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My Reviews

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Optimistic, Beautiful
Ellen Foster

Such a burden of adult problems she carries, yet she continues to seek that loving home she knows in her heart she deserves. Her setbacks would have daunted most children but her sense of her self-worth in spite her family members' evaluation keep her going. Can't help but cheer for her.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
I know this much is true

I too hated the first 200 pages. The book reminded me of Prince of Tides. The caretaking sibling's self wrapped up in demands of life with the mentally ill. The comment- two little boys are lost in the woods. One can never come back, but one of them just might--describes the theme of the book. Once I got about halfway through the book, my involvement with the characters finally caught me. Very insightful about physical and emotional drain of caretaking---and the guilt involved. Language bothered me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Insightful, Difficult
The deep end of the ocean

Heartbreaking account of life in aftermath of tragedy. The paralyzing effect of disappearance of a child on the parents but just as dramatically on the siblings. I wanted to shake Mom until she saw the needs of the rest of her family. Engaging ending.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
The Book Thief

With death as the narrator and the setting Germany during WWII,you expect the book to be depressing---and it is—but it is also a story of the power of words and the love of words in the life of a young girl. You see the normalcy of life during war, the ugliness of it---and the glimmers of hope when a few of the
Germans show their compassion and humanity in an inhumane society. Vivid imagery

Midwives (Oprah's Book Club) by Chris Bohjalian
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
midwives

The story of a modern day midwife in a small Vermont town is told through the eyes of her young teenage daughter. Her teenage angst is magnified by the need to help her parents through the catastrophe that befalls their family-mother ends up on trial after death of one of her mothers. I well remember the tales of flower children and their distrust of any establishment-even the medical one, and all the arguments for and against midwives. What happens in this book is a tragedy for all involved.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Dark
every last one

Poor Mary Beth. Her goal in life is to keep her family on an even keel and happy. In spite her best efforts, her daughter has struggled with anorexia, and one of her twin sons is geeky loner who struggles with depression. The other twin seems to be effortlessly popular and athletically gifted. In order not to give anything away, let me just say that her struggles to help her children fit in and thrive in this world are heartbreakingly real.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Brilliant
angels and demons

I listened to the original version on audio book. Be advised that the movie and the original book vary in many details--especially the ending. Good thriller.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Beautiful
hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

Our book club really found a lot to discuss in this book--racial prejudice, culture clash of Chinese and American culture, and the struggles of father and son to understand each other

All We Know of Heaven: A Novel by Jacquelyn Mitchard
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Difficult, Dramatic
all we know of heaven

Like her Deep End of the Ocean,this book deals with ways families deal with catastrophic events that occur in their ordinary lives-ones that could happen to any of us. Brain injury and death of a child are depressing, but I found myself much more sympathetic and involved with these characters than those in Deep End.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Epic
dance with the white dog

Our club enjoyed the book as a break from some heavier ones recently read. Lots of discussion about why some people see the dog and others don't, different ways families cope with death and illness, and whether Sam's children were justified in their concerns.

The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Interesting, Fun
The Wednesday Sisters

What a tribute to friendship! Very moving—many light moments among the poignant ones. Five young mothers in the late 1960s meet at a playground and tentatively begin to develop friendship and the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society. As time and their writing go on, they slowly begin to reveal more and more about the hurts in their pasts, troubles of the present, and aspirations for the future. “It had to do with knowing we were opening ourselves up, cutting ourselves open at our guts and letting others see inside us in ways we couldn’t even see ourselves.” I was drawn into their lives and soon cared about how each character would evolve. Only unrealistic part to me was the success of ordinary writers, but I found the heartache of the characters' personal lives very real. Who was the ghost in the house?

 
Informative, Epic, Interesting
fall of giants

I too expected to love this book as I had Pillars of Earth and End of Time, but found myself uninvolved with the characters and the plot. Lot of history but lacked intrigue and interplay of characters of the others.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic
cape refuge

I loved the whole series. This is a suspenseful mystery with real human beings trying to live their Christian faith and sometimes failing. Characters I cared about.

The Charm School by Nelson DeMille
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Epic, Dramatic
the charm school

very much a thriller--dated in that the Russians are no longer our main boogie men-but I enjoyed the suspense and characters. Perhaps more of an individual taste--I like many different types of books--than one a book club might disect.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
shanghai girls

Our club had one of our best discussions with this book-how life can change for you in an instant, war, racism, sense of duty and lack of it, sacrificing for ones family or living for one's own good, mother/daughter and sister/sister bonds.

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
american eve

This was my book club's pick, not mine. We had a lively discussion about whether she was as naive as she seemed,how money could buy anything in those days and the mothering styles of both Evelyn's and Harry's mothers. We wondered about the obvious bias of the author and how much of the story was, in truth, truth. I still didn't like it, but the others seemed to have enjoyed it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Interesting, Fun
the last time I saw you

for anyone for whom high school was less than socially triumphant-and for those who seemed at the time to have had it all-lives of assorted characters are revealed as they prepare to attend their 40th high school reunion. Interesting to see how they assess their current lives, what is important to them now as opposed to then, and what they still dream of life being. This said---I have never attended any of my reunions and based on this book, I sure think I made the right decision.

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Boring, Dramatic
heart of the matter

Talk about a no-win love triangle. Characters seemed interesting but flawed, and the whole sad mess possible. Choices we make have impact on so many people besides ourselves.

House by Frank Peretti
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Gloomy, Scary
House

Very much a horror story. Travelers trapped in a "haunted" house
that will not let them escape. Supernatural beings abound and they all want to kill the travelers. The authors are Christian ones, but there is no attempt to impart any religious dogma. The house as an allegory for people's struggles in the dark and evil inclinations is implied, but the outcome of the story and the fate of the characters remain a mystery to the end. The book is creepy, scary, and sure makes one want to walk in the light.

