
the escape room

SPOILER: sorry...IMO this is not a 4-5 star book. Characters are unlikeable, not very deep, lot of personal problems, Even the main narrator is not deep and SPOILER...hard to believe she could pull anything off. However, its still not a bad read if you want just something slightly entertaining for the beach. Some book clubs might like this

Patsy: A Novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Brilliant, Dramatic
Patsy

This is a tough review to write , as I don't want this to come off as too political and I don't want to be totally insensitive. I agree the writing is good. I agree that this is a story that happens probably more than my middle american, white mind wants to think about. So in those respects, a good story to read. However, the expectations Patsy had coming to America were unrealistic. (and yes maybe that IS a major point of the story) - she has no skills, is undocumented, yet she becomes disappointed when she can't get the kind of job she thinks she should be able to. I had a hard time having full sympathy for her in that regard. for me, an interesting read but not the 4-5 starts you are seeing on Goodreads

 
Adventurous
shamed

sorry....can't say this a five star book and have not ready any others in the series. But it is a decent murder mystery read and worth the time. too simple a book for a book club choice...for me anyway

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive
the irish cowboy

really a 3.5
pretty predictable and sometimes not sure its realistic. however it was a very good read...not too long and gets to the point. definitely worth the read.

Faithful: A Novel by Alice Hoffman
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Addictive
faithful

I usually enjoy this author and for me this book did not disappoint. I know some reviewers had difficulty with it, but I enjoyed it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Addictive
the fallen

a typical Baldacci book - easy read , good murder mystery...has you solving it along with Amos but surprises as well.

 
Interesting, Informative
the fabulous bouvier sisters

interesting book about the two sisters. Neither one of them come off in a very good light....then again they were human and their relationship was probably just like the ones the rest of us have had. It IS bit sad that Jackie didn't leave her sister even a memento (Like their fathers desk that Lee let Jackie have) then again her children could have let her taken what she wanted. But that's a story for another relationship - one that will probably never be told.

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Difficult, Dark
the paragon hotel

2.5
I'm going to be in the minority here I know. I didn't care for the "unique" writing style, as some reviewers put it. And didn't care for the characters. However I did read to the end and glad I did -- the author pulls all the threads together in a realistic way, which was good. And who knew that Oregon's constitution prohibited blacks from living in the state. That and the issue of the KKK not just being a southern issue was interesting and a fact I was unaware of.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Difficult, Informative
the story hour

2.5 rounded up SPOILER ALERT
I'm glad i read this book, but it had a lot of flaws for me. Maggie isn't a likable character and really messes up. Lakshima at least has some excuse for her failings and liked her character a bit more. Her sister however I felt was a spoiled brat. After all her complaints then she was unhappy after Lakshima married the intended husband thus allowing her to wed her true love....yet that wasn't enough for her. stupid. The ending was not great. An easy book to pass on for me.

The Need by Helen Phillips
 
Confusing, Dark, Pointless
the need

i'll be in the minority here. Loved the opening chapters and was anxious to see where this was going. I really didn't get it....especially the ending. Not for me

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly
 
Dark, Unconvincing
the great zoo of china

really a 2.5
glad to see for once. that a book here isn't getting tons of 4 and 5 starts.
I think that I"ve just been reading so many WW II books lately that this was a welcome change
ITs Jurassic part with dragons. So if you like that you'l like the book. Totally unbelievable and over the top. Having said that , it was entertaining to a point.

The Wolf and the Sheep by Penelope Sky
 
Unconvincing, Difficult, Dark
the wolf and the sheep

I started it because i thought the plot sounded interesting. Too much sex going on that's not related to the story for me. And not sure i want to keep reading more short books to find out what happens.
sorry, not for me.

 
Book Club Recommended
shadow of the storm

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Addictive
thirteen

the fourth in a series with Eddie Flynn as the main character. But you don't have to have read the other three to enjoy this. At time, yes unbelievable. But full of twists and turns. Good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Addictive
redemption

5th in the Memory Man series by this author. If you haven't read the others, it might be best to read them in order -- you understand the main characters better. The story line is a bit far fetched but this is a good series and if you like it, you really don't care. you just enjoy how Amos Decker solves the cases. Good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dark, Adventurous
a better man

I still can't believe at book # 15 I'm still enthralled with this series . Once again I think this was an excellent story. You get to the end and start to rush to read because you want to know what really happens. But don't do it. slow down to capture ALL the information ...you'll need it for the next book!!! If you love the series, this will not disappoint.

