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My Reviews

The Poe Shadow: A Novel by Matthew Pearl
 
A man tries to figure out the truth behind Edgar Allen Poe's death

This was written a la Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While I don't mind that style, it was cumbersome in a 500 page novel. It really bogged down the pace of the story. The story was OK, but it had such a neat premise, I expected more.

 
Epic, Inspiring, Beautiful
Epic about a young man in Italy during WWI

This book was so moving, I couldn't put it down. With books that are this large (800+ pages), I usually can find several parts that i could've done without. NOT SO with this one. Every sentence was perfect.

I was moved by the spirituality of the main characters, and his pure love of life.

I have to admit that i knew next to nothing about WWI and the mountain fighting. Some of the fight scenes were terrifying, but gave me a glimpse of why and how he became the man he did.

 
Insightful, Inspiring
Even if you're not a Mitford fan, this is a good tale

I really enjoyed reading this book. I've read a couple of the Mitford books, and although I enjoyed them, I didn't want to commit to reading the whole series. I was able to still pick this book up and thoroughly enjoy the story. Dooley is back, as is Cynthia. The rest of the Mitford gang is merely mentioned in passing here and there.

As always, I loved the prayers. They were uplifting, and there was grace in each of the stories. As always, great characters.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
 
Is ignorance really bliss?

We had a great discussion about what is more important to each of us... intelligence or to have friends. It was a heartbreaking book, and 50 years later (it was written in the 1960s) it seems unrealistic becuase of the known controls over experiments. Overall, however, we each felt so strongly for Charlie and what he'd been through and how he coped with each stage of his 'advancement', and how tough it would be (though easier since he remembered what it would be like?) to lose what he'd achieved.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Brilliant
A book about books and the importance of remembering them.

When this books starts with a bookseller who knows where books are hidden so that they'll never be forgotten, I was hooked!! There was lots of mystery, a sweeping family story, hidden identities and a secret goverment faction... what was not to like???? I really loved this book. It's one of the very few books I've read twice.

The Girls by Lori Lansens
 
This is the best story of sister love i've ever read

I've read hundreds and hundreds of books, and this stands out in my top 5. The first paragraph was stunning, and moved me to tears. I loved their Aunt so much... without her those girls would have been laughingstocks of the town. But she loved them so much, and made sure they grew up as normal as possible. Really, just a terrific book.

 
Two unequal halves

The first half of this book was fantastic. I loved Amanda and her men, and her job, her car and even her roller skates. I loved her cat... who couldn't? But then, when she got into space, things got too weird for me. I found myself just reading the words, not even caring about the story.. .just wanting her to get back home, though there were some pretty fantastic allegories (the landscape of the hearts was pretty amazing)

 
Just a regular girl in extraordinary circumstances.

I loved the characters of this book. The story was fantastic, and Francesca and Chester really brought it credibility. Even the best friend had flaws.. .which was refreshing. This is a great book of faith.. not necessarily Christianity as a faith, but faith in goodness and faith in hopefulness.

All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
 
Good story, interesting politics

Loved this second Ozeki book as much as the first. I loved the complex web of people that she created in the small town potato town. The politics were pretty extreme, but I loved how it related to both the young family as well as the old farmer who, unbeknownst to himself, is patriot of the same revolution.
Very well written.

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
An old book's journey is revealed thru historical flashbacks

Not a bad story, but certainly not alot to talk about. I found out A LOT about Serbian/Bosnian conflicts, and couldn't stomach to read about the torture of the Spanish Inquisition. I found some of the characters endearing, and all the refugees were sympathetic.
I think the only bad part of the book for me was the CURRENT time. That book repairer, Hanna, was a sniveling brat. She jumped right into bed with the curator in Sarajevo, then went behind his back and took his son's Xrays without his knowledge, and gave her mom hell for being distant.... she was a hard one to take.

 
A road trip through middle America

This was pure Bill Bryson... wry, comic and dry. I love his writing. I have to say that "A Walk in the Woods" was better, but "THe Lost Continent" made me laugh out loud several times. Some people may be offended when he makes fun of their state (he made a comment about Ohio something like ... "I have to drive through Ohio today, what a dreary thing to say" or something like that), but it's funny when it's not YOUR state he's making fun of!

A fun book. Read 'A walk in the woods" for more laughs.

 
Boring, Inspiring, Slow
A selfish, spoiled woman in a 'crisis' called LIFE!