Angel Sister: A Novel by Ann H. Gabhart
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful
angel sister

Set in the Depression with many flashbacks to Nadine and Victor courting and marrying just before the WWI, this is a study in how families nurture and support each other-or belittle and destroy. Lots of guilt and pain yet book remains hopeful. Through their troubles, various characters remind each other to trust in God even if they don't understand what or why things are happening, and that He will fix things in his own time. The need to forgive and be forgiven is important theme. Little Lorena and her angel sister, Kate, are delightful characters.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Inspiring, Adventurous
Danger in the Shadows

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the whole O'Malley series. Suspenseful and engaging. Probably better for individual reading than book club as the books are unashamedly Christian.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Inspiring, Insightful
dinner with a perfect stranger

A chance to sit down to dinner with Jesus! Obviously Christian so depends on your book club makeup. Lots to discuss as main character asks Jesus life and faith questions. Liked the sequel better.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
devil's arithmetic

this is a young adult book that I have used with my students. Definitely opens young Hannah's eyes as to what being Jewish meant to her Holocaust-survivor relatives as she is taken back in time to experience for herself what went on. Liked it, powerful emotional impact-- but definitely for young teens.

Divine by Karen Kingsbury
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dark, Difficult
divine

I love Karen Kingsbury and have read everything she has written, but this one was hard to deal with. Mary's degradation was so crushing and seemingly hopeless, but she was able to take her personal horror story and use it to help others. Redemption story all the way around.

Double Minds: A Novel by Terri Blackstock
 
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
double minds

I have read most of Terri Blackstock's books, and although this one was enjoyable, I didn't connect with the heroine. Perhaps because she was soooooo much younger. All Terri's books are suspenseful mysteries with interesting dynamics between characters. Definitely Christian which was a plus for me but may not be to others.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I was reluctant to read this heavily recommended book because I feared it would be just a depressing description of the exploitation and woes of a poor, black woman. Much of it was just that (talk about a disfunctional family!)-but I got totally caught up in Deborah's quest to learn about the fate of her mother and sister. The whole bioethics and control over our tissues issues are a whole lot more complex than I had thought--Author portrayed both the wonder and need of medical research and the evils associated with its commercialization. Amazing example of one person's effect on the world reaching beyond her and living long after her death. Thank God society has moved beyond injustices endured by Elsie and other helpless victims of "experimentation". As author said in interview at end of audiobook--heightens awareness that behind each piece of tissue or cell lies a flesh-and -blood human being and grieving family.

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Romantic, Adventurous
beneath the marble sky

A love story set in 1600s Hindustan against background of political intrigue and warrior cruelty--told through the eyes of Princess Jahanara--feat believable tho the author is male. From what I gathered from Goggle,etc., although many incidents in her early life were factual,her love story didn't happen. She was never married and became reconciled to Aurangzeb and had influence in his court after her father's death. As remarkable as the scope of her influence tho a woman was, the Shors's additions made her a relatable and believable character and yielded more satisfying storytelling. Who cares if they were pure fiction.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic, Fun
Safe Haven

Enjoyable as individual book but not much to discuss with a book club. A good escape book--very much a LIfetime movie but sweet anyway. Everything pretty predictable until the last several sections.

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

Lots to talk about with this book--another disfunctional family--all searching for something: control, order, attention, meaning....How childhood roles continue into adulthood until we finally grow up...how we make assumptions about each other and these assumptions color our relationships and our own self-image...what it means to be a family...how one can love without liking. I didn't have much patience with any of the characters--perhaps it is because of my advanced age---but I just wanted to shake them and tell them to get over themselves already. The struggles for identity and meaning suffered by 20- and 30- year- olds probably are experienced by all of us in one way or another, to one extent or another--these folks just seemed to wallow in them.

The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
the 19th wife

Two stories interwoven--the story of Ann Eliza Young and her campaign against polygamy and the story of a current sister wife accused of murder. An in-depth look into the emotions and conflicts involved in living in polygamy--the justifications for it and denunciation of it. Absolute power corrupts --with no checks on their actions, self-indulgence can be twisted into "religious" dogma. Interesting to see the effect of polygamy on the men--the emotional and financial drain.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
the white queen

We enjoyed this one. According to Internet, it was very factual. The capriciousness of those who struggled to gain and retain power and the determination of women to protect and improve lot of their families were interesting. There was so much fighting and scheming that it dragged a bit for me--but that was the way things were evidently. The many family scenes with Elizabeth were the most engaging to me anyway.

People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
people of the book

Great mystery story. While examiining a rare, over-500-year-old, Jewish, illuminated prayer book, a book restorer follows the clues she finds there: wine stain, butterfly wing, salt, and a white hair-to uncover its history and that of those that guarded it through the centuries. The stories of these people add flesh and blood drama to the current state of the ancient and beautiful text, and the reader comes to appreciate the miracle of its survival. Surprise ending was satisfying.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Informative
the constant princess

I thoroughly enjoyed this character study. I, of course, knew the facts of her life after she married Henry VIII, but this back story was very illuminating as to what factors made her the kind of person she was. The reader can’t help but feel sympathy for her hurt and betrayal—and the ruthless way she was used as a pawn of even her own parents. Her parents created in her a single reason for existence, and her determination to achieve this destiny causes her no end of pain and suffering. Makes one thankful to be just an insignificant but happy nobody.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Slow, Dark
never let me go

depressing, yet the value of giving them normal childhoods free of too much knowledge of their future was apparent--at least they had good memories. Yet, they were carefully raised to not have intense emotional commitments, and this made their personalities stunted. If you were to die at 25, how would you want to spend those years? Could you regret being given the chance to be born and have 25 years of experiences?

