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My Reviews

 
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful

Rating - 4 for pace and originality. Could not put it down.
Took a point away for character development.

I thought the most well-developed character was the town of shaker heights itself - Ng grew up there so that makes sense. She writes kind of a love letter to it and at the same time passes judgement on what I can only imagine was an interesting childhood looking from the outside in all the time. Her main proponent of the Shaker Heights is seen through the eyes of Elena (woman with influential family and historical ties to the town) who condescendingly provided the apartment charity to Mia/Pearl and those before them. The major theme to me was unrealized potential as a result of choice. Elena could have been a talented reporter and Mia an accomplished artist. Because of choices they made, life sort of catapulted them into the women they became and I think they initially resent each other bc they recognize that frustration they feel. Both become sort of obsessed with exposing the other. In doing so, the lives of the people around them are ruined. Izzy and Bebe are the physical manifestation of the flame With both Elena and Mia the sparks.
One thing that bothered me was I was thinking the story was going to be about Pearl and it jumped around to the other characters. I was unsure of the narrator at times - lends to my character development comment above. I felt like the author gave up on a few of them. The male characters were introduced but kind of just props. I would have liked Izzy’s storyline to be resolved.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
 
Interesting, Brilliant, Insightful

 
Addictive, Brilliant, Fantastic

It: A Novel by Stephen King
 
Dark, Addictive, Brilliant

My Absolute Darling: A Novel by Gabriel Tallent
 
Dramatic, Difficult, Dark

 
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting

 
Informative, Insightful, Interesting

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
 
Dramatic, Addictive, Dark

Faithful: A Novel by Alice Hoffman
 
Insightful, Slow, Addictive

 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
 
Addictive, Brilliant, Dark

 
Adventurous, Fun, Addictive

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Addictive

Could not put it down. Rich, dark and moving. Fell in love with Alaska and the off the grid communities. Characters were well drawn out. Could have used more back-history with Cora and Ernt’s relationship. Satisfying in a way My Absolute Darling wasn’t. Could be a companion piece to that book.

 
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting

Could not put it down! A few surprises and a few obvious plot twists, but good book. Very Rear Window meets Girl on the Train. The author’s meta usage of film noir and Hitchcock is a nice touch. What makes it good is the writing style. I really felt like I was in the mind of the narrator so that was well done.

 
Informative, Dark, Dramatic

Reggie - 4.5 - loved the main character and shocked at the everyday life shown in the book. Disturbing

Gwynne - 4.75 - the creative way the book was written - made us do a double take. Also made me curious and want to learn more about North Korean society. Amazing story about enduring human spirit

Karen - 4.75 - loved the creativity and the changing voice and vein suddenly in a new persons head. Timeliness incredible and felt like non fiction. Fantastic

Tricia - 5 - maybe the “perfect book”. Began slow but once he got to Texas it took off and didn’t stop. Very rewarding and tough. Enlightening as the experience of a person in North Korea. “He’s a nobody who has to figure out his identity”.

Lisa - 5.25 - listened on audible. Loved how main character evolved from basic character to someone who figures it out. Liked how it explored “intimacy”. Struggled getting into it at first

 
Interesting, Insightful, Fun

Enjoyed the book! Liked following along on Eleanor’s life discovery. Her POV was funny but sad when you discover the cause. Reminded me of Woman in the Window. Thought the mom was going to be dead.

 
Interesting, Insightful, Fun

Enjoyed the book! Liked following along on Eleanor’s life discovery. Her POV was funny but sad when you discover the cause. Reminded me of Woman in the Window. Thought the mom was going to be dead.

 
Dramatic, Informative, Adventurous

3.75 for pacing.
I Felt like I was in the mountains with Pino. The location descriptions were so wonderful. The book felt off pace-wise there were so many details at times and glossed over sections at others. The relationship between Pino and the Nazi officer was difficult and complicated as he said many times. I do feel as though Pino was conflicted and his retelling May have been a bit of revisionism and apologist glossing over the more difficult parts. I wish I could meet Fr Re. The writer often writes with James Patterson so I felt as though his style and treatment of secondary characters reflected that fast paced crime novel genre. It felt a little fish out of water for me at times.
All in all - I found the book to be so interesting and very informative of not very well known Nazi-occupied Milan.
My favorite part was the end - when the author worked to get closure for Pino.

 
Insightful, Informative, Interesting

 
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting

Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts
 
Adventurous, Beautiful, Fun

The Power by Naomi Alderman
 
Graphic, Interesting, Dramatic

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
 
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic

 
Dramatic, Dark, Addictive

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful

 
Beautiful, Interesting, Addictive

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING:

Overall: recommend
Score - 4.25

Gwynne - recommend (4)

Victoria - (4.75) loved it; surprised and unpredictable

Lorraine - (4.75) read and enjoyed reading; survival and opened up to love

Jen - (4.5) pleasure to read and loved the language

Onelia - (4.5) deducted bc of beginning and kids living by themselves; believed it due to sociological aspects/ alcoholism and family abandonment themes. Tate made the difference in her life and she loved Tate. Kya was so Gifted and Onelia loved the plan to kill chase

Tamara - (4.75) Loved the book. Discussed Kya’s relationships and related to her daughter. We all know the types of guys: Good Tate vs bad chase

Lisa - (3.75) felt like reading two books - first part written beautifully; good book, however did not like trial, but ending saved it

Tricia - (3.25) felt disconnected from Kya after the trial. First part of book was engaging and believable then fell apart at the end.

Gina - (4) intrigued by theme of resiliency; love story; trial was choppy; discussed the different Tate and chase relationships

Reggie - (4.5) engaged/ fast read. Her Momma bear instincts kicked in with Kya; she was reminded of Lion/ Home Alone movies, and so felt it was totally believable.

Karen - (3.5) would recommend. Felt the author had difficulty closing.
Diane - (5) loved the book
Lorin - (4) enjoyed the book

A Gentleman in Moscow by AMOR TOWLES
 
Beautiful, Brilliant, Insightful

Reggie - 3.5 - hard to compare to past great books and wanted more substance. Gwynne - 4.25 - great, fun read. Loved the way he wandered off in this thoughts, as that is what he had to live off of. Also how he finds positive and beauty in all situations.
Lorin - 4.5 - beautifully written language - much like classic Russian lit. Everything was a story.
karen 3.75 - expected more and wasn’t exactly historical fiction. Loved Sofia and count relationship and the happy ending and adventure.
Gina - hadn’t finished and a struggle to get through. Loves the sound of his vice on audible. Got lost in the side thoughts....maybe a 3.5.
Lisa 3.75 - likes some of the little thoughts and “giblets” and loved the elegant meals - but wanted to know what happened to Nina.
Onelia - 3.75-4.0 - was difficult to read in second language, but excellent prose and liked how he made the best of his punishment.
Rosella -4.something - hadn’t finished but beautifully written and allusions throughout - genius.
Kim 3.5 - gained more appreciation through the discussions but missing al the historical info and wanted more closure

Tricia - 3.95 - loved him and his musings and observations. Reminded me so much of people I know from the south. (My mother’s cousins and uncles!) I deducted bc I wanted more historical fiction/meat from the era but beautifully written and engaging storytelling.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
 
Beautiful, Inspiring, Brilliant

Becoming by Michelle Obama
 
Inspiring, Insightful, Interesting

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
 
Informative, Insightful, Brilliant

 
Confusing, Graphic, Difficult

Tricia - 4
Lisa -3
Lorraine - 3.25

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
 
Unconvincing, Fun, Pointless

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
 
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
 
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic

 
Informative, Interesting, Adventurous

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