What a terrible book! This woman was clearly going thru a mental health crisis when she, for no apparent reason, decided that her marriage needed to end. Instead of getting help then, she had an affair with a much younger man, and then when that hit the skids, she took her book advance -- yes this 'self discovery' was BANKROLLED -- and escaped from life to tour the world in a new agey quest for self worship.

You know what... we all have responsibilities we get overwhelmed with. Yet 99% of us (or am i just a midwest prude?) stick it out and find ways to cope. Some of us VOLUNTEER to help other people's life better, which makes us feel better. Some turn to God, if we don't already have a relationship with him. Very few of us go to the most impoverished country on the PLANET and do not-one-thing to help our fellow man, but instead sink into 'self discovery' that includes transcendental meditation. We DO things...

What a load of "church of Oprah" crap!

 
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
Doing someone else's list to change your own life!!

What a fun book! I loved that it was 'chick litty' but also focused less on finding a man than supporting a womans wishes. I laughed out loud several times at June's self depreciating comments, and loved most of the characters.
I understand that there are clubs out there that bring their own lists and, without divulging whose is whose, trade lists and do their friend's lists. WHAT FUN that would be!!!

Tortilla Curtain, the by Coraghessan Boyle
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
The dilemma of immigration brought home

This would, I imagine, bring up great discussion about immigration. This book flips back and forth between a wealthy, white California family and a Mexican immigrant living just outside their development. Immediately their paths cross, and the rest of the book chronicles how their lives are unknowingly intertwined.
It was very 'heavy' and thought provoking. The juxtaposition of the wealth and poverty; and excess and absence was startling.

 
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
Narrated by a dog with a huge heart

I loved this book so much. I loved how the observations were written with emotion and great depth. Enzo loved his people so much, and was removed enough (with no usable language or thumbs) that he could see everything.
I can't say enough good things about it, so I'll just stop.

 
Interesting, Epic, Dramatic
Immigrant from the D.R. finds himself

This was a very well, if strangely, written book. I had a really hard time understanding alot of the Spanish words that were thrown in there. Most of the I got from reading them in context, but I was never 100% sure I got the right meaning. I loved the nerdy Oscar, and the self-assured Lola. I couldn't figure out the narrator till about 2/3 of the way through (he called himself 'the Watcher", so i didn't realize he was one of the characters), and that was a little unnerving.
Overall, the history lessons (were they true?) were fascinating. The characters were believable, and the story was real. I really liked it. It was a bit 'angry', which is cool with me, considering the story, but some book clubs might find the language offensive.

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
 
Slow, Boring, Poorly Written
Jackson is at it again, with great characters and wit

This is a follow up to "Case Histories" (which i didn't know before i started... i just wanted to read anything Atkinson wrote!), and we're reintroduced to Jackson Brodie and Julia Lang.
Atkinson again used the 'one chapter per character' method to come at the story from different character's perspectives, from the anal Martin, the stressed single mom and inspector Louise, to the just-found-out-her-husband-was-into S&M Gloria. It was funny and sad and just a great story. It came together nicely, but not so nicely that the characters weren't also surprised that the people in their lives were in the midst of others (i find that unbelievable in some books).

 
Fun, Pointless, Boring
Funny and sassy, but a little mean too.

This was a funny, sassy book, however it had a definite streak of 'mean' in it, which was ok with me (I read it as i lounged on vacation and my sweet husband did all the work), but could definitely turn off some people. The language and sexual references were (hilarious, but) pretty pervasive and sexist, so i think it's take a hearty group of women to discuss this at a bookclub meeting.
I laughed out loud a number of times, and read passages to my husband (as he did all the work on our vacation), and look forward to trying some of their recipes.

Funny.... but i think only strong women would find the great humor in it. I was thinking of my shy, unmarried friends, and i don't think they'd appreciate it at all. My sassy, martini-drinking, dirty-joke-telling, robust friends, however, would get a kick out of it.

 
A classic, a Pulitzer prize winner, and better than the movie!!

I read this on my quest to read all the Pulitzer novels. I was surprised at how easy it was to read (most of the Pulitzer books are tedious to get through for their writing, not their stories), but I shouldn't have been. Wouk is a very easy writer to read.

The story was good, and the captain was easily a nut job. I have to admit that i didn't see the first officer as having such a heavy hand in the mutiny... the movie did a much better job showing that (I saw the movie only AFTER i read the book).

