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March 14, 2008 - March 27, 2008

Last contest period's winners were Frances, Frank, Julia, Marsha and Wendy, who each received a copy of CHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult and A PRISONER OF BIRTH by Jeffrey Archer.

 

Betty C (willitara@gmail.com)
Twisted by Andrea Kane
Rating: 5 Stars
An outstanding thriller that kept me glued to the story. It follows a popular trend of emphasizing the technical side of forensics and investigating, but has a little romance thrown in to lighten the story.
 
Dorothy Lazorchik
Mortal Evidence by Cyril Wecht
Rating: 4 Stars
A very interesting book about murder cases and how the body gives clues to the crime.
 
Amee
Face of an Angel by Denise Chavez
Rating: 3 Stars
It's interesting, but has yet to really pull me in. I hear it's really good, though, so I hope it gets better (I'm about a quarter through).
 
Lisa Richardson (keizerfire@aol.com)
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 5 Stars
I would give this book 10 stars if I could. I read it in 2 days, unable to put it down, both entranced and repulsed at the same time. The story is one we hear all too often in the news lately, a shooting at a high school, but Ms. Picoult asks a question you will be hard put to answer when you finish the book. Who really has the right to judge someone else? 

This book left me crying, and completely convinced that we are all capable of much more than we ever want to believe. This book should challenge the way we think, and hopefully the way we live. 

A child you know could be any one of the children in this book --- and they are.

 
Heather C
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Rating: 4 Stars
Such a different kind of book. It's confusing at times, but worth the read!
 
Thomas Hoh
Blood Dreams by Kay Hooper
Rating: 4 Stars
A suspense thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Just a bit too paranormal, though, for my taste.
 
C Hennes
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Rating: 4 Stars
A great love story --- part one goes on a tiny bit too long, but part two brings the story back and with a surprise twist. It's very emotional and illustrates the importance of the choices we make and how they can really effect our lives. Sometimes, you just have to with your heart and not your head.
 
Julie Falkenstein
Growing an Inch by Stanley Gordon West
Rating: 5 Stars
Don't miss this one!
 
CHennes
Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
Rating: 2 Stars
Hard to get through --- it has its cute moments, but not enough to make it a good read.
 
Lily Kwan
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Rating: 5 Stars
A timeless classic and one of my favorite books.
 
Donna Gooch
Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Rating: 4 Stars
2nd in the Spellman series. Hilarious.
 
Carissa Davis
Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 5 Stars
This book is hilarious, just like the rest of Sophie's work.
 
Sydney Mathis
The Eight by Katherine Neville
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a fascinating and compelling book that intermixes various times in history throughout the storytelling. It was hard to put down and is a good read the second and third time around.
 
Maureen H
Bag Of Bones by Stephen King
Rating: 5 Stars
I love this book. I love the way Stephen King tells a tale. He has a great wit and he draws you into his story. This is a really exciting book to read.
 
Amee
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Rating: 5 Stars
Not yet released --- only ten more days! I have an ARC and I loved it so much! I highly recommend it. I will definitely be checking out Lockhart's other novels now.
 
Anne
The Last Girls by Lee Smith
Rating: 5 Stars
In 1965, twelve college girls sailed down the Mississippi on a raft. Now, thirty-five years later, four of the "girls" reunite to sail again on a steamboat. This is a story of the girls' yesterdays and todays. It's also the story of Baby, whose ashes they bring with them to scatter in the river. A beautiful novel with romance, betrayals, happiness and loss.
 
Ellie Wright (mammajamma182002@yahoo.com)
St Patrick's Day Murder by Leslie Meier
Rating: 4 Stars
This continuation of the Lucy Stone series is a fun mystery set during St Patrick's Day holiday.
 
Joyce Blume (joyce2121@comcast.net)
My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet) by Toby Devens
Rating: 4 Stars
This may be Ms Devens's first novel, but she certainly has lived life What a welcome gift to share these three "mature" girls' trials and loves.
 
Ricki (rickimc@aol.com)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Rating: 5 Stars
Very different from the previous novels --- a little darker and for a slightly older audience. I really did not think this could be done.
 
Irish
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Rating: 4 Stars
A good book that is interesting and knowledgeable about the early times. Frank Lloyd Wright, family, building and to prove that there is nothing new under the sun, the other woman. All in all, a very interesting read.
 
