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My Reviews

Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks, Micah Sparks
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Family Ties and Making Memories

I have read Nicholas Sparks books before and have liked them, but I don't seek them out. What attracted me this book was that it wasn't a bring-you-to-tears novel, it was a memoir. It was interesting to see the places they visited and learn about their family, but what stayed with me is the need for siblings to reach out to each other at difficult times in thier lives. It brings clarity to situations. I know that noone has every told me the truth as sincerely as one of my brothers or sisters.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
The next thing on my list

We chose this lightweight read because of our busy schedules and not because of a need for deep thought provoking study. The group was asked to bring a short list of what they might put on their personal lists. Good discussions. Gave us a peek at others in group that we would not have otherwise shared. Fun!

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Optimistic, Adventurous
This is our favorite book of all time!

This book has humor and heart. The author, Conor Grennan, inspires but doesn't preach. I would like to see this book on everyone's reading list. It is well worth the time and will stay with you for a long time. Our book club gives it 5 stars and wants Conor to come to our next meeting. (Please?!) We want to shake his hand.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Dramatic
Peek into the mind of a teenage boy

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun, Insightful
British Humor

Someone described it as a slow boat to England, and I have to agree. It had some sweetness, a mature romance that I enjoyed watching grow. Comparison between family commitments and between cultures was worth exploring. But overall, for me, it wasn't something I loved just sort of liked.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Informative
Bill Bryson's BEST

I really enjoy Bill Bryson's books. He informs you at the same time as letting you see the wit and humor surrounding himself and the subject he is writing about. Not everyone likes his books and I don't think he would please the women in my book club. I guess I will just have to keep him for myself. A Walk in the Woods is my personal favorite of his books because I love how his adventure is more plodding than monumental in nature. A realistic description of hiking.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Optimistic, Adventurous
This book has it all

The book has become our group's favorite pick. There is laughter, romance, adventure and hope all wrapped up in a short and sweet book about a difficult and painful subject. You will fall in love with these children.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Slow
Our favorite part was the serial killer

Our group liked the book but the group felt without the serial killer we would have never finished the book. The chapters about Holmes the murderer were what moved the book along. Kind of sad that this is what we liked best and the fabulous building of the World's Fair was at times interesting but for most of us too detailed to keep our interest.

 
Informative, Interesting, Slow
Our group decided the serial killer made the book

We skipped over much of the detailed information about the World's Fair, and thought the chapters about the serial killer are what moved the story on. It was well written and hard to believe that the author missed any detail in his investigation of the subjects, but our interest lagged.

Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting
"The shovel has to meet certain requirements."

Tne main character is standing in the hardware store looking over the display of garden tools and has to decide which shovel to purchase for burying a body. This book is quirky with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I found a lot to love in the writing and characters to recommend it to our book club.

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee
 
Fun, Beautiful, Optimistic
Our group didn't know if we would want our husbands to come back

Now we love them, and appreciate them, but really do we want to have to keep cleaning up after them FOREVER?
The book had its fun moments, sweet parts, but too many characters that didn't add much to the mix. I personally would have liked the writing to be tighter. Less wandering around. As an example bringing in 9/11 and New York's reaction to it seemed a stretch to the storyline.

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
This is REAL!

We read Still Alice by the same author and have recommmended it to many of our friends and family members. Not knowing what lay ahead of me, I was aware of Lisa Genova's second book, Left Neglected and even listened to a radio interview by her about the subject. The story has taken a personal turn, my mother-in-law, who is a member of our book club suffered a stroke and is experiencing Left Side Neglect. This book has touched us all in ways we never expected. Well written, insightful and so helpful.

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Story Idea is Good, Ending left me wanting

This was a book club choice and I liked the beginning, the characters were interesting given their social standing. I did not like the ending. I was unconvinced. The plot lines of the two main characters took them places that I didn't think followed a logical path. Instead of unexpected twists and turns it felt unnatural, as if the author wanted tension, but for me never achieved it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
Ever want to know what a teenage boy is REALLY thinking?

This book was insightful, funny, and disturbing. But what made it a wonderful read for a book club is the discussions provoked about prejudging individuals by their race, looks, age and upbringing. There were paragraphs that made me laugh and cry all at one time. I highly recommend this book for anyone one who wants a peek into a teenage boy's inner thoughts. That in itself is scary, but also enlightening.