The story of how the main character was tethered to his family was pretty powerful. The nautical terms were a bit much, but i'd been on a ship before (NOT great seafaring experience, but i'd at least heard the words, "muster" etc.) and was able to glean the meanings. The storm was very scary.. very well written.

In America: A Novel by Susan Sontag
 
Polish immigrant recreates life just like her old one

This book was pretty lame. First off, i read over 15 pages before i could figure out what time and place the book took place. I know that sometimes that can be cool (like Rebecca.. how we never know the main character's name), but i was a little confused. Also, the whole first chapter was written from the point of view of a person whom we never know, and never appears again. The characters are named by this person, as we're told, MADE UP NAMES, and then we just have to go with that. Very strange.
Leading up to the spoiled actresses' emmigration from Poland to America, I found myself not caring a thing about the self absorbed actress or her blind followers. I enjoyed the story of the trip abroad, and even liked most of the story of the Poles making a go of a farming commune in California. After that, I couldn't care less.... she returned to acting and was a huge success. BORING! (I only read it because it won the National Book Award, and those are usually so wonderful!)

Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen
 
Funny ecoterrorism story

This is pure Hiaasen... an ecoterrorist vs. the big government/contruction conglomerates. It was fun to read, and a nice 'light' book between heavies.

The Bingo Palace (P.S.) by Louise Erdrich
 
Native Americans struggle with chance and risk

I haven't read a good Native American book since "Yellow Raft on Blue Water," so it was nice to pick this up. It follows a stretched out family as they try to put together their lives in the face of unrequited love, chance and poverty.

There are a lot of 'I wonder if....' to this book. There are a lot of storylines that just end, leaving the reader to put the pieces together. I kinda liked that about the book. For example: Does Lipsha ever return? Did he live? Does Shawnee Ray ever escape Lyman? Zelda? Does Lyman ever repent for stealing his brother's money? Is the Bingo Palace successful? Does the haunting of Fluer ruin the casino?

I thought it was well written, and I enjoyed the characters. Thanks to Ms. Erdrich for including a family tree, else I would have given up trying to unravel the connections.

 
Mid life crisis held in check

I enjoyed the descriptions that Braselton used to describe feelings and events. There's no doubt that she's talented. The story was about a woman who is feeling empty in her marriage (though not nearly as desperate as the neighbor who is having an affair, or the client who killed her hubby) and goes home for a little breather. There we are introduced to her drunk loser sister, who is also in a marital crisis and her parents. Dad runs a convenient store and mom is oblivious to the sister's faults. All in all, it was a good story, and makes you think that marriage means different things to different people. I look forward to reading more of her.

 
Slow, Pointless, Insightful
Why had I not read this as a child????

I LOVED this book!! I have no idea why i hadn't read it as a child. It was like "Little House" but with immigrants and a sensitive boy thrown in. I couldn't get enough of it and was very sad when it ended.

I loved that when Jim and Antonia meet back up again that she is so happy to be a mother and farmer's wife. She seems jealous of Jim's education, but not a consuming jealousy.... more like a fondness of what could have been... but then she quickly reverts back to being blissful. I loved the comparisons between the other immigrant girls and her... that she was somehow deemed as failed because all she ended up being was a farmers wife, but she hadn't failed at all.

It's Hard Out Here For a Shrimp: Life, Love & Living Large by Pepe The King Prawn, Kermit The Frog
 
Snippets from a cool dude!

Pepe is the latin lover, cool operator and overall playa of the muppet world. That being said, some of the advice given in this book is great. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and has super sayings (like "I like my women like i like my salsa -- hot, spicy and a little chunky") that are right on the money.

You'll find yourself hearing his voice when you read it (which is a hoot!) as well as saying "okay?" alot right after finishing.

The Whole World Over by Julia Glass
 
A woman finds herself when she steps out of the ordinary

I love Julia Glass. I hope she writes forever! Her characters are so real, and they have such depth that reading her books are like spending time talking to an old friend. I loved the main character, Greenie, and thought that she had an incredible group of people to keep her afloat when she moved out to NM to cook. (As a cook, i loved all the descriptions of food!). I loved her friends, and her son, but could take or leave her husband.... she felt the same!
I didn't like the 9/11 story near the end, but i suppose we'll see more and more of them (like "The Emporers Children") as time passes and books written at that time have time to get published.

