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Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I stayed up til 1:30 a.m. to finish the book. The mystery behind the disappearance of the young girl didn't disappoint. Main character Lisbeth Salander is a force with which to be reckoned - troubled, surly, brilliant. I look forward to reading the last two books in the trilogy.

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

I enjoyed the different "voices" telling the story. A serious subject approached in a way that made you think yet at the same time had moments that made you laugh.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Fun
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

An epistolary novel - letters to and from Juliet and the various inhabitants of Guernsey. I did have to refer back to previous letters on occasion to see if Juliet had received any others from that particular source. A missing inhabitant Elizabeth weaves her way throughout the letters until I felt I knew her also. I learned about Guernsey and its role in WWII - something about which I knew nothing. An uplifting story in that people can not only endure hardship but move beyond it. Humor in the story kept it from being depressing.

 
Insightful, Beautiful, Difficult
The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I liked the book, particularly the author's dry sense of humor. However, I can not heartily recommend the book. Many members in the book club, including myself, complained about the vocabulary and the need to have a dictionary on hand while reading. Other members decided to skip the many flights into philosophy taken by the author, a philosophy professor. Other complaints stemmed from the abrupt and disappointing end to the book. Overall, probably not the best choice for a book club to read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun, Insightful
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

I enjoyed the romantic twist to the story: disapproving family members try to put a damper on romance - only it's the younger generation doing the disapproving. The author injects humor into the story, along with the more serious themes of loneliness after the death of a beloved spouse and difficulties encountered when moving away from social expectations to pursue happiness.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

A Gothic novel with the requisite gloomy house occupied by secretive inhabitants. I would use the word "suspenseful" to describe the book. All aspects tie together for an unexpected end to the tale. I like most everything about the book except the main character Margaret. I found her needy, and she really just needed to accept some facets of life and move on.

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Let the Great World Spin

Depressing and dark. I did like the tie-in with the tightrope walker and the interconnection of lives. However, overall all, I can't recommend it for book clubs. I think perhaps it has the most relevance for those of a certain age who experienced NYC in the early-to-mid 1970s.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

A unique heroine (eleven year old Flavia) owning her surroundings (an English village shortly after WWII). I enjoyed the book in part because nothing about it was the same-old, same-old for me. The author did a good job immersing me into the setting. I enjoyed going along for the ride with Flavia.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Insightful, Inspiring
To Kill a Mockingbird

Deservedly considered a classic. Scout and Atticus Finch stay in mind long after the end of the book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Unconvincing
The Cookbook Collector

Emily and Jess are mismatched siblings who love and care for each other despite their different outlooks on love and life. The routes their lives take over the course of two years show that life is unpredictable despite the best of intentions. The surrounding characters are fully realized and add depth to the story. However, sometimes the change in focus from one of the main characters to a secondary character pulled me away from the story rather than deeper into it.

Into the Beautiful North: A Novel by Luis Alberto Urrea
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Adventurous, Interesting
Into the Beautiful North

Great for a book club discussion. I found the book fun to read and the characters interesting. It touches on enough topics for a book club to have plenty to discuss.

American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
American Wife: A Novel

I liked the first part least, but found it fun once Alice and Charlie meet. Sometimes the juxtaposition between the fictional Alice and Charlie and President George and Laura Bush caused discomfort. I found that at times it added to the book and other times I felt uncomfortable with the author's fictitious license. Overall though I liked the book.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
Cutting for Stone

A multi-generational family saga makes for an epic novel. The settings range from Ethiopia to NYC. Written by a surgeon, the novel contains much medical - surgical detail.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Optimistic
The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen falls outside the norm with a touch of the unexpected sprinkled liberally throughout the pages. I liked everything about it - after an initial uncertainty. The book reads quickly and though it touches on serious issues definitely falls into the "fun, optimistic, romantic" categories for me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Loved it! Great for book clubs with myriad avenues for discussion. The book keeps its upbeat tone despite undercurrents that touch on serious issues.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Loved it! Great for book clubs with myriad avenues for discussion. The book keeps its upbeat tone despite undercurrents that touch on serious issues.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Brilliant
The Shadow of the Wind

A Gothic novel replete with a mysterious house and many twists and turns before the end.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Interesting
Garden Spells

I looked for the descriptive word "unusual" or at least something that indicated "a step away from the usual" and didn't find anything close to expressing my impression of the book. Liked it, as did all who read it, some more than others, of course. The author weaves magic throughout the story, such as an apple tree with decided opinions. As I indicated above: a step away from the usual.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Boring, Slow
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

Book clubs can find a wealth of topics to discuss: obsession, bibliomania, family ties, ...