Irish
The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller
Rating: 2 Stars
This book should have been edited better. It's about two couples, with one husband hardly mentioned. I found myself not even liking the three other people. I didn't care what happened to them. All were selfish and self serving. This would make a good Harlequin Romance.
 
Kathy Sholes
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda
Rating: 3 Stars
I love Alan Alda. Some parts of this book were genuinely poignant and others very humorous. But, there were parts that were slow and hard to get through.
 
Marsha
The Ghost by Robert Harris
Rating: 4 Stars
If you have any interest in politics, this is the book for you. Britain's charming ex-prime minister is writing his memoirs and needs a ghost writer. As our hero --- the second ghost writer --- sets about his job, he learns that his predecessor died under mysterious circumstances and all is not what it seems in the political arena. It's an entertaining and thoughtful thriller. The twists and turns will keep you fascinated.
 
Jeane
Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 3 Stars
Fast reading chick-lit by the author of the Shopaholic series. A fun read. Set in London.
 
Kim V
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 5 Stars
A great read!
 
Linda M. Johnson
Mary McGreevy by Walter Keady
Rating: 3 Stars
I'm really a little too early in this book to give it an honest evaluation. The book takes place in 1950 Ireland and concerns a nun who leaves her convent to visit dying father. After his death, she forsakes her vocation to see after the land her father owned.
 
Thomas
Indigo Slam by Robert Crais
Rating: 5 Stars
Elvis Cole is rapidly becoming my favorite detective. In this book, Cole is hired by a 15-year-old girl and her two siblings to find their father. Clark Hewitt was in the Witness Protection Program, but went his own way and is now in serious trouble with the Russian mob. ole and his dependable sidekick, Joe Pike, have their hands full taking care of the kids and tracking down their dad while keeping everyone alive. A great, fast-moving read.
 
Becky (sweetypieinsc@aol.com)
Duma Key by Steven King
Rating: 5 Stars
DUMA KEY is a great book. I really found it to be one of his better ones (maybe because it was set in Florida?) I liked the suspense and the little twist at the end.
 
Linda M. Johnson
Reality Show by Howard Kurtz
Rating: 4 Stars
Howard Kurtz is the media reporter for The Washington Post. This is a behind-the-scenes look at the evening news broadcasters --- especially the transitioning from the men who sat in those chairs for such a long time and the younger people who have continued a tradition despite dwindling audiences. I'm really enjoying reading of the concerns and personalities of Brian, Katie and Charlie. If you are a news junkie like me, you will enjoy this book. I believe it to be an even handed portrait, not tabloid journalism and not biased from the author's point of view.
 
Elaine
The Pact by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 5 Stars
This was the first book of hers I read and I've been hooked ever since. She's a great author and I've hooked over a dozen people to her books!
 
Linda M. Johnson
Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
Rating: 3 Stars
By the same authors who brought you PLATO AND A PLATYPUS WALK INTO A BAR: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes, this book --- about doublespeak or (politico speak) --- is a bit easier to understand than the previous book. A quick read with some good jokes.
 
Rachel Robertson (bmagical@cableone.net)
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 5 Stars
The book begins in the year 1974 when the never-ending friendship of Kate and Tully, both in the 8th grade, begins. The book takes you through 30 years of their friendship. This book so quickly and thoroughly draws you into the storyline, and their lives, that you feel as if you are going through every joy and sorrow with them. It is one of those books that celebrates the special friendship of two women whose history and future will forever be intertwined.
 
Ruth
Poisoned Nation by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel
Rating: 4 Stars
The shocking story of how the drug industry and our government twists the facts in order to keep the scary truth from us.
 
Kellie (acountkel@bellsouth.net)
On Agate Hill by Lee Smith
Rating: 4 Stars
This was a very unique book. It starts off with a letter from a young girl who is writing to a college, asking to be let back into the program she was in. She tells the director of the school that she has a diary and some letters from the Civil War, then the book switches over to the diary and so the story begins. The setting is Agate Hill, North Carolina and it is just after the Civil War ended. The diary is written by Molly Petree, who describes the people who have come to live on Agate Hill after her mother and father and brother have died. 

