Member Profile

Name : Peggy K.
Gender : Female

My Reviews

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
The Husband's Secret

Book depicts long-term effect of decisions made and actions taken--whether purposeful or unintended. Written with humor, self-deprecation and vulnerability it shows the consequences of secrets kept and those confessed.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fun, Insightful
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Historical fiction about Texas at the turn of the 20th century and one girl's journey to her true self.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Slow
The Remains of The Day

A story both beautiful and frustrating, as Stevens devotes his life to professional commitment and formality at the loss of intimate and loving relationships.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting

Fiona is a gifted woman--genius as a judge and artistic as a musician, but has somehow lost her ability to connect with compassion and empathy on a personal level. This leads to a life crisis and tragedy.

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Engrossing story of survival

Ripped from the headlines story of a young woman's kidnapping and confinement for seven years as told by her 5-year old son.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Orphan Train

Compelling historical fiction that brings together two women from different time periods who share similar experiences. Their intertwining stories inspire each to resolution of past hurts and optimism for the future.

Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk
Graphic, Dark, Dramatic
Invisible Monsters

Not for the faint of heart. A graphic, disturbing novel of damaged characters attempting to eradicate the invisible monsters within themselves and those who have caused them pain.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
Everything I Never Told You - A Cautionary Tale

Parents trying too hard to realize their dreams through one child at the expense of the others, never explaining their motivations and oblivious of needs of all. Tragedy ensues. A study in how-not-to-parent.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Life Changing, Dramatic

Not well written, but dramatic depiction of the life of a woman in the Mideast--lack of opportunities, freedom, and potential of extreme punishment are way of life.

Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic

Beautifully written coming-of-age story involving two young people from diverse backgrounds set during the time of WWII.

Insightful, Boring, Pointless

Not one of Anne Tyler's best efforts. The usual quirky, dysfunctional family slice of life, but without the thread that draws them all together. The title is hardly touched on. It probably should have been named "The Whitshank House".

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Insightful, Beautiful
A Man Called Ove

Ove appears to be a grumpy, intolerant, anti-social man, hiding his true nature of generosity, kindness and sacrifice. Laugh out loud funny at times and heart-rending at others, this is a story of redemption and love.

Informative, Interesting, Insightful

Group felt this book's story was overshadowed by writer's ego, that is was a bit too "textbook", and overly detailed--so slow.

Book Club Recommended
Dark, Difficult, Interesting
Memory Man

Entertaining book with many twists and turns. Suspend reality and logic for best reading experience.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dark
The Devil in The White City

An historic account of the building of the Chicago World's Fair and the serial killer who lurked in its shadow--a very detailed, but informative account of that period in history.

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Informative, Interesting
Cat's Claw

The 20th book in the China Bayles mystery series and a departure from lead character China to Sheila. I prefer the story of China and her family and friends, but I have read the entire series and enjoy the mysteries and the setting in central Texas.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Optimistic
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

A life-changing walk across England changes Harold's perceptions of his life, marriage and friendships.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
The Girl On The Train

A book with many twists and women characters who are both unlikable and compelling.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Wives of Los Alamos

An interesting story of the experiences of women living in the compound of Los Alamos during the secret development project that resulted in the atom bomb.

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Informative, Interesting

One woman's journey to find her true self and discover a family she didn't know she had; a wonderful story of family life leading up to and during WWII.

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Confusing, Fantastic
Kitchens of The Great Midwest

A book written in short stories that bring all the characters together in an epic dinner.

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Dramatic
The Bookseller

Characters and location very well described; loved Paris location. Intriguing story though some elements left unresolved. Plan to read additional books in series.

Delicious Foods: A Novel by James Hannaham
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dark, Dramatic
Delicious Foods

A dark story about slavery in many forms--addiction, unscrupulous businesses, and self-imposed. Not an easy or comfortable read, but very well-written and characters well-developed.

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

A beautifully written story of love, betrayal and hope coupled with medical drama in a place and time of cultural and historical significance.

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Informative, Insightful
Elephant Company

An adventure story of one man's quest to understand and improve the lives of the working elephants in Burma after WWI.

The Nightingale: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Inspiring
The Nightingale

A beautifully written book about two sisters who experienced life in occupied France during World War II--one as a member of the Resistance and one who stayed home and tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for her children. It is an emotional story filled with horror, sacrifice and triumph.