The book is nonfiction and it seemed to me to profile the author's journey through the maze of stolen books at least as thoroughly as it did either the book thief or the detectives. Writtten in the first person, the reader learns details about first editions, et al, along with the author. The most interesting parts of the book for me came from all the information about rare - and not so rare - books. I knew nothing about the subject before reading this book.

Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Romantic, Fun
Just Breathe

I thought it a fun read even though much of the subject matter touched on serious issues. The serious issues can serve as excellent discussion topics. My only reservations stem from the fact that certain storylines seemed just thrown in and then either quickly resolved (arsonist) or ultimately dropped (young daughter's unsuitable first crush).

The Host: A Novel by Stephenie Meyer
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Romantic, Insightful
The Host

I wasn't sure I'd like the book, not being much of a science fiction fan. However, I found it hard to put down. My daughter read it at the same time and we argued over whose turn it was to have the book. Note that the book both in content and style is quite different than Meyer's Twilight series. Don't pick it up thinking you'll get more Edward, Bella, et al. For what it's worth, both my daughter and I liked it better than the Twilight books.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

I read this book soon after finishing The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I thoroughly enjoy Flavia's adventures - solving crimes in her small part of the English countryside. I read constantly and it's always a pleasure to find something a step away from the usual - and 11-year-old Flavia is that. Looking forward to the next book in the series (already pre-ordered).

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dark, Interesting
The Mortal Instruments series

I wasn't quite comfortable when I started the series. It seemed a bit too close to the Harry Potter series with mundanes (vs. Muggles) and Valentine (vs. Voldemort), but the author made the stories her own. An urban fantasy with wizards, werewolves, vampires, warriors, the books brim with adventure. Highly recommend. I doubt that you'll stop after finishing the first one.

 
Pointless, Unconvincing, Confusing
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme

I found the book uninteresting. At first, the book introduced too many characters to sort through. I found myself looking back through the pages to remember a character. Once sorted through, the behaviors seemed unrealistic to the point that it just became silly. Let's see ... an attempted murder, a family member shot ... hmm, let's sit down and enjoy our Thanksgiving leftovers with the officers on the scene. REALLY!?!

Rainwater by Sandra Brown
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Insightful, Inspiring
Rainwater

Rainwater is not a typical Sandra Brown book: neither romantic suspense nor a "romance" per se. It takes place in the depression. One of the characters has cancer, while another is a young autistic boy - just as a few doctors begin to recognize autism for what it is. Racial hatred is also an issue during a volatile time in the small town. Sounds depressing, but it isn't. Many, many topics for discussion.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Inspiring
The Christmas Cookie Club

I didn't like the book, but it does open up many avenues for discussion. One complaint from just about all in the book club: no one could quite remember the various characters - one introduced in each of the 12 chapters. The author introduced so many issues through her characters that after a while it just seemed that she was trying to throw anything possible into the mix. Marnie - the first character - lost her first husband at a young age. Her second husband cheated - serially - on her. She is now involved with a younger man. Her oldest daughter is dealing with a high risk pregnancy due to genetic issues. Her younger daughter is an unmarried pregnant teen with the baby daddy a different race with a jail term (juvenile offender - drugs, maybe - don't remember). She's also a cancer survivor. And that's just the first character. And so it goes ... Lots to discuss, but overall too much.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Graphic
The Girl Who Played With Fire

I had a hard time putting the book down. I didn't guess the twists and turns of the plot ahead of time. Now I can't wait to read the third in the trilogy.

