Member Profile

Name : Melissa H.

My Reviews

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Unconvincing, Insightful, Interesting
Be True to Yourself

Our club enjoyed reading and discussing this book immensely. It touched each of us in one way or another. Our discussions centered around one of the many book's themes: that one must be true to themselves to be happy, to be loved and to love others.

Cover the Butter by Carrie Kabak

Cover the Butter was a story about relationships and honesty with not only one's self but each other. Maybe not so much honesty, but confronting the issues and problems at hand instead of sticking one's head in the sand or "covering the butter". The club had mixed reviews, but overall it was an enjoyable read. There was little analyzing over the book itself, but many discussions were sparked regarding mother/daughter relationships, women's roles in the 60's - 70's, honesty between friends (do you tell them when they are making a mistake?). All agreed it was refreshing to see the main character strengthen throughout the book and be true to herself.

Sea Glass: A Novel by Anita Shreve
Dramatic, Interesting

Enjoyable book - club had mixed feelings, but overall liked it. Lacked substance to analyze the book, but led to many conversations about the Depression, women's roles at that time, the weakness and underlying strength of the dominant female character of the book, symbolism of the sea glass - protection or obsession?
Possibly the differing view points prevented the reader from getting to know any character in depth. Still an enjoyable read.

Would you Rekindle an Old Friendship?

Really enjoyed this book - liked her writing, the visuals, the concept of all time existing at once. Brought back a lot of memories of friendship past and present and questions about whether or not to rekindle some of those friendships, or what I would do if an old friend reached out to me. Thoughts of my current friendships, those that are strong and weak.

Fun, Insightful
Heartbreakingly Lovely

Good book as it stuck with me days and weeks after reading it. There was an overwhelming sense of sadness and despondency; a permeating loneliness in all the characters including the animals. Questions of animal cruelty, who looks out for the animals - who do not have free will.

The Blue Zone: A Novel by Andrew Gross

This was a good, suspensful book, with great insight into the Witness Protection Program. It was very Pattersonesque. Wouldn't probably not hesitate to read another by Gross.

Interesting, Dramatic, Epic
Complexity of adolescence and family regardless of your gender

I really enjoyed this book! It's so much more than a story about a hermaphrodite! The historical aspect of the novel itself is enough to want to read it, but also the author's master of both the male and female adolescent voice and the lyrical writing style made this one of my favorite books.

Interesting, Dark
What is evil?

I believe this line from the book summarizes the story: "The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out".

Martin paints a picture so visual; it could be Anytown, USA. It was a beautiful, but sad and disturbing story. Questions come up as to what is evil? Action? The manipulation of people into an evil act? Or simply taking no responsibility when you know or should know there is an evil end?

Confusing, Interesting, Beautiful
History (or was it Past, Present or Future) of Love?

This book was beautiful, sad and lovely, but hard to follow. I liked Krauss' characters - Leo has been every fumbling old man I've seen since reading this story! The writing style for each (Leo/Alma) was a unique and enjoyable style. The chapters from the fictional "History" were original and thought provoking. Yet following the history of the tale the way the author laid it out made for a frustrating read.

Thr3e by Ted Dekker
Dramatic, Graphic
Can you guess how it ends??

One of the best suspense books of all time! I've yet to meet anyone who can totally figure out the ending! Even reading it a second time I thoroughly enjoyed trying to catch the author with some unexplained event, but still was able to close the book and say, WOW!! The movie doesn't do the book justice at all, but I'm not sure if you could!

Adventurous, Optimistic, Inspiring

Heartwarming tale about friendships that seem to endure. Something most girls wish they had and for some they do get to experience such a great bond; even rarer are those ones who make it last into adulthood. Story is very easy to read, sends a sweet simple message about acceptance of others.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Romantic, Beautiful, Dramatic
Disappointed after all the hype

I read this because of all the hype surrounding it especially for book clubs. I can't say I was overly impressed. I've read similar books that had better character development and more exciting plots. The ending was disappointingly predictable. Though the read was easy even with the flashbacks and with the lack of explanation of the Austin references, it has sparked my desire to read the classic novels!