An Available Man: A Novel by Hilma Wolitzer
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Fun
A Widower's Walk

Don't look for this book to be a guide through bereavement, because it isn't that. This novel is more of a place to start conversations with your living spouses about what they would do if you should die. Love after death, dating after death, and living again after death are all topics to begin discussions. Our book club talks about the men in our lives often. This book is perfect for us to get a take on how each of our men think. I liked the main character, but at times wanted to shake him and tell him to think with his head. Men are such boys!

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Informative
A Great Read

This book started me on the road to read all of Bill Bryson's books. I am a huge fan and have shared his books with many friends and family members. The historical and enviornmental insights are well researched and inspiring. The humor is perfect. I have read this numerous times and have even listened to the audio CD. It really is worth the ride, or walk in this case.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring, Romantic
Don't Let Cancer Overshadow the Person

What a powerful and wonderful story! It is so easy to look at a description of this book and think it is just another book about cancer.The author has written his first book written in a female voice and he does it very well. He is able to touch us with his understanding of smart, witty and mature beyond their years teenagers who just happen to be living their lives with cancer. This book has made me look at how I approach people with cancer and concentrate on the person first, not the disease. I laughed, I cried and I have recommended it to all my book club members.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Inspiring, Interesting
Strayed, in more ways than you can imagine.

If you really want to change your life, you have to give up your old one. Being lost, and in need of direction Cheryl decides to take a walk,which is more of a journey for Cheryl Strayed. This is the authors story of her hike on the Pacific Trail. I remember being that young woman who thought she could do anything, I just never did. Cheryl changed her life, was stronger than she thought and found the things she needed. The author can write, you can understand her yearning for direction and change. Read it even if only to read the passage about the death of her horse. I found the writing very moving.Can women today do what she did? I'm not sure.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Complex Characters, Layers Upon Layers of Twists and Turns

Amy and Nick are well drawn characters in Gone Girl. I loved the twists and the turns. The author has created a story with layers of thought provoking moves, deep characterizations and a plot that keeps you guessing. Amy is very complex and gives the reader a lot to reason through to find her motivation and direction. Nick evolves into a character who is less letting life happen to him, to someone pushing buttons, too.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Adventurous
Fast Paced Romp into a New World

This book grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let me go. It is the first in the trilogy and I can't wait to jump into the next book. Looking for what to read after Hunger Games? This series will not disappoint!

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Twisting and Turning Plot

This was a fast paced read. The characters are unlikable and interesting at the same time. I was surprised by events in the book which kept me reading. You really don't know what motivates people and leads them to their life decisions.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Romantic
The Wedding Dress

This book was a monthly reading choice for our book club. We read it and then each of us brought our wedding pictures to the meeting to share. We had plenty to laugh about because the 70's were an interesting fashion era. A few members had to decide which wedding pictures to bring...Wedding 1, Wedding 2 or Wedding 3! We also brought our children's wedding pictures. Lots of dresses and lots of fun stories to share.
The book was read by all and it was shared that the author had died soon after it was published. The book was dedicated to daughters and the author left behind three. Our hearts were saddened knowing that he wasn't going to be there for his own daughters on their wedding days. The bridal shop is not so far from where we live. Now we have a reason for a book club road trip.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
How one looks is only a small part of who the person is

The book was intersting because it tries to get behind the feelings of a young man with a facial disformity and help the reader understand his feelings. This is a YA book and just like many of them tries to teach a lesson, but I did find the story interesting but not inspiring. The book switches points of view often and I wish it spoke through one voice.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Informative
Let Bill Bryson Inspire You

This is the first book by Bill Bryson that I read, but it was not my last. His writing is quick witted, entertaining, but teaches you more about the world around you in a non-preachy way. Fall in love with Katz, the outdoors and great writing. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE! This book came first and in my opinion better than Wild. Wild is a female version of A Walk in the Woods. Read them both and compare

Every Day by David Levithan
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Unconvincing
Highly Inventive Premise

I have read many of David Levithan's books before and I was expecting his usual snarky humor to emerge. This book was much deeper than that. It is a very creative romance that has great unexpected twists and turns. This book may be about teens and the book stores may put it in the YA area of their stores, but what it offers adults is well worth the time hunting this book up. I finished this book a week ago and I am still thinking about it. When I described the premise to my husband his comment was that he thought it would be intersting to read but it must have been great fun to write. I think he must be right. You can feel David Levithan building each character he introduces to us. Wow! This one is thought provoking.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Dramatic
Slow but with some good parts

The author's pace for action and description was painfully slow at times, but the characters made you want to wade through to see what the future held for them.