At first, I was not that thrilled about the story. It was difficult for me to follow all the characters and how they were related to Molly. The story was even more difficult to follow because it was told in diary form. But then, when Simon Black comes and takes Mary to the private school in Virginia, I started to take more interest in the story. From that moment on, I began to like it a little better. This is normally not my favorite genre. But since this was a book club book, I felt obligated to give it a try and I am glad I did. It is such an extraordinary work, I don't think I will forget it.

 
Ruth
The Widow's War by Sally Gunning
Rating: 4 Stars
This story really makes one appreciate being a woman today rather than in early America.
 
Ruth
Louder Than Words by Jenny McCarthy
Rating: 4 Stars
Unlike her previous books of humorous tales, this is an eye-opening account of the author's personal experience with an autistic son.
 
Elizabeth M.
Twisted by Andrea Kane
Rating: 5 Stars
I haven't read a page turner in a while, so it was with great delight I found that I couldn't put this new thriller by Andrea Kane down.The discovery of a serial murder reconnects two FBI agents with unresolved emotions due to a bitter breakup and they are forced to work together to solve the case. This edgy romantic relationship balances the case of horrific serial murders and both sides of the story leave the reader wondering and puzzling over the outcome. Fraught with tension and suspense, I couldn't wait to find out who the killer was and I found myself suspicious of everyone as I read the gripping tale. I definitely recommend this latest novel by Andrea Kane and I look forward to reading any future novels she writes.
 
Dee
Sins of the Fathers: The Thomas Kane Chronicles by Steve Schmidt, Mel King
Rating: 5 Stars
A totally different kind of science fiction. A totally different kind of writing. Creative, interesting, and a highly entertaining way of looking at where history comes from.
 
Chris Swanson
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Rating: 5 Stars
I liked it very much. It showed a change of heart/prejudice in the main character. It was a good read for Black History Month.
 
Gwendolyn Bruno
The Sister by Poppy Adams
Rating: 5 Stars
Wonderfully creepy and compelling story of two sisters who reunite after an estrangement that lasted their entire adult lives. Beautifully written, paced, and plotted. The mood is similar to Shirley Jackson's WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE. Whose view of childhood events is accurate? Who is responsible for their mother's death? Is someone in this story insane or is it just a difference of perspective? I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended.
 
Readingrat
Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane
Rating: 4 Stars
A book full of suspense and action that keeps you guessing 'til the end, and leaves you wondering if what is right is always best.
 
Sandra F.
The Rebels of Babylon by Owen Parry
Rating: 5 Stars
This book, set in the Civil War period in New Orleans, was a great read. I felt as if I had some grasp of the what the Civil War did to the fabric of America. In addition, it was a rousing good read.
 
Sandra F.
At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
Rating: 3 Stars
I just could not get interested in this book. The characters could not inspire any interest for me and I read only about half of the book.
 
Readingrat
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Rating: 3 Stars
Just a few pages in, I found that I had high hopes for this sequel. Edward leaves, and Bella is able to pursue a more appropriate relationship with Jacob Black and to try to re-kindle some normal friendships with her schoolmates. However the reprieve from Edward is all too short. From that point on, I found myself disliking Bella and all of her melodrama more and more with each page of this book.
 
J. Kaye Oldner (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
The Criminals in the Caymans by Connie Lee Berry
Rating: 4 Stars
There is plenty of fun and adventure with a bit of mystery and pictures and illustrations highlighting the eleven chapters. The facts are suitable for grade schoolers like, turtle farming is big, and it's part of the U.K. so it is ruled by Queen Elizabeth II. I recommend this book.
 
Carol Hoyer from VA (pageant4u@hotmail.com)
Love and Consequences by Margaret B. Jones
Rating: 5 Stars
A truly remarkable story about Margaret Jones and her life in South Central Los Angeles. Not only did she get used to the life of the streets, hung around gangs and watched friends die, she had the love of Big Mom. Big Mom's house was all African American, Margaret was Hispanic --- but they treated her like family and loved her.

It's a story about how she got out of that cruel life on the streets and beat the odds. She never forgot her roots and went back to help make changes in her neighborhood.
This is a wonderful story.

 
Paula C.
Cold And Pure And Very Dead by Joanne Dobson
Rating: 5 Stars
Karen Pelletier, a nontenured English professor at a prestigious college in western Massachusetts helps to solve murder mysteries from a literary perspective. A high- interest mystery mixed with college, research, and academic life make for an interesting read.
 
