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Name : Barbara P.

My Reviews

A Painted House by John Grisham
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Boring, Pointless
A Painted House by John Grisham

Interesting story about a boy growing up on a cotton farm in rural Arkansas in 1952. Well written and suspenseful but would have been more believable if the narrator had been about twelve years old instead of seven. Liked by 11 of 13 members; the two who didn't like it were John Grisham fans who didn't think that this book was as good as his legal thrillers.

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

All fourteen of us liked this book, which doesn't usually happen. We enjoyed the characters and learned a lot about what was happening in the United States during World War II.

The Double Bind: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Brilliant
The Double Bind

Our club was about equally divided between finding the book a real page turner and being able to put it down. The surprise ending helped make sense out of most of the events, but we had one of our best discussions ever as we gave our interpretations of what had actually happened. We agreed that discussing the book was very helpful and enhanced our enjoyment of it.

House Rules: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult fans loved this book; others not so much. Ten women attended our discussion, and the average rating was 3.6. The subject matter led to a good discussion, but everyone agreed that the book was very repetitive due to the events being told through the perspective of each of the main characters. The plot was unrealistic since it relied on the adults in the book failing to display the curiosity and intelligence of normal people.

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Gone Girl

This is a very suspenseful psychological thriller that is well crafted. However, many of us were disappointed in the ending. Also, as a church group we found some of the language to be too graphic .

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Interesting, Informative

The Armenian genocide is a story that needed to be told, and Chris Bohjalian has done it in a way that will remain in readers\\\' minds for a long time. Some members found the novel a bit confusing because of the constant switching back and forth between the present and the past, but overall we deemed it worthwhile to read. The graphic depiction of man\\\'s inhumanity to man was offset by the good- heartedness of other characters.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Dramatic, Beautiful
A True Classic

A few members thought the language was too flowery while others enjoyed the change of pace from modern writing. The story itself was captivating.

Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Informative
Not for the Faint-Hearted

We all thought that the book dragged at the beginning when discussing the childhood of Louie Zamperini, but after that it was hard to put down. It is an amazing story that shows both man's inhumanity to man and his goodness.

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
Somewhat unrealistic

We found the meaning of flowers during the Victorian age to be interesting, but we were skeptical that people's lives could be affected by the type of flower that they received. We also felt that a healthy Caucasian baby who was abandoned at three weeks of age would have been adopted right away instead of spending her childhood in foster care. We were unable to relate to some of the actions taken by a few of the characters, but they did provide fodder for an interesting discussion. Overall the twelve of us who read the book gave it a 3.5.

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Brilliant
Fascinating but it's not for everyone

We all learned a lot about the past presidents from this book. The authors were very meticulous and detailed, sometimes too much so. It will be a very important resource for historians, but some of our members could not get through it. The ten who did finish it gave it a rating of 4..

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Too Technical for Some

This was a fascinating and informative book about events that most of us knew very little about. However, we felt the author spent too much time on the scientific aspects of the operations and not enough on the lives of the women, which, after all, is the subject of the book according to the title. This book is more appropriate for clubs that like to read nonfiction. My members, who are more accustomed to novels, found this book slow at first, but most of them liked it once they got into it.

Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Great Book for Discussion

The actions of the characters led to a great discussion of what we would have done under similar circumstances. The ending came as a complete surprise and also elicited a lot of discussion.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Brilliant, Inspiring
For Religious Freethinkers

This provocative, well-written novel examines the question of who will receive eternal salvation. Although it was first published in 1941, the ideas that are expressed are just as relevant today--maybe even more so considering how many people have rejected organized religion. Because the author was a keen observer of people and places, the story is full of interesting characters and situations that subtly lead readers to draw their own conclusions about what constitutes a God-pleasing life..

