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My Reviews

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
A wild, thrilling journey into a life few people can relate to

This memoir was outstanding. Whether you believed in every single story that the author recounted is not the point. It is beautifully written and mesmerizing. No one could recount such happenings without having lived them! I found myself laughing at one point and shaking with anger at the next. It is the kind of book that you just cannot put down. Everyone in my book club has agreed to that.

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Highly overrated and thoroughly disappointing

I had such high hopes for this novel. The premise of the story was so intriguing, but oh what an absolute disappointment it was! Other than the first few chapters, I found the book to be boring and simplistic. There were questions that the author left unanswered and I found the characters to be whiny and self-centered. I found myself skimming pages midway through the book just so I could be done with it. Very disappointing considering how long it has been on the best seller list!

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
 
Dramatic, Fun, Dark
Easy read but lacked any real depth

This book was entertaining enough but I found it lacked any sort of real depth. I could not identify with the characters and found myself with the "so what" attitude very often. It was an interesting read but ultimately, it was not one of my "You've got to read this!" picks.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Excellent and thought provoking

An incredibly different and challenging novel. The characters, at times, are difficult to distinguish but the pleasure of the story is still there. The novel really kicks in about 2/3 of the way through. I found myself teary-eyed and reflective during the last several pages. This book is challenging but, if you stick with it, I think you will feel well rewarded by the end.

Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Dark, Difficult
Extremely well written & clever

I found this book to be very well written, interesting and a real page-turner. Although this novel is graphic, it is still worth the effort. If nothing else, it shows the average reader how "normal" their family truly is. I enjoyed it immensely.

 
Book Club Recommended
A bit tedious at times but interesting nonetheless....

I found the constant alchemy references to be a bit boring and totally unnecessary to the main storyline. Unless you have a fascination with alchemy, it is a good area for skimming. That being said, the story was mildly suspenseful and generally engaging. I made it all the way through which does mean something to me.

 
Gloomy, Confusing, Pointless
Nothing special about this subject matter

Although this novel was interesting and dealt (in part) on the relationship between an asexual, older school teacher and a young, beautiful colleague, I found myself often thinking, "Haven't we read about this before?" I was intrigued to read this novel because if a movie was made based on it; then it must be something special. It is nothing of the sort. It is basic and plain with very little to spark any kind of indepth conversations. It moves quickly and that is about as much compliment as I can give.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
 
Insightful, Dramatic, Inspiring
OK, but not worth all the hype

With so many wonderful books out there, I labored through this one. It took me a month to read it and I often felt bored and disinterested. I am definitely the "odd man out" in my opinion but I found it tedious and unimpressive. I eventually started skimming just to finish.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
Enchanting, mesmerizing, thoroughly a delight

Wow! What a fantastic read. I blasted through it in a matter of days. It grabs your attention and never lets go. It's intelligent, well researched and completely mouth-watering! Everyone that I gave the book to was enthralled with it. it's a book lover's MUST!

The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting and fast paced

I really enjoyed this novel. It was very unusual and non-formulary. I found myself totally absorbed in the storyline. Mentally, it is a bit difficult to picture someone born in an aged body with a child's mind and then getting younger while getting older mentally. I had to often stop and try to picture what stage the character was in, in order to understand what was going on. But it is worth the effort and moves very quickly...I often though of the saying "Youth is wasted on the young" and how this is not always true. There is a reason for proper age progression.

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Easy, interesting read

Everyone in my book club enjoyed the book but I found us talking very little about it. While it was interesting and a fast read, it lacked the necessary depth and controversy to qualify as a spectacular book club discussion book. All in all, it was good but definitely will never be ranked as "one of the great ones."

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Inspiring
Beautiful story... funny & heartwarmingly written

I resisted reading this novel because I thought "Who wants to read about a dog?" Boy was I wrong! The author is brilliant at taking you to side splitting laughter and gut wretching tears. It is a wonderful novel that anyone who has every loved a dog would surely appreciate. A must read!

Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan
 
Slow, Dramatic, Difficult
Contrived, pretentious and a flood of meandering prose

I really, really wanted to love and appreciate this book. It is considered a "modern classic" and while I appreciate classic literature; this cumbersome, wordy novel moves slower than a turtle on Prozac. Too many scenes about nothing in conjunction with pages & pages of meaningless description. There are moments of brilliance but the novel's main action points could have been condensed down to 3 scenes totaling approximately 100 pages. But even that was not enough to make this book the gem that everyone purports it to be. If it is classics that you are looking for try Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice...etc.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
Moving and beautifully written

This was a fabulous, insightful novel set in 1800's rural China. It was a little slow going in the beginning but well worth the initial effort. It is beautifully written; sad as well as uplifting. We found ourselves intellectually enlightened and emotionally drained. It made for a wonderful discussion.

 
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
Good, fast read but nothing earth shattering

I found this book to be a quick read. It was fast paced and the subject matter was very intriguing. It did have a few points of interesting discussion. It was good but not great.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
 
Insightful, Gloomy, Brilliant
Classic American literature but are we reading it too late??

Somehow I kept wondering if perhaps I'd missed the mark on this one by about 25 years. I also forgot to remind myself that it was written in 1951. A time where words like puke and damn were highly forbidden. I found it to be a bit tedious and uneventful until I read "Understanding The Catcher in the Rye". This interpretation book shed a lot of light on this novel and what the author was attempting to convey. We were able to have a pretty good discussion and ultimately I found the book to be very deep and insightful into the workings of an adolescent boy's mind and the struggle between good and evil.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Insightful, but it is no Kite Runner!

It is very difficult to pass up on reading a book by the author of the brilliant, The Kite Runner. Although this novel was interesting and fast paced it lacked all the beauty and magic that was found in Hosseini's first book. In The Kite Runner, Afghanistan comes to life. It plays like a movie in your mind. In Splendid Suns there was no vivid descriptive prose. It was not verbally rich nor was the subject matter very engrossing. It was a good book but definitely not a "must read."

 
Boring, Inspiring, Slow
Enjoyable memoir although somewhat self indulgent

The Italy & Indonesia exerpts were somewhat interesting although little really happens of any great consequence. This was a bit contrived since she got a book advance for this memoir & therefore was able to do the "soul searching" in the first place. The author has a very "poor me" attitude in which the reader's first response would be to reply "What the heck was so bad about the way your life was unfolding?" I can introduce her to about 10 people who have known true heartache and misery but THEY didn't need to travel the globe in order to know that God, love & great food exists. You will also want to take a nap & skim the India portion of her travels. Boring! On a final note, she is a really wonderful master of the English language and writes with great warmth and wit. I just wish her content would have been something of more interest to me and a bit less self indulgent. If you are looking for a great memoir try The Glass Castle or Running with Scissors. There you will find people who face true hardships & yet seem to rise to the occasion.

 
Interesting, Pointless, Informative
Somewhat interesting but lacking a strong storyline

I found this to be a sweet little story without much to it. It was interesting but not riveting. There are so many great books & this is not one of them. It is highly forgettable.

 
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
Started with great potential and quickly fizzled

Only 1/2 my bookclub actually finished it! It seemed like a winner in the very beginning but we all quickly realized that the story was really going nowhere. It did not capture our interest nor did it create a memorable discussion.

Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright
 
Inspiring, Romantic, Optimistic
A fast, simple read that is sweet but predictable

In the style of Nicholas Sparks or Danielle Steele, this is a simply written and fast moving novel that is highly predictable and leaves little to the imagination.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Adventurous, Interesting
Beautifully written and ripe with possiblities for discussion

I found this novel to be absolutely engrossing. I finished it in three days and was completely riveted. The author does a fabulous job of allowing the reader to formulate their own opinion regarding whether or not the main character was a total fool or an idealistic dreamer. Expertly written, beautiful, and educational.

Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert
 
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
Average at best...

In general our bookclub members, who did finish this novel, decided that this was a mediocre story supported by interesting historical facts. The constant introduction of random characters who would quickly appear and disappear was annoying. The ending gets wrapped up in a neat, perfect little bow which is sometimes annoying. Average at best.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring, Informative
Heartbreaking, mesmerizing & enchanting

An extremely short novel but packed with power. Power of the human spirit and the will to live. It will make you think about simple things like eating, bathing, talking and how precious such simple things are.

 
Interesting, Dark
Fast paced-easy read

The subject matter notwithstanding, this book was interesting and a very quick read. The character development was a bit overdone and this was NOT the magical prose of The Lovely Bones. There were some parts that didn't seem plausible, but it did manage to hold everyone's attention for better or worse.