Sandra F.
The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich
Rating: 4 Stars
THE ROSETTA KEY is a wild ride of a story. Ethan Gage is the Dirk Pitt (from Clive Cussler novels) of the 18th century. This man has more lives than a dozen cats and the main focus in his life is the desire for adventure coupled with his love of science learned from his mentor and fellow American, Ben Franklin. Mr. Dietrich sets this wild tale against Napoleon's invasion of the Holy Land in 1799 and the story is a continuation of a previous novel. However, this book can be read on its own without any loss of continuity. However, be warned --- you will want to read the previous book!
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
The Reserve by Russell Banks
Rating: 3 Stars
The beauty of the Adirondack Mountains and the era of World War II, the setting of the rich and how they live. The crazy daughter holds her mother prisoner and finally causes her death, and then distorts what happens.
 
Carol Hoyer from VA (pageant4u@hotmail.com)
Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought by L. Ron Hubbard
Rating: 3 Stars
After hearing so much controversy about Scientology, I decided to find a book that would explain its basic principles. 

This was a hard book to read due to the language. I really had difficulty comprehending it. I did get the basic thoughts and I really didn't see much difference in what any other person wants out of life, other than the fact you go through an intense training program that helps you prove you are worthy of this type of lifestyle.

If I were going to get more on Scientology, I would have to find an easier book to read.

 
Joanne
Water For Elepahants by Sara Gruen
Rating: 4 Stars
I really did enjoy this book. It offered romance and an interesting look into circus life during the Depression years. Some parts may be difficult for avid animal readers, but it is good to remember how far we have come with the humane society. A fabulous read with an ending that does not disappoint!
 
Julie C
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Rating: 5 Stars
This is one of the best books I've read yet this year and I read a lot. This book is so enthralling that I was dreaming about it every night that I was reading it. The descriptions are so detailed but in a good, meaningful way.

I highly recommend it.

 
Anne
Obedience by Will Lavender
Rating: 4 Stars
Find a missing girl named Polly. If you do not find her in six weeks, she will die. A college class assignment to teach logic or is it something more sinister? This is a gripping novel that keeps you guessing and makes you want to grab some of the characters and say "Wake Up"! I thought this was a good book, although some of the characters needed to be more developed.
 
Anne
When the Cat's Away by Gilbert Morris
Rating: 4 Stars
Jake Novak and Mary Katherine Forrest are heirs to a fortune but they must share the same house and care for the pets in the house to keep the fortune. The pets are as unique as their caretakers. When one of these pets is kidnapped, Jake and Mary Katherine are aided in their search for the kidnapper by their tomcat, Jacques the Ripper. If you enjoy animals, you will enjoy this mystery.
 
Anne (robkay16@bellsouth.net)
Literacy and Longing in L. A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a funny, sexy, profound and great read. Dora, is a book junkie, whose life has fallen apart. She tells her story through her obsession with books, as she travels from fantasy to the real world. This is a novel for anyone who loves books and enjoys great characters.
 
Chris Brunson
Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating: 5 Stars
By the author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE, this is an earlier novel that echoes THE SHIPPING NEWS as a meaty, funny, bizarre characterization read - lobters, "feet on you", women swept away as they knit on a sea rock . . . a very sharp wonderful book.
 
Carol Hoyer from VA (pageant4u@hotmail.com)
Grace After Midnight by Felicia "Snoop" Pearson
Rating: 4 Stars
A true memoir of Snoop's life growing up on the streets in LA. Like everyone else, her life consisted of seeing family and friends killed by gangs, and drugs gone wrong. The one constant in her life was Mama Pearson --- an elderly grandmother who cared for her like she was her own.

During her time in prison for shooting someone, Snoop realizes that she is a lesbian and has an affair with the corrections officer.

After she finally gets out of prison, she tries the life of being straight --- no drugs, no selling, and only family and God in her life. It worked for awhile until employers learned she was in prison.

Finally, life became better for her when she started acting in "The Wire," a reality show about people on the streets. It helped her gain confidence, stop all drug use and sales and lead a good life. It took a long time for it to happen, but it did.

 
Carol Hoyer from VA (pageant4u@hotmail.com)
They Cage the Animals At Night by Jennings Michael Burch
Rating: 5 Stars
This was one of the most unbelievable books I have read in quite a while. It is a true story about Jennings Burch and his life in the foster care system. I cannot believe that Social Services would let children be placed in homes where they are neglected, abused and unloved.