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
Makes you appreciate the life you had/have.

Really enjoyed this book. Sometimes I questioned the reality of all that happened to Jeanette, but in a post-Frey memoir publishing world, I feel this memoir would have been researched thoroughly. Reading what she and her siblings went through certainly makes me appreciate my life and the life that my mother gave me. The "traumatic" childhood I thought I experienced seems a lot less traumatic in light of some of Jeanette's experiences!! I find inspiration in Jeanette that she could rise from that upbringing to be successful and could find the path in her life that led her to an acceptance of the life her parents chose for themselves and their children

Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
I want an elephant for Christmas!

This was the second time I read this book and loved it just as much as the first time!!! It's actually two stories in one: young Jacob and old Jacob.
It's a timeless story that looks at the moral compasses of people in their treatment of animals, people in different classes and ethnicities and the elderly. The story flows in almost a suspense manner with wonderful humor and insight. This will be a treasured book on my bookshelf for years to come!

Informative, Gloomy, Scary
Obvious First Book

While this book sparked many conversations about the death penalty, the criminal justice system and prisoners with mental health issues, I felt the writing did not meet up to my expectations of a John Grisham book. The story itself was a heartbreaking account of not one, but many wrongful convictions, but Grisham seemed to have too many facts that he couldn't meld into the book in a way to keep the reader entertained.

Epic, Dramatic, Adventurous
Full of great characters and topics for discussion

While this book was very lengthy, the author did a great job of keeping the reader interested, which surprised me since it was a book about building a cathedral!

The book has a number of well-developed characters and the saga has many themes that generate great discussions for a book club.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Insightful
Puts it into perspective

An amazing life this young man has led. A difficult book to read simply b/c of the subject matter, but I think a necessary book. The author does a great job of laying out the facts, but not exaggerating the violence (could you possibly??). Still he sees beauty in the world and the imagery of nature is breathtaking.

A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Fun
Archer does it again!

Jeffrey Archer is always a good read! Twists and turns, revenge, red herrings, etc. Again, this book kept me entertained and intrigued from beginning to end!

Fun, Adventurous, Boring
Not a Shopper

I'm not a shopper nor a romantic, so nothing about this book appealed to me. If I didn't have to read it for a book club I could go my entire life without reading it or the sequels.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Romantic, Interesting, Beautiful
Expected More Depth

I'm not a romantic so the love story of Henry and Claire didn't appeal to me, but I expected there to be something more. Some literary depth to the novel. I was left very disappointed.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Boring, Insightful
Overall Well-Liked

Our members overall liked the book though some thought it was drawn out more than it needed to be in it's descriptions.

Churchill by Paul Johnson
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Interesting, Informative
Getting Started

Our members overall enjoyed this book. We are not a biography book club so this 200 page biography was a perfect fit for us. Sadly it seems to small a book to encompass all that Churchill did in his lifetime. At times the book seemed overwhelming with details and the author's presumption that the reader has knowledge of British History. But the overall view of Churchill's life is fascinating and is a good starter book for anyone wanting to delve into discovering Churchill.

The Bible Salesman: A Novel by Clyde Edgerton
Slow, Unconvincing, Fun
Light Comedic Read

I enjoyed this book for a light comedic read, but didn't offer a lot for an indepth book club discussion

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Difficult, Insightful

This was a dark and emotionally difficult book, but well worth the read. Touches your heart and your soul.

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Inspiring
Journalistic View

Walls has written an entertaining book and Lily is an inspirational character, but she has written it with a very journalistic eye. There is little emotion in the characters, so you never feel attached to any of them, nor do they ever feel attached to each other.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Interesting
Characters you grow to love

"This is a story of despair", but this is also a story of hope. While dark, you emotionally connect to the characters and want to see them find a better life.