Inland: A Novel by Téa Obreht
 
Confusing, Pointless, Poorly Written
Inland

I was tempted numerous times to put this book down. But was reading it for a book club so wanted to finish it. I'm glad I finished it and did the ending. But the story lines in this book did nothing for me.
sorry

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
the chelsea girls

I always like to read the lower rated reviews to see what I might have missed in a book. I can appreciate the criticisms about character development, slowness of plot, etc. However, the bottom line for me was that it was still a very intriguing story, set in a time we read very little about, and the fact that the Chelsea hotel was a character unto itself. A good read for me and I would recommend it.

The Golden Hour: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Slow
the golden hour

I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. I have read most of her other books and thoroughly enjoyed them But for some reason I couldn't get into LuLu's character and felt the telling of the story was a bit draggy. However I stuck with it and was rewarded with the ending that I didn't see coming. So it was ok for me and still a decent read.

Trust Me: A Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Addictive
trust me

this story was a bit drawn out and with all the "tales" being told, got a bit confusing. HOWEVER, it was still an excellent psychological thriller and had me racing to the end to find out what actually happened.

Everything You Are: A Novel by Kerry Anne King
 
Interesting
every thing you are

have to go with a bit of magic to like this book. Decent read but not sure its a five star read

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Informative, Boring
a woman is no man

I have to say that after reading this book, what was just as interesting was reading a lot of the reviews , both positive and not so positive. I appreciated the constructively negative comments and gave me pause for some thought. however I still liked this book. I did not feel like I was reading a YA book as some felt. However the ending left me hanging a bit. Worth the read I think , if only to make your own decision about it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Informative
the warehouse

more like a 3.5
you kind of know what's going to happen, however a good premise and a good read. I thought Paxton wasn't the brightest lightbulb in the chandelier --- he should have figured out a few more things. And the ending was a bit abrupt...does he go or doesn't he? But still kept my interest, and unfortunately hits too close to home in many instances. Worth your time to read

Outfox by Sandra Brown
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive
outfox

I always enjoy this author, Having said that, this wasn't one of my most favorites. It was a decent murder mystery and a decent read. you know where the story is going but has some good twists and turns. Just thought the romantic relationship was a bit much...in the beginning and the end

Resistance Women: A Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Informative
resistance women

actually 3.5-4
I have read a number of books by this author and enjoy her. this one is a little bit more out of her normal genre. Some of the criticisms I have read -- a bit too long, don't connect to the characters due to the time spent on the history part - I would tend to agree with . However it is based on real characters which I found fascinating. And while I'm getting a little tired of reading WW II, this one took it from a bit of a different perspective and I found that I liked it. A good read.

The Handmaid's Tale by The Handmaid's Tale
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Addictive, Brilliant
the handmaid's tale

really a 3.5
I read this because my book club is going to be reading the new sequel just out. It was a fairly easy read. My criticisms are, you don't really get a full explanation of how this society came about, although maybe you don't need to. I did find it a little difficult to tell the difference between her "stories" and then her descritipion of how things "really happened". However I thought it was an interesting read, especially since so much of it is plausible. I look forward to reading the sequel.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Addictive
the words i never wrote

Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC of this book. Its my first book from them and I was excited to get started However I had just read the Resistance Women and was afraid I was going to get tired of WW II stories -- there are so many out there and many are very good.
New York, present day: On a whim, photographer Juno Lambert buys the 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to celebrated journalist Cordelia Capel. Within its case she discovers an unpublished novel, igniting a transatlantic journey to fill the gaps in the story of Cordelia and her sister’s loving yet tempestuous relationship.
The first half of the book was a little slow, and since Cordelia was the celebrated journalist I was waiting to find out more about her. But you don't until the second half. It seemed to me, the major character was Irene, who I loved, and enjoyed watching her determine her place before and during WW II. It was interesting that as the older sister, Irene was always trying to determine what Cordelia would do, and that guided many of her decisions. By the end of the book I really wished we would have learned more about Cordelias life and how Irene supported herself as well. Those would be my only criticisms. I ended up enjoying this book immensely and thing you would find much to discuss in a book club setting.

 
Slow, Fun, Beautiful
things you save in a fire

not bad but just an ok read for me However I appreciate the research that went into making the fire fighting information real.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Dark
the world that we knew

Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for the electronic ARC I was able to read and review
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
If you are a fan of Alice Hoffman, you will not be disappointed with this one! I had been reading quite a few WW II stories lately so was prepared for this one to be just ok. No so!! The author did a wonderful job of researching and including so much history into this, I felt like I was immersed in this time period. The love and the pain everyone went through felt so real.
there were a lot of characters so I did find myself reading a bit more slowly to make sure I was keeping track of everyone. But all the stories wove together and connect in the end.
Excellent read!