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
ROOM

Phew! What a book! The cozy world the mother made for her son- her reason for living-must have cost her such emotional turmoil--trying to create normalcy in a horribly unnatural environment. Their struggle to cope with the world outside was something I had never considered--how she will always be "the one who was held captive" and how even the sun and rain are frightening to the child who will always be "that Jack". How damaged they are but how much more so they would have been without her determination to protect her child at all costs.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Interesting, Fun
hannah's list

a sweet book, part of the Blossom STreet series. Dying wife leaves husband a list of possible new wives. Tender and lighthearted

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

This book tells of the experiences of Guernsey Island people during German occupation of WWII. Format is interesting-all letters to and from young journalist right after the war-They reveal her personal struggles to find herself and the collective experience of the Island people she comes to love and adopts as her own. Lots of emotional turmoil but overall a light read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Slow, Beautiful
Lake of Dreams

Feeling unsettled and discontented with her life and her romance, Lucy returns home at loose ends. The storyline seemed predictable and plodding at this stage, but Lucy soon gets caught up in the search for information about an unknown ancestor, Rose, by following a trail laid by old letters and stained glass windows. Engrossed in Rose’s long ago struggles, Lucy begins to reevaluate her own life and determine what matters to her. Interesting intertwining of the two life stories. There are mysteries and secrets in both. The story of Rose adds depth to Lucy's young woman's angst. I think this story would have meant more to me in my younger years than it does to me now on the other side of all those decisions that seemed so difficult to Lucy. Very satisfying ending.

Cutting for Stone: A Novel by Abraham Verghese
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Interesting
cutting for stone

---the absorbing story of a young doctor and the people who played major roles in his life –from his traumatic birth through his training to full maturity as he comes to terms with his estranged twin, his father who deserted them, and the girl who betrayed him. Such an honorable man, Marion deserves someone to love him like he loved Genet. Contrast great between medical training and care in Ethiopia and the United States. Ending unexpected but satisfying.

He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Life Changing, Inspiring
He chose the nails

My favorite Max Lacado book, and that is saying a lot since I thoroughly enjoy all his books. His style is very reader-friendly. He paints vivid word pictures and uses imagery and stories to convey his points. Writing is light but the message is heavy. Whether your book club would want to read a strictly Christian book determines appropriateness for book club.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Interesting
In the company of others

Sweet book--took a while to get going--I missed Mitford although Ireland was interesting. Once Irish family dynamics got going, story became rich and absorbing. You got to love FAther Tim.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
sarah's key

Readers share contemporary Frenchwoman's quest to uncover the story of the Jewish family who had lived in her family's apartment during the German occupation of France. As her marriage unravels, she is obsessed with the finding the fate of little ten-year-old Sarah and the reason she carried a key with her until her death. Very absorbing, emotional, and sad---that humans could ever inflict such cruelty on each other. The thought of the children of the Holocaust will haunt you.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
dreams of joy

The sequel to SHANGHAI GIRLS follows Pearl and Joy into Maoist China--Mae is not a player in this book except as a source of money. Very vivid description of THE GREAT STEP FORWARD and its consequences, but what shines through is the power of mother love and the freedom that comes with redemption and forgiveness. Pearl comes into her own in this book, out of Mae's shadow, and exhibits more of the strength of character she demonstrated in SHANGHAI GIRLS. It is her love that Joy needs and her being Joy's "real mother" is firmly established. Very depressing picture of starvation and oppression--the mother-daughter bonds are the only bright spots.

Home Safe: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg
 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Slow, Interesting
home safe

The story of an author/widow learning to cope with writer’s block, and figuring out where to go next to get on with her life. The question arises: when do we need to spread our wings and venture into new territory and when do we need to find a nest-a safe home that comforts and defines us. What a guy her husband was—and what he left for her! As a retired teacher, I loved the way she responded to her writing students.

The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Scary
the 5th vial

This book reminded me of IMMORTAL LIFE OF HARRIET LACKS in that it deals with medical ethics and the question of to whom do our extra tissue or blood samples belong? It is a suspenseful medical and murder mystery involving organs being harvested from unwilling donors. A medical student who was robbed of a lung, a researcher of a fantastic new serum who receives an organ, and a detective who is out to right the wrong of organ theft all end up together in Brazil in an action adventure like Clive Cussler or Tom Clancy might write

 
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Interesting story of a lonely little girl who doesn't believe anyone but the caretaker would miss her if she were to die. She uses her love and knowledge of chemistry to save her father and solve two murders. I enjoyed it, but it is not what I think of as "a book club book". She is amazingly self-reliant and resourceful as she tracks down the answers to the mystery.

The Second Opinion by Michael Palmer
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Scary
Second opinion

The frightening consequences of having our entire medical history available at the touch of a computer keyboard in the hands of an amoral schemer or two serve as framework for the struggles and triumphs of woman dealing with Asperger's syndrome. The author's son has Asperger's, and his father's heart is revealed as good therapy and other treatment allows the character to compensate for her limitations and emerge as a brave, loving and incredibly capable heroine.

Sister of My Heart: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
sister of my heart

Thoroughly enjoyed this book as did my book club. Very real, sympathetic characters caught up in lives filled with character-defining choices in a world where seemingly less choices are available. What a tribute to self-sacrificing friendship that truly constitutes "sisterhood".

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

Part treasure hunt, part search for answers to secrets in the family tree, part sibling distrust and rivalry, part romance, and part supernatural story of curses, blood feuds and determination to find revenge --the book is intriguing. The modern conflicts are anchored in a quest to uncover the true story behind the legendary Romeo and Juliet and find their missing artifacts. The reader, as did Julie, will find it hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys, but everything is revealed in an ending full of surprises.

 
Unconvincing, Pointless, Fun
grape expectations

This was part of a series of cozy mysteries set in Mennonite country about the audacious, sarcastic, wisecracking, proprietor of the PennDutch Inn. You will either love the author’s play on words, outrageous characters, and madcap plot twists or—you will hate the silliness, caricatures as characters, and oft-repeated jokes. There is no middle ground. Definitely light reading—not much of a book club book. If you read this series, don't try to read more than a few at a time. Let time elapse between books. What is humorous and clever in one or two books gets tedious after a while as same anecdotes and comments are repeated in each book as a way of establishing background.

Miracle Cure by Michael Palmer
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
if it looks too good to be true . . . .