I liked The Girl Who Played with Fire better than I liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Still I highly recommend reading the books in the order written, as it adds depth to the characters.

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Dramatic
The Sherlockian

I like Sherlock Holmes as a character and know just enough about him to enjoy books like this one, without worrying about any fictional liberties taken with his author Arthur Conan Doyle. Chapters alternate between two time periods (1900 and present day) and two mysteries. The link involves a missing diary of Arthur Conan Doyle. I think book club members would enjoy the book. Discussion topics - looking beyond the engaging concurrent mysteries - should not be a problem with some forethought.

 
Pointless, Poorly Written, Fun
Wicked Appetite

Awful.

A poor, poor attempt to capture some of the Stephanie Plum magic that's fading. Don't waste your money or your time. Evanovich should be embarrassed!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
HeLa

I wanted to read the book because of its many positive reviews. However, no way could I have guessed that I would like it as much as I did. Nonfiction tends to occupy a lower spot on my must-read list - and a book about cells (or so I thought) is not a typical choice. The book is about so much more than the story of the first "immortal cells" though. I learned a lot about HeLa (the cells), of course, but I felt like the author helped me empathize with the family and their travails (losing Henrietta at such a young age and trying to understand all the scientists eventually tossed their way). Highly recommend with great book club potential. (My daughter - a fantasy, science fiction reader - also liked this book, which says a lot. She usually steers clear of nonfiction.)

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Brilliant, Adventurous
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

I know that most book clubs won't read all three of the books, but it takes all three to do justice to the trilogy and the two main characters Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. The third book nicely ties into the first two and storylines that perhaps seemed peripheral pulled together. Highly recommend to read all three books in order.

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
 
Fun, Pointless, Unconvincing
Wicked Appetite

Awful. A one star rating makes the book seem better than it is.

A poor, poor attempt to capture some of the Stephanie Plum magic that's fading. Don't waste your money or your time. Evanovich should be embarrassed!

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Optimistic
Another Girl Who ...

Easy read. Serious topics combined with magical realism. The author did a good job of making you care about the characters.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Slow, Boring
The Tower et al

I liked it, just not as much as I thought I would. So many reviews mention the book's humor, yet the underlying sadness seems equally as noteworthy to me. I wasn't expecting it - and it somewhat colored my initial reactions to the book. The two main characters mourn the death of their young son and find no refuge in their marriage. Many of the other characters are lonely and want more from their lives than they get. Also, on occasion the whimsy found in the plot and the quirkiness of characters seems forced. One thing I particularly enjoyed, though, was all the history of the Tower of London woven into the book. All that said, the author ties everything together nicely at the end and remedies much of the pervading sadness. Many topics for discussion - not least, the agony of unexpectedly losing a child and the way people cope with that loss.

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Insightful
"I Think I Love You"

I so enjoyed this book! Highly recommend for a fun read that can generate both serious and totally light-hearted discussion. I think this book will be a book club #1 hit. (Be prepared to find yourself singing words to songs that you had no idea you even knew.)

True Grit by Charles Portis
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
True Grit

I enjoyed the (male) author narrating events (first person) from the viewpoint of a middle-age(ish) woman looking back on events that happened when she was 13. Portis carries it off well. Knowing the story kept me from a sitting-on-the-edge-of-my-seat-feeling that I think might have been there if I had been reading without foreknowledge of events. Mattie Ross is an extremely strong young female character - one of the best I've read. Her sense of honor, perserverance, and "grit" open myriad avenues of discussion. The humor in the book slides in during her account of things as she sees them, though she doesn't realize the humor herself. (Also a great choice for a mother-daughter book club meeting.)

Too Good To Be True (Hqn) by Kristan Higgins
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Slow
Too Good To Be True

I laughed out loud more than once. Good discussion topics for a book club can include the sibling dynamics in this book. Grace's fiance left her for her younger sister and Grace handles it by making up a new boyfriend so that no one pities her. I found Grace a bit needy for my tastes and that can open up some discussion in itself. Overall, a quick, easy, fun read for a book club.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dark
The Devil in the White City

I liked the book. Nonfiction is not my first choice in reading material, but I'm glad I read this. Certainly I learned a lot and the book can definitely generate discussion topics. Still I didn't find it an edge-of-your-seat, not-to-be-missed read.

