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My Reviews

Teacher Man: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
 
Informative, Interesting, Poorly Written
We were disappointed!

While most book club members did not like the book, we had a good discussion at book club (which usually happens whether or not we like the book). Of the thirteen who attended, only one member loved the book. She was a teacher and we had some discussion on whether or not that made a difference. Most of our members thought that Frank McCourt had a good story but they did not like his style. They felt he was all over the place and probably wrote the way he talked.

All in all a good discussion but for many, not a great read.

The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere
 
Six Tissues

This book is a tear jerker that's for sure. Once you get mid-way through the book, get your tissues. Our book club said that this was a six tissue book. Very short and quick to read...most people read it in one sitting (about 2 hours). Our book club always tries to pick a quick, holiday theme book for December when we have our Holiday party. This book had a nice holiday story but everyone agreed that the characters were not developed enough to really get to know them. On the other hand, maybe that was the intent and we were just suppose to read the story of two families and how their lives change and how people interact in each others lives even if only for a very short time.

We did enjoy the story and this reader will definitely read the sequel (Blessings) to see what happened to the families later in their lives.

Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright
 
Inspiring, Romantic, Optimistic
Very quick read - not all characters developed - wrapped up a little too much in the end.

This reviewer really liked the book. The group, however, had reservations. Our discussion was shorter than most months. The group felt that only a few of the characters were developed and the last chapter wrapped things up too much. The group didn't feel the character, Malcolm, needed to know as much as was revealed in the end. The book was about forgiveness and while the group believed in forgiveness to move on, they felt that in the end it was a little unrealistic.


Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
 
Beautiful, Insightful, Romantic
Lost in Translation

This book was not popular with our book club. Many in the group could not get through the book to finish it. Those that did basically didn't like the book. The consensus seemed to be that something may have gotten lost in the translation and some of it may have been Japanese culture that we had a hard time relating to. Most thought it was very depressing and we didn't like the way it ended.

 
Fun, Adventurous, Inspiring
We Laughed - We Cried!

Everyone loved this book! We laughed out loud and cried throughout the book. Our hostess of the evening, who raises guide dogs for the blind, even had her Marley look-a-like lab there for us to meet. She brought him out after we talked and enjoyed snacks. When we arrived and asked where the dogs were (she has three labs), she replied "Do you want to eat or see the dogs - you can't do both".....just like Marley! We had a great night laughing at Marley's antics and telling our own pet stories (everyone had one).

The book is well written (everyone liked his style). It is about a goofy, crazy dog and the life of a newly married couple. They brought a dog into their lives to see if they could nurture it before they had children. This book is wonderful whether or not you are a "pet" person or not. It's a great story.

As much as we liked the book, it was hard to have a discussion on it because with every question we went off talking about our own dog experiences. Was difficult to stay on the book as every question lead to off book discussions.

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
A Great Book

Water for Elephants is a page turner. Most members of our club finished the book in a few days and most gave it our highest book rating. The story Jacob Jankowski tells is engaging. We spent a lot of time discussing circus life around the time of the depression and how it exists today. We talked a lot about our childhood memories and experiences at the circus. We also discussed old age and how we forget that everyone has a story to tell.

A great book for book club.

 
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Great book for discussion

Most of our book club rated this book very high. This is the second book from Jodi Picoult that our club has read (first book was My Sisters Keeper) and many in the club have read several other of Picoult's books. As a group, we like her style.

The book was a page turner that most of us couldn't put down. We had great discussions about guns and bullying and what happens in our local schools.

Sea Glass: A Novel by Anita Shreve
 
Dramatic, Interesting
Good discussion

The book received average ratings from our book club overall but provoked good discussion of the depression era. There was a lot to talk about including relationships, poverty, wealth, love, unions, families, work conditions and what we knew about the era from our parents and grandparents.

Many books, whether a hit or not as a read, are often good for discussion and this was one of those books. While not as exciting as the pilot's wife or as interesting as Fortune's Rock you did want keep reading to find out what happens to the people you have come to know through Shreve's development of the characters at the beginning of the book. We did feel that Shreve's way of bringing us a story through the different characters perspective was very effective.