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer
 
Interesting, Adventurous, Informative
Bottom Line- I didn\' t like Willie Sutton

The author is very talented. I like his deep research of the main character and interest in his subject, but after finishing the book I felt that I had spent way too much time with someone I didn\'t like. Willie Sutton never drew me into his corner. The times were hard but his obsessions and criminal mind never made me see him as a \"Robin Hood\" or avenger of wrongs. I just saw a crook who took money and spent it on himself. I can\'t recommend it to my book club but if your group wants to delve into a discussion about what makes a character likable it might work for you.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Pointless, Poorly Written
Not for the Easily Offended

Now Jenny is one flawed human being, but I loved her and learned through her story. She is not afraid to open herself up to her readers and expose deeply personal life changing experiences. Jenny uses graphic language and would offend the easily offended, but if you are not afraid to explore quirky life styles and delve into how others look at life than maybe you will love Jenny too. I learned a lot about life just looking at it through her eyes. She is not like anyone I know but she is someone who can shine a light on the world, a bit at a slant, but still illuminate it in a humorous and insightful way.

The Aviator's Wife: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Marriage and the Times We Live

Women and their roles in a marriage are dictated by times in which they live. Anne and Charles made choices in their lives based on the strengths and weaknesses of their characters. I found the book interesting and thought provoking. My book club will enjoy discussing the two main characters but also the role the press played in how they lived. They were wealthy and this opened doors for them that others may not have been able to go through.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Insightful, Fun
First Love

This is a book about first love. The story is simple but the writing is brilliant. The author lets you fall in love, feel the feelings and allows for a glimpse at innocent first love. This is a YA but so much more. You follow the passion but with a nod towards an innocent perspective. Everyone will love this sweet but not too sweet little book. ( You will need to remember pop culture of the 80\\\\\\\'s)

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
Hearing from the Imaginary Friend

I enjoyed this book for a number of reasons, first the author captured the true feelings of a teacher and a school. Second the descriptions of the other imaginary friends he encounters are brilliant. I wondered if the author had children draw what they would want their imaginary friends to look like. Each new friend had a fresh childlike purpose to their looks, their personalities and their abilities. Budo was lucky to be fully developed and a more worldly outlook. It made his adventures more interesting. I will recommend this to my book club, I think they will enjoy the plot told from a different point of view.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
It is hard to find peace until you find the pieces

What would you take and what would you leave if you could only bring what you could carry? This book deals with children who have lost their families. The issue of how America has chosen to deal with lost children in the past and how they deal with them today. There is plenty to discuss in book club meetings as you explore the lives of the two main characters.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Inspiring
Summer in a Simpler Time

Okay, no surprise here, some of the characters die. The author tells us as much on the first page. But the summer is so much more than who dies and how. The family members and how they manage through the roller coaster of that summer is really what the book is about. The author does a wonderful job of bringing you back to a simpler time. I enjoyed it and will recommend it as a monthly book choice. My book club members will like this one.

Palisades Park: A Novel by Alan Brennert
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Adventurous
You are the Choices You Make

This is a good trip through the lives of the people who worked and lived in the amusement parks of the past. I never visited Palisades Park but the author's descriptions brought to life the sounds, the smells and the drama that abounded the life in and around the park. I liked it and will recommend it to my book club.