Ask Again, Yes: A Novel by Mary Beth Keane
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Gloomy, Romantic
ask again, yes

SPOILER ALERT: this was just an ok read for me. I didn't find that the characters had much depth, especially Brian. Not sure how he could just leave his son the way he did and never even communicate. I found Peter's character very difficult to understand, even though I do gt that his whole family has issues. I don't really understand where all the four and five starts are coming from and don't get the title. Still, you should read the book to base your own opinions -- wasn't horrible,,,just fair for me.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Scary
the turn of the key

really a 3.5
i have liked this author's other books...for me each one gets a little better. So was waiting for this one. you can read the summary for yourself. Unlike others, i really didn't guess any of it!!I did think it was a bit slow moving but its not a long book, so that was ok for me then when you get towards the end and everything starts happening, i wanted to read faster to get it all!!! Good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Addictive
the dearly beloved

based on some of the reviews and discussion on facebook I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. And now that I've read some lukewarm reviews on this site, I can appreciate the constructive criticism. However for me it was a great book. Yes a lot focused on their college lives - But to me the was the developmental years for their characters and beliefs. yes the characters were flawed and focused on religion and marriages...but that's the story part of it. I thought it was an excellent read and certainly gives a lot for discussion. It would have been interesting to read a bit more about the characters older years...but I think the most important parts happened as the author wrote them. Good novel for this authors first time out.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dark, Adventurous
the testaments

not the best book i've ever read but not the worst. Unlike some others, I didn't fawn over the Handmaids Tale either. That was an interesting read and so was this...just not really what I expected. I kept reading you would find out what happened to Offred when she got in the van. Did I miss something? possibly. This takes place 15 years later and I did not get any clues what happened to her. But it was interesting to read what was going on to bring down the government of Gilead. for me they were both ok reads.
I recommend it for book clubs if they have read the Handmaids Tale and want further discussion of a dystopian society

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Addictive
the house by the river

you can read the summary for yourself. Its a long book but it never seemed that way. You learn about Theodoroa and her husband and their five daughters. Then the book is divided into sections - one for each daughters life. Some of it maybe not be logical and you would question how certain things come to be --- but forget that and just go with the flow and enjoy the stories. Loved this book
I usually read the reviews here after I've read a book. So was surprised to see so many 3 or less starts considering the average is 4. I always wonder how accurate the star rating is anyway. So while I can agree with many of the less than stellar reviews, and agree with some of the constructive critical points, for me this was a good read. Did i take issue with the daughters not communicating? yes. Were some of their stories and little too hard to believe? yes. However i took this book with a grain of salt and did indeed love it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Dramatic, Addictive
the only plane in the sky

all the positive reviews are correct. Its a difficult book to read. If I thought I had a sense of what some of these people went through that day, I quickly realized I was wrong. no one can possibly imagine any of what they tell you in this book. Definitely a must read for the history of this day.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dark, Scary
the whisper man

while i don't believe this is a five star book, i do think it was a good suspenseful thriller. You will figure some things out, and others will surprise you. There was just one section that had me a bit confused...but won't spill the beans here.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful
emily of new moon

pretty much the same type of story as Anne of Green Gables. Good for young adults. but don't think i'll read the next two. HOWEVER am impressed with the story since its written so very long ago.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Unconvincing, Slow
Evie Drake starts over

you can read the summary for yourself. I know everyone loved this book. Just not for me. It was ok. But if I hadn't been reading it for Jenna's book club I would have put it down. Predictable and boring for me. Sorry.

The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful
a year of pleasures

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Boring, Dramatic
the last house guest

a bit draggy but stay with it. Did not see the ending coming, so good read

The Institute: A Novel by Stephen King
 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Dramatic, Addictive
the institute

If you are not a Stephen King fan you may not like this book. And that's ok. But I have to say I could not put this down. There is just enough probability and realism in this to make you wonder. An excellent story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
INheritance

probably a 2.5
it was an interesting book from the perspective of the ethical issue - sperm donors who donate anonymously and are then confronted with children in later years wanting medical information (I get it) and / or relationship.
However as mentioned in other reviews, I did have a bit of a hard time with the authors sense of what seemed like entitlement and disappointment that at first her biological father might not have wanted a relationship. It really seemed to me like she was looking for relationships that she might not have had when younger with her mother and maybe father.
However it seemed to end well for her so that is probably what really matters.

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