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Name : Joan O.

My Reviews

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

The further I read, the more I liked this book. Agnes' life was very sad, very compelling and the author does an excellent job of immersing the reader into both the main characters and Iceland. I look forward to another book by Ms. Kent.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fun
Last Night at the Lobster

A taste of life, one night, not a lot of exciting drama or crime, just real people with their everyday lives. Manny and his restaurant crew carry on during the last night if service at the Lobster, with their sweet and sad life stories playing out side by side.

The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Life Changing, Informative

Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Dramatic, Interesting

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Interesting

Interesting, Fun, Informative
Verdict of the Court

Love this series and Mara, the Brehon, is a wonderful main character. The history and the setting are perfect, however, I would chose the first book in the series, My lady Judge, as a book club pick, rather than this, the 11th in the series.

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

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Adventurous
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

A laugh-out-loud satire that examines the links between mother and daughter, husband and wife. I thoroughly enjoyed the style and Bee's voice was the perfect one for this story with both mystery and love.

Calling Me Home: A Novel by Julie Kibler
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Inspiring
Calling Me Home

Well-done, especially for a debut novel. Engaging characters and plot. Isabel is a joy to get to know and her story is heartbreaking, but there are moments of lightness in the book as well. The last 30 pages seemed a bit rushed, but a minor flaw. I will definitely look for more from this author.

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Interesting
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

Interesting take on the fairy tale Twelve Dancing Princesses. The roaring twenties come alive with speakeasies, jazz, and, of course, dancing. The sisters are well-drawn characters, especially Jo and Lou. I would have liked to know more of the father\\\'s background, his relationship with their mother, his character (which seemed very flat). The final scene came a bit too quickly and neatly; might have been better done as an epilogue. The use of parentheses was unnecessary and drove me crazy until I just ignored them!

Bird Box: A Novel by Josh Malerman
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Bird Box

I should have read this book blindfolded. People are killing themselves and no one knows why. They know whatever is out there, if they should see it, it will cause them to go mad and end in their death. They are being hunted but without sight, they can survive. A quick and easy read but one that will leave you feeling tense and on edge. I don't typically run to these kind of reads and in this case, I was trying to run from it. Not a lot of depth but who needs it when you have a lot of fear.

Sister of My Heart: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Sister of My Heart

Beautifully written, this story of two young girls and their paths into womanhood, takes the reader to India of the 1980s. There are secrets and lies, stories and gossip, sadness and separation, but their bond to each other remains strong and true.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Everything I Never Told You

Beautifully written character study, , but there are a couple of unrealistic events that keep this from being outstanding from a plot standpoint.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
thought provoking

This book generated lots of conversation at our book club. Varying opinions about the characterizations and the outcome of the book. Some members felt it ended too abruptly; others liked the open ending. There is a lot to discuss!

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Insightful
Strange style, good story

The author's style was a little difficult, first-person "we" and never sure who "we" was, but the story and characters were well-done and interesting. Lots to discuss.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Dramatic
The Boys in The Boat

Well-researched and well-written, this book takes you right into "the boat" and the lives of the young men who rowed in the 1936 Olympics. The author ties together their lives, the art and sport of rowing, the rise of Hitler's Germany and life in the 1930s. So well done that it reads like fiction, and the final race (even though you know the outcome) is thrilling.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Difficult, Interesting
An American classic

Blending real-life people and fictional characters and events, sometimes to the point that it's hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. That may be one of the points of the book. Lots to discuss: American society, race relations and immigration, the role of women, wealth, stereotypes.

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Adventurous
Vivian at the End of World

There was lots for our book club to talk about with this YA novel, not one of our usual genres. It poses so many interesting questions, so many possibilities. Is it being tongue-in-cheek? Is it being serious? Might there really be a rapture? While everything was laid out fairly obviously, there was always room for question. Were the Apple parents really raptured away, leaving holes in the roof of the house? How? How is that even possible? it possible? What if it is? What if 3,000 people really ascended to immortality. What if I've been wrong this whole time, what if Vivian had come to the wrong conclusion? What if this really could happen? Then what?
Vivian displayed growth in her journey. Harp, too, though not to the same extent. No, they didn't change drastically but...there was real progress. end.

Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
A detective story and more

A poignant, sad though hilarious tale of a teenager with Asperger's (thought the disease is never mentioned in the book) with an analytical though unemotional mind which dwells on almost each and every object he encounters. He is keen on solving the mystery behind a neighbor's dead dog, which leads him towards deep family secrets, which he has to face.
The story is very simple, but well- written, because there always seems to be some level of anticipation as to what is going to happen next. It is at the simplest level a detective story. It keeps you wondering why certain things happened to this boy. You may feel a little puzzled at times, but the character keeps investigating and eventually helps himself and the reader understand the whole picture.

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Scary
Pandora's Box

Not everyone in our book club liked or even finished this one, but there was lots to talk about. It was a departure from the usual genres we read, and a good one.

Book Club Recommended

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Fun
Murder on the orient express;solved?

Interesting characters, plot changes and intrigue. No one does closed-door mysteries better than Agatha Christie!

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Beautiful
Magical fantasy

Beautifully written, with an interesting cast of characters.

Confusing, Unconvincing, Poorly Written

I haven't read any prior books by this author but the blurb for this book sounded interesting so I was looking forward to it. It turned out to be just not my cup of tea; the style of writing was too simplistic and I think that took away from what might have been a good story.

Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting

I liked this book, but was a bit disappointed in it since it got such great reviews. Several of us found it kind of predictable and were able to figure out "whodunit" long before the climax of the book. Great idea, just not really well executed. Not bad for a first book, though, and will read another by this author.

Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Dramatic

Loved the combination of sci-fi and politics! have already read the second in the series and looking forward to the third.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
best book of the year for me!

This was the best book I read all year! I loved the back and forth, the characters, and the story broke my heart.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Beautifully written

3.5 stars An unflinching, honest look at anorexia and it's effects on the life of Anna, a young French ballerina who has moved to St Louis for her husband's job opportunity. The "girls" at 17 Swann are, like Anna, suffering from eating disorders, but she is the focus. Her fears, her loss of control, her hopes for the future. The writing is really beautiful, with the story going back and forth between Anna's former life and her current situation, filling in the background of what led to her anorexia. Our book club received ARC copies of this book from Book Movement.

Tomorrow: A Novel by Damian Dibben
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting

A loyal, loving and intelligent dog travels many miles and hundreds of years searching for his lost owner. Both man and the dog are immortal following his master's discovery of a 'fountain of youth' type substance. The story explores not only the changes wrought in society by time, but also the pleasures and perils of immortality.
The historical aspects of the book were interesting, as man and dog experience the Renaissance and the Enlightenment as well as the devastation of the Napoleonic Wars.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
A must read

Justice and redemption: An American story for our time, one that we all should know.

Bowlaway: A Novel by Elizabeth McCracken
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous

Lots to talk about in this family story. Some of of book club members really enjoyed it and couple didn't like it at all, but everyone had something to say about it! It reads like an anecdotal history of a bowling alley, and the family who starts it, grows with it, and feels trapped by it. It’s about the farthest branches of a family tree and the stories we tell about them. But the best part is McCracken’s writing—every few pages a line or a passage will sneak up on you and knock your socks off.

Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Beautiful
Magical story

In Once Upon a River, on the dark night of the winter solstice, a wounded stranger shows up at an old inn by the river with a dead child in his arms. A few hours later, against all odds, the dead child stirs and is alive again. What follows is a tale of magic, hope, love, redemption, and so much more.

This story reads like a folklore, rich and lyrical. There are many parts to this carefully crafted tale, and they are all woven deftly into one cohesive narrative. I was struck by the richly imagined characters, and in particular, the strong females, who totally appealed to me.

Stolen Beauty: A Novel by Laurie Lico Albanese
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Inspiring

Albanese detailed prose transports you between the 1900 Vienna art world where everything is beautiful, dazzling and forty years later when Maria (Adele's niece) and her family are forced from their Austrian home by the Nazis.

One of the best and will researched historical fiction reads I've read in a long time this family story of love, survival and sacrifice will have transfixed from the first chapter.

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