This is a medical thriller about the testing, promoting, and profit involved in the release of a miracle drug-one that would unclog all clogged arteries. The hero, Brian, is a brilliant doctor who had his medical license revoked due to his addiction to pain medication and his illegal efforts to feed his habit. He is given a chance to make a fresh start in prestigious teaching hospital that is actively testing and developing drugs and instruments in partnership with the corporations that produce them. He is thrilled to be back in his chosen field—he had been working in a car wash; yet he risks it all to investigate discrepancies he is finding in medical records and patients with problematic symptoms. I wanted to root for him, the selfless crusader taking on the corporate giant, but he lost me when he used illegal means to help get his father the drug. Crusader/heroes should take the moral high ground. He stated his main problem is his ego—that he always thinks he can handle things better than anyone else, and this is displayed in his rationalization of his questionable actions and some of the stupid chances he took. Very action-packed but characters hard to identify with or like.

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Graphic
Very apt title-skeletons at the feast

Very realistic, depressing look at three different storylines that meet in the last days of WWII. One is of a Jew who jumped from a train transporting him to a concentration camp and lived by impersonating various German soldiers. Another is of a Jewish girl in a camp. The third is of a Prussian family reduced to refugee status and forced to see the reality of what Germany had done to others. Story very well told but haunting in the sheer misery endured by all three. Excellent book for book club discussion. Lots to talk about.

The Vine of Desire: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
 
Beautiful, Confusing, Gloomy
sequel not as good as the original

I loved SISTER OF MY HEART when my book club read it, and was eager to find out what happened to Anju and Sudha. However, I was irritated by the first 150 papers of this book and almost quit reading it. It was just so full of angst and frustrated emotion that never went anywhere or resolved itself. The writing was beautiful,full of imagery and allegorical stories, but I had some difficulty figuring out which character's thoughts were being described. The last 100 pages or so had all the characters turned upside down by changes in their lives, and my interest was revived. The ending was satisfying.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Fun
Good treasure hunt story

Good guys trying to stop bad guys from gaining power through chemical warfare. Greedy guys wanting to gain maximum profit from cure for AIDS. Everyone wanting to solve the riddle that leads to Alexander the Great's tomb.

 
Adventurous, Fun
Intriguing Idea but disturbing

Okay, it was an interesting idea but I really don't want to read about proof Christ was never resurrected. Very much a DA VINCI CODE. If you liked that book, you would like this one. I was repelled by both. Individual faith and value systems would generate different responses to this book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Water for Elephants

Interesting glimpse of life during the Depression and in the circus, but the cruelty many of the characters and the hopelessness and crudeness of their lives depressed me. I liked the old guy in the nursing home--Thank goodness for Rosemary ----and Charlie.

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

Interesting story of the evolution in the relationship of two young woman, who start disliking and distrusting each other, united in an effort to uncover the truth about skeletons in the family closets and the skeleton buried under the peach tree. Not greatly thought-provoking but sweet and engaging.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Difficult, Confusing
Cleopatra

I was one of the few in my book club that did not enjoy this book. The others liked the view of Roman life and the glamour of Alexandria. To me, the author tried so hard to tell us what was not known about her, I was irritated that after plodding through the book, I still knew nothing. Very scholarly, but I guess I just like a little more speculative fiction with my history.

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative, Slow
Like eating your vegetables

My church book group read this, and it definitely helped to be able to discuss it as we went along. C.S. Lewis built a firm foundation for all his arguments and painted some great word pictures as analogy for spiritual concepts.....but he took far too many words to get there. Obviously, a writer of his caliber doesn't need my input, but several chapters seemed unnecessarily drawn out--probably to fit their original radio talk format. Like eating your vegetables as a kid, reading this may not have been my first choice, but I have to admit it was probably good for me.

The First Patient by Michael Palmer
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Fun
1st Patient

Okay, it was a pretty far-fetched plot, but the many levels of betrayal and lead character's burden of having the responsibility for the mental and physical condition of the President of U.S. were absorbing enough to draw me in completely. I don't really understand anything more about nanoscience than I did before reading this so I don't know if it was portrayed in a credible manner or not, but, it is an entertaining thriller. Could lead to discussion of ethics of medical science and controls or lack of them on many scientific advances.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting
Poisoner's Handbook

For the reader who enjoys crime scene/forensic/ true crime TV shows and novels--this book shows how it all began. A little more chemistry than I wanted, but the story of two honest men fighting to create a credible, professional crime lab during a corrupt era of cronyism and graft was absorbing. Explains how poisons could be detected in a human body, how tests for poisons were discovered, and how forensics became the backbone of the fight to convict the bad guys.

Night Road: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
night road

About a third of the way through the audio book I was listening to, I looked it up on library web site to make sure it wasn't a teen book. Very involved description of teen angst and friendship. I enjoyed the book although I grew impatient with the characters. The aftermath of the tragedy was depressingly realistic.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
Another Sadly Disfunctional Family

I was totally absorbed in this book but wondered through the last 3/4 of it how the mother could be so blind to the effect her actions had on her family. Do the ends justify the means? Is lying to help someone else wrong? Can a child understand that fighting and hateful words mean she is loved? Can no one see the damage to both children? How many lives is it okay to ruin to improve one? Lots of questions and sad answers.

Barefoot: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Fun
Three messed up women sort out their lives

Good relationship-between-women book brings three women: a mother of young children dealing with cancer, a pregnant woman whose husband left her for someone else and a professor fired for an affair with an older student. They alternately irritate and support each other, -all growing and changing. Escapism---into someone else's problems. Josh the babysitter gives his own brand of comfort and support to all.