The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Insightful, Difficult
For Mothers and Daughters

Book garnered a lot of discussion from mother's and daughter's alike. The difficult role of parenting, nature vs. nurture, taking responsibility for one's actions.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Fun
Appreciate your Waiter

Good book that generated a lot of discussion at book club. For those in the industry, brought back good and bad memories. Gave new insights to those who hadn't been in the industry, but know those in it. New appreciation for those in the service industry of any kind.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Needed More

The subject of this book is difficult and heart wrenching, but made less so by the lack of information from the author. I never felt connected to the characters or their plight. Worthy of book club simply for the knowledge of atrocities that happen to people of the world to which we belong.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Dramatic
Chockful of info and more and then some!

True to Dan Brown's form, this 600+ page-turner has tons of information that at times can overwhelm the reader. Felt as thought it was written more as a screen-play than a novel. Though, still interesting and intriguing!

Saturday by Ian McEwan
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Brilliant, Epic
Provokes Discussion if You Can Get Through the Book

Our club struggled with this book. Some didn't even finish it and most of us found it dragged quite a bit, BUT it did provoke a lot of discussion about scientific/artistic minds, revenge, media, technology, etc.
This may not be a book we would recommend to individuals, but certainly book clubs could explore it in more depth.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
Everyone Should Read

A Holocaust book told from an entirely different perspective - Death. Author does a wonderful job of making a difficult era in history, a readable, funny, sad, heartwarming and heartbreaking book. Everyone should read this to not necessarily understand humankind, but to garner new perspectives and to judge others a little less.

Caleb's Crossing: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Slow
Bethia's Crossing

While Caleb does cross from Indian culture to the "English", the story is more about Bethia's journey. She is an incredibly strong woman in a time when women were to be seen and not heard.

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Inspiring
Put Away That Cell Phone

Had to continually remind myself that this was a book of fiction and not a real-life memoir. It often felt that real with the way that Genova wrote.
How often have we glanced at our cell phones, for "just a second"? It can be life altering to do so and it's just not worth it.
It was fascinating to learn about Left Neglect, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept.
The book gave our club a lot to discuss!

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
Keep Your Sneezes to Yourself

This book was slow to get into, but once I did it was a bit suspenseful, informative and disturbing (how is a pandemic not disturbing).
Gives one quite a bit to think about in regards to a pandemic (it is a real possibility) and modern day medicine, societal behavior and moral codes of conduct.

The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Beautiful
Enjoyed except the Happily Ever After

Interesting book to learn about Ukrainian traditions and the Russian involvement in WWII. Great discussions in our book club about family traditions, sharing the past/heritage with families and the strength of women.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
What would you do?

Well-written book, that kept the reader's attention. Good book discussions about family, secrets and what would you do in if faced with the situation.

The Help Deluxe Edition by Kathryn Stockett
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Don't want the book to end.

Stockett tells this story in a way that you see the horrors of racism without those horrors being in your face. You fall in love with (or in some cases hate) the characters that Stockett creates - they are so real that you are saddened when the book comes to an end.
I laughed, cried and learned

Informative, Slow, Boring
Felt as though I was trudging through the Amazon and couldn't wait to get out.

Learning about the Amazon itself was fascinating - it's a place that I never want to go to, as everything there can kill you, apparently!
But Grann's writing was not enjoyable. It was often slow and repetitive. The photos that were mentioned weren't included and those included weren't mentioned. There were many loose ends and unanswered questions (which considering some people never returned, may have been impossible to answer). Might have been more enjoyable if he wrote a historical fiction so he could fill in the blank spots???

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Voice from Beyond

Sad story, but uplifting as well - in thinking about our individual Heaven and the Heavens of those who have gone before us.
Difficult watching the survivors and how they must work through their pain.
The human emotion of this book was very true to life and touches everyone who reads it.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
Garfield - who knew?

Excellent book and even with the extensive research the author did, it still read like a novel, and not a history book. Interesting to read it in an Election year and to see how far we've come, or not come as the case may be.
Garfield was a fascinating character and would have had an interesting Presidency had he been able to serve his entire term. Yet, maybe his legacy was to turn the world's attention to the field of medicine.
Looking forward to hearing Candice Millard speak and will certainly read other books by her.