 
Romantic, Adventurous, Fun
A Discovery of Witches.

I like the book. I don't recommend it for book clubs for three reasons: its length (almost 600 pages), a slow start, and the not-so-simple fact that when you finish reading, it's obvious that you're not finished reading. The major plot points are not resolved at the end; there's definitely a to-be-continued ending. All that said, I did like the book and will pick up the next one - when it's published. The characters are strong and the mystery pulls you in (which is why I got frustrated with the slow start - the plot takes a back seat to character development for the longest time.) I guess I recommend the book, just not for book clubs.

Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Brilliant
Ender's Game

Deservedly considered a classic! I don't read science fiction often - but loved this despite the genre - lol. Plenty of discussion topics.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Water for Elephants

Ambivalent about it. I can't say I liked it, but didn't really dislike it either. Easy to read, unusual setting, unexpected twists and turns.

 
Interesting, Boring, Slow
Compilation of magazine articles

Compilation of "essays" from The New Yorker magazine - some outdated. Some of the selections were interesting, but overall I'm not a fan of Gladwell's approach. He wanted you to reach his conclusions; his "research" seems biased toward his POV. In addition, his writing meanders until at some point you want to scream "focus." I do think that I would have enjoyed reading his articles in a magazine (as part of a whole "something else") more than I did in a book.

Juliet by Anne Fortier
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Adventurous, Dramatic
Juliet

Chapters alternate between the original Giulietta and Romeo (Siena, 1300s, pre-Shakespeare) and modern day Juliet and her Romeo. The time has come for the "plague on both your houses" to end. Romance, suspense, action, drama, history - the book has it all, including beautiful Siena.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
 
Insightful, Interesting, Brilliant
the house on mango street

I liked the book more than I expected: easy to read with prose more like poetry or maybe poetry more like prose. Book club members will either decidely like or dislike this book, which might make for good discussion in and of itself. Overall I think it's not the best choice for book clubs, rather more suited to picking up on your own if it interests you.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
Part One

I liked the book BUT it leaves the story unfinished - definitely a Part One/to-be-continued ending. Book clubs should be aware of this and maybe even make plans to read the sequel next (out May 2011). Still, plenty of discussion topics. Most in the book club liked the book, but a few members found it too dark. Most of us lacked foreknowledge of that particular slice of history, so learned a little about the Japanese invasion of China and a lot about Chinese immigration and assimilation into America.

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

I like the book - no more, no less. An easy read that ends on a positive note - and I learned something in the process.

The Peach Keeper: A Novel by Sarah Addison Allen
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Beautiful
The Peach Keeper

Sarah Addison Allen touches on serious topics. Her books contain "darkness" - yet you finish with a feeling of optimism. A touch of gothic novel, mystery, and romance mixed with the unexplained (magical realism).

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Sequel to Shanghai Girls

First, let me say that the necessity of reading Shanghai Girls before Dreams of Joy can't be underestimated. Those in the book club who had read Shanghai Girls picked up the storyline quickly; those who hadn't felt lost and ended up stopping Dreams of Joy in favor of going back and reading Shanghai Girls first.

As for Dreams of Joy, I liked the book. I had been displeased with the to-be-continued ending of Shanghai Girls, but Dreams of Joy ties up all the loose ends nicely. While Shanghai Girls concentrates on the bond between sisters and assimilation into life in America, Dreams of Joy looks closely at the love of a mother for her child. Unhappy, confused Joy runs away to the People's Republic of China. Believing wholeheartedly in the communist propaganda, Joy finds herself in a virilocal marriage in a commune in the country. Pearl follows Joy to China and never gives up hope of reconciliation and rescue. The story is told in two voices: Pearl and Joy.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Graphic, Dark
Action - Adventure

A tough heroine who plays by her own rules, a missing person, an exotic locale. Overall, a quick read.