Sandcastles by Luanne Rice
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Dramatic
second chances

Story of art teacher at convent raising three daughters--husband jailed for a murder years before. Dramatic examples of seemingly perfect lives turned upside down in an instant as family members struggle with consequences of actions and decisions made years before. Few of the characters acted as I wanted them to but I guess that makes them realistic. Definitely captured my interest.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
facing up to reality

Story of life of American ambassador to Hitler's Germany prior to US involvement in WWII. Painstakingly describes the political intrigue and manipulation of those charged with diplomacy. Shows how Hitler was able to cultivate world opinion. Not very attractive cast of characters--depressingly real.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Epic, Difficult
three generations of Chinese women

Very engrossing and portrayed lives of women on three generations realistically and well, but was definitely depressing. We had just finished reading SHANGHAI GIRLS and DREAMS OF jOY by Lisa See--which were purely fiction. WILD SWANS added meat to their story, but characters in See books were more "real" to me as they had more emotional depth--more drama in fiction than in the probably more historically accurate SWANS.

Her Own Rules by Barbara Taylor Bradford
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Dramatic
Her Own Rules

Interesting tale of mother of two grown children who owns and operates inn in US, UK and France. It carries you along in her pursuit of success and a cure for her personal and health issues. Diverting but not a whole lot to discuss in a group.

The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Another disfunctional family

Three siblings find their memory of their joint childhood are very different-was it just benign neglect, not-particularly-affectionate parenting,or malignant abuse. Which character has the most accurate version and how could three children have such different experiences in the same home? Very disturbing

Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dark
Picture Perfect

Interesting story of a woman's struggle to regain her memory and discover the truth about her life and marriage. Depressing but realistic view behind scences of a "picture perfect" life.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Boring, Unconvincing
Bad choices have consequences

People can be so blind in managing their lives and relationships. Every character has managed to make make poor judgment calls, and they stubbornly refuse to trust each other with truth about the past and present issues. Not a book to lighten a depressing day.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Optimistic
Sisters

I never had sisters but it seems the author has protrayed three different sets of sisters and their relationships realistically. We see how events within our control and those without conspire to create misunderstandings, resentments and pain in the lives of those we love most --the power we have to hurt each other and the strength of the bond that makes us more than we can be alone.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
Disfunctional families-Chinese style

This is my third Lisa See book. As usual it depicts the time and cultural traditions of China in a readable manner filled with characters filled with strengths and flaws. The whole laotong-relationship was new to me, and I found it both enlightened in its acknowledgement of the need women have for a friend to share their lives and confidences with especially in such a male-dominating culture--and disturbing in the way it was almost a competing marriage complete with physical intimacy. The whole foot-binding trauma, the premarital rituals, and the women's writing were vividly described.

What Matters Most by Luanne Rice
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Dramatic
sequel to SAND CASTLES

This was the needed sequel to SAND CASTLES and it did answer all the cliff hangers from the first book. However, it dragged for me. All in all, it was a light, easy, romantic tale.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
 
Slow, Boring, Gloomy
Talk about depressing

YUCK--I know Hemmingway was a master, but I couldn't finish this depressing saga of lost souls. How distructive and wasteful their lives were--continuous drinking and meaningless sex and struggling to find any comfort or meaning in the mixed up world they saw around them.

The Edge of Winter by Luanne Rice
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Dramatic, Interesting
edge of winter

Very sweet story of relationships. Appealing characters and interesting storyline. Very light but satisfying

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

It is not surprising that Stephen King offers praise. It is as complex a book as some of King's best.-part supernatural/ part adventure. Shadow is a coming of age story as well as a quest for the elusive author and his books. Reader is as confused as Daniel but ending is satisfying.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
War perspective

The book is the intertwining story of people affected by WWII. An American reporter covering WW!! In Europe, overwhelmed by the horror and ugliness, and angered by the seeming apathy of Americans at home -and Americans in a small town in Massachusetts who slowly hear about the war through the radio voice of the reporter and others before it became a harsh reality to them all. It explores the question of whether or not we really want to know the truth. Are we better off living in ignorance and hope or not? Do we have an obligation to tell someone something that will hurt them? When is it right to cushion the news? Would people rather hear a lie than the truth? Who is watching over us? I thoroughly enjoyed this book

Everyone Is Beautiful: A Novel by Katherine Center
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Insightful
finding oneself all over again

Enjoyed this book even though it has been a long time since I dealt with diapers and breast-feeding. I remember well the craving for conversation with an adult and feeling overwhelmed with motherhood. Now of course I wish for some of that time back! Very funny and very real.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
What can you say about the plague?

What can you say about the plague—it was depressing and heartbreaking—then heart- numbing and despair-the human spirit can only handle so much. It reminded me of ON THE BEACH-disaster released and everyone sitting around waiting to die. However, characterizations were well done. The ending was a complete surprise if somewhat artificial and unbelievable. I thoroughly enjoyed PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, This was definitely a completely different story.

Sold by Patricia McCormick
 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Difficult, Dark
heartbreaking and eyeopening

The subject matter is heartbreaking and eyeopening--the selling of young girls from Nepal into sexual slavery in India---sometimes by their own families. The degrading toll of poverty and the hopelessness of the powerless is vividly portrayed. I didn't want to read this, but it is a real problem that won't be solved by choosing to ignore it. Thank God for those that can and do help.

Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Inspiring
feel good mission book

Reading this after reading SOLD, I found this a feel good mission book in comparison. The poverty was just as crushing and horrible health and living conditions appalling in their own way, but the African women were so strong, loving and generous that you couldn't help but share their faith and hope. Shows the effect of a mission trip on three troubled American women and the lifechanging experiences they shared and the intense friendship they formed with each other and their African sisters. Overall, a readable, fictional account of the needs of both American and African women.

