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Name : Johnna H.

My Reviews

Interesting, Dramatic
Heartbreaking Love Story

I absolutely loved this book. I have never cried and sighed so deeply over a book. Even though it was centered around teenagers in love, the feelings were so deep and the story so profoundly told, I felt like it was an ageless timeless story. I have recommended this book to everyone I know.

Boring, Inspiring, Slow
Lengthy and preachy

I liked parts of this book....the parts when she spoke of the places she visited and the surroundings and beauty and what each city had to offer. But a lot of the book I found completely irritating. My sister-in-law read it and said she did not like it but wanted my opinion. I made myself finish and was glad I did...but I just didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

Lost and Found: A Novel by Carolyn Parkhurst
Pointless, Interesting, Unconvincing
Amazing Race on paper!

I really enjoyed this book...mainly because it reminded me of my favorite reality program, The Amazing Race. I liked that the story was told from each character's point of view and you could really get inside their head. There were some poignant moments and some laugh out loud funny scenes too. A nice quick read that had a little more depth than a summer beach book.

Shadow Baby by Alison McGhee
Touching Story about a quirky relationship

We just read this for our book club. My sisters-in-law didn't like this book because they thought it reminded them of something you'd read in high school...Who cares? It was a cute book with a cute little girl as the main character. She likes to make up stories to fill in the blanks of the questions about her life that she doesn't have answers to. She befriends an old man under the guise of a school project....what she gets in return is genuine friendship and love from a surrogate grandfather. It was a quick read (I read it in a few hours on a plane) that brought tears to my eyes.

Insightful, Dramatic, Brilliant
Beautifully written story about friendship, betrayal and atonement.

This is one of my top ten favorite books. I was in the mindset that I did not like to read books set in other countries. WOW- what a small world I had limited myself to. As I read this book I could picture the village, the homes, the sand blowing and the kites flying the sky, their tales flowing proudly behind.

I didn't want this story to end and thankfully it has broadened my horizons to explore other books such as this one, set in other countries with language that is sometimes difficult, names that you can't pronounce and situations you can only imagine.

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Vivid! I felt like I was there!

I adored this book from the first page. First of all I love animals and who doesn't love a circus? After reading this book it makes me rethink my love for circuses and I visibly cringed at some passages about the treatment of the animals. The underlying story and the way it meandered from the present to the past with the stories woven together - I couldn't put it down!! I had tears at the ending because that is just what I had hoped would happen to Jacob.

Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery) by Sarah Addison Allen
Fun, Romantic, Interesting
Fast read with just the right amount of mystery, magic and love!

I read this book so quickly because it was just adorable! A nice break from some of the deep, long picks we've done in the past. Sarah Addison Allen had the ability to make me feel like I was walking through Bascom, the house and the garden! I could picture the apple tree as well as all the lovely dishes Claire made (made me hungry too). Such a quick read and magical story. Aside from one part that was wrapped up a little too quickly and conveniently, this book was fantastic. I can't wait to read Sugar Queen!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Adventurous, Dramatic, Brilliant
Like an Indiana Jones novel!!

I had a hard time in the beginning. Once I was able to devote the time to read I could not put it down and kept on reading to find out what would happen. A few of the members didn't finish is long and any good mystery should be!

It reads like an Indiana Jones or National Treasure movie. Lots of clues, lots of witnesses, interviews and characters. Beautiful descriptions of Spain and I wanted to visit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and explore the labyrinth!

If you like mysteries with many twists and turns mixed with a touch of love story - then you have to read this book!!

Interesting, Insightful, Informative
Another Jodi Picoult book that makes you think!

Although it was not one of my favorite books by Picoult I did thoroughly enjoy it. I love the way Picoult tells the story from almost all the central characters points of view. You really feel like you are in the story and understand each character a little better.

My favorite Picoults are The Pact and My Sister's Keeper but each book I read of hers inspires me to think outside the box and really see the grey areas of difficult subjects!

This book revolves around a sick little girl who needs a heart transplant. A death row inmate is a perfect match...the conundrum is whether the little girl's mother allows the heart of a killer to be transplanted into her daughter or allow her daughter to die....throw in the fact that the killer (or is he?) is believed to have performed miracles similar to Jesus.

Thought provoking read that makes you root for everyone involved!

Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant read.

I just finished this book and am now starting Flying Changes, the sequel. Water for Elephants, also by Sara Gruen, was one of my favorite books so I thought I'd give her other books a try. This one is definitely different - different style of writing set in the present...but still a good read with animals involved.