With forethought, book clubs can come up with enough topics sure to generate discussion.

The author plans two more books with this protagonist Vanessa Michael Monroe - and I plan to watch for them.

Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Interesting
Prayers for Sale

Hennie (age 86) and Nit (age 17) become unlikely friends after Nit and her new husband move to the mining town Middle Swan, CO. in the midst of the depression. Prayers for Sale takes place over the course of a year - more or less. Hennie helps the young bride adjust to life in the mining town while making decisions about her own life. So many topics for discussion that book clubs may talk all night. Prayers for Sale may have been my first book by this author, but it won't be my last.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Optimistic
Vision in White

Quick easy read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Past. Future. Family.

Family saga. Mystery. The Forgotten Garden takes time to read: clues scattered from one generation to the next from 1900-2005. Most in the book club liked the book and found topics to discuss.

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
One Amazing Thing

I like One Amazing Thing. Book clubs should have no problem finding discussion topics. My biggest complaint stems from the fact that the book STOPS rather than ends. I understand the literary technique behind the author's decision - and certainly the stopping point will open the floor to much discussion. Still on a personal level I prefer a more definitive ending when I invest time with characters.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Fun
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Everyone in the book club enjoyed this book, which doesn't happen all that often. The discussion never dragged, ranging from the Salem witch trials to the modern day who-done-it.

Untold Story: A Novel by Monica Ali
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
Untold Story

I found the book addictive ... with its combination of fact and fiction. I did find the ending somewhat unsatisfactory ... another book that leaves the reader hanging, though the open ending may in and of itself generate excellent book club discussion.

State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Dramatic
State of Wonder

I liked the book. As for book clubs, State of Wonder provides discussion topics aplenty.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Insightful
The Weird Sisters

I like the book. The reader visits the Andreas family at a low point - but the author leavens the lows with insight and humor. The mother fights breast cancer - chemo, surgery, radiation, and more chemo. All three sisters come home - ostensibly to care for Mom. Each sister, however, lands at home at a crossroads in her own life - lifestyle decisions needs must be made. The interplay between sisters feels realistic. As with most families, I like some members better than others but rooted for an upbeat ending for all. Plenty of discussion fodder for book clubs.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Adventurous, Insightful
Little Lavinia Warren Stratton or rather Mrs. General Tom Thumb

I liked the book ... at least, I did once Vinnie (Mrs. Tom Thumb) meets P.T. Barnum. Once P.T. Barnum enters Vinnie's life, my interest in the book picked up. I find it fair to say that Barnum steals the show, though he spends most of his time behind the scenes. Vinnie leads an interesting life. The author manages to portray a vibrant "woman in miniature" who surmounts obstacles through sheer force of will and intelligence.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
Before I Go to Sleep

I like the book. Before I Go to Sleep moves slowly and steadily toward an ending that can in no way be considered slow and steady. Hints of darkness mix with the mundane as Christine struggles to reacquire memory. Before I Go to Sleep reads quickly, which can be considered a plus for a book club with busy members.

Caleb's Crossing: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Slow
Caleb's Crossing

I like the book. A Puritan minister's daughter narrates the tale and so places an emphasis on the religious views of her time. Caleb weaves in and out of the narrative. I learned much about a woman's role in the 1600s and am glad not to be living in that time period.

 
Unconvincing, Poorly Written, Optimistic
The Three Kings

I previewed this book for my book club. Club members read a book by this author previously and had not liked it, so hesitated to try another. I thought it looked fun, so volunteered to read it and report back. Definitely a "thumbs down" for so many reasons. The main character describes herself as "a snob" and "mean" ... and I wholeheartedly agree. Can I add the words shallow and crass? Supposedly by the end of the book, she turns herself into this kind, loving woman ... over a period of a few days. No. No. No. Book clubs can find better chick lit than this. It seemed to take forever to finish this relatively short book only because I had to force myself to pick it back up.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Romantic
The Accidental Tourist

The book generated discussion enough for me to give it a 'thumbs up' recommendation. However, I can't say I liked the book. Actually, I can't say any of the club members felt enthusiastic about the book. Most would probably rate it either 2 or 3 stars. The unexpected death of a child fractures a marriage. The husband moves on to an unlikely partner, which seems to be the point of the author: who can predict love? My problem stems from the simple fact that I don't buy into Macon and the dog trainer as a couple. If you're looking for an Anne Tyler book, I'd recommend Saint Maybe over this one.