 
Adventurous, Dark, Fantastic
A fantastical journey through magical kingdoms

This is a story of David and his journey into the magical kingdom of books and stories. He goes across (time? space? realities?) and ends up in a mixture of fairy tales. As we all know, those fairy tales are anything but sweet and gentle. The stories are gruesome at times, and in this reality, they are violent and heinous. I liked the 'shout out' to L.Frank Baum's Oz, and saw also similarities with the Narnia series. THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR CHILDREN. It is very violent. That being said, the writing is spectacular, and the depth of David's love for his mother and even his new family is heroic. David is truly compassionate, brave, strong and kind. I couldn't help see the similarity of the Devil and Christ near the end, and how facing evil can help bring you closer to good. A fantastic read. (Only reservation is the heinous violence... the story telling is fantastic). [Don't miss the story of Snow White... it was a bit of comic relief]

 
Book of survival, honor and war on the open seas

What a good book. I listened to it while driving, and it took me right to the Atlantic in the beginning of WWII. It's a story of a sinking of a Merchant Marine ship and her crew, but also of the German captain who sank her and what made him tick. I loved the story while on the Jolly boat, and the survival of her small crew.
I really liked that Carr tidied up the end by telling us how everyone turned out, and how the war crime tribunal ends. Very good book.... maybe not a good one to read just before going on a cruise!

The Echo Maker: A Novel by Richard Powers
 
Boring, Slow, Confusing
BORING story of opportunists preying on boring people

This was really boring. The characters were very shallow and whiny, and they were nothing like anyone I would EVER want to spend a minute with. The sister in the story (the brother is in a car accident, and she rushes home to be with him) is self centered, but I think she 'gets' how boring she is, so there's not much of an axis on which to spin. The doctor is a jerk, and is completely full of himself. Powers mentions more than FOUR times that the doc and his wife have been married 30 years (a third of a century.. i GET it already!), and i couldn't care less. The 'aide' in the story is a complete B..... she swoops into town, causes bad things to happen and gets away with her scam. The boyfriend(s) of the sister are empty shells of people. The whole thing was bad. Too much medical mumbo jumbo, too much cranes, too little substance in the characters. I don't get why it won the National Book Award!!

 
Fun, Inspiring, Interesting
Nice book, nice town, nice librarian

Great story of a cat and his library. Loved the 'small town' quaintness of it. I really could've done without the personal stories of the librarian's health issues.. i thought it detracted from the "Town falls in love with Cat" story.
Nice read.

Mirror Mirror: A Novel by Gregory Maguire
 
Alternate fairy tale about Snow White

Having read "Wicked" first, this novel paled in comparison. The deep political and personal battles were absent, and i thought it really fell short of what it could have. The Borgia family has popped up in many books i've read, but i'm not interested in finding out much more about them. I was disappointed.

 
Sex ed teacher meets fundamentalist Christian

Tom Perrotta is a good author, no doubt about that. This book tackles some big issues (sex ed in public schools, gay marriage and fundamentalist Christianity) and did a pretty good job. It was racy in parts, but i found the story of Tim, the drug addict turned born-again Christian the most interesting. His internal struggle was the most robust tension in the book. That doesn't mean i LIKED him... i thought he was a coward for marrying a woman he didn't have feelings for just to gain the approval of his church among other things. (Plus, i don't suffer pity for addicts much)
Ruth's character was interesting, but she should have been a bit more interesting. Her sexual exploits as a teenager were not even important to the story, and i would have liked to have gotten more info about her marriage to her daughter's dad.

 
A medieval classic similar to Romeo and Juliet

Why had i never read this book before? What a great story!! I loved the story of Tristan growing up, so that we could see why and how King Mark loved him so much. And i loved that Tristan and Iseault were so cunning in keeping their secret. (And as a dog person, i loved Hodain!) The writing was a little hard to understand, but that's just because of the translation, i think. Overall, wonderful stories. And SO romantic!!!!

State of Fear by Michael Crichton
 
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Science meets mystery in another Crichton bestseller

So this one isn't about dinosaurs, but about global warming. As with other Crichton books, you have to wonder where the science stops and the fiction begins. I listened to this on CD, and the reader (G. Wilson) was good, but sometimes he didn't match up his voice with the emotion he was reading about. I found some places where he'd have characters in a room with each other, but hadn't told us that one person or another was there till much later, which seemed like poor editing.

The story was interesting.

Joe College: A Novel by Tom Perrotta
 
A college boy faced with a dilemma

First of all, I love Tom Perrotta. This novel, however, didn't have the sexual tension that i'm used to in his books. Instead, it seemed to be replaced with a 'class' tension, which was very interesting. It wrestled with some pretty strong issues, including the mafia and even what would now likely be considered sexual harassment (teacher and student relationship in college). Overall a good story.

 
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing
A man discovers God at the rock bottom of his life

This was an incredibly moving tale of a man who spends a weekend with the Triune God, in the form/shape of three humans, who teach him how to be in the right relationship with God. It was touching, and heartbreaking. This man and his family had suffered the absolutely most heart breaking loss, and the dad suffered with guilt, sorrow, and the weight of not forgiving. Alot of the relationship talk was sappy, and i didn't really like some of the "Church-dissing" that they did (because i actually DO feel love in my church service!), but it was one man's take on living in God. It was very well done.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
A story of love in the face of evil

Fantastic and horrible story. It was so unpleasant to read, but Hosseini is such a talented writer that I felt that I needed to finish it.

It is a wonderful love story about two women and their love for each other, the children, and for the city of Kabul. I rarely read books about domestic violence because it's so unsettling, but this one was 'detached' enough for me with it's cultural context that i could keep reading... but not without my heart breaking for the women.

Without overtly stating it, there are political questions brought up over and over again to the American readers... is what we're (Americans) doing enough? Should we do more? Should we do less? Have we done the wrong thing? etc....

Fabulously written, awful tale of violence and evil, and moreover, a story of love in the face of despair.

 
The end of ALL technology leads to inventive new strategies for living

Something happens (we never know what) and makes ALL technology, from engines to digital watches, fail mankind. What happens next as people struggle to find peaceful places to forage/plant food was a tale of survival and of love for our brothers/sisters.

The Wicca angle was a little too much, and the writing was HORRIBLE. All of a sudden people would join the conversation when I thought they were not even in the area. The Wiccans waxed poetic (in addition to their Wicca stuff), and it was annoying.

The story was cool though.

What now? by Ann Patchett
 
Commencement address by a gifted writer is still a commencement address

I love Ann Patchett. LOVE HER. I thought this was a full blown novel, but now i see that it's a long commencement address (with a little extra added). There are sweet passages, and I especially like the advice to look for lessons outside of school, to get them from everywhere.

Great as a speech.. I think this would be a good gift for graduates.

The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer
 
A "Wife-Of" finds herself

Cute book, well written, very good chick-lit. It was light and funny, with only occasional cursing. It was perfect to listen to while working out. There was a scene where she 'sees her butt' and her daughter said "we can hide it in MY room" and i laughed out loud.

Run: A Novel by Ann Patchett
 
Adventurous, Inspiring, Insightful
Mothers lost and found

The story was neat, and as always, i love Patchett's characters, but this one was disappointing. There were too many characters, and so each one had only the surface scratched, and that is NOT what i want from Patchett. I want to ache when i read their stories (like "Magician's Assistant"). It should have been longer, or had less characters. It didn't do justice to their stories.

 
Ugh.... listened to 1/7th of it on tape... wasnt worth borrowing (free) at the library!!

I know it's just chick lit, and it's not going to be Pulitzer prize winning writing, but i could NOT STAND any of the characters in this book. Not only was the main character living in la-la land, naive and dumb, whoever at audio books thought that a Brit doing a FAKE American accent to portray a Michigan college student would slip by their listeners was out of their mind! I couldn't stand one more sticky sweet sentence from Lizzie or the terrible narrator!!!

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
 
Fun, Adventurous, Romantic
Amnesia takes away three thrilling years, and leaves what?

Chick lit goes a little deep in this book. Amnesia is no laughing matter, but it certainly brings up some funny things! I really enjoyed it, though some of it was a bit unrealistic. I laughed out loud many times at the antics of new-Lexi.

The Devil in the Junior League by Linda Francis Lee
 
Pointless, Romantic, Optimistic
Cute chick lit with revenge and sarcasm

I loved this book. The main character, Frederica, was full of sarcasm even about her 'fabulousness'. She tries to get a 'white trash' old friend from high school into the league, which includes Henry Higgins like lessons. She also finds out her husband has disappeared with her fortune.

Very cute book. I listened on tape, and the reader was fantastic.

 
Insightful, Brilliant, Inspiring
A mission in China opens up the heart of a man

I loved this book... it told the story of Father Chisolm and his journey to China (through other parishes) as well as his trials while there. I found his gentle spirit uplifting, and a model of Christianity. There were many words that i didn't know (pusillanimous, pelments, biretta, bedizened etc), which actually made it interesting, since so many books don't challenge the readers' vocabulary any more. This was a super book.. too bad it was so hard to find a copy!

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Boring, Dramatic
Well written, but not moving

Leif Enger is a great author, no doubt... but this book pales in comparison to "Peace Like a River." On it's own, its a good story of a middle aged man in career crisis who latches onto a man with excitement and mystery. In comparison, it lacked the spiritual weight of his other book, which was disappointing.

Everyone Is Beautiful: A Novel by Katherine Center
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Insightful
Real love in a real marriage

I loved that Lanie and Peter had a NORMAL life.... three kids, no time for each other, and noone had a secret life, no suprises from the past, nothing big... but life had gotten in the way of their romance. It was so nice. I laughed out loud MANY times.. mostly when Lanie described things her kids did/said. Really a good book.

The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative
A "DaVinci" type book with more weight given to the religion.

I really enjoyed this book. It was "DaVinci"-esque (vatican, Templar, relics etc.), but it truly paid homage to the life and death of Christ, and to the strife between Jews and Palestineans. Well written, good villan, good science.

Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine Dunn
 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Dramatic, Brilliant
Such deep, haunting characters

I don't like circuses, and i don't go to freak shows, but this book was utterly fantastic. I read this months ago, but still find myself thinking about the characters, and how richly they were portrayed. It was gross how the 'freaks' in the family came to be (via drugs etc), but Dunn did a superb job of bringing them truly to life.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Romantic, Fun
A mom and her daughter reconnect on the road

I loved India and I loved Eldora.... the daughter and mom combination in this novel. Each chapter switches between the two strong women, and often times Eldora flashes back to her time in the Glizty Las Vegas years. I loved the pace of the book. Samuel lets just enough spill in each chapter to keep me wanting to read the rest.

The Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Gloomy, Unconvincing
Girlfriends face the worst

I loved this book. I wanted to hang with the SSGs at their gatherings and drink rum punch and give Miles a piece of my mind. I loved all the girls (well, some less than others), and loved their stories. At first i thought there were too many characters, but i fell into their lives just fine.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun
A bloggers look at a goal

I read this because i love to cook and i love to read. I laughed out loud at Julie's antics in the kitchen. I'm not really sure what the excerpts from Paul Child's letters really added to the book. They weren't enough to really lend much to Julia's character, and so seemed unnecessary. Like one of her 'bleaders', i wish she hadn't cursed so much.... makes it seem as if she didn't have better words to use... a bad thing for an author.
I loved the stories about her workaday life and her cooking though.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Optimistic
Fantasy plus religion... LOVED IT!!!

I'd never really liked fantasy books, but a customer recommended this when i told him i didn't like that genre... said that this would change my mind. WOW.. it was awesome!! Sure, it was easy to read and the words were simple, but there was such strength in the characters, and the never aging story of good and evil. I loved that it took place in the Midwest, and Brooks really had a handle on how stinking HOT it gets out here!!! Great book!

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Pointless, Graphic
FUN, sometimes alarming, hysterical look at a girl in the 90's.

I absolutely loved these stories, especially the ones involving her family. I had to rewind (i listened to the author read the book, which is such a welcome treat when listening!) several times to hear things i missed when i was cracking up. The way she talked about her dad, and sex (esp. the red haired man) were HYSTERICAL!!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun
Ugly duckling gets ahead

Loved Annabelle, loved her older clients, and absolutely LOVED her friendships with her book clubbers. The romance was nice (and Heath sounded gorgeous! ), and I liked that she didn't lose herself when she was with him.

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Romantic
Silly little romance with a bit of heft

Loved that an artistic free spirit gets the man in this Phillips novel. Cute read for working out.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
A woman declines at such a young age

I loved that Dr. Alice Howland was able to write (of course fictionally) about her decline into early onset Alzheimers. From reading about Ms. Genova, i believe that it was pretty spot on as far as the medical defiency in Alzheimers patients. I loved Alice's speech where she explained what it was like, because people often overlook them. It was beautiful. I loved that her relationship with her children became much richer when she was able to slough off the demands that she had created for them earlier in her life. She was much more unconditionaly loving.