Interesting, Dramatic, Epic

Our book club found the book tried to cover too much information and yet left out a lot of Cal's story after his transition. Less than 50% would recommend to a friend. The discussion, however, was more robust and energetic than usual.

Dramatic, Insightful, Informative
The Underground Railroad

The idea of an actual underground railroad was implausible. Writer did well painting mental picture, although style was disjointed and didn't flow. Characters didn't come alive. Disappointing.

The Dry: A Novel by Jane Harper
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
Murder Mystery in Australia

A very graphic and disturbing start to the novel leads to a story of murder committed long ago and at present. Setting of drought in Australia and its effect on the characters is central to the story. Told in flashbacks and true to most mysteries there are a lot of potential perpetrators. Many twists and turns.

A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar
Graphic, Scary, Dark
A Man Lies Dreaming - Not for Us

A difficult book to read with two parallel stories; one of a Jew Shomer who is former writer of pulp fiction and Wolf, a private eye in London, who just happens to be Hitler after the "fall". It is very violent, explicit sexually and scatological to an extreme. Some members felt the writing was exceptional, but the subject matter shocking.

Stormy Weather: A Novel by Paulette Jiles
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Dramatic
Stormy Weather

Family struggles in 1930's Texas during depression and dustbowl highlight the perseverance of three strong and brave women who take risks to support one another. Writing was not as focused as "News of The World" and there were some geographical errors, but overall an optimistic and satisfying story.

Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Epic
Labyrinth of The Spirits

Zafon's writing is exquisite; so many quotable quotes. The story was a compelling mystery, sometimes graphically brutal. There is much to be learned in this novel about the history of Spain during Franco and the impact of that brutal regime on each of the characters. The central themes of the book are the importance and value of love and literature.

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Poorly Written
Fascinating Memoir

Book not well written and disjointed in places, but is an eye-opening revelation of the repression of women in Iran. Masih is a feminist/activist/web crusader who displayed bravery and perseverance in the pursuit of personal freedom. She is not a particularly likable character, somewhat a klutz and not cut out for motherhood, but she is driven to find independence and her own special place in the world.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting

Characters well developed; story well-written. Plot rolled out in very readable chronology. There is much to be learned about eating disorders from the characters and the treatment facility staff.

Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Boring, Confusing
Manhattan Beach

The Cottage Readers Book Club gives this book 4 stars and recommends this historical fiction novel. Some members were unable to get into it, but those who did found it compelling and intriguing with multiple story lines and a strong main character.

There There by Tommy Orange
Dark, Insightful, Boring
There There

The Balcones Book Club's did not feel this was a good book club book: negative stereotypes, hopelessness, contrived plot, graphic violence and rough language. On the positive side, characters looking for place in changed world with no support system, descriptive expression of the urban Indian experience, and beautifully written, but not for the distracted reader.

Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Addictive
Balcones Book Club Review of Where The Crawdads Sing

Book was well written and very description. Characters were well developed and relatable. Story might have pushed plausibility a bit, but the book club found the book very readable, engaging, and touching.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Difficult
Review of Small Great Things by Cottage Readers Book Club

Book written from three perspectives. It is thought provoking, educational and visceral. Raised awareness, changed perspective. Will never look at a band-aid the same again. Liked the title and the quote that was its basis. Excellent treatise on racism and bias. Ruth very believable character; proud prickly and controlled. Kennedy becomes Ruth's student on the black experience.

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Adventurous
Review of Erotic the Balcones Book Club

Some of the members of our group were offended by the explicitness of the widow's stories, while others found the book delightful. There were many elements of the book--coming of age, cultural enlightenment, mystery, and finding the strength to face fears. Writing the erotic stories allowed the widows to express themselves more deeply; their actions were symbolic of their repression. The widows were funny, endearing, and very creative. Liked the growth in Nikki's character as she learned to accept, empathize and embrace these women.

The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty
Confusing, Insightful, Pointless
The Sellout Review by Cottage Readers

Most could not finish the book; writing style was difficult and presentation offensive. It is a book about the politics of racial betrayal. There is a lot of vulgarity; the book if not for the faint hearted or light hearted. Lots of great quotes, e.g. "I plead human." It was a hard read; crafting of the book was brilliant.

Informative, Insightful, Dramatic
Bluebird Bluebird Review of Balcones Book Club

Book is modern crime fiction overlaid by racial issues. Main character (Daren) has conflicted identify between his black culture and his role as a Texas Ranger. Writer's style calls to mind jazz and the blues. Uncles who raised Daren were on opposite ends of the law ideologically--lawman and lawyer... Plot was complex with many characters, twists and historic connections. Those who did not like the book felt there were too many characters and obscure connections.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
Review of The Immortalists by Cottage Readers Book Club

Really liked the way the author told each character's story. Identified with Simon and that era in time. Interesting family and sibling dynamics. Thoughtful concept on fate, if we can control our destiny and if there is always an opportunity to change. Some members found the plot confusing and implausible.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Inspiring
Review of The Woman in Cabin 10 by Balcones Book Club

This was not a favorite. The members found the plot contrived and the characters unlikeable. Felt that there have been too many recent books in which the female protagonist is an alcoholic, whiny and incapable of making good decisions. On the positive side, some found the mystery intriguing and liked the writer's style of interspersing e-messaging in the story.

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Addictive
Review of The Great Alone by Balcones Book Club

Captivating, compelling story with twists, turns and surprises. Issues of PTSD, domestic abuse, and living off the grid. Characters well-developed and writing very descriptive. Large Marge a favorite character. Character of mother immature and selfish. Title very appropriate to the content.

What Ever Happened to Mr. MAJIC? by Rod Pennington, Jeffery A. Martin
Unconvincing, Confusing, Interesting
Review by Balcones Country Club Book Club

In general the club did not like the book; unrealistic plot and characters. A self-help book on family dynamics. Mystery was like a scavenger hunt created by unsympathetic mother. Dialogue was catchy. Liked all the mystery book references.

Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Inspiring
Review by Balcones Country Club Book Club

The book club was split on book. Some felt is was an unrealistic depiction of the holocaust. The book was written as a screenplay and many of the trite expressions did not fit the era. Basically a love story about a determined man who would do whatever necessary to save himself and his love.

Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
The Family Upstairs Review by Balcones Book Club

The group liked this suspenseful, psychological thriller and felt the twists and turns kept the reader guessing. The house and the family unit disintegrate in equal measure during the telling of this story. However, the ending indicated chance for hope and family connection.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Dramatic
Review by Balcones Country Club Book Club

The group felt the book moved rather slowly until about midway. Characters were well developed and very human. Beautifully written with vibrant prose. Very much a book for music lovers. Would make a great textbook for creative writing class.

The Dutch House: A Novel by Ann Patchett
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
Review of The Dutch House by Balcones Book Club

Those who listened to the book really like Tom Hanks as narrator and the voice of Danny. Many thought the story sometimes confusing because of the moving back and forth in the timeline. Book is about the relationship between the siblings and their connection to their home (The Dutch House). Characterizations and relationships were very thought provoking. Her writing is very descriptive. Liked the resolution at the end.

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

A sensational page-turner, heart-rending and brutal--a tale of escape, abandonment, subordinate roles of women and finally of overcoming and self-awareness via education. Sometimes difficult to read because of brutality. Some readers found story exaggerated and implausible. All were impressed with author's tenacity and accomplishment.

Dark, Insightful, Slow
Review of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Balcones Book Club

Book club members found the book a difficult read due to long stream of consciousness sentences and paragraphs describing the inane. Main character conflicted in all aspects of his life while searching for his identity and place in the world. Some did find nuggets of inspiration--just like visit to dentist, can be painful but rewarding.

American Dirt: A Novel by Jeanine Cummins
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Adventurous
Review of American Dirt by Balcones Book Club

Members of the book club found the book well-written, the characters well-developed. We found the writing descriptive and her story believable. We identified with Lydia and were empathetic to her and the other migrants she encountered in her journey. Agreed that it is better to read the book first and form one's own impression before considering the criticisms and controversies of many.

Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Insightful
Balcones Book Club Review of The Summer of '69

Most members of the book club enjoyed the nostalgic elements of the book, the writing style, the growth of the characters from the beginning of the book and the interweaved stories of each. Criticisms were that it was somewhat of a soap opera, simplistic and that it omitted the racial and war protests occurring at that time.

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Informative
Review by Balcones Book Club

Members found the writing beautifully done, the plot intriguing and the characters well developed. Criticisms were the denseness of the text, the confusing time line and the changes in characters names.

The Same Sky: A Novel by Amanda Eyre Ward
Insightful, Informative, Dramatic
Review by Balcones Book Club

Book was similar to American Dirt, but lacked the same depth of story and characters. The sub-story about BBQ in Austin was interesting.

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