This book tells the story of a woman who loses her husband and her job. After she is told her father is dying she decides to uproot her daughter and move back to her parents ranch. I'm a horse lover so I enjoyed reading about the horses and the ranch aspect of the story. The characters were interesting and through Ms. Gruen's writing I had the ranch, the house and Mutta pictured in my head. Some of the scenes are laugh-out-loud; others will bring tears to your eyes. A little mystery is thrown in along with some romance. Great story...can't wait to delve into its sequel!!

Beautiful, Insightful, Informative
WHY? Boring and uneventful.

I thought this book was very blah. No excitement, no plot twists or climaxes. Just when you think something is about to happen it gets glossed over and you've fast forwarded beyond it.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
A story about a story...

I loved this book. I like reading stories that go back in time to lead you along with way. I liked the characters and the setting. I had the Angelfield home pictured in my head as well as the gardens and the twins. I did figure out the 'mystery' but it certainly didn't detract from the book. The ending wasn't what I expected, I was hoping for some romance/sparks to happen...but life doesn't always happen that way either!

A Little Ray of Sunshine by Lani Diane Rich
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Fun
Believe what you see or see what you believe....

This book started a little slow for me but I had just finished a couple of really awesome books and I think my mindset hadn't yet left those characters.

Once I got into the book, I was along for the ride. Cute, summer read about a girl (E.J.) who abruptly leaves her home, family and fiance to flit from place to place doing odd jobs and living in an Airstream trailer. After a visit from an "angel" and a blast from her past she heads back home to attend her mother's wedding. We learn some of the reaons why she left - mainly her relationship with her former-celebrity mother. Everything is neatly wrapped up by the end. The main message is that people can change; the journey getting there is cute, fun, a tad adventurous with a little mystery thrown in (is Jess really an angel??). Quick, airy read!

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Optimistic
Another tempting treat from Sarah Addison Allen

If you've read Garden Spells, you know how SAA works. Delectable treats, spellbinding magic and quirky characters. Sugar Queen is no exception. Delightful story about Josey and her hermit life taking care of her mother and not living for herslef.

Josey's life is turned upside-down when she discovers resident bad-girl Della Lee hiding in her closet, blocking the secret door to Josey's stash of sweets.

The story has little sub-plots weaved throughout - Della Lee and her bad-boy boyfriend, Margaret's past life and loves, Chloe and her two-timing lawyer boyfriend, and sweet mailman Adam. You fall in love with each of them and root for one big happy ending. However, there are still surprises!

SAA has a way of writing that magically transports you in to the book. You become friends with these characters! When you realize the pages are fewer on the right side vs. the left you want to slow down to make it last longer!

I can't wait for her next book to come out!

The Color of Light by Karen White
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Beautiful, Insightful
Love story, ghost story and mystery in one neat little package!

I read this book very quickly. I pride myself on (and sometimes kick myself for) figuring out where the book is going, what is going to happen and who did what! I thought I had this one figured out too but Karen White threw in a curve ball!

I thought this book had just the right amount of mystery, suspense, heartbreak and romance. Mixed all together it created a wonderful recipe that makes me want to read more Karen White books!

Jillian, called "Jilly Bean" by her adorable daughter, Grace, is pregnant with her second child and in the midst of divorcing the father. She up and moves back to Pawley's Island, where she spent summers with her grandmother and her best friends Lauren and Linc. When they were teenagers, Lauren and Linc were a couple; however, Lauren goes missing and Linc is suspected of foul play.

As Jillian deals with the ghosts from her childhood, her daughter, Grace, starts speaking to her own ghost, aptly named, Lauren. Thus begins a quest for the truth of what happened to Lauren.

Fast paced and believable - I loved this story and did not want it to end!

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
Quick, fun read about finishing someone elses list of things to do!

June is a mid-30's single woman who works at a company that encourages car pooling. One fateful day after a Weight Watcher's meeting, June gets in a car accident that claims the life of her passenger, Marisa, a 24 year old who just lost a life-changing 100 pounds. June discovers that Marisa had a list of items she wanted to accomplish before her 25th birthday. As a "tribute" to Marisa, a woman June barely knew, she decides to complete the list.

This book is a quick, easy, fun read. It is predictable in many facets but that didn't change the fact that I still enjoyed it. I got a new perspective from someone who had lived their whole life as an overweight person (Marisa). Certain tasks that she had on her list seemed "easy" to me (wear sexy shoes); but I could definitely see how Marisa would find them difficult. June felt the same way but she persisted in completing all the items. Along the way June discovered things about herself, her family and her co-workers.