The Tender Bar: A Memoir by J. R. Moehringer
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
Characters are Interesting

I really liked this book and felt that the author used his journalistic talents in adding the details. At times it was disjointed but still engaging. Atimes it was like a thought written on a bar napkin finding a chapter to fill in the space, but not smoothly. These are broken folks, no doubt, but their demons are just under the surface and not turned into tabloid news.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Insightful
Quirky Characters NOT Broken Ones

I really needed this book right now. It was light, funny and a good read. Our book club has read some dark, deep and sad books recently and it was a treat to read a story that had quirky characters with heart. Too many current stories are about broken, damaged characters so this was a nice change for us. Don could have been crushed by society norms, bullying, or failed under his own limitations but instead you grow to love and understand his oblivious view of the world. The world needs all kinds of folks and Don and Rosie dance a quirky dance, but with heart. Everyone needs love in their life. Think Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory only more attractive. Gene was my least favorite character. These characters gave our group a lot to discuss. Self esteem, finding who you really are, parents roles on who you become as an adult, marriages and expectations, and what is a real friend, We talked about how we found our spouses, what would be deal breakers for us in a relationship, and if we thought Don could sustain a longtime love relationship. This is a great choice for us.

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Inspiring
Nice Story

As usual Nicholas Sparks writes a good story about love, relationships and family. If you are looking for epic or fast moving this isn\'t it, but if you want a nice love story with good characters you might like this one.

 
Dark, Slow, Interesting
Terrible

This book forces you to spend time with folks that are not worth the time it takes to read this book. The two main characters are not worthy of all the words it took to tell the story. Beginning was the best, the middle was bad but the end was pointless. I can see talent in sentences but the story was depressing. I couldn\\\\\\\'t find one character with enough substance to make this recommendable.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
SciFi but not just for nerds

I am not a big SciFi reader, in fact I rarely choose this genre, but this is more adventure with a main character who is like Survivor Man on Mars. You want to learn while he is learning. Yes it has technical stuff and usually this puts me to sleep but there are enough twists and troubles that you keep reading just to find out how he will get out of this one. It may be of more interest to guys and I will recommend it to the guys in my life, but honestly even a historic fiction romantic reader like myself enjoyed it. It won't appeal to everyone but it will teach you something and keep you reading for more.

The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Insightful
Everyone Deserves to find LOVE

Our book club split on this book. We have members who are teachers and they loved it. They all have had students who were very much like the main character and could relate and love his quirkiness. Now others just didn\\\'t understand how he looked at the world. I thought it was funny and inspiring but as our small group proved it isn\\\'t everyone\\\'s cup of tea.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Dramatic
Strength of Body and Mind

I really loved this book. The story was inspirational and informative. These young men showed their strength of body to the world but the author shared their strength of spirit as well. Well worth your time. Very good!

The Martian by Andy Weir
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
Smart and Great Story

Writing could use a bit of editing but it moves through with surprises all around. It grabbed me with the premise. The problem solving was interesting. I felt that men would love the science and engineering needed to keep the main character alive.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant
 
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Historically Interesting

I liked it but didn\'t love it. Main character\'s life was interesting but not exciting,

These is My Words by Nancy Turner
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Inspiring
Arizona Territory with Love

Strong women, absent men, love that lasts.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Adventurous
Children's Books are Enjoyable for all ages

This is just a lovely story. Read it for you, for your kids and for a story that makes you feel good.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Optimistic, Fun
Quirky Fun Read

Not a literary blockbuster but I laughed throughout the entire book. I do need to share that I did listen to this book as an audio book and found the narrator very entertaining. I plan on continuing with the series because these quirky characters really pulled me into their lives.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing
Put yourself in another’s shoes

I can’t stop thinking about this book, the characters and the story will stay with you.

Only Child: A novel by Rhiannon Navin
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Gloomy, Dramatic
Seeing things through a child's eyes

School shooting and a destroyed family with each family member trying to cope and no one on the same page. The story is told by a 1st grade boy who is having to tackle the loss of his brother and a school shooting alone because his parents are falling apart. Interesting way to see a tragedy.

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Life Changing
Historical Tragedy

This story needs to be heard and the author did an outstanding job of keeping the reader feeling the journey of these two sisters. Please read this book and share the message that war leaves a path of destruction far beyond the battlefield and if we don't tell these stories these things will continue to happen.