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Blood isn't thicker than water

Family is those whom you create relationships with, whether bound by blood or not. Insightful story about the culture of India, the struggles of adoption and the love of family.

Inspiring, Beautiful, Unconvincing

I am in between liking and disliking the book. Being a poet, the author has some beautiful language in the book, but the plot was lacking any real action, the fake maladies created a distrust in the narrator and the lack of depth in the characters preventing the reader from connecting.
Enjoyed the time period, the comparisons I found to Shakespeare and the attempt at the author to tell the story of a strong woman facing adversity.

Confusing, Slow, Boring

From all the positive reviews about this debut novel, I was expecting a lot more from it. Unfortunately, I found the characters hard to connect to; "plasticy" (to borrow the phrase from our bookclub discussion). But that may have been the author's point - to have empathy for those suffering from disorders, such as autism, which make it difficult to relate socially, to connect, to others.
Nonetheless, I struggled through this book and while there were some lines of prose I appreciated, I doubt that I will read another by Ms. Netzer.

The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Inspiring, Informative

WOW! What an amazing book. The author created characters and voices to love and hate and embodied the disturbing reality of political prisoners not only in Burma/Myanmar, but in similar countries the world over.
As dysfunctional as my country's political and prison systems are, I am still incredibly lucky and proud to be an American. We too often take for granted the amazing freedoms that the founding fathers had the foresight to take PEN and PAPER and create the Bill of Rights. Thank you.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Four Seasons by Mary Alice Monroe

Not a favorite of mine. Completely predictable and while the jacket led me to believe there would be depth to this story, sadly it was lacking.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
Pay Attention

A holocaust book that tells the story on the periphery. Interesting view of the media, especially in comparison to today's pervasive paparazzi. A book that asks the question of what do you do when you learn the horrors of genocide being perpetrated against innocent people.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dark
Good and Evil

Detailed research into the amazing accomplishments of building the World's Fair in Chicago and the horrific crimes of serial killer, H. H. Holmes.

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

Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Interesting

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful

The Bone Season: A Novel by Samantha Shannon

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

Orphan Masters Son by Adam Johnson
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Graphic

Now You See Her by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
Adventurous, Interesting, Dramatic

Death Wishing by Laura Ellen Scott
Interesting, Confusing, Adventurous

Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Pointless, Unconvincing

A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Fun, Adventurous
Love to Hate Them

Family saga with some pretty despicable characters. Interesting to compare banking fails with recent history.

The Painter: A novel by Peter Heller
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Beautiful, Dark
Is being Good the same as Goodness

This wasn't my favorite book, but it led to much discussion in our group about the goodness versus good of people.

Leaving Time: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful

Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic

Book Club Recommended
Dark, Slow, Interesting
Long but worth it

This is an epic tale and while it's not an uplifting book, you do become engrossed with the characters and the story line.

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
Imperfection is perfection

Utopia sounds ideal, until you really think it through.


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

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Epic, Insightful

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Gloomy

Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Adventurous, Inspiring

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

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

The Secret Chord: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Beautiful, Insightful

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Fun, Adventurous, Dark

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

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Romantic, Unconvincing

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Pointless

Falling Angels: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier
Dramatic, Interesting, Gloomy

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Slow

Informative, Slow, Insightful

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful

News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Beautiful

America's First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful

This book led our club to have a spirited and genuine conversation about race issues.

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Romantic
Book about Books

A simpler read, but fun for any book lover.

The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel by Elizabeth J. Church
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Informative
Billed as historical fiction but all romance

Informative, Slow, Boring
If Non-Fiction is Your Bag

This is written very journalistic-ally with a lot of facts thrown at you. Personally I would have preferred historical fiction and develop the women more.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Dark
Don't Read While on a Diet

I gained 5 lbs reading this book!!!

Faithful: A Novel by Alice Hoffman
Insightful, Slow, Addictive

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark

Slow, Poorly Written, Boring

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Insightful

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