 
Informative, Slow, Insightful
Interesting Story but book lacks character development

Our book club thought the story was very interesting and certainly our discussion was very interesting...but...we were dissappointed the author didn't tell us more about the people that were helped. We heard so much about the animals and really wanted to hear more about the people. Others thought the book was rather wordy and filled with unnecessary details..

 
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
Fun read looking forward to the movie!

Our group loved The Next Thing On My List. It was an easy read and a lot of fun. I couldn't wait to find out who Buddy Fitch was. It was a light book where I found myself laughing out loud. The best part of our discussion was the author joined us via speaker phone. She is charming and talked about how she came up with the idea, the list and the character development. She even told us an hilarious story about Buddy Fitch. You need to contact Jill and see if she can arrange to join your discussion to hear that story.

Another fun thing we did the night of the discussion was create our own lists. Prior to book club I asked everyone to put together their own list of five things they wanted to do in the next five years. The lists were put into a basket (without names) when members came in. At the end of the night we pulled the lists and read them and tried to guess who wrote the list. It was a lot of fun.

From talking to Jill, there may be a movie based on the book. This book would make a great movie and we are looking forward to it.

Fun read and discussion. Add it to your list today!!!

 
Great Book for Halloween

Our hostess selected the Haunted Rectory for October so we would get in the Halloween spirit. The story is about as the title states, A Haunted Rectory. It really wasn't haunted, it was possessed, which is different. Our group had a mixed reaction on the book. Some of our members were uncomfortable with the subject of demons and possession and others couldn't read the book at night. While scary, our group loved the characters and the friendship of the women in the group. The diverse group of women who were strong friends and there for each other kept us involved in the book. We did feel, however, that the ending was too easy and almost like a sitcom.

Another reason our hostess selected this book was that the setting of the book was in our county in Connecticut. It was fun to read about local references that we were familiar with. The best part was that the delightful author joined us via conference call to discuss the book. It's always nice to have the author who can give some insight to the idea and the characters.

In addition to our normal book discussion, everyone came dressed up for Halloween. Some of the costumes were amazing. There was a great prize for best costume! All in all, a good time was had by all.

By all means, read the book and invite the author to join you. She is wonderful!

Finding Noel: A Novel by Richard Paul Evans
 
Inspiring
Great book around the holidays

Our book club always picks a holiday theme book for our last meeting of the year that is held the first week in December. We combine our regular discussion with our annual Holiday party (with a wild grab bag). Anyway, this book did not disappoint. While the review was mixed, most enjoyed the story and while predictable at times, it did have several twists that we enjoyed.

The story starts off with the opinion that everyone comes into your life for a reason. We saw this throughout the book as the mysteries of Mark and Macy's lives evolve as they get to know each other.

The book is a quick read. Have some tissues ready for the weepy parts.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Very well written book

Our book club enjoyed this book. We use a 4 point rating (1= didn't like and 4=one of the best books read) and our average rating was 3.4. It was, at time, a difficult book to read because of the subject matter and the realization that this book is not written about something that is going on hundreds of years ago but is the way women are treated today. There was a lot to talk about and this is our first group meeting where we talked about the book for an hour before we even started with the usual questions.

A great book for discussion. Well written and strong character development. The bond between two women under horrible conditions is heart warming.

Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert
 
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
Great Book!

Wonderful story of Rachel Kalama and her life on Moloka'i. The story was engaging and we learned so much of about life in Hawaii and Moloka'i over a century ago. The book spans Rachel's entire life and the character development was very strong. Most book club members did not think they would pick out the book on their own but were very glad to have read the book. That is the wonderful part of book club, you read books you may never have picked up on your own. We were surprised that a story about Leprosy could be so engaging and interesting. Most members thought that they would have liked to have more told of Rachel's later life and her relationship with her family after she left Moloka'i. The author seemed to speed through the last years of Rachel's life.


 
Inspiring, Interesting, Insightful
Another story about friendship among women

This was a nice story about the growing friendship of a diverse group of women in Manhatten. The women grow to know each other and support each other at the knitting shop of Georgia Walker and her daughter Dakota.