The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank
 
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
The Christmas Pearl

The best that can be said for this book is that it's short. Still, I had to force myself to finish it. If it had been even 10 pages longer, I would have just quit reading.

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Interesting, Insightful
and Remarkably Odd

Plenty for book clubs to discuss. I imagine that members will be divided as to whether or not they like the book. As for me, I liked the parts of the book that revolve around 9-year-old Oskar and pretty much hated the parts that dealt with his grandparents. Those parts can best be described as remarkably odd and, in my opinion, a waste of my reading time.

Lethal by Sandra Brown
 
Adventurous, Romantic, Unconvincing
Lethal

Lots of action makes the book hard to put down. Unfortunately I did find more than one plot resolution "unconvincing" which affected my rating.

Overall, a quick read. I did not give it a "thumbs up" as a book club discussion choice: I liked the book but think its probably an iffy choice for a book club. I just don't see it generating a great deal of discussion. It is perhaps a book best read and enjoyed on your own.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fun, Adventurous
In the sunburned country of Australia

Everyone in the book club seemed to like the book though most of us had not quite finished it: so, interesting, even enjoyable, but not riveting - though all of us planned to finish it. I learned so much about Australia. Discussion topics aplenty.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Graphic
Just the beginning

Naked in Death begins my favorite series of books. To be honest, it probably only deserves a 4 star rating, but as the series as a whole deserves 5 stars and since Naked in Death starts it off, well, ... it gets the bump up. For those of you reading J.D. Robb for the first time, don't stop with the first book. It took a couple more books for the series to settle into itself. Enjoy!

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
11/22/63

11/22/63 kept my interest. However, I do think the author King could have cut 250-350 pages and the book would have been just as good, if not better. I see the length of the book - 850 pages - as a potential problem for a book club. Discussion within our group averaged out as "okay" - hard to pinpoint discussion topics with so many from which to choose. Looking back I think we probably missed out on more than one point which could have made our discussion livelier. Everyone liked the book though.

 
Pointless, Fun, Dramatic
Stephanie, Joe, Ranger ... and so on ... and on ... and on

I like the series just enough to continue checking the books out of the library. Evanovich adds nothing new here, except the title. I doubt Evanovich will shake things much up in the series as long as it continues to earn money. I don't consider this a book club selection, with so little to discuss. If you feel the need to dip into the Stephanie Plum series, start with the first books.

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth
 
Fun, Adventurous, Graphic
Blood Oath

I enjoyed the book and plan to read the next one The President's Vampire. Still, I don't think it would make a great book club selection - not enough to discuss. Really, any selection from the horror genre might be an iffy choice; I can't see many in my book club wanting to read a horror selection ... vampires, zombies, etc. Great fun to read on your own, though.

The Hunger Games (Book 1) by Suzanne Collins
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Katniss the survivor

Good book! I looked for the descriptive "intense" but couldn't find it above. Still, I think "intense" best describes the storyline as the main characters fight to survive. I plan to continue the trilogy to find out more about the characters and their lives after the "Hunger Games".

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
 
Dark, Boring, Difficult
Well ... I learned something about Florida, so I guess my time wasn't totally wasted.

A librarian highly recommended this book to me and the writing really is good: the plot ... plot? ... not so much. Plenty to discuss but I bet that a good bit of the discussion revolves around how many club members find the book depressing ... assuming they finished it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Graphic, Dark
Killing Floor

Thumbs up from everyone in the book club. All agreed that the book contains flaws (hence the "unconvincing" descriptive) and that the book captures the reader. No one wanted to put it down once started. Even those who dislike graphic violence liked the book, despite of the body count. I plan to continue the series.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Romantic
Catching Fire

I am officially hooked on the trilogy. I will probably finish all three books within the span of one week.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Graphic, Epic
and so it ends ...