This was a book picked by one of the members of our book club. I hope that at our meeting to review this book we choose to perform some of the tasks that are listed at the end of the book. I think the real fun will start there!

Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Insightful
Made me hungry for more....

I love books that go back and forth from present to past to fill you in on important details or backstory. Jennie Shortridge does that here beautifully!

Eleanor Samuels lives in her rent controlled apartment with a picture of her pretend boyfriend and the real love of her life - her kitchen, stocked with all the high tech equipment she can get! Eleanor is a free lance writer for several cooking magazines and spends her time trying to adapt recipes to the magazine's genre (light, quick, easy, etc.) Eleanor thinks food is the answer to everything and is quick to indulge for any reason - to celebrate or eat her sorrows until she's swallowed them away. All until "Uncle" Benny gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and she becomes his primary caregiver. Eleanor learns more about herself and her family than she ever knew or envisioned.

Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant..always entertaining. Brought tears to my eyes and really made me root for Eleanor.

The beginning started a little slow but keep going!! It's well worth the investment.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
Haunting, gothic tale...

I loved this book. Yes, it was long. I thought it was worth it! A beloved author contacts an unknown "biographer" who works at her father's book store. She wants the biographer, Margaret, to uncover the truth and write her biography. Secrets are kept by both women.

I loved the scenery described by this Setterfield, the house, the characters, the vivid details. I felt like I could picture everything clearly in my head; thus, I was "IN" the story.

I had the secret figured but it did not sway me from thoroughly enjoying this novel!!

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Loved this book!

If you liked "The Shadow of the Wind" or "The Thirteenth Tale" you will love this book....Morton sends you on a journey with Cassandra in trying to find out details about Nell's past. You visit each time period through the characters to see how the mystery unfolds. Morton's writing is flawless. Although I did figure out the "mystery" in this book I still couldn't wait to read the whys behind it.... love story, mystery, adventure...this book has it all! I couldn't read for a month after I finished this book; I was so apprehensive I'd never find another book this wonderful!

Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Beautiful
Lovely story about lost love and hope

I just finished this book. I read it in about a day and a half. What a wonderful story! The author goes back and forth between 1986 and 1942. Henry is the central character. Henry is Chinese. In 1942 Henry is trying to deal with being Asian during WWII when the Japanese were being ostracized and no one knew the difference between Japanese and Chinese. He also has to struggle with being ostracized by his own father because Henry's best friend is Japanese. In 1986, Henry is coping with the death of his wife and the struggle to connect with his son. Ford seamlessly goes from past to present, tying the scenes together beautifully. Lost love, death, romance, trying to belong, adventure and music! What more could you ask for in a book?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fun, Interesting
Cute story with quirky characters

I was very apprehensive about reading this novel due to the format in which it was written. However, once you get in to the story you forget the format and just flow with the plot. I won't give a synopsis of the story because you can read that elsewhere; but I will say this was a wonderful little story with some quirky characters who were larger than life. I wanted to visit Guernsey and experience life as it was during the war. Absolutely fun, adventurous and worth the read!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting

We read this for book club last month. What a wonderful story. Delve deep into the lives of negro maids/cooks/caretakers in the 60's. This book gives you a behind-the-scene look at how life was like for "the help" waiting on sometimes spoiled, rude, disrespectful, elitist white families. "The Help" were entrusted to 'raise' the children of these families and cook their food, but because they were disease ridden filthy non-humans, they couldn't use the same toilet. Hard to believe this behavior existed just a few decades ago.
The story centers around a group of white society ladies. Some are married with children, some, like Skeeter, are not. Each has her own maid. After an incident with her friends, Skeeter, an aspiring writer, sets out to talk to the "help" to get their take on what life is like for them. Her goal is to write a book that will make a difference. So she talks with and interviews her best friend's maid Aibileen, who convinces Minnie and other maids to secretly meet with Skeeter too. What ensues is a lot of drama, fun, heartbreak and secrets. This is a WONDERFUL story that our entire book club LOVED! We could not believe that this was Stockett's first book and sincerely hope she has another one on the way!!

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Finished it in one day!

I couldn't put this book down. Beautiful heartbreaking story of two families in Paris, one in modern day and one during WWII and the Holocaust. The author seamlessly flows from past to present. I absolutely loved this book, despite the anguish and sadness of the subject matter. Truly inspiring.

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