The Almost Moon: A Novel by Alice Sebold
 
Dark, Gloomy, Dramatic
Difficult, sick subject, decent book

Although this book contained no endearing characters, I still found the novel to be highly entertaining and psychologically interesting. I have no idea why all the bad reviews because all in all, it was very well written and thought provoking.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
 
Addictive, Brilliant, Dark
Wow! Someone actually got paid to write this....

This was by far one of the most boring and self serving verbal rants I have ever read. The author needed about 50 pages to describe one boring event. At the end she realizes that after 450 pages nothing has happened & therefore attempts to interject the final 50 pages of one crazy happening after another. Nothing made sense, random bizarre twists were added, and in the end all this caused our bookclub to shake our heads in bewilderment. I did hesitate for one moment in giving it a 1 star instead of 2 simply because we did have a great discussion about how awful the book really was.

Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Insightful
Fun, touching and eloquent

This book was surprising in the fact that it grips you right from the start & you are capitivated until the very end. It was well written, insightful and sweet. It has subtle twists and turns and I was hooked until the very last page.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
Touching, tragic & beautifully written....

This is a spectacular book. It is sad yet heartwarming. It grips you from the start & although the subject matter is difficult; it manages to demonstrate goodness & love during a very dark period of history. Masterfully written. Bravo.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Interesting & fast read

An interesting book delving deep into human psychology. It is short but packs a strong punch.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
Entertaining and light. A fun read.

Filled with witty dialog and an interesting storyline, this book is funny and a definite page turner. It is light but manages to hold your interest from first page to last.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Adventurous, Dramatic
WOW...Impossible to put down!

I am a middle aged female & can genuinely say that this book is a fantastic read! The author's magical ability to pull you into the story is beyond anything I've read before. It may be in the young adult section but I can truthfully say that its appeal is universal. Who could not benefit from a beautifully written love story allbeit with an unusual twist? I have yet to meet someone of any age that has not taken pure pleasure in reading this light yet sensual masterpiece.

New Moon (Twilight, Book 2) by Stephenie Meyer
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Romantic
The enchanting saga continues....

Book Two of the Twilight series is an excellent read. Not as compelling as the original but definitely a must for those fans who are dying to find out what will happen to Bella & Edward.

Eclipse (Twilight, Book 3) by Stephenie Meyer
 
Boring, Adventurous, Dark
A page turner that keeps you hooked!

Part Three of the Twilight series does not disappoint. It takes you through every emotion & brings you one step closer to Bella & Edward's ultimate fate. Impossible to put down!!!

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Romantic
Gripping fantasy with plenty of excitement & romance

I ripped through this most recent chapter in Edward & Bella's life with the eagarness of a toddler learning to walk for the first time. Although the story had a few bizarre twists, it was often difficult to remember that this was a fantasy. The author does such a brilliant job in making readers feel a part of this world, however unreal it may seem. Waking up the next morning after finishing this book, I felt truly sad that Edward & Bella were not going to be a part of my life......for the time being.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Difficult
Disturbing, engrossing, so horrible you can't put it down

Although it is quite clear that the author detests her characters, each one faulted with few redeeming qualities, this book is gripping & unforgettable. The discussions that arise from the storyline will keep your bookclub talking for days. The author is a bit long-winded and self-indulgent at times but she does write brilliantly & eloquently. The characters are sometimes quite contradictory to themselves & often unbelievable but it still made for a chilling read.

The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff
 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Two stories told simultaneously that interweave slightly

I had a lot of expectations for this novel. It looked so relevant & interesting! The beginning was quite gripping, but for me, it quickly fell to pieces. There are pages & pages of historical facts interwoven with the fictional stories. It often became dull & boring reading endless pages of Mormon history. The main mystery of the novel that is set in present day is resolved with little excitement or fanfare. I was genuinely disappointed.

 
Fun, Adventurous, Graphic
A guilty pleasure and just pure fun to read!

I had little expectations for this book & got it only because I'd read about the HBO series. I could NOT put it down & finished in 2 days! It is a silly, fun and lusty pleasure! Unlike any other book I'd ever read before. I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it. A perfect "light read".

 
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing
I just didn't "get" this one.....

Frankly, we chose this for bookclub because of all the hype surrounding it. Only 2 of our 6 members really enjoyed it. The rest of us found it to be poorly written and at times just downright ridiculous. In fact, it is also a difficult book to discuss with a club b/c religion (along with politics) is a subject that is normally private and difficult to share. This book is one man's attempt to make God into a familiar, approachable character that bakes & has time for gardening. The universal message of "free will" was repackaged by the author under the term "independence" but he is not saying anything new. There were a few moments in the novel that were touching, otherwise I did not learn anything by reading this, nor did it enhance my already existing spirituality.

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Romantic, Adventurous
Very enjoyable & informative

A very well done piece of historical fiction. It was entertaining and informative which is not always easy to do in a novel. The entire bookclub enjoyed it.

The Thorn Birds (Modern Classics) by Colleen McCullough
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Epic, Beautiful
A wonderful novel

Rich and well written. I grew up watching this mini series no less than a dozen times. The novel was ever so slightly different but very insightful and indepth on the character's histories and backgrounds. Dare I actually admit that I enjoyed the mini series more?? But still well worth the reading effort!

City of Thieves: A Novel by David Benioff
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Suspenseful & exciting!

This novel had something happening in each and every chapter. There was never a dull moment! A real page turner packed with adventure, frienship, and love; all set in a very fascinating period in history.

Darling Jim: A Novel by Christian Moerk
 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Dramatic
A fantastic mystery that keeps you HOOKED!

This novel kept me turning the pages from start to finish. It was nearly impossible to put down. Well written & different from anything I've ever read before. Highly recommend!

GETTING RID OF MATTHEW by Jane Fallon
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Interesting, Fun
A fun interesting twist on being "the other woman"

I found this novel to be full of witty language & interesting scenerios. What if your married lover DID leave his wife for you & you realize you never wanted him? What would you do? Great dialog, interesting perspective & just an overall good read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Fun, Interesting
Well written, clever & fun!

This book is a little unknown gem! Filled with creative writing, interesting plot and rich characters, I found this book to be a great discovery. It is loaded with quirky characters and funny little twists. Highly enjoyable!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Gloomy
Beautifully written & totally mesmerizing

This post apocalyptic novel is filled with horrifying siuations & difficult subject matter. It is riveting and ultimately leaves you with a feeling of hope and an appreciation for a beautifully crafted piece of literary art. There is so much to discuss in this novel that you won't know where to begin! A great page turner that allows you to fill in what the future will hold for its character(s).

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
A fairly decent read

If you are easily able to overcome the use of vernacular speech then you may really enjoy this novel. I found the language annoying at times and the characters not always completely consistent (i.e. Minny) It is often difficult to believe in a character that is generally strong yet is utterly feeble at the same time. If nothing else, the book is easy to read & makes for a lively discussion, especially when you reside in the South and may have experienced some of these situations firsthand.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Scary
A non-stop page turner!

Page after page of great, suspenseful writing keeps you hooked until the very end. I can't remember the last time I read a novel that was THIS engaging. Nearly impossible to put down until the last page is complete....

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
A work of literary art

It is rare to find a book so beautiful, so moving. It touched on 10 different emotions & I was truly, completely sad when it was over. Beautifully written, poetic & touching. You will think about it for weeks after it's over. The impact of mothers, daughters, love & forgiveness has never been so eloquently presented. A must read for anyone who IS or HAS a mother.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Adventurous
Great & unique read!

This book was part fairy tale part epic adventure. It was unusual and beautiful at the same time. Highly recommend!

 
Confusing, Slow, Interesting
Don't drink the Kool-Aid

It is incredible the amount of hype this book has received. The fact is that it is boring, confusing & a horribly dull read in every aspect. We found ourselves skimming & praying it would end & quickly. Don't waste your time. I just don't get what all the fuss is about. This book is NOT good, not at all.

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
Brilliant on so many different levels

Impossible to put down & once it's done...impossible to get out of your head. I was moved to tears on several occasions & it drew a lot of thinking as to "what does it mean to be a mother" If you are a mother or you have a mother...this book is for you :) A beautiful, haunting & ultimately satisfying read on redemption, forgiveness & unconditional love. And the symbolism & significance of flowers thrown in the mix of a truly original story renders this book, in my opinion....AMAZING.

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