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful

 
Romantic, Fun, Insightful

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Addictive

The Hummingbird: A Novel by Stephen P. Kiernan
 
Informative, Insightful, Interesting

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
 
Insightful, Informative, Interesting

 
Insightful, Optimistic, Fun

 
Inspiring, Beautiful, Insightful

 
Interesting, Informative, Insightful

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Adventurous
Historical Fiction

This story showed me a bit of history that I was not familiar. Writing could have been tighter but story worth reading for the insight into the past.

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Slow, Beautiful
If you can get to the ending...

This was a meandering story that for most of the book I wasn't sure I even liked it. But the last 1/4 of the book made it worth the read. I listened to this as an audio book and probably would have put the book down and not finished it. I don't know if I would recommend it .

Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Informative
Strong Women Raising a Boy to be a Man

Trevor Noah's memoir of his early life in South Africa was interesting because it gave a glimpse of a life and times that shaped this man. I listened to the audio book read by the author and really enjoyed his voice and the feelings portrayed in his reading. This man's life could have gone wrong many times and it is a wonder on how one can go from where he started to where he is now.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Optimistic
Being Different Can Be Hard

This was an interesting read and the author gives you enough twists in Sam's life story that you are surprised by his life journey. My only comment that made me give it less than 5 stars is that the author felt the need to tie up all the lose ends. I wasn't left wondering or contemplating where Sam's life would go from here.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Addictive

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fantastic, Adventurous
Winter Summer Spring or Fall

This book gives you a front row seat as to what it takes to participate in the Iditarod. It is a non fiction and allows you to feel the dangers and craziness of the most famous dog sled race. Well written. Everyone will have something to share about this amazing ride!

The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni
 
Boring, Unconvincing, Confusing
Wandering story

Robert Dugoni is an author that I have read before but this story took too many turns that weren't that interesting.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun, Optimistic
Light reading and not a Christmas themed book

We needed a book that was a fast read. The story is predictable and at times slow. Characters can be annoying but then on the next page sweet. I kept going to the end and overall was happy I finished the book. Great book. not really but it would be a good beach read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Inspiring
Family, Community and What Defines Us

J. D. Vance takes a look back into where he came from and brings us along for the ride. Vance's life could have easily turned out differently. Truly the reader looks at his success as the mystery because the path was heading straight for a different ending. WE are the choices we make and Vance made choices that shaped him. There is plenty to discuss with this book. (I listened to the audio book read by the author)

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Confusing, Inspiring
The Hard Working Poor

Everyone can learn something from this memoir. You may find yourself in the pages of the author's story. This is a book that is perfect for a book club choice because it begs to be discussed. Stephanie Land shares her struggles but also her dreams. Read it and recommend the book to others. It is a book that is meant to be shared. I listened to the audio book read by the author.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Adventurous, Scary
Twists and Turns and Action

This book was just what I needed. I was looking for something that swept me into the story and grabbed my attention and didn't let go. I stayed up way too late reading this book to the very end. I have read other reviews and understand those who were looking for literature. No that is not this book's purpose. It is a book that wants to pull you in and not let go. Thrilling!

The River: A novel by Peter Heller
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Insightful
Riding the River

This book flows like a river should. At times it is slow and meandering, then you hit the rapids and the pace propels the reader quickly thorough the pages. Ended too abruptly for me but they reached the final destination.

The Flatshare: A Novel by Beth O'Leary
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Fun
A Bit of Fluff but sometimes just what you need

I listened to the audio book and recommend the story as a nice diversion. Nothing too deep, nothing too heavy but it kept my interest. Tiffy did get on my nerves.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Life Changing, Inspiring
Beautiful Life, Meaningful Life

Mitch Albom and his wife Janine became a family of three after bringing Chika. I listened to the audio book read by the author and would recommend that version of the book because you will get to hear Chika's voice. The strength of Chika, the unbending love of Mitch and Janine for this special little girl and the story of their journey together will stay with you for a very long time. Wow, just read it and share it with others. It is inspiring.

This Tender Land: A Novel by William Kent Krueger
 
Adventurous, Beautiful, Interesting
Pointless and Rambling Nonsense

I really wanted to like this book. I tried it first in audio and then thinking it was the reader, picked up the book. Nope. It didn't work for me. The main characters are children that do not act like children, Their personalities are random. The folks they meet along their journey never rang true for me. I have read other books by this author and have enjoyed them. Sorry, not this one.

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