Jennings was in and out of foster homes all his life due to his mother's inability to care for him. Some of the rules he learned were "never get close to anyone," "always learn the rules," and "never, never talk." However, at the Home for Angels, he did make a friend, Mark. Mark was a lifer, meaning he was an orphan. He had a heart condition that was left untreated and died.

Jennings's one true friend throughout his life was a stuffed dog he named "Doggie." He got it at the Home for Angels. Doggie was his friend, support and family.

This book made me angry, sad and sometimes happy when good families were in place. A must read.

 
Ed Nemmers
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Rating: 5 Stars
The nuance and subtleties of one couple's wedding night, is hauntingly told.
 
J. Kaye Oldner (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
Treasure in Tahiti by Connie Lee Berry
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the second book of the Incredible Journey series for ages 7 to 9.
 
Min K
Song Yet Sung by James McBride
Rating: 5 Stars
Beautifully written.
 
Jane Squires
Sincerely Mayla by Virginia Smith
Rating: 5 Stars
This book will make you laugh. It will let you see people in all phases and all beliefs, etc. in a new light. I had to laugh when I started it due to the comments of snow as I had just made the same comments myself the day before I received it. Virginia Smith's books are difficult to put down.

There is a teenage girl who gets pregnant and considers abortion, a gay person, grandmother who lost her son and is afraid of losing her daughter too, her granddaughter, etc. So many areas are recovered. You cannot help but feel lifted up reading this book.

 
Virginia Murr (mvir9@mchsi.com)
The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Rating: 4 Stars
This work of historical fiction is quite good --- tough to put down, even. The characters are intriguing, as is the story line. My only complaint is that it is a bit melancholy for a protagonist-centered book.
 
Mo (maestraw@msn.com)
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 4 Stars
Any time Picoult has a new book, I am sure to have it read in no time. She has done it again. Picoult takes a controversial topic, the death penalty, and weaves it into a human interest story. She threw in some twists that I did not anticipate. Definitely worth reading!
 
Marsha
Silence by Thomas Perry
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a relentless thriller pitting a P. I. and a witness he is hell-bent on protecting against hired killers. It's a masterful plot that keeps on turning.
 
Amee
Wake by Lisa McMann
Rating: 5 Stars
I'm not finished yet, but it is truly awesome. I highly recommend it.
 
Amee
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Rating: 5 Stars
Awesome sequel. Maybe even better than the first book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy. It's so hard to compare, though.
 
Marion
The Book of Evidence by John Banville
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a dark tale but I love Banville's writing style.
 
Michelle
The Marriage Game by Fern Michaels
Rating: 5 Stars
This book was fun and friendly, but definitely an eye-opener to those thinking about marriage. Fern Michaels is always great.
 
Rachel
A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
Rating: 5 Stars
An example of how the human heart survives.
 
John Pratt
The Street Lawyer by John Grisham
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a story about a lawyer making lots of money who rediscovers a conscience he lost a long time ago. He leaves the life of luxury and starts living a homeless life to help other homeless people. It is an awesome story with many twists and turns. You can't turn the pages fast enough to find out how it ends.
 
Rachel
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Rating: 5 Stars
."You do not need to be a knitter to read this book.but if you are like me you will wish you could!"

A beautiful book about friendship. You will laugh and you will cry with the characters. It's a wonderful selection for book discussion groups!


 
Marion
War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Rating: 5 Stars
This 2007 translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky includes a list of characters, which is very helpful. This is a great novel!
 
Marion
Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan
Rating: 5 Stars
Like reading someone's journal of getting through crises. The books is very intelligent and has a beautiful conclusion.
 
Marion
The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Rating: 5 Stars
Beautifully told tale of a young man, orphaned and on his own.
 
Marion
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Rating: 5 Stars
A fantastic book for lovers of words. Fun, clever, thoroughly engaging!
 
M. Quinn (onq_moura@mac.com)
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
Rating: 5 Stars
If you read Patricia Biggs, Kelly Armstrong or were a fan of early Laurell K. Hamilton, you will want to pick up a copy of Ilona Andrews's works. Her novels are fresh and edgy with compelling characters in a world we haven't seen before. Her second novel, MAGIC BURNS, comes out April 1st. 