Our group ratings ranged from 2 - 3 1/2 (we rate the book from 1-4 with 1 being did not like the book to 4 being loved the book). We liked discussing the characters with most of us feeling that the characters of Anita and Cat were the most developed and interesting. Everyone felt that the author moved pretty slowly through the book but at the end when you wanted more time, the book ended quickly.

A good read and a good discussion but not our favorite book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Inspiring
Fun book for book club

Everyone enjoyed the book. A book about the growing relationship of a neighborhood of women through their book club. As a book club that has been together for a long time we were able to relate to the friendship that grows over the years through books. We loved the characters and their families and laughed and cried with them. We had an interesting discussion that we didn't think would end.

One of our members made a delicious cake in the shape of a book, just as one of the characters did in the book.

Highly recommend for book clubs.


 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Insightful
Nice story....

about the long marriage of Sarah and Charles Lucas and their family. After Charles dies, Sarah moves on and an interesting group of people enter her life and home. Predictable Sarah becomes unpredictable much to the dismay of her daughter Charlotte. An interesting group of neighbors in need, teenagers and family come and go into Sarah's home and life and while Sarah works through her grief, the others become independent and come to terms with the problems within their own lives.

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
 
Pointless, Boring, Slow
Group was not crazy about the book

I personally liked the book and like Anita Shreve books in general but our book group was not crazy about this selection (or Anita Shreve books in general). It is an easy read and most of the group read the book in a few days. Most thought the story line silly and unbelievable but there was some good discussion on marriage and relationships.

Plain Truth: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
Another Jodi Picoult Winner!

Our book club just loves Jodi Picoult. We read one of her books every year. This year was no exception. This book was very interesting as we explored the Amish life and culture which lead to a very interesting discussion. Jodi did a great job of introducing us to the Amish culture through the Fisher family. Of course, there is the usual Picoult twist which I always look forward to.
!

American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Mixed Review From Our Group

Our group had mixed reviews of this book. Members who read the book without thinking of Laura Bush and her family liked it better than those who kept thinking about Laura Bush while reading the book. It was liked as a book of fiction but everyone felt that they wished they never heard it was loosely based on the life of Laura Bush. Most would rather the book wasn't loosely based on the Bush family. It was difficult not to wonder what was fiction and what really happened and would have preferred it to be simply a book of fiction.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Adventurous, Dramatic
Twilight - it's not just for teens

Book club, for the most part, liked the book. Several members are moving on to the rest of the series.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Fun
Gotta Love The Buddha!

Most of our book club members really liked the book. Those that were so-so changed their mind after our lively discussion. We had a wonderful discussion. We laughed and we were inspired.

We talked about the book for a long time before we even got to the questions in the back of the book (we usually go right to the questions).

Why so angry is our book club motto (at least till our next book)

Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Informative, Gloomy
Interesting Discussion

Most in our club enjoyed the book. As always, we had an interesting discussing. We also had the opportunity to discuss the book with the author via conference call which really helped us connect to the book.

 
Unconvincing, Insightful, Interesting
Whiny Should be a word to describe this book

While some members enjoyed the book more than others (a few rated it very highly), most thought it was whiny and not what we expected from the author of When Harry Met Sally. While there were a few interesting observations and a few laughs it generally had a whiny tone. The chapter on death (towards the end) was a downer in ending the book.

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

Our book club loved this book. No one in our club really knew about this "round-up" in France. A very sad story about two families and how they were connected. The author did a wonderful job of telling us the story of the past and the current story of one person's effort to understand what happened so many years ago.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Beautiful
Great Book Club Read

Our book club enjoyed the book. It's a great book for discussion. So much to talk about!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Great book

We had a great discussion at book club. The book was very informative.

Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
 
Informative, Dramatic, Inspiring

 
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting

 
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting

I enjoyed the historical fiction book.

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

Most in bookclub loved the book. A few thought it was too long. Personally, the length was fine for me. I read on my kindle and didn’t even realize how long it was. I learned a lot about that period in our history and about our founding fathers. It was interesting. I know I like a book when I can’t wait to get home to read.

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