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Name : Anna P.
Occupation : Retired

My Reviews

Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting

We discussed the book Molokai by Alan Brennert. Scores for rating the book ranged from a 3 to 4.5 on a scale of 5. Everyone thought the author did a very good job in his character development except perhaps for the Rachel’s sister Sarah. We felt that we wanted more development about how she felt after betraying her sister’s leprosy. We also wondered why her character was not developed more when Rachel finally went to live with her after her release from the leprosy island. Noted how differently the mother treated the brother’s case of leprosy and wondered why she never attempted to make contact with Rachel. Why did the father make up stories about the family to Rachel--- to spare her feelings???? I think we were all glad that Rachel was able to be reunited with her daughter even though she had not been able to the live the type of life Rachel and Kenji visualized for her when they gave her up for adoption. Discussed a comparison of leprosy to Aids. Talked about how the nurses and Sisters never contracted leprosy even though they were in daily contact with the lepers.

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Insightful
No 1 Ladies Detective Agency

At our meeting on April 4th we discussed the book #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Members in attendance all enjoyed the book and rated it either a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5. The book included multiple crimes to solve. We noticed themes of a belief in witchcraft, a sense of nationalism, and a suspicious attitude about men. The only case she worked on where she was fooled by the evidence was about a teenage girl and it was the girl who fooled her not a male character. There was the overall belief that women are more perceptive than men and that men just nod their head but did not really listen. The book is the first in a series by the author.

Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Informative, Interesting
The Jefferson Key

We discussed the book The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry. Members of the group rated the book as follows: #4=3 members, #3= 1 member, #2= 1 member and 1 person was not able to finish the book. Comments included that some had difficulty following all the different characters. Most of the chapters were short and therefore made it generally readable. Anna and Leigh who have read previous books by the author noted that this was not his best book in their opinions since it did not include as much historic background as normal. Mary Ann didn’t like the amount of violence and fighting included in the story.

The book is a story about a group of four families known as the Commonwealth who believed that their families had permission to act as privateers rather than pirates because they had Letters of Marque approved by Congress in the U.S. Constitution Article 1 Section 8 and then signed by President George Washington. Over the years, it appears that the four presidents who were assassinated may have been done so at the urging of the Commonwealth. The current family members are having legal difficulty proving that the Letters of Marque they have are valid documents since President Andrew Jackson removed the supporting documents for their claim and hid them using a code written using the cipher wheel used by President Thomas Jefferson (hence the title).

Leigh brought information about the U.S. Constitution Article 1 Section 8, Letters of Marque, cipher wheels (including photos of the one used by Jefferson), and photos of gibbets since they all provided historical background for the story

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Adventurous, Romantic
The Book of Lost Fragrances

The Book of Lost Fragrances was rated 4,4,3.5,3,2,3. (Sharon was not there.) That is all I wrote down! Now for what I remember: While most of us found the book interesting, it was also a bit confusing at times. The change in story locations and time periods seemed to be a bit of a problem. Most of us liked the historical aspects of the story -- Cleopatra, Egypt, sewers of Paris, skeletons, etc. We found it interesting that Jac believed in mythology but not reincarnation. That led to a discussion of reincarnation and how a Christian could accept the idea of it. Dorothy told us about Dr. Brian Weiss's book Many Lives, Many Masters that tells about his patients who had unresolved issues from a previous life. The Book of Lost Fragrances had many different conflicts going on at the same time. The Chinese involvement seemed a bit odd and almost as if it had been put in and connected to the story, but not well-thought out by the author. We had a lively discussion on what scents triggered memories for each of us. Many had special perfumes they loved to wear!

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

This month we discussed the book Defending Jacob by William Landay. Everyone rated the book either a 4 or 4.5 and everyone seemed to agree that the book held their attention. Andy may have thought he was a good father to Jacob, but we agreed that he was not and wore blinders when it came to his son. Andy and his wife Laurie seemed to have a good relationship and they discussed many things but as the story progressed Andy didn’t pay attention to the clues that his wife was going into depression over everything. She was amazed when she found out about Andy’s father when the idea of genetics and a murder gene was raised as a defense for Jacob. We felt that Neal Logiudice as the prosecuting attorney really wanted to get back at Andy who had been his mentor earlier in his career. We felt that the most damning piece of evidence was the finger print in the first crime and the stories posted on the internet. The blood on Jacobs swimsuit when the girl was killed during the beach vacation was another indication. If Jacob had not been accused for killing Ben Rifkin, we felt that he would have gone on to kill as an adult and would have still been on the wrong path in life. Print type in the book changed in an attempt to let the reader know if they were reading about the current events under review or events from the past trial. We did not discuss the ending since Carol is still reading the book and we did not want to spoil the end for her.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Life Changing, Adventurous
The Breath of God

Learning about the Mystery of Issa was fascinating! The author's web site and questions were very thought provoking and led our discussion in many different directions. It is a MUST read!

A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring, Romantic
A woman of substance

Inspiring book of Emma who overcomes many obstacles. I\\\'m addicted & will read the other books in this series

Unconvincing, Dark, Pointless
The Wrong Mother

We discussed The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah and gave it a collective rating of \\\"3\\\" with scores ranging from 4 to 2.5. Most of us believed the book did not live up to some of the reviews, \\\"Shockingly (and refreshingly) blunt riffs about the violent emotions of motherhood and familial yearnings of men...\\\" To some, the main conflict was often sidelined by the extra drama of the detectives\\\' lives; most of us did not know this book is part of a series that features the same detectives and focuses on their lives and work. We found it distracting from the main plot. Not all of the main characters were fully developed and some of their actions were questionable -- needing a break from work, child care, and family leading to a weeklong \\\"vacation\\\" and extra-marital affair.? Perhaps since this is written by an English author and takes place there, our perceptions are different. Jonathon Hey would be another example of a character that is not fully developed. Overall, none of us would probably read another book by Sophie Hannah.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful
Me Before You

A well-written novel on a serious topic with many light, funny moments! Our club loved it with 4 people rating it a 4 & 4 rating it a 4.5. It offers insight & understanding into the life of a quadriplegic. A beautiful, sad, touching book.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Interesting
Sycamore Row

The book Sycamore Row was liked by everyone -- it had a 4.5 rating. Those of us who have read John Grisham, felt this book was back to his top quality writing. Many of us had stopped reading his books, so it was delightful that this book, a sequel to A Time to Kill, was so well written. This is almost a historical novel of race in the South. The characters, some from previous novels -- Jake, Lucien, Harry Rex, Judge Atlee, and some new -- Seth, Portia, Lettie, were very believable and well thought out. Most felt we would see some of these characters in future novels. The legality of a Holographic Will was explored, along with the greed of the lawyers, investigators, witnesses, and, of course, the family! Most of us did not guess correctly the connection between Seth & Lettie until later in the novel. A well-written, interesting book!

Missing You by Harlan Coben
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Scary
Missing You

A book filled with lots of twists & turns. Makes you think more about technology in our society & its really dark side! The characters are interesting & well developed. A novel you don't want to put down.

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

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

Adventurous, Inspiring, Informative

Born to Be Public by Greg Mania
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Graphic
Born to be Public

It's a coming of age story with a twist. He's gay, accepted by his family, bullied at school and saved by his wit! He's looking for acceptance and love from his peers and striving to be true to his own sense of style and humor. Social media and the New York City environment are important in understanding how and why he does things. Our club is an older, mid-west, more conservative group that enjoys exploring books with diverse topics and this book was exactly that!

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