The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Fun, Interesting
Mother-Daughter Time

The story of a road trip taken by mother and daughter on way to drop daughter at college ,the memories they share of her childhood, and the quilt the mother works on on the journey. Sweet story full of love between mother and daughter and the angst of having your only child leave home. Story rang true—not very cerebral but very human.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Informative, Interesting
Tea

Much more engaging than I thought it would be. This is a book I would never have read unless it had been a book club pick. The ethics of the Opium War, industrial espionage, and passing oneself off as Chinese by putting on a ponytail and clothes all lend themselves to good discussions.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Garden

Very different book. The lives of various women of four generations interact and impact each other in ways they struggle to uncover. Part genealogy search, part struggle to discover personal identity-with a fairy tale book connection. Explores bonds of friendship, family and marriage --and role of envy, jealousy, and loyalty in these personal relationships. Choices made cause unforeseen consequences. Lots to discuss and many questions left unanswered by the book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Inspiring
Every Parent's Nightmare

It is easy to write an inspirational book when your life seems to be going along happily and your blessings are cushioning you. This book was written after the Christian motivational speaker and writer's only son was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. Lots to discuss. The author shares her grief, anger, depression, hopelessness and devastation---and the road she and her husband travel to make good come from this tragedy. It is a book of faith triumphing thru intolerable circumstances.

Where the River Ends by Charles Martin
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Inspiring
truly a love story

Beautiful story of how a loving husband helps his wife fulfill her bucket list before her death. Obviously a depressing scenario, but the love between them and their strength in fighting disease and disability results in a tender, sweet and satisfying story of a final journey, Many things for book club to discuss: parent/child relationships, euthanasia, choices in medical care. Very emotionally draining but strangely triumphant.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Inspiring
Zoo

The book is a written account of a family's struggle to buy and restore a decrepit, disreputable zoo that corresponds to the film documentary of that same struggle in BEN'S ZOO. Perhaps it was because I was listening to it as an e-book, but I found it hard to relate to the characters. It was interesting, and I could see how the various animal encounters would make good movie fodder, but I was never completely drawn into their lives. Even the death of a major character--not wanting to spoil the story-left me feeling uninvolved. Lots of issues were raised such as role of zoos, endangered species, finances, family business, and cancer- which could fuel club discussions.

Time Is a River by Mary Alice Monroe
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
Fishing as therapy

Mia finds refuge and healing in an old mountain cabin after struggling with breast cancer and her husband's leaving her for another woman--one with an intact body and no illness. Feeling defeated by her life, she gets wrapped up in the mystery of the original resident of the cabin in the 1920's, Kate. Mia is inspired by the words and advice she finds in Kate's journal as she tries to remake her own life. Fly fishing provides her with therapy---as it did Kate.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Fun, Beautiful
Friendship that lasts

Firefly Lane follows the friendship of two young girls as it continues to strengthen and encourage them through over thirty years. Characters are engaging, and we get to live through the 70s, 80s, and 90s all over again. I defy anyone to not have tears running down her cheeks by the end of the book. Things to talk about: each of the decades, stay-at-home moms vs. career women, can any woman have it all, what causes a woman to be strong.

The Target (FBI Series) by Catherine Coulter
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful
target

First book I've read by Catherine Coulter and I found it engrossing. Crime families, kidnapping,and child molestation are usually topics I avoid, but the enchanting child victim and the people who love and protect her made this thriller more about love and family than ugliness and perversion. Violence was obvious but not described in gory detail, and the child's nightmare experience was referred to only as it pertained to her recovery---not sensationalized. Lots of twists and turns to plot leading to a satisfying ending.

City of Thieves: A Novel by David Benioff
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
I guess I just didn't get it

I just couldn't get into this book. Because of the great reviews on this page, I really tried to like it, but just thought it silly. I understand that it is a coming of age book, but I never connected with the characters. Obviously, I am a minority in this opinion. I read 135 pages --about half- and gave it up.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
edge of the world

It’s a delightful story of a boy who discovers the very real difference between people who know about God and those that know Him. It’s told in a humorous style through the mind and viewpoint of a twelve/thirteen year old, but it rang true to this 60 + year old. He is faced with temptation. gives in, and is plagued by guilt. Then, trying his hardest to rationalize the guilt away, struggles to make things right on his own terms. Sounds like a familiar plot, but what happens in the second half of the book is unique and special.
The book is not full of sanctimonious saints (except as objects of humor) but flawed sinners in need of grace—and lots and lots of funny stuff. Some of my favorite humorous moments are: a preacher said to have the wrong version of the Bible—one missing all the verses about compassion and kindness in it; close encounters with fiberglass insulation, and the whole snowmobile escapade. Then there are the moments that filled me with emotion—which can’t be described without giving away too much of the storyline.
The Christian character of his father is beautifully portrayed—his quiet strength, his unwavering honesty, his gratitude for the meager things he has, and his total reliance on the goodness and grace of God. What a role model!

 
Interesting, Fun
stuck in middle

Light reading for Christian audience. Joan is a twenty- five year old heroine who still lives at home with mom and grandma. She is bored with her job, struggling with inferiority compared to her sisters, feeling resentment toward her mother because her father abandoned them, and frightened her grandmother will be sent to nursing home and be one more person she’s lost. She is troubled by what must be wrong with her that her earthly and her heavenly father had deserted her. The handsome doctor who moves in next door challenges her to examine her faith and church-going attitudes. She does a lot of growing up as a woman and a Christian.

Change of Heart: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
definitely a conversation starter

I personally hated the book, but there is a lot that could be discussed in book club-organ memory, capital punishment, and religion,.I have read and enjoyed three other of her books. They are all highly controversial, but their storylines kept me involved with the characters (even though I wanted to shake some sense into some of them) and the choices they made (whether I agreed with them or not). However, I just could not get into CHANGE OF HEART. I finished it only because I hate to give up on a book.
It is similar to GREEN MILE, and I really don’t like plots about life in prison. All the Gnostic stuff just made me very uncomfortable. I couldn’t tell if Picoult was trying to make a statement against organized religion or was trying to show how even a priest could be sucked into believing in a false prophet. The ending was better than I expected, but not good enough to make me not regret reading it.