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels knows how waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shape shifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug of war between two gods hoping for rebirth, and if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.

Come to a place where technology is fighting to survive in a world that literally flairs with magic. Shape shifters of all flavors roam here and they are ruled by the very intense Beast Lord. You no longer donate your body to science but to the vampires, who you can find in their casino. Strange Harpy hanging out in your yard, call the Order, a Knight always shows up, but be prepared for what will be asked of you in return. One last bit of advice, burn your bandages if you're wounded and don't visit the Unicorn district after dark. Welcome to the new Atlanta.

 
Sandra
The Owl and Moon Cafe by Jo-Ann Mapson
Rating: 4 Stars
A story of 4 generations of women and their cafe. Loved it!! You won't find out till the very end why it is named Owl and Moon.
 
Len
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a wonderful, very long book that takes place in the 12th century --- it is a saga worth spending the long hours needed to read over 900 pages. The characters are interesting and memorable, and it is a very interesting insight into history.
 
Anne
Mum's the Word by Kate Collins
Rating: 4 Stars
Abby Knight is the owner of of a flower shop in her hometown. A law school dropout, she is trying to get her flower business off to a flying start, but someone is killing her profits and may be attempting to kill her as well. A cute, well-written mystery.
 
Anne
Honeymoon with Murder by Carolyn G. Hart
Rating: 4 Stars
Mystery bookstore owner Annie Laurance and detective Max Darling are getting married, despite the help of Max's over-helpful mother. The wedding is barely over when a woman disappears, leaving behind a dead body. This is a humorous, quirky mystery full of wonderful characters.
 
Michelle
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Rating: 5 Stars
This is definitely a 5-star hanky book. You will bawl your eyes out, and you can't put it down either. I read it all in one sitting, and then had a good cry.
 
LisaMM (lisamunley@ca.rr.com)
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Rating: 5 Stars
What a book! Our book club found so much to talk about. The writing style is original, so different from anything else I've ever read. Part sci-fi, part love story, this is a fascinating read, one I would highly recommend to other book clubs.
 
Christy H.
Sexy Beast IV by Kate Dougals, Deanna Lee and Dawn Thompson
Rating: 3 Stars
Exciting. Hot. Entertaining. These are words that I would use to describe these three well-written paranormal erotic romances.

I have read every book in Ms. Douglas Wolf Tales/Sexy Beast series. For anyone new to the Chanku series, I would not recommend starting here. You really need to read the other books first so that you can get to know the characters.

 
Christy H.
Harmony's Way by Lora Leigh
Rating: 5 Stars
I absolutely adore Lora Leigh's Breed Series and HRMONY'S WAY is definitely a must read! This eleventh book in the series --- the second released by Berkley Sensation --- is fast paced, suspenseful, exciting and full of intrigue. New and returning characters and the fascinating world of the Breeds have me consuming every book and eagerly anticipating each new addition.
 
Sally
Run by Ann Patchett
Rating: 5 Stars
RUN, by the wonderful author of BEL CANTO, is one of the best books that I've read this year. It is hard to write a synopsis that even begins to describe this fantastic book, so I won't try. But, it does make you think of children and what comprises a family. A great book for a book club discussion. Don't miss this one!
 
Sally
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Rating: 5 Stars
My husband had finished reading this book, and I picked it up to just read a chapter, as I have not read any of McCarthy's other works. I could not put it down. Described as a post-apocalyptic tale, this book is about a man and his small son who are attempting to head south along "the road," after the destruction of the world as we know it. The story is bleak, full of despair, and often horrifying. However, ultimately it is also about love and faith. Not a word is wasted in this book, and there is a thread of suspense that literally grips the reader. One of the best books I've read.
 
Sally
Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
Rating: 3 Stars
This very slim "between the numbers" novel is not as good as her other books. It has the usual gags about Lula, Grandma Mazur, and her cohorts. There are the requisite exploding cars, fires, and other mayhem. I did laugh at the parts concerning Doug, the race horse. It's a quick read if you can borrow it from a friend or from the library.
 
Carol B.
Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
Rating: 5 Stars
GAMES OF COMMAND by Linnea Sinclair is a fun, fast-paced, entertaining, can't-put- down, page turner! 

Anyone who likes science fiction, paranormal and romance all in one will love this book. 
Highly recommended!

