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My Reviews

 
Everyone in our club loved it!

Our book club makes a point to read at least one book in this series every year. These books are just fun and entertaining. It is a welcome 'light' read after reading books with pretty serious and heavy content. Alexander McCall Smith has made us all want to pack up and take a field trip to South Africa!

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Beautiful
Great mystery...didn't want to put it down!

After reading some of the reviews I was a little concerned that this book wasn't going to offer much beyond a mystery but I am pleased to share that I was pleasantly surprised! Pickard had a way of making almost every character a suspect in one way or another, so I really didn't want to put the book down until I found out all of the answers. It was more interesting how she reflected how one man's mistake created several lies and how these lies affected the characters in the book. Our club does not read many mysteries so this was a nice change of pace and we all enjoyed the story.

 
Informative, Gloomy, Insightful
Beautiful story that I didn't want to end!

Everyone in our book club loved this book. Alan Drew really went in depth about some of the conflicts between different religions and cultures...especially between Christianity and Islam. A natural disaster takes place that makes one culture more dependent on the other, which basically sets the tone for this novel. This is probably the best book that I have read in the last year and I look forward to reading it again someday.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
 
Interesting, Romantic, Slow
Interesting how relationships form by the end of the novel

For the most part, our book club enjoyed this book. We seemed to grow a fondness for all of the characters, whether they were terrorists or hostages. It was interesting how there were so many language barriers, that communication was difficult, but the common theme that was understood among them all was music. A couple of our members did not like this novel because it had too many unrealistic aspects. But even those members developed an appreciation for the characters in the book.

 
One of our favorites!

We have read one book every year from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and this seemed to be our favorite one from the series since reading the first book. These are great books that always have such good messages in them. I would suggest reading these in order since there are a few things that come up in the story that are helpful to understanding the book, if you have read the previous books.

American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
 
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Well written story of the life of a First Lady.

I had an advance copy of this book so I was unable to read it with my bookclub, but I can see how it would have made for an interesting discussion. I really did enjoy the story and think it was very well written. The end of the book, which focuses on her husbands presidency I must admit that I really did not care for. It seemed to compare way too much for my taste, to the present administration. It doesn't seem like much imagination was needed for the end of the book, but all of the characters were well developed throughout the whole story.

 
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
What a powerful, insightful book!!

It does not happen very often, but everyone in our book club loved this book! Jodi Picoult has a way of writing that really puts you in the mind of her characters. Even the aspect she showed us of the legal system was engaging! I would highly recommend this book to other book clubs!

 
Good study for pastors but not for book clubs

I think that all of our members have a strong Christian faith but we really did not enjoy this book. I think the way the book was structured made it very difficult to read. I like to read memoirs when they read like a novel, but this one read like a memoir. We did appreciate the honesty in the stories that he shared, and think that he probably is a very good pastor. We did have a good evening of fellowship and think that this would be a good book for pastors to read, especially if they are pastoring a church in a rural community.

 
Informative, Insightful, Slow
This book explores the traditional belief of the afterlife in Chinese culture

Although I really enjoyed this book, I know that many of our book club members did not like it. It seems to me that either with either love it or hate it, there isn't much room for in between. This book really delves into what the Chinese actually believe the death process involves. I think that it did make for a great evening of discussion for us, and we have found many times that if we don't enjoy the book, our discussion brings out things that we did enjoy.

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
 
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
A good book that delves into a dark part of American history

This book was overwhelmingly enjoyed by most of our members. The historical perspective that Dallas shared in this book was amazing. The storyline was great and there was even a bit of a mystery weaved into the pages that was resolved by the end.

 
Fun, Pointless, Insightful
Not for the more reserved book club

Although I enjoyed this book, the average rating from my book club was a 2. This book was basically divided into 2 parts, with the second half much more enjoyable. If you don't mind some inappropriate sexual content you will probably enjoy this book, otherwise you should probably skip it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Wonderful book for discussion!

Although this book was difficult to read at times, it sure makes you grateful for the life we have in the United States. There are so many liberties and freedoms we have that we don't even give a second thought to. I think that all women need to read this book!

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Fun, Insightful
Another fun installment of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

I found this to be another light and refreshing read in this series. Although there weren't a lot of mysteries for Mma Ramotswe to solve it seemed like Smith spent some time setting things up for future books. I guess I will see!

 
Poorly Written, Pointless, Romantic
Not much substance

I started reading this book thinking that it wouldn't contain much besides the romance element. By the time that I turned the last page I found that there were just too many inconsistencies and with just a little bit of research it could have been much better. If you are looking for romance, and nothing more, then you may enjoy this book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Dramatic
An honest look at how the human heart deals with grief and sorrow. Loved it!

This book covers a lot of emotion and familial turmoil as it takes place over the period of just a few days, while a family gathers at their summer home to attend a memorial for the youngest family member. Leo was killed in Iraq just a year ago, and the family cannot seem to move on since this tragedy.

Henkin packed a punch with this novel that is full of the most beautiful writing I have read in quite some time. Among the family members that Leo left behind are his wife, a son, three older sisters, and his parents. All have agreed to meet for the Fourth of July holiday for his memorial. Everyone seems to be at a crossroads in their lives, wanting to move on but maybe afraid of the consequences if they do. When Leo's sisters find out about their parents upcoming separation, their lives become even more fragile.

Not only did this book delve into the broken lives of those involved, but also the Jewish religion that created the foundation for who they are today. The family members did not renounce their religion in any way, but they also did not celebrate it, except for the youngest sister Noelle. Interesting how she was the wild, party girl in her teenage years, but turned into a devout, Orthodox Jew as an adult. Throughout this book, everyone contemplates the decisions they have made, including Noelle as she questions why her religion has to be so strict.

The characters in this novel were so real to me and were all facing their own challenges after Leo's death. They help each other as they deal with their grief over this period of a few days, but the novel stays realistic to me as when they all prepare to leave and go back to their every day lives, problems are not completely resolved. They've all made progress, but they still have a long way to go.

Henkin made his characters honest and raw, and didn't hold back. With themes of love, death, and forgiveness, I can't help but think this would also make a great book club selection. I highly recommend this novel.

Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark
 
Unconvincing, Poorly Written, Pointless
Waste of time

We usually pick a Christmas themed book for December, and quite often they are very easy reads...this one fit that bill. If you are looking for something that will provoke a good discussion, I would skip this one.

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