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Slow
wedding dress

--“Some things aren’t meant to be. . .but some things are. We just have to be smart enough to recognize them.” How do we know when something is God’s idea and not ours? Charlotte, a modern woman, and Emily, in 1912, both struggle with decisions about love and life and family. They are tied together by a wedding dress made for Emily and found in an old trunk by Charlotte. Charlotte traces the dress back to two more former owners of the dress, Hillary in 1968 and Mary Grace in 1939 who help her in her search for sense of identity and belonging. Beautiful story of the special dress and the four brides who wore it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic
Revenge murders

A Presbyterian church secretary and a Jewish rabbi help stop a vicious serial killer who patterns his crimes on the last week of Christ's life, from Palm Sunday to post-Resurrection events.Very different from usually mystery/romance storyline. Question in reader's guide asks "what does it mean to be safe?" Characters are all taken out of their "safety zones" to stop the killing. Very readable, Jeremiah and Cindy and Mark are all likeable characters. Good start to series.

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
so sad but so engaging

Such a sad, tragic story of a girl who believed she was unworthy of love and sabotaged the only rays of light and love to enter her life. The Victorian language of flowers captivated her, when it was explained to her that one could always count on flowers to mean just one thing. She clung to that certainity and used flowers to express the emotions she couldn't otherwise let out. Victoria, Grant and Elizabeth are heart-breakingly real characters I felt I knew and for whom I was hoping throughout the book would find happiness and contentment.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Inspiring
Words to live by

Like me, the members of my book club had read and loved Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove and Blossom Street books, so when we won this devotional by her, we were thrilled. Her premise is that we should take one word a year as central to our spiritual life, and she gives very helpful suggestions about choosing and using these words. What we especially enjoyed were the stories she told to illustrate her examples--from her own life and many outside sources. We came away from reading the book feeling as if Debbie had become a well-known friend. Her prayers and insight into this useful devotional tool were much appreciated.

War Brides by Helen Bryan
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
women in war time

Great story of five women in a small village in Sussex during WWII-escaped Jew,American on the run, vicar's daughter, spoiled rich girl, and poor London girl sent to be a housemaid. We experience with them the Blitz, land army, victory gardens, rationing,evacuation of London children to the country, long separations for loved ones, fear of collorators and spies,resistance and homeguard efforts,attempts to smuggle Jews from Germany, war wounds and indiscriminate death.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Pointless
great emotional book

What a great book! I thoroughly enjoyed the likeable, fallible characters and found myself completely engrossed as their personal struggles are gradually revealed through journals entries and reflections on them. Kate is a woman vaguely dissatisfied with her life and, like many others, has a tainted view of safety and normalcy in wake of 9/11, less than a year past as the story opens. Compounding her reaction is her grief over the loss of her close friend, Elizabeth, in a airplane crash. When Elizabeth’s will leaves her 25 years worth of journals, Kate is made to contemplate not only on her friend’s secrets but her own life, marriage, and choices as she reads them. She ponders the following questions: What secrets do we keep from those closest to us? What are the unknown effects of the decisions we make? What about the roads we chose not to take? Is there perhaps a lot of “invisible wishing” in everyone’s life? How much of herself should a woman be expected to sacrifice to be a “good” mother and wife?

Elizabeth’s diaries reveal a very different woman than the one Kate had known and loved, and Kate must decide what to do with the information she has discovered. Although it is too late for Elizabeth, what changes to her life and marriage will Kate make? The two women’s husbands are contrasted throughout the story with Elizabeth’s Dave coming out the less favorable, but Kate is concerned that she and her Chris are drifting apart. Kate commented that she was reading the journals “as if she were following bread crumbs, looking for wisdom about what makes two people fall out of sync and then imperceptibly apart, perhaps without one of them even knowing.”

While the story is filled with worry, loss and frustration, it is also studded with joy and contentment in the details of daily life with children. Kate will examine everything in her life and finally come to peace with what she sees as her future. Great, emotionally-satisfying novel.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative
danger in home business

Interesting storyline and characters. Soaps and lotions maker,Sophie Mae, discovers a body in her home workshop in a house she shares with friend, Meghan, and her daughter, Erin. No one knew much about Walter,the handyman, while he was alive, but he soon proves to have been a complex man as they dig into his life. He was a recovering alcoholic, won lottery but gave all his money to charity, and had a mentally ill fiancé with a creepy brother,Jerome. Lots of nasty secondary characters and a strange but tricky plot. Ending is unexpected and hard to swallow, but the interaction of the main characters as they try to find justice for Walter and keep Erin safe make it a pleasant, absorbing read

12.21: A Novel by Dustin Thomason
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
end of the world

This is not a book about the end of the world resulting from the end of the long count cycle on the Mayan calendar. It pokes fun at the obsession of Americans with this theory and their craving for artifacts of the ancient Maya. This obsession led Volcy to steal an ancient codex (set of writing) from a hidden temple in Guatemala and bring it to the U.S. to sell and thus make money to support his family.

Much fascinating information about the Maya, their beliefs, and their glyphs is given, and the codex plays an important role in the story. Through most of the story, however, prion diseases (like Mad Cow) are the biggest concern, as Volcy is apparently dying of one. The city of Los Angeles is quarantined as the disease spreads and body count rises. Doctors try to produce antibodies to stop the disease as scholars try to decode the codex in attempt to pinpoint the origin of the illness. The reader is swept up in the desperation of both groups of experts.

The book is more of a medical thriller than a “doomsday” book as it is disease, not cosmic realignment, which threatens the annihilation of humankind. Like the scribe of the codex, a few modern men and women risk everything to accomplish something for the good of others. All of the events seem frighteningly possible, and the characters are interesting and well-developed. The book pulled me in from the first page and kept me reading intently until the end.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Optimistic, Interesting
cozy mystery

I enjoyed this one. Clare is mature enough not to be silly except when dealing with Matt. Good mystery with somewhat predictable ending.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Romantic
road trip

Sweet story of three generations of women: a divorced woman whose unfaithful ex-husband wants to reconcile, her daughter recently disappointed by the man she thought was going to marry her, and her ex-mother-in-law who wants to attend her 50th high school reunion to reconnect and apologize for betraying him 50 years earlier. They embark on a road trip from their home in Seattle to the reunion in Orlando, Florida.The journey is filled with unexpected detours, new possibilities for love, and memories recalled from their common past. Latest installment in Blossom Street series.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
live until the end

Very different but satisfying book about the relationship between a man and his terminally ill mother and the love of books that provides stability and structure to their lives during the mother’s decline. As the author stated, books gave them something to talk about when they didn't want to talk about more emotional topics yet also triggered talk of memories and feelings

We live through those days from her diagnosis to the end with them, but what makes this book special is the discussion of the books. They recommend books to each other and then have lively exchanges of opinions about them and share those opinions with us. There is a bibliography at the end of book listing all the books cited. I was delighted to see many of my favorites, and have added some to my to-read list.