 
Tarah (fireball351c@yahoo.com)
High Noon by Nora Roberts
Rating: 4 Stars
This book kept you guessing "whodoneit" and therefore made it a page turner.
 
Juanita
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Rating: 4 Stars
Very interesting --- I feel like I am on the asteroid with them! This is a book for our book discussion and I know this will be a great one. With topics like love/religion/future, we may be there all night.
 
Ali
The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen
Rating: 5 Stars
This book was outstanding. It was a great mystery bouncing back and forth from present to past and linking people together. I loved the medical history and practical lesson...Wash your hands!
 
Violet M
The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum
Rating: 4 Stars
It is a funny, wise, and --- at times --- sad story that most importantly gives off a sense of realism. Highly recommend it to everyone!
 
Christy H.
Tanner's Scheme by Lora Leigh
Rating: 5 Stars
This latest installment to the Breeds series continues the story with the return of many of the characters from previous book, and the addition of new and interesting characters. Tanner's and Scheme's story was an emotional roller-coaster ride filled with plenty of suspense, twists and turns, and hot, steamy romance. After I read each of Ms. Leigh's books, I am left eagerly awaiting the next book --- I want a story for each of the characters that she introduces. A great stand-alone novel, but you really should (and will want to) read all of the earlier books to get the whole story.
 
Asha Smith
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossein
Rating: 5 Stars
Two women --- an older first wife and a much younger second wife, are living under one roof. Jealousy is replaced by trust, friendship, and that uncommon bond shared by only women. Women of all ages, married, divorced or single, should read this book.
 
Asha Smith
The Note by Angela Hunt
Rating: 5 Stars
Anyone dealing with a broken relationship should read this. Sometimes what we believe isn't always the truth. It takes strength and courage to make the right move.
 
Susan Stewart (srsasu83@hotmail.com)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Rating: 4 Stars
A fascinating story about the real Dracula which, unfortunately, drags in spots. But, the story is so original and compelling that any slow spots are worth slogging through.
 
JaneAnn Railey
DEADLY GAMBLE and DEADLY DECEPTIONS by Linda Lael Miller
Rating: 4 Stars
These books are very entertaining, and Miller's new character Mojo is a riot. I do hope we will hear more about her and her seeing dead people. The two books go together, although they can also stand alone; but when I finished first one, I sure was glad I had the second to open right away. Now I'm waiting for #3.
 
J. Kaye Oldner (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
Stone Cold by David Baldacci
Rating: 5 Stars
STONE COLD is the third in the Camel Club series, and boy, what a series it is. If you've read the previous books, Oliver Stone's past has remained a bit of a mystery. Oh sure, we knew some, but in this one we'll find out all the little details. And for those of you who have been feeling a bit tepid about the first two books, this one will rock your socks off. That said, you'll need to read (or for audio buffs, listen to) the first two books in order to be emotionally invested for this third book. Baldacci has an ending that will leave you absolutely stunned. For me, this book was the best of the three.
 
Susie Schachte
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 5 Stars
This story centers on 2 girls who begin their lifelong friendship in middle school. While each takes a different path, they still gravitate to each other. It is a story of learning about unconditional love.
 
Judy O.
Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin
Rating: 5 Stars
Chase Walker was always looking for his roots, since he had been a foster child all his life. When he comes into contact with a ten- year-old boy with the same history, he helps him. This is a richly drawn book about the power of loss and love. It takes place in a small town in Georgia near the ocean. A great Read!
 
Kellie (acountkel@bellsouth.net)
A Widow for a Year by John Irving
Rating: 4 Stars
When I think about a book written by John Irving, the picture that comes to mind is a vine --- a vine that weaves within itself and spreads thick in its own mass. This is the 3rd Irving book I have read. Irving uses some of the same themes in his many novels. Boarding schools, younger men with older women are some that immediately come to mind. 

This particular book is about a family who lives in the Hamptons. The father, Ted, is an author of children's books, as is his wife, Marion, though she does not begin her career as a writer until later on in life. The family is ripped apart when a car accident kills their 2 sons. They have a daughter, Ruth, after the accident in an attempt to bring their family back together. When Ruth is 4, Ted hires a student, Eddie, to help him with his writing for the summer. At least, that is what he says. The book is split into 3 parts and covers almost 40 years. Irving takes these 4 characters and begins weaving his plot in such articulate detail, it hovers on the line of genius. After reading these books, I always feel like I missed the true meaning of the story and feel obligated to read it again. I enjoyed this novel; however, I felt overwhelmed on occasion in parts that dragged. I lost patience at times. This still does not take away from my respect for this writer, who I think is one of the best in the business.

