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My Reviews

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
 
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
Keeps you guessing right up to the end!

I loved how this book was written - none of our book club members had any idea what was really going on until the author revealed the "twist".

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Highly recommended!

I loved this book! Members of our book club gave it an average 9 out of 10 rating.

 
Adventurous, Insightful, Inspiring
Great mix of serious hardship and humor!

I absolutely LOVED this book! One of the best I've read in awhile. The author was so good at tempering the difficulties of training for and running in the Iditarod with a strong sense of humor. I have a new respect the the men, women, and especially the dogs that have achieved such an amazing feat!

 
Unconvincing, Insightful, Interesting
Interesting look into what can go wrong in a marriage

I really liked this book. I thought it did a great job conveying the conflicting thoughts and emotions that a person goes through when trying to "find" their own identity in a stale marriage. Our club members all thought that the book should have been longer so that some of the story lines could have been more fully developed.

The Poe Shadow: A Novel by Matthew Pearl
 
Just didn't care.

At first, I didn't care one way or another about this book ... didn't hate it, but didn't love it either. But, I found it interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading. However, by the end of the book, not only did I not care, I was bored out of my mind! The author attempted to use "period" language, but slipped up enough to be annoying. There were also many extraneous characters that could have been left out completely. Most importantly, our entire book club felt that the book should have ended shortly after the main character's escape from prison in "The Flood", once he had his revelations. From there on it was just a bore.

Skizzer: A Novel by A. J. Kiesling
 
Would not recommend

This book was not very good. The story was very predictable, and I felt like the religious aspect at the end was "forced", as if the author suddenly remembered she had to fit it in somewhere. My book club was definitely not impressed.

Red River by Lalita Tademy
 
Exceptional Historical Fiction

I loved this book almost as much as I loved her first book, Cane River. The author really brought the characters and the circumstances of the times they lived in to life for me.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Insightful
One of the best books our club has read.

Very insightful and interesting book. Really makes you think about our society and how we perceive other societies and other species.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Fun
A fun read in an interesting format

I wasn't sure how I would feel about a book written entirely in letters, but I ended up liking it a lot. Letter-writing really is a lost art. The book touched on some very serious topics related to World War II, but it still managed to be a fun, light read. It would be great to take on vacation and read on the beach.

Lost and Found: A Novel by Carolyn Parkhurst
 
Pointless, Interesting, Unconvincing
Underdeveloped story lines

I liked this book, but was disappointed that the author did not follow through on many of the story lines. There were background stories of several of the characters that had the potential to be very interesting and thought-provoking, but the author didn't really go anywhere with them.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
The Hunger Games

I really enjoyed this book. I didn't get drawn in until the Games began, but from that point on I was hooked. Very fast-paced, makes you want to keep reading way past bedtime!

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
The Art of Racing in the Rain

I love that this story was told through the eyes of a wise, honest old dog. I'm not a racing fan, but the parallels drawn between racing and life were often poignant. Great book - I would definitely recommend it!

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

This was a great book. The characters were engaging and I couldn't wait to see how each of their stories turned out. It was surprising and discouraging to learn about the racism that was (and probably still is, though hopefully to a lesser degree) still rampant in the South only 40 or so years ago.

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
Beautifully Written!

This was a fascinating look at the society whose superstitions led to the profoundly unjust Salem witch trials and hangings. The story was made even more interesting by telling the story through the eyes of a child. I liked this book so much that I didn't want it to end ... I wanted to know the continuing story of the Carrier family.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
Year of Wonders

This book was beautifully written and I really enjoyed reading it, despite the depressing subject (Plague). It made me want to read Geraldine Brooks' other novels as well.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
I want more "Sarah"

I really enjoyed this book, but I wished that we had gotten more of the story from Sarah's perspective. The narrative switches to Julia-only halfway through, and although I still liked it, I found myself wanting more of Sarah's viewpoint after the death of her brother.

 
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

This was a fun, light read that didn't have much "weight" to it. We found out after reading it that it's actually considered teen fiction at many libraries. It was not a particularly thought-provoking or discussion-inducing book, which is why I don't believe it's a good choice for book clubs. However, if you want a lightweight, straightforward book then this one is fun.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Beautiful
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This book gave me more information about the WWII-era "roundup" of Japanese Americans. I had heard about this happening, but never knew much about it. It was a real eye-opener for me that something like that happened relatively recently in our country's history. Henry's character was well-developed and likeable in spite of his flaws. The story was engaging and a pleasure to read.

Ape House: A Novel by Sara Gruen
 
Interesting, Informative, Unconvincing
Ape House

This book was just "OK". It was light reading and not at all believable. I have read all of Sara Gruen's other books, and had been eagerly awaiting this newest one, but it was disappointing. It didn't begin to compare to her previous works.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Henrietta Lacks

This book was fascinating, both the science of the HeLa cells and the story of the Lacks family. It raises many ethical questions that are still difficult to answer today. It definitely made for an interesting book club discussion!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. Ms. Chua's ideas about child-rearing are interesting, although I personally think she took those ideas WAAAY too far. She does make several good points about relative weaknesses of the "western" parenting model. If nothing else, the subject matter will make for a lively book club discussion!

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Brilliant
A Fun Read

The Night Circus was very different from most other books I've read. Erin Morgenstern's imagination and descriptive skills are amazing! I was drawn in from the first page and found the book hard to put down.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
One of the Best!

This book is one of my favorite books ever. Zusak's writing style, including the use of Death as the narrator, is unusual yet beautiful, and gives the story an interesting perspective. I'm certain that Leisel's story, and the insight it gave me into the lives of the ordinary citizens of Nazi Germany, will stay with me for years to come.

 
Fun, Difficult, Dark
Ridiculous

At first I thought the zombie aspect was silly and kind of funny, but it got old fast and just became ridiculous and annoying. Even more annoying was all of the supposed "dark arts" skills, which were not even remotely believable.

The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula Mclain
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Interesting and Sad

I enjoyed this look at the life of Ernest Hemingway and his wife, from her point of view. It was interesting to "get to know" the famous writer from a different perspective. I also found it very sad to watch their marriage fall apart. Our book club generally liked it, and the discussion was fun.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Inspiring, Interesting
Wild - A Great Read!

I really enjoyed this book. It was fascinating to watch the author come to terms with her past and her demons and emerge a better person.

Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Defending Jacob

What a great read! Difficult subject, but very interesting as well. Highly recommend!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Orange is the New Black

I did not expect to like this book, based on what I had read about it. I was pleasantly surprised though, and enjoyed it while reading it. In retrospect, however, I and my book club have doubts about how realistic the book is, whether the author took any liberties with herself and/or the other characters for the sake of a more interesting book. It made for an interesting club discussion.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Adventurous
Fun Summer Read

This book was very entertaining. I loved how it was written entirely as a collection of e-mails, school flyers, police reports, etc. It was a light-hearted, fun beachy type of book. Definitely recommend!

The Martian by Andy Weir
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
Fantastic Book!

The Martian was an unexpectedly funny adventure! What an imaginative blend of adventure, suspense, humor and humanity. One of the best books I've read in years. Highly recommend!

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
Fun, Light Read

Bad Monkey is a fun vacation read - funny and optimistic about life.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
Go Set a Watchman

My understanding is that this book was essentially an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, and was never edited or finished by the author. That history shows in the book, as some parts are very confusing and the book doesn't always flow well. It was still fun to read the flashbacks to Scout's childhood, and the racial issues were very thought-provoking and somewhat disturbing. Although not a great read just for enjoyment, it made for a very good book club discussion.

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Adventurous, Addictive

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