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Username/Login : sraelling
Gender : Female
Occupation : World Language teacher

My Reviews

Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway; Consulting Editor John Bidwell
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
Monique and the Mango Rains

Kris has a way of bringing you into the story with her as she describes her time as a Peace Corps Volunteer, our \\\"on-the-ground\\\" ambassadors around the world. You will fall in love with and admire Monique for many reasons.

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Informative, Interesting
Children of the Jacaranda Tree

Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan... They all seem to be melded together into a place "over there." Not really knowing much about the history of Iran, this story inspired me to look into Evin Prison and the complicated history of the area. People are the same all over the world...we require love, friendship and a sense of belonging.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring, Insightful
Please Look After Mother

The book jacket says that you'll never look at your own mother in the same way and that's true. Everyone blames themselves for her disappearance, then they blame each other, and, finally, they discover "hidden" information about her. Sometimes it's hard to remember that mothers were young and had dreams and hopes for themselves. Within each mother-child relationship, you'll find your own described in this story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Slow
A Higher Call

While the story of how the two pilots saved each other\\\\\\\'s life is interesting, it has a bit too much detail regarding the specifics of flying for this reader. It took a long time to get to December 20 and it took just as long to finish the war, get on with their life ves and find each other.

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

I chuckled, giggled and wept while discovering who Ove is and what love, compassion and a bit of kindness could do in this world of ours.

 
Slow, Pointless, Boring
The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (15)

If you are looking for a book to relax you, then this may be the one. It's a slow-moving story and another opportunity to hang out with the characters from previous novels. But as a book for a club meeting, there was nothing to discuss.

The Martian by Andy Weir
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
The Martian

I found myself laughing out loud, gasping at his misfortune and being transported to another place. I want to meet Mark Watney!

Land of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Dramatic
Land of Careful Shadows

The story brings the plight of undocumented immigrants to the forefront via a mystery. Great characters in Officer Vega and Adele. They are not perfect people, but who among us are?

Pope Joan: A Novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Interesting

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Insightful, Inspiring
To Kill a Mockingbird

It's worthwhile to read again (even if you read it in high school)!

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Fun, Brilliant
Winnie-the-Pooh

While the stories may be familiar, it's worthwhile to read the original book!

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Beautiful
The Golem and the Jinni

Spanning the centuries, cultures and continents, who would have imagined such a story! There were times when I could not wait until evening so I could read more about Chava and Ahmad. Such fantastic creatures with such human thoughts.

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy
 
Interesting, Fun, Insightful
Chestnut Street

As a reader, remember that this is a collection of vignettes (perhaps written simply as ideas for other books that she never used.) Sone of the stories are comical, others heartbreaking. It's not a book that one should read in one sitting -all of the vignettes will jumble together.

Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel by Nickolas Butler
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Fun, Optimistic
Shotgun Lovesongs

There are many questions that could be discussed after reading this book: What is more important - friends or family? Are you a failure if you leave your hometown only to return? Is it possible to keep high school friendships forever? I suppose that these questions could be answered with one word, but there may be more to the answers than you think.

Discuss what you think the future could bring to the cast. The author has some pretty definite views on certain things (poverty, truth, love) that could provide some great discussions.

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

The Count became a good friend while reading the book and even afterward. We all should know someone like him -for real.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Brilliant
Homegoing

A difficult book to read, especially considering its theme of slavery, but so well done!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Dark
Behind the Beautiful Forevers

The human spirit is resilient, even in the worst of times or places. It's so easy to look the other way or ignore those who are not the same as you but this book refuses to let you off that easily.

 
Pointless, Gloomy
Paris Trout

Awful, awful, awful! I kept reading it because I thought it would get better. It didn't! When I read the last line, I threw the book across the room and tried to shake off the mental images from the story. It did NOT deserve an award for any reason.

Shrill by Lindy West
 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Inspiring, Persuasive
Shrill

If you can get past the vulgar first chapter, you'll find a writer who has a beautiful grasp of the English language. She seems to be a repeating record for a fair share of the book, but it takes her a while to find her voice, I think. Lots of material to discuss.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
Just Mercy

All of the EJI (Equal Justice Initiative) clients are fortunate to have such committed and understanding lawyers. Mr. Stevenson brings to light deplorable situations regarding poor counsel, prison conditions (human and physical plant), biased judges, prosecuting attorneys and sheriffs who seem more interested in "solving" a case (even with coerced testimony or falsified evidence), incarcerating children to life sentences without the possibility of parole, sentencing mentally challenged "criminals" to death, the list goes on! Who knew? Apparently, not many of us.

"A speedy and fair trial" is far from the norm for most poor and minority defendants.

While our judicial system may not be perfect, it is better than others around the world. It's so unfortunate that there needs to be an "Equal Justice Initiative" but I am glad that they exist. So are their clients who have been able to walk away from prison.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous
The Sixth Idea

Computers. You can't live without them? What if they were all carrying a sleeping chip set to destroy?

With the recent wave of hackers compromising sensitive data, the premise for this story doesn't seem that far-fetched. It is a quick read with lots of twists. Just glad there are some computer geeks/geniuses who are the good guys. We need more of them in the real world (the good guys.)

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Optimistic
Nine Women, One Dress

"A beautiful dress holds a little bit of magic in it."

The glue that holds this story together is THE perfect little black dress, and Ms. Rosen is able to use that magic to her advantage. From sales clerks at Bloomingdales, to the theatre and film industries, private detective agency and visiting Muslim women from France, all of them have a connection to the same dress. A lovely and witty story. It was so easy to dispel reality in many cases and just go along for the ride!

The Letter by Kathryn Hughes
 
Romantic, Addictive, Optimistic
The Letter

It's a romance. Christie actually waited for Billie for 35 years? Kind of unbelievable especially when she had someone who would love her. A "happy" but unbelievable ending.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Inspiring, Adventurous
Bold Spirit

What an adventure! It's a story that should be told and re-told!

One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Inspiring, Beautiful
The One-in-a-Million Boy

No person is an island. We humans need and desire friendships (not just acquaintances) to keep going. Be prepared to reconsider your current friendships and even extend your hand to new friendships (of whatever age.)

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