 
Debi
By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz
Rating: 5 Stars
Wow! There were so many times I had to stop to catch my breath while reading this book! A mad scientist tests his latest discovery by injecting three unsuspecting victims. Their brains are enhanced, which gives them elevated powers. And the chase is on!
 
Debi
Double Cross by James Patterson
Rating: 4 Stars
Cross is challenged by two killers, which doubles the action and doubles the enjoyment!!
 
Nicole B. (nickiheart16@aim.com)
Geek High by Piper Banks
Rating: 5 Stars
A fantastically written book, Piper Banks's GEEK HIGH is an engaging novel that grabs the reader from page one. With believable characters and a fantastic plot line, this is a must read for everybody --- geek or not.
 
Sandy
The Bug in the Martini Olive by Patricia Hold
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a biography of Hal Lipset. He was chief investigator on the Watergate Committee, private detective to Jim Jones of the People's Temple, defense investigator for clients such as Angela Davis, the Soledad Brothers, and United Farm Workers. He started a new kind of detective agency in 1947. It was very interesting seeing how the business developed as technology developed and the changes in privacy laws and secret surveillance rights and devices.
 
Debbie (deble_2000@yahoo.com)
Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel
Rating: 4 Stars
50-year-old movie star Carol Barber is a new widow. On a trip to Paris, she is severely injured in a terrorist attack and experiences memory loss. Through it all, an old flame rekindled. This was a good read, and is typical Danielle Steel.
 
Cyndi L (clove6577@fuse.net)
Meg by Steve Alten
Rating: 5 Stars
One of the best I have ever read.
 
Barbara D.
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
Rating: 4 Stars
This captivating story provides fabulous photographs and eye-opening commentary on the homeless population.
 
ck
The Spanish Box by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Rating: 5 Stars
Feliu Delargo, is a musical prodigy whose future as a cellist begins with his dead father's final gift: a cello bow. Feliu goes to Barcelona, then to the court in Madrid and eventually travels through Spain and Europe, giving the reader a marvelous world history lesson as well as a really fine story about a cellist, a violinist and a piano player. Along the way, we encounter Queen Anna of Spain, Pablo Picasso, Bertolt Brecht, Franco, Hitler, and other 20th Century people of power and influence.
 
Marion Miller (lamamil@aol.com)
Away by Amy Bloom
Rating: 5 Stars
An original and intriguing novel.
I loved traveling with the heroine and sharing in the updates of her character.

 
D. Lohrding
The Secret Blend by Stan Toler
Rating: 4 Stars
An easy, fast, and very enjoyable read. A parable about friendship in today's success-driven world.
 
Julie
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Rating: 4 Stars
I loved the book and it kept me enthralled to the last page. The only negative is that you really have to suspend your disbelief and go where the author takes you, even though some of the events that Robert Langdon survives are completely unrealistic.
 
Ally
One Mississippi by Mark Childress
Rating: 4 Stars
Engrossing story with interesting characters and themes. It's full of twists and turns and has a shocking ending not to be missed!
 
Brian (BRIANMC1212@VERIZON.NET)
The Invisible by Andrew Britton
Rating: 5 Stars
A very well-crafted story that moves quickly. The characters are well defined and the book keeps you guessing the entire way.
 
Frances Drukten
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Rating: 5 Stars
Fascinating. As soon as I finished this fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with Maymuh Borthwick, I began to research which parts were indeed true. A tragic love story about real people.
 
Bonnie
Turning Tables by Heather & Rose MacDowell
Rating: 3 Stars
If you're looking for a light, froth of a novel about the New York upscale restaurant scene, this is the book for you. The authors obviously know the ins and outs of what goes on in the kitchens of these famous places and the characters who populate the gourmet scene. Good chick lit book for the beach or a plane trip.
 
Ann Kunkel (mountainmist40@yahoo.com)
Beneath the Shadows by Lee Ann Newton and James A. Benson
Rating: 5 Stars
This is historical fiction with an intriguing twist. The granddaughter of a Civil War couple, