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Name : Joanne E.

My Reviews

The Race by Richard North Patterson
Dark, Informative, Interesting
An up-to-date political drama describing the race for the primaries and the backstage drama and political games played to win!

Personally, I enjoyed the book and its plot and characters. I enjoyed watching the West Wing and this books has elements of that type of story as well as all the political games played out on CNN and MSNBC and FOXNews!
The book group was split on liking it and disliking it. It was politically heavy for our younger member. It was fun to recognize characteristics of the current politicians running for President right now in the USA!
There were a lot of characters and that was a negative to some of our members. I felt it was easier to remember their names with a word association - Grace and his personality; Hart as a love interest; Price and his price that he exacts on his candidates; and Christy and his Christian beliefs.
The ending was a surprise for all of us so I won't spoil it!

It doesn't appeal to entire groups of people

I enjoyed it. I like mystery, suspense and a bit of pschic ability. I had not read the first 2 but the author provides a background of the Arcane Society so it was easy to read. Of the five who read the book, 2 couldn't put it down, the 2 who listened on audio weren't too keen on it and one person enjoyed the portion she read and would finish it when she has more time.

Fun, zany, fast-paced Florida crime spree

Our group read several of Tim Dorsey's books with the Serge and Coleman characters. We got a kick out of Serge's love of history and his intelligence. Coleman is such a loser, he makes everyone feel better about themselves. Ha!
The books we discussed and compared were:

Atomic Lobster
Hurricane Punch
Torpedo Juice

If you like to learn about Florida, there is a lot of background info shared through Serge's (verbal)thought processes.

Flashback by Nevada Barr
The setting is a national park located in Dry Tortugas, Florida and the story fluctuates between a current mystery and a story about the park ranger's aunts experience at the fort 150 years ago.

We enjoyed the story because it was set in Florida and we are all living here in South Florida. We would have enjoyed our discussion more with a reading guide. I used the author's bio and info from the park/fort but a more comprehensive guide would have been useful. Especially since this is about the 11th book in the Anna Pigeon series.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Inspiring, Insightful, Optimistic
A man who knows he is dying writes a book to leave as a legacy to his children. The book is based on his last lecture at the college he works at.

The book is poignant and provides a look into someone's short life. He is dying young, in the prime of his life. He is leaving a beloved wife and young children and is trying to leave part of him with them. The story leaves the reader with much thought of how to make the most of your life and to live it while you can.

The author shows his gratefulness for the life he has lived and recognizes his accomplishments and dreams come true.

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson, Gabrielle Charbonnet
Romantic, Fun, Addictive
A woman meets her childhood imaginary friend as an adult and her life changes forever.

It was a good summer read - quick and fun. May be more appropriate for a younger group of girls, 8th grade and up. Not what you expect from James Patterson if you are a fan of his suspense and crime fiction.

A fast-paced mystery of identity theft and the powers that are all around us compiling information on each and every one of us.

This Lincoln Rhyme novel was high interest and realistic. The topic of identity theft was sent to the extreme in this story which starts out with Lincoln's cousin being arrested for a murder done by someone who stole his identity. The identity thief impersonates other people constantly and does it with the most impressive of information and frightening accuracy. Make sure to read all about it!

A freelance duo of crime fighters is hired to solve a mysterious death near a secluded CIA facility.

The book was a fun read with plenty of intriguing characters and a plot that twists and turns. The reader is kept guessing the good guys and bad guys (gals). The subplots are intense and add flavor to the mix. If you enjoy Baldacci, this one won't let you down.

Stalemate by Iris Johansen
A forensic sculptor, Eve Duncan, is coerced by a dangerous man in Colombia to come and help him reconstruct the skull of his deceased wife in order to prove she was murdered by a rival. He promises t

The title "Stalemate" is appropriate for this novel. The story is full of foreboding and danger and action. The love triangle makes the plot even more dangerous for everyone involved. It kind of leaves you hanging but if you are familiar with the Eve Duncan series, you don't mind. The loose ends are tied up if you read Johansen's "Quicksand."

The reservations we had were that you should read "Quicksand" next.

Testimony: A Novel by Anita Shreve
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful
Set in New England at a boarding school, students have made a sex tape that ends up in the hands of the headmaster. How could this happen? What are the consequences?

Our group actually reviewed several of Anita Shreve's previous works. Seaglass was a favored one. The Pilot's Wife was praised highly and we all remembered reading it and enjoying it. The Weight of Water was read and the reading guides were used by our group.

We noticed the recurring themes in Shreve's work. Women, water, family, grief. She tends to work in several directions through the novels but winds them up at the end and ties up any lose ends.

Dead Silence (Doc Ford Novels) by Randy Wayne White
Doc Ford is a prime character in all the novels we read. He conducts covert activities and saves the day.

Our group each read a different Doc Ford novel. The members did not enjoy the books. Carol said that it was a good airplane read. Others said they were bored and the plots were given away at the beginning.

While the books may appeal to mystery/thriller buffs, the majority of our group wouldn't read another.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
Handle with Care

It made me cry the first chapter and the last chapter but not all the way through! The book is written from the family and friend's perspective to the little girl with OI. The story has the usual Picoult twists and turns. Our group got a lot of information from the novel and the discussion we had was longer than many of our meetings in the past.

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

The perspective of such a vivacious 11 year-old made reading the novel fun! Flavia is the youngest of 3 girls who live with their widowed father. Her sisters treat her just miserably so when a dead body is found in the garden, she just leaves them out of the mystery. Flavia does seem to charm the men in the story from Dogger to the police detective. She is quite knowledgable about poisons and shows us too!

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

Our group had a lively discussion about the mother/daughter relationships. The relationship with Sam and Connie compared to the romances of Connie's female relatives. The story provided detailed and accurate historical information on the Salem witch trials saga. The magic and mysterious house on Milk Street kept us interested as the story unfolded.

Boring, Pointless, Dark
New World Monkeys

There were too many things going on in the book and the things did not appear to be connected and make a cohesive story. We have seen new authors do this because they have so many ideas and want to use them but it really didn't work here. We wondered how it was considered a best seller.

The Lacuna: A Novel (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Informative
The Lacuna

An interesting view of the life of a young man raised in Mexico by his single mother during the 1930's and 1940's. We enjoyed the way the story was put together with journal entries and how the characters were from history. There were many layers and our group had a great discussion.

North River: A Novel by Pete Hamill
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Pointless
North River

Our group enjoyed the book. Several participants confirmed the authenticity of the area in New York during that time period. The story was an accurate historial portrayal of NY. The characters interacted well and the grandson creating an uplifting feeling to the story.

Committed by Elizabeth GILBERT(Subject); Gilbert
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting

This was a very different novel from "Eat, Pray, Love." We enjoyed the history of marriage chapter the most. Our group had a great discussion about marriage and the role of the husband and wife and the differences in age too.

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

Our group is composed of women from 45-80 years old. We enjoyed discussing our memories of growing up in Florida or New York and how the times changed and schools and neighborhoods were integrated. The book was well-written and the author seemed to take a lot of time to share the richness of the characters.

The Wild Zone: A Novel by Joy Fielding
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Boring, Poorly Written
The Wild Zone

Some of our group liked it as far as reading for a break. The majority of the group didn't like it due to offensive language and situations. The pschological aspect of the characters and manipulative situations were interesting. We live in Florida and recognize the types of people who are here. However, the characters were not developed enough and we didn't really care what happened to them. Those of us who have read Joy Fielding did not feel it was one of her better works. It read like a television script and was fast moving and action packed. Lots of twists and turns and surprise ending.

Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous
Interred with their bones

If you are Shakespeare enthusiasts or English Lit majors, you will love this novel. Our group usually reads for historical info as well as thrills but this wasn't really in our area of interests. Lots of twists and turns, excitement and surprise.

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

Our group enjoyed the discussion which ranged from the author's point of view, medical ethical dilemnas and the family situation with health insurance, etc.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Graphic, Dark
The Millenium Trilogy

Our group really enjoyed discussing the entire trilogy. We appreciated the character development and twisting story lines. We wish there was more to the series. The discussion was based on the reading guides available on the internet.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
The Glass Castle

Our group enjoyed the book and the discussion. The parents proved such complex people and it was easy to pass judgment on their parenting skills. However, the children turned out so well and successful for the most part. The author really provided a vivid and heart-wrenching look at family life.

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

Our group learned about the bonogos and the way they are exploited. The story was a bit confusing at the beginning but don't let that stop you. Continue reading and you will enjoy the characters and the way their lives become entwined and the final outcome is rather sweet.

The Diary by Eileen Goudge
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Fun

Our group had a majority of positive remarks. The discussion was interesting because one of the members who keeps a diary did not really enjoy the book as much as the rest of us. The discussion went well since we did have a diary keeper among us. The twist at the end was what made the book worth reading!

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

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

It turns out we picked it for May which is Asian Heritage Month. Another book club we belong to read "Unbroken" and the difference between the two books as well as the similarities provided an interesting discussion.

Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Confusing, Interesting

Our group enjoyed the mystery and thrilling ride that Lisa Gardener took us through. It's nice to know there are more in the series. Some of us had read her books before and some had not. We wondered why the series was considered a DD Warren series when Bobby Dodge was highlighted more than DD. The twists and characters really made the book. We will definitely read more of her work.

Graphic, Dark, Confusing
The Murder Room

Two of our group listened to the book and four read it. It was interesting to listen until the dissertation on the four types of personalities that turn to murderers. That part would have been better to read in print. We felt this was written for men as well as law enforcement. It was similar to the 20/20 and Dateline mysteries shown on TV quite a lot recently reviewing old case files.

When We Were Strangers: A Novel by Pamela Schoenewaldt
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Insightful, Informative
When We Were Strangers

We enjoyed the story although the beginning was slow. Her journey to America was eventful and showed the courage that she needed and how to manage the problems she encountered. The second half of the book surprised us until we realized the author's background. Very good discussion, - as each of us remembered a particular part, we continued to remember more.

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