The death of a loved one is inherently sad, but the book is more of a celebration of the mother’s live and the gift she gave her son, a writer and publisher, of enjoyment of reading. The author mentions at one point that part of his mother will live on in the people who will someday read the books so precious to her. I especially enjoyed his description of his mother's faith--seen from the eye's of a nonbeliever. Definitely recommended to bibliophiles and anyone with a mother.

 
Book Club Recommended
suspense

Hostage Rescue Team sent to protect daughter of American ambassador to Afghanistan threatened by terrorists. Good suspense and satisfying ending

Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Inspiring
blue moon bay

I had a hard time relating to Heather and I think that kept me more disassociated from the heroine than I was in LARKSPUR COVE and FIREFLY ISLAND. She was such an unsympathetic character with her grudges and resentments. However, the author allows us to see how she evolves as her time of forced confinement in little Moses Lake, Texas, in the company of the mother and brother she is estranged from. She stumbles around trying to find the answers to her family\\\'s secrets, the mess of her life, and who she really is or wants to be. Blaine was likeable complication, and Ruth provided a moral compass for her.

 
Book Club Recommended
mother and daughter

Very interesting story of a 13-year old in a hundred-year-old body, a one in eight million birth condition. It is told by both Hayley and her mother in alternating chapters about the same events. Heart-touching

 
Book Club Recommended
historical

Historical romance is not my favorite genre, but this one kept me engaged all the way through it. Lots of insights into apothecary and medical practices of the day, the Season, and a variety of beaus that I couldn't decide who I thought she would end up with until way into the book--so nice it wasn't just predictable.

 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Dramatic, Adventurous
scary-possible

This is a very engaging thriller about a terrorism plot centered around NYC and the dedication of One World Center at Ground Zero. An attempt to hijack a plane is foiled by 6 ordinary passengers who become instant heroes. While they are paraded and feted, Jeremy Fisk and his Intelligence squad of NYPD try to determine whether the terrorist was acting alone or was part of a more elaborate plot. There are many twists and turns in the plot, and the reader is as caught up in the unrelenting tension as the characters in the story. Once again an author has created an ingenious method of assassination and destruction. One can only hope the bad guys aren't reading such novels. The relationship between Jeremy and Krina has a totally unforseen outcome. Jeremy is likable protagonist in this first in a series.

Rules of Deception by Christopher Reich
 
Book Club Recommended
rules

A doctor from Doctors without Borders finds himself caught in a nightmare when his wife dies in a mountain climbing accident. He is stuck in plots of treason and possible nuclear war while being shot at and knifed by unknown assassins for reasons he can't begin to understand. As he tries to get himself out of the mess, he finds he needs to find out who his wife really was and what she was involved in. The reader is as confused as Jonathan is as to which conspiracy groups are the good guys and which the bad ones. The deluded Pilot is a creepy villian.

Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
disfunctional family

workaholic father receives wakeup call about the condition of his dysfunctional family when his wife ends up in an irreversible coma as a result of one of her thrill-seeking stunts. When the decision is made to stop life support according to her living will, Dad takes a long hard look at his very troubled daughters and how it will now be up to him to help steer them back on course. The language and converstions of the daughters are generally foul,crude and combative. Dad is overwhelmed with his responsiblity; and, for lack of anything better he can think to do, takes the girls and the older one\'s goofball boyfriend to try to find his wife\'s lover so he can say goodbye. The wife\'s fate is known from the beginning--the storyline is how Dad and the girls struggle to recreate their identity as a family and their relationships to each other

You Are the Love of My Life: A Novel by Susan Richards Shreve
 
Book Club Recommended
Pointless, Slow, Boring
changes

In spite the title, this is not particularly a love story except for the love between mother and child. Rueben is just a jerk. Lucy, unmarried mother of two, comes to live in a close-knit neighborhood of neighbors with more friendliness than she is prepared to recipicate. There is a little Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole about her detached observation of suburban life and her inability to fit in. There are no heros or villians in the story, just people with weaknesses,unfulfilled longings and plenty of secrets.

I read the book in one day, very caught up in what was happening in Wichita Hills, and was satisfied by the ending. A lot was learned by several of the characters, and the negative effect of keeping secrets and trying to hide one\'s inner pain and guilt while appearing to be cheerful and \"normal\" was explored at length.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
mother and son

Very different but satisfying book about the relationship between a man and his terminally ill mother and the love of books that provides stability and structure to their lives during the mother’s decline. As the author stated, books gave them something to talk about when they didn't want to talk about more emotional topics yet also triggered talk of memories and feelings

We live through those days from her diagnosis to the end with them, but what makes this book special is the discussion of the books. They recommend books to each other and then have lively exchanges of opinions about them and share those opinions with us. There is a bibliography at the end of book listing all the books cited. I was delighted to see many of my favorites, and have added some to my to-read list.

The death of a loved one is inherently sad, but the book is more of a celebration of the mother’s live and the gift she gave her son, a writer and publisher, of enjoyment of reading. The author mentions at one point that part of his mother will live on in the people who will someday read the books so precious to her. I especially enjoyed his description of his mother's faith--seen from the eye's of a nonbeliever. Definitely recommended to bibliophiles and anyone with a mother.

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