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My Reviews

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Epic
The Invisible Bridge

After reading Suite Francaise and Sarah's Key, both dealing with the same topic, The Invisible Bridge proved to be the more graphic and detailed of this terrible time period. The strength that Julie Orringer shows when developing the characters makes the book and story one of the best I've read. Following the family through the war years allows the reader to be part of that family and to see how love can endure through tragedy. Definitely a great discussion book.

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

This was the first book by Ann Patchett that I've read and I found it very descriptive and creative. The fact that the Amazon has the possibility of curing possible diseases and providing us with unknown magical solutions to human life was the central theme of the book. Patchett provides some excentric ideas, but their believablilty is stong, even if they might be just wishful thinking. The story moves quickly and the surprises at the end make the book a great read. Our bookclub had a long conversation over the strengths/weaknesses of the characters and why or why not the story could really happen. Overall, we all liked the book very much.

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard
 
Book Club Recommended
Poorly Written, Insightful, Life Changing
A Stolen Life: A Memoir

This was a truly difficult to get through, not because of the writing, but because it was real life and true to what is part of our current time period. JayCee writes of her eighteen years of confinement after being kidnapped at age eleven. Reading about her daily rapes and mental torture made this book appear to be fiction, but knowing that it was not, made it difficult to believe. JayCee has to be the most heroic person I know to have made it through these years and still remain intact, mentally and physically. The importance of knowing about her ordeal makes this book a must-read. Learning more about the organization that she has founded and how she has turned her life around is a really miracle of life. Hopefully, governmental changes have been and are being made to never let this kind of situation happen again.

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
Definitely a new way to communicate!

This book was different than anything I've read before. Living the life of a foster child and the many problems encountered by Victoria opened up a whole new picture of the world for me. How she dealt with her life and what the reader finally sees at the end of the book left many questions in my mind. Diffenbaugh's writing was superb; characters and setting marvelous; ideas and questions for the most part answered. Much to discuss after reading this book. Also much to worry about!!!

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Adventurous
The Gods of Gotham

A brilliant story about the beginning of the NYC police department and the first detectives. Characters are well written, storyline is full of mystery, and the ending is surprising. This is a book that is a little slow to start, but gets rolling and doesn't stop.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful
Harold Fry's Pilgrimage

This will be one of my favorite books of the year. Along with Harold, the reader learns much about the difficulties in life and how these difficulties can turn into successes. The author develops a strong story along with a beautiful setting. Follow Harold in his journey and find out how he begins to understand himself and those around him. So much to discuss in this book. Your bookclub will love it.

Goodbye for Now: A Novel by Laurie Frankel
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Fun
Goodbye for Now

Even though this book was fiction, the premise behind the story is something that could/might happen in the future. Technology is advancing at such rapid speed perhaps we might be able to "talk" to our dead loved ones via the computer in the near future. The message in this story got me to thinking how our memories of those who have died might or might not provide us with something more with which to "hang on." Would that allow us just a little more time to mourn? This was an interesting story, sad in parts, yet it gave me something to definitely think about.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Gone Girl

Flynn did an excellent writing job with this unique book. The characters were believable and I couldn't decide whether I liked or hated them. She kept the reader moving forward wanting to know more of the details of this couple's life and who was really telling the truth. I thought the ending was a little unfinished - maybe there's a sequel coming next? If you're looking for a different type of story, one with real life and mystery toss in for good measure, this is the book you should read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful
One of the best books I've read thisyear

I found this book one that left me with much to think about. Where will my own journey take me? How can I better understand those who are affecting my life? How does my past affect my future? This book gave me a new perspective on how one man's past directly affected his future. The surprises the reader discovers are profound and the courage that Harold Fry developed makes this story a solid, believable tale. It will be one book that I will reread and learn more from the second time around.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Inspiring
The Story of Beautiful Girl

An eye-opening novel about the institutions for the mentally retarded and the terrible conditions that were found in these "schools." The characters are well-developed and the story is amazing. A must read for bookclubs.

Home Front: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Inspiring
Home Front

I thought this was one of Hannah's best books! I learned so much about the heartache of war and how families are affected. I appreciate our military and what they do for us even more now that I've read this book. I loved the characters and felt their emotions right along with them. Everyone should read this book. Be sure you have some Kleenex handy though!

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H Balson
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Inspiring
Once We Were Brothers

This story was creative and persuasive. However, after reading several other books on WWII and the Holocaust (Invisible Bridge, Suite Francaise, City of Thieves), I felt this novel lacked the writing expertise that could pull the story to a higher level. The characters and details could have been explored and developed a little more. But, overall, I enjoy this interpretation of the Holocaust from a more "current" point of view rather than during the war itself.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Insightful, Interesting
What Alice Forgot

After waking up after a fall at the gym, Alice has forgotten ten years of her life. How this affects her current life is what the story is based on. I liked how this "bump" on the head has made her a better person. Not only is Alice changed but also how she see the people and actions going on around her. I thought this was a unique story and allows the reader to think about how their life could/might change for the better or worse. if something like this happened to them.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Optimistic
Another Piece of My Heart

This is a story of family, love, and motherhood. There is something for everyone in this book, especially if you have gone through a divorce and have had to deal with step-children. Love is sometimes not enough to hold together a marriage especially when the family you marry into have children unwilling to accept the new partner. A wonderful book that adds much to the story of love and family. Just when you think you know what will happen, there is a new surprise. Women will enjoy this book.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Optimistic
My Beloved World

This was a memoir about an amazing, brilliant, energetic woman and her dedicated life and determination. From an early life of poverty to the being selected as the first Hispanic woman to be appointed as one of the Supreme Court justices, the book reads easily and quickly and provides positive motivation for everyone to learn by. A wonderful woman and book not to be missed.

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

When a young 14 year old girl loses a close relative due to AIDS she is overcome with grief. She learns more about her uncle through the relationship she develops with his partner. The story shows how a family falls apart due to jealousy and secrets that are discovered throughout the book. The story goes much deeper than I can describe in this brief review. I would definitely recommend it as a good book to discuss and learn about families and how they overcome the secrets that they hide.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Adventurous
The Snow Child

This was a very different type of book which our book club chose. It's part fiction, part fantasy. It's about communication with others, learning to know oneself, and loving those whom we don't understand. Since this book took place in 1920 up in the cold wilderness of Alaska, the reader already was walking into unknown territory (for the most part since most of us haven't lived up there!). Trying to figure out what was real and what wasn't made the book a page-turner. We had a great discussion with this book and many of our questions still have gone unanswered because of the multitude of opinions. But, reading this book was a must. It was unique and imaginative and was a great piece of literature.

The Ghost Bride: A Novel by Yangsze Choo
 
Interesting, Slow
The Ghost Bride

This story focused around Chinese life, culture and customs. Lil Lan's family is poor and she has been chosen to be a bride of a rich family's dead son. She of course refuses and goes into the spirit world to find out who murdered this son. The story is slow and much revolves around the myths of the Chinese ghost world. I found it slow and difficult to finish.

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Beautiful, Insightful
Claire of the Sea Light

This story revolved around the people of a small village in Haiti. I liked the characters and the development of the story around them. Even though the story is titled about Claire, she isn\\\'t one of the stronger characters. Give the book a try; you\\\'ll probably like it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Insightful
The Rosie Project

Don is a genius scientist of genetics. But because he has Asperger\\\'s he is socially challenged. He would like a wife so with a 16 page survey he begins interviewing women. Of course his relationships with women are few and far between because of this very in-depth survey. Then Rosie shows up and ask Don to help find her father using DNA samples. Rosie is our hero because she helps Don develop better social mannerisms and shows him how to improve himself and become an all-around wonderful person. Will a romance develop between the two of them? The Rosie Project will tell you all about it!

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
Wonder

When a child with a deformity attends a new school, how will the other students accept him? This was a beautiful story of how adults and children grow and develop love and friendship through the heartache of Auggie and his experiences dealing with the teasing and bullying caused by his facial deformities. A must read for everyone.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Adventurous
The Cuckoo's Calling

Written by J.K. Rowling. Suspenseful. Great characters. Rowling made it difficult to guess the murderer. Very intriguing. Supposedly a sequel is in the planning.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Insightful, Addictive
Eleanor and Park

A beautifully written book about the first loves of two 16 year olds. Our whole book club loved it!

I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
I Am Livia

If you're into historical fiction of ancient times, you'll probably like this novel. I knew nothing of Livia and I actually knew very little of the history of Rome. This book definitely gave me a new outlook of women and their role in Rome, especially after the death of Julius Caesar. Livia is a strong woman who gentle helps Julius Caesar's adopted son, Octavianus, rule and conquer the Roman Empire. Good research and history by Phyllis Smth.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Informative, Fun
Discoveries still happen!

I've read all of Preston's fiction and love them. But he is also an amazing non-fiction author. He has been involved in other research discoveries, but this one would prove to be the most controversial. Many archeologists said this was not a "real" dig as it was being videotaped and not handled in the proper manner. Preston's book detailed everything precisely and was exciting and scary for a modern-day adventure. Preston was originally associated with the Museum of Natural History so has lots of experience with artifacts and history. This was a great read especially if you're into science and nature and history!

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