The Traitor's Wife: A Novel by Allison Pataki
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
New Perspective on Benedict Arnold's Treason

This was an easy read because the writing was not as sophisticated as some of us would have liked. We did all agree, however, that the author provided a different view of Benedict Arnold and his motives for trying to give West Point to the British. Not all the scenes were convincing for the time period, but in general the book was interesting enough for a good discussion.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Fun
Charming Tale of Life on the Island of Guernsey

After reading this novel we all agreed that we would like to visit the Island of Guernsey in the English Channel. The authors created colorful, interesting characters who were able to survive German occupation during World War II through their wits and camaraderie.

Dramatic, Fun, Confusing
Not one of John Grisham\\\'s finest

There were too many characters, and the actions some of them took were not plausible. Also, there was not enough suspense to overcome the boring parts. A couple of members did like it, which is why the rating averaged out to a \\\"3\\\".

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
Highest rated book

This book received more acclaim than any other that our group has done. Sue Monk Kidd's wonderful writing allows the reader to empathize with all the yearnings, sufferings and joys experienced by the characters. The fact that the heroine sisters had actually lived and accomplished what they did made the book even more thought provoking and unforgettable.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Dramatic
Mostly interesting but boring in parts

Our all-female group enjoyed reading the personal stories of the young men and the historical vignettes. However, we all agreed that too much space was devoted to descriptions of water and weather conditions, composition of the shells and the daily practices. A reader could skip over most of those sections and still fully appreciate the heroics of the boys in the boat.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
Mixed reaction

While half our members thought it was a well-crafted mystery, the other half found the characters so unlikable that they didn't care what happened to them. Our average rating was 3.7, so the book is only slightly recommended.

Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
More than just a dog story

This book ended up being one of the most polarizing ones we have read because some of our members felt that the author interjected too much of himself and not enough of the dog into the story. The average rating of 14 people came out to 3.5. Former Army Captain Luis Carlos Montalván was greatly affected by the two tours of duty he served in Iraq, and he shares his troublesome memories and experiences as he advocates on behalf of all veterans. He credits his remarkable service dog, Tuesday, with restoring his life, and it is clear that there is a special bond between them.

Pegasus: A Novel by Danielle Steel
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Sweeping historical novel

This novel started in Nazi Germany in 1938 and ended in modern-day America with a couple of stops in England in between. It provided an authentic picture of the times, and the story of the Lippizaner horses was especially informative and moving. The last few chapters covered a large time span as the author tried to tie up all the loose ends, and some of our members felt that the ending was too contrived. Others, however, appreciated learning what had happened to the characters who had touched their hearts.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
History Light

Although nonfiction this book was written in the style of a murder mystery, which most of the group enjoyed. A few thought it lacked depth, and all of us women felt that too many pages were devoted to the battles leading up to the end of the Civil War, which made for slow reading at the beginning. This book was geared toward Bill O'Reilly's audience, not to serious students of history.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Gloomy, Dramatic
Another Unforgettable Tale by Jamie Ford

This second novel by Jamie Ford lived up to expectations. The characters were well written, and their actions were understandable even if we didn't always approve of them. A very satisfying, emotional reading experience.

Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
Profound and Moving

Although the novel took place during a dark period in European history, it is full of hope that life will get better. The book portrays some people at their worst but also shows us that there is kindness in most people and many who are willing to take risks to help others. The characters are well drawn and believable, and the stories within the story are interesting, suspenseful and thought provoking. The main criticism of the book was that it moved too quickly back and forth between the characters.

Difficult, Slow
Only for Lovers of Classics

This novel, which takes place in England in 1910, is full of metaphors and symbolism. The narrator constantly philosophizes. The characters are not very likable. I would recommend it for those book clubs that enjoy erudite discussions but not for clubs that focus on storylines.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Addictive, Dramatic
Suspenseful and Fun at Same Time

This book was hard to put down. The characters are interesting, and trying to figure out who was killed at the school Trivia Night held our interest throughout the novel. Although it takes place in Australia, the school, teachers and parents will be familiar to Americans.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Informative But Graphic

The book was interesting and the characters well drawn, but there were a lot of gaps in the story that left us wanting answers. There also were more graphic bedroom scenes than were necessary for us to understand the actions of the characters.

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