Darker than the other books but maybe necessarily so. I do recommend that book clubs read the trilogy rather than choosing just this book. No worries about discussion topics with the Hunger Games books ... perhaps this last one in particular. Addictive series, overall.

Graveminder by Melissa Marr
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Dark, Romantic
The Graveminder ... and the Undertaker

Good book ... but leaves pieces of the storyline unresolved. The author must plan to write a sequel/series with the Graveminder as first book. I particularly liked the unexpected twists/turns to the story and also the two main characters: the Graveminder and the Undertaker. The "other world" remains unconvincing as yet and one of the reasons that I think more books will follow this one. An easy read and one with discussion potential.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring, Romantic
The Fault in Our Stars

I think a book club could discuss this book for hours. However, it may hit too close to home for some members: the two main characters - teens - live with cancer. Hard to describe my emotions after finishing the book ... just ... I'm glad I read it and plan to recommend it to others.

Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Brilliant
Child A. and Child B. Fang

Highly recommend for book clubs. I don't think discussion would - really, even could - lag.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Brilliant
The Night Circus

An intricate read - definitely not a book to read through quickly. I found myself paging back and forth and catching nuances I missed. Wow! Just wow!

 
Book Club Recommended
Poorly Written, Graphic, Romantic
50 Shades of ...

My rating falls slightly below 3 stars really. I can't say I liked the book, but I plan to read the next two books in the trilogy. Obviously this one caught my interest enough to continue.

Sister: A Novel by Rosamund Lupton
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Slow, Interesting
Sister

Beautifully written: the book jumps from the present to the past to the distant past of the characters, yet the author manages to keep the reader with her. Told in first person by one of the sisters, it tugged at my heart. I did not see or expect the twist at the end of the book; it makes me want to read it again for the scattered clues. Good, good book for discussion; everyone in the club liked it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Difficult, Slow
The Cat's Table

Beautifully worded, though unconvincing at times. It sometimes feels as though the author has two separate tales to tell and intersperses them with each other. Book clubs can find much to discuss as the author does not tie up loose ends for the reader.

The Expats: A Novel by Chris Pavone
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Unconvincing
Expat ... ex-CIA

I'd rate it between 3-4 stars. I liked the book but not quite as much as I thought I would. I never really bought into Kate, as ex-CIA. Lots of twists and turns, with some of them, I have to say, unconvincing. Still I found it hard to put down. Overall, a good mystery thriller with no violence or bloodshed.

The Witness by Nora Roberts
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Dramatic, Interesting
The Witness

Solid romantic suspense. Addictive to read and fun to discuss - no more, no less.

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Adventurous, Gloomy
Contemporary Jane Eyre that misses the mark

I didn't like it but others did ... so consider it discussion-worthy. I found the characters unsympathetic. Unique settings added to the book but not enough to make up the flaws. The ending in particular comes across as abrupt.

The Age of Miracles: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark, Insightful
Age of Miracles

Good book for club discussions: engages the reader and opens many avenues for discussion. That said, book clubs should note that the book has an underlying sadness that the reader can't escape, any more than the characters can escape the slowing of the earth's rotation. In a way Age of Miracles reminds me of The Diary of Anne Frank: a young girl comes of age during a time beset with trouble. (My rating actually falls somewhere around 3.5 stars and probably should be higher. I like happier books though so the rating accurately reflects my feelings.)

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell
 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Interesting, Insightful
Cloud Atlas

Well-liked by most in our book club: if you find you don't like one section, keep reading: the next one may turn out to be your favorite.

Every Day by David Levithan
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Unconvincing
Hey, the author missed someone with anorexia.