History Lesson for Girls by Aurelie Sheehan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Beautiful, Adventurous
Best girl friends

Imagine you only have one friend in junior high, and she's really not that great for you? Add into the mix her crazy family, your crazy family, the 1970's drug/sex scene in posh Connecticut, and you get a sense of how bad things will turn out. The thing is, this girl cant see what is going on... like none of us do! Great book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Fantastic
Down south humor and wit

This is a light book about Christmas and old wounds and antiques... what a nice mix! I loved the 'auction' scenes, and the pseudo-mystery about the dog. Very cute book.

 
Gloomy, Pointless, Slow
Not nearly what i expected in a sequel

BORING!! This was so boring compared to the first book... i could barely keep going. Maybe it was that the 'newness' of her magic was gone, but i simply was so bored with the Knight and his newfound life in Seattle that i almost gave up (a nearly cardinal sin for me!). It got a bit better, but only because i didn't have another library book to start right away.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Boring
A series of bad choices, funny stories

I've read "The Vodka Book", and this was nearly as funny, though the content was obviously much more pointed. Like in her other book, the stories that include her family are BY FAR the funniest. Sure, she makes terrible choices, drinks too much, spends too much time in bed with strangers, but she's a comedian and she turns those terrible nights into some pretty funny tales. I'd LOVE to just read stories she tells about her dad and sisters...

Rush Home Road: A Novel by Lori Lansens
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Beautiful
Love comes late to a woman who's life has been anything but easy

I loved that Addy Shadd and Sharla Cody found one another. Sharla was a 'giveaway' child.. her mother simply was done dealing with her 6 year old and wanted to run away with her boyfriend, and quite literally went door to door to find someone to take her. What comes of it is absolutely beautiful. Addy loved that girl like she was her own, and fought for her, taught her and nurtured her better than Sharla could have ever hoped for. I loved that Addys life was so rich.... and made more rich when Sharla came into her life.

I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Difficult, Interesting
Sisters and their complicated love

I loved this book, like I love ALL Julia Glass. She writes beautifully and lovingly about characters.... so the story isn't exciting and action packed, but who cares? These characters are deep and rich and complicated.... like sisters are! They love and hate one another, vie for attention and for solitude, compete and compare, and when one is gone, the other longs for her in a profound way. My heart ached for Louisa when she described her "Clemlessness"...it was beautiful. Also, when Louisa had cancer and she said that allowing other people to help her was a way SHE could show mercy to her friends/family... as that was a gift she could give them. Oh, it was beautiful.

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe, Jason F. Wright
 
Inspiring, Insightful, Persuasive
Good story, crummy writing

This was a good story about being thankful for what you have, and inspiring by the epiphany the narrator has, but it was written at a very low level, and i could feel where different parts seemed written by the different authors. I thought that the characterization of the teenage boy was spot on, but really didn't have much to talk about at bookclub about it.

The Minotaur by Barbara Vine
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
A little goth, a little mysterious, a little obsessive

This was the first Vine book I've read, and I really enjoyed it. I actually listened to it, so i found out that Kirsten should be pronouced "Shastan." Anyway, I loved the dynamic of John, Mrs. Cosway and the four Cosway 'girls' and the way they all lived in that big house. I thought that the 'maze' would be more exciting after all the build up about it, but what i truly loved was that Vine hit the obsession that the three girls had with Felix right on. That Ella could think of NOTHING but Felix even right after her sister had been killed (IN THEIR HOUSE!! By someone in her family!) was perfect!!! I actually also liked that we NEVER know who killed the sister. I like playing out different scenarios in my head about that.

The List by Robert Whitlow
 
Book Club Recommended
A little Grisham, A little Peretti?

This was a legal thriller, but not as well executed as a Grisham, and a Christian warfare type book, but not as well exectued as a Peretti. I would have liked for Whitlow to be stronger on BOTH fronts, because the story was really cool.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Optimistic, Beautiful
Jazzy sassy women

I loved the women in this book.. that their families were not the support that they needed, but they found their real support through their music and their friendships.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
Alternative fiction from a woman's perspective

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