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My Reviews

Island of Lost Girls: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon
Gloomy, Confusing, Dark
A missing girl

Mcmahon told a great story with an adventure of falling into the rabbit hole.
There were turns and spins that were surprizes. You were keep a little off balance with the story line being not between two places but between two times.
We had a good discussion of the book helped by questions provided by the author.
My only drawback was that it took me time to know the characters and how they fit together.

Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
A mute boy and raising a special breed of dogs at a farm in Wisc.

There are only a few books of this caliber written. It is not for everyone, as it about dogs and a family that is devoted to raising a special breed of dog. There is no sex per say and the violence is mostly at the end.
But.....that is not to suggest that this book misses those best seller traits. It moves along at a rate of a stream that meanders with meaning through the rocks and tree stumps and leaves the reader with loss of time and precedence. I would have to shake and remember where I was when I put the book down. Especially if the little ones were home and I had stopped hearing them.
This will be a keeper for me and I will just pick it up and reread parts to take me away to the barn and fields.

Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
Edgar was the best book I have read for quite awhile.

This story is about a boy and his dog. Of course the boy is a mute and the dogs are a special breed that his grandfather created.
The story has many things going on with ramblings through the farm, fields and the forest with a cast of good and bad chacterters.
I was so mesmerized by this book that I had to wake to my present world when I put it down.
Both my book clubs have read it and it was a mixed vote as to its merits. I would say half of us read it and enjoyed it very much the other half did not like the slow descripitive pace of the book.

The Cradle: A Novel by Patrick Somerville
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Slow, Boring

From the very first page I was drawn in by Patrick Somerville's characters. As Matt goes to look for a cradle that Marissa’s mother had absconded when she left, we see the story start to have its twists and turns. Matt is a great husband and I was surprised when I read he was pushed from foster home to foster home.
Even though some people will say they knew the ending, I believe that is not the crux of the story. I believe the writing style, the literary value and to be told in just 200 pages is the strength of the book.
THE CRADLE is a book that I put down just to make it last longer.
The story is of creating a family from scratch and everyone in our Book Club had such great comments as it touched their hearts.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
Cleopatra's Daughter

I just had to write as our Book Club read Michelle Moran book this week, CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER. We have never had that much discussion over a book! One of our members spent 5 hours on her computer looking up more history of that period. Overall, a great story, fast reading (I spent 5-6 hours),and a learning experience. Her afterthoughts were also worth talking about. Letters from 3000 years ago that could have been written today.

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Pointless, Confusing
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

I may have missed the author’s intent in this book. I never really connected to the characters but the energy of the TV show Pushing Daisies with splashes of Alice in Wonderland did keep me turning the pages looking for that elusive moment. At times I missed the quotation marks that were nonresistant.
The story is divided into four parts. It is the story of a girl with a gift, from eight years old into her twenties. Rose lives with her father, a fact only lawyer, the fanciful mother, and the brother, Joseph, with his own weird gift. It is a story of a dysfunctional family with each person having a part that is just not typical.
Rose’s gift is the’ gift of food tasting’ but not just the flavor of the food, but the growing, marketing and finally the cooking. All of the steps it takes from beginning to end. She can tell you the local it was grown, how it was marketed, and what the cook was feeling it was prepared. This is not all good.
The phrasing was wonderful and I would stop and just re-read sentences.
‘A name so vague I never remember it.’
‘Out the window, the breezeless stillness of a desert spring.’

Sacred Hearts: A Novel by Sarah Dunant
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Romantic, Dramatic
LitLovers talking points

Generic Discussion Questions
• Read-Think-Talk About a Book

Also, consider these to at least help get a discussion started:

1. Talk about the convents—their environment, practices, and the women who populate them. Who are the nuns, for instance, and why are they there?

2. Discuss the tension between the vows of chastity the women take and the suppression of natural sexual desire. Consider that tension in light of the 21st century. Different? The same?

3. What is Zuana's interest in Serafina? What are the differences between the two women...and in what way does the younger woman challenge the older one? Who changes whom in the process of this story?

4. Dunant also portrays the wider religious-political world surrounding the convent. Talk about what was going on in the larger world of the church and how it affected the convent.

5. If you've read other books by Sarah Dunant, how does this one compare?

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Inspiring
The Mountain Between Us

My first thought of this book was that I liked it. The tempo was just right, not to slow but not too fast. However, I think what I liked most was it has a Hero.
The lead character is a Macgyver. Dr. Ben Payne (a touch of whimsy) is smart, good-looking, compassionate, with some impulsiveness thrown in, Sport Medical Doctor.
His partner in this adventure is Ashley Knox, an attractive, successful journalist and on the way to her wedding rehearsal dinner.
As a snowstorm cancels the flights out of Salt Lake City, these two travelers end up chartering a flight to Denver to get them out of the storm’s path. Grover, the pilot, and his dog load up to fly the travelers to Denver. Grover has a heart attack and they crash in the snow-covered mountains. Ben with broken ribs, Ashley’s leg fractured and with the dog, the adventure begins in the below freezing temperature for weeks. Ben journals to his wife every night with a recorder and we get a sense that is something not right but we do not know what it is. The ending is a surprise ending and we do not see it coming.

Agent X by Noah Boyd
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Dramatic, Adventurous
Agent X

Noah Boyd’s life makes up for a remarkably authentic background for this book. His own life was a former FBI agent and his character of Steve Vail, aka Bricklayer was derived from his father’s occupation.
As I did not read his first book, this is my thought of where Bricklayer came from. He was a disenchanted FBI agent and rules got in his way of doing his job effectively. Therefore, Steve Vail becomes a nomad with the skill of an officer of the law but none of the stops. Despite this, it does stand on its own without having read the first book.
Kate Banning starts the story as someone who knows something or has something someone wants. The first pages get you hooked. You do not have to wait until page 100 to get into this story. The story moved up, down, and sideways. When you think that is it, something else pops up to grab your attention.
The book is very readable. , Even though Steve is a superman hero, his has Clark Kent’s romantic skills with Kate and as a result the romance falls flat in the story.
The cover is quite eye catching and would make a great Mark Valley movie!

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
The Murderer's Daughter

I am not sure why I didn’t like this book. I finished it and that says something. Lately I just put them down if I get bogged down but maybe because it was for Book Club.
It is the story of two sisters and a father that kills their mother and stabs one of the sisters as the other runs for help. The mother is not nice and the relatives’ are not either. The sisters end up in an orphanage and a social worker fosters them to her home. Meanwhile the youngest keeps visiting her father in jail.
I did have a favorite quote from the eldest as she works with the almost old women, “I didn’t pretend otherwise; I didn’t want to be one of those females who were surprised by their swift fall, women who barely had time to wave good-bye at being beautiful, being needed, or being wooded as they slid toward retirement and the gray world of invisibility.’
In spite of my review my Book Club found a lot to talk about!

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