I liked the premise more than I liked the actual book. I ended up feeling that the author's beliefs inhabited the narration in much the way "A" inhabited bodies. Worthy beliefs - maybe. Still, it got to be a bit old and eventually a source of snark with club members. "Hey ... has A inhabited someone anorexic yet? Let's see ... we've had the illegal immigrant ... and the drug addict ... and the suicidal girl ... lesbian ... gay ... transgender ... evangelical Christian ... obese ... oh, he missed anorexic." And so it goes. Liked the romance but A's unconvincing love at first sight nagged at me.

Club members brought up the YA classification - mature teens, yes, but felt the book inappropriate for the middle school set.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Informative
Picks up where A Discovery of Witches ends - does not stand alone

My actual rating is closer to 3.5 than 3. I like the book but feel that it could easily be a 100 - 150 pages shorter and end with a tighter storyline. The author spends so much time world-building that the reasons for traveling back in time get lost. I read A Discovery of Witches twice (though over a year earlier) and still had some difficulty piecing things together. You definitely need to read the first book to grasp the complexities of this one. Overall a good book, though.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic, Dark
the Radleys

Not your typical vampire story, and therein lies its strength (or its weakness depending on how you feel about vampire novels.) I liked it and can easily recommend it for book clubs. I read it within a couple days: it holds your attention and makes for an easy read, Clubs can find enough topics for discussion. A good choice for the month of October - serve red wine at the meeting and enjoy.

The Orchardist: A Novel by Amanda Coplin
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Insightful, Gloomy
The Orchardist

I highly recommend this book for group discussion. The pace of the book is slow (that sounds more negative than I intend) and the detail rich. I felt drawn into the lives of the characters and cared what happened to each of them.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Adventurous
Mr. Penumbra\'s 24-Hour Bookstore

Good book: simple plot made fun with the bonus of a feel-good ending. I particularly liked the characters (all quirky in their own way) and their respect for each other.

The Art Forger: A Novel by B. A. Shapiro
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Art Forger

A quick reader with enough fodder to sustain discussion.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Adventurous
You Go, Bernadette

A great choice for book club: a quick read that moves from funny to sad and then back in the blink of an eye. I think that it holds myriad topics for discussion, not the least of which is balancing love of self with love of family.

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
The Kitchen House

Compulsively readable.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Dramatic
Tell the Wolves ...

My descriptors:

Confusing: I did not quite get the significance of the wolves among other things that I could tell should have deep meaning for me.

Gloomy: Well, no one is particularly happy - no one.

Unconvincing: I never believed in the characters or quite grasped the reasoning behind the actions. I would pause a moment and think: Why would you do this? and could come up with no logical reason.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
The 100-Year-Old Man

Quirky humor. I thought it dragged on occasion, otherwise I would have given it four stars. Don\\\\\\\'t let my dragged comment keep you away from the book though - overall, I enjoyed it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
The Buddha in the Attic

Lovely writing.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Informative
The Movement of Stars

I didn't warm up to Hannah and that marred the story for me. Her interest in Isaac and his in her never took hold for me: hence ... the "unconvincing" descriptor. A goodly portion of the book explores the relationship or lack of, at least in terms of Hannah's thoughts. I expected something more or, at least, different from what the book offered.

 
Romantic, Adventurous, Interesting
The Little Paris Bookshop

Truthfully, the characters leave Paris near the start of the novel and then abandon the floating bookshop mid-book. So, the title actually doesn't reflect the story.

To enjoy the book you have to suspend belief: the main character seals a room in his house for twenty years with a letter from his ex-lover in it. He opens the letter - at this years-later time only to find out that she hadn't just abandoned him (devoting all her attention to her husband - yes, she's married - the men share her) but for other reasons. He goes on a quest to overcome his guilt at not reading her letter earlier.

The writing is lovely (if somewhat obvious in its attempts to enlighten the reader and impart its deeper meaning) as is the depiction of the French countryside.

Bottom line: I was bored.

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Adventurous, Romantic
A Desperate Fortune

I found the book slow at the start, but once I got further into it I didn't want to put it down.

It tells two stories: modern-day linked with the past through a coded journal that needs to be solved.

Good book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Informative
Eight Hundred Grapes

Fun and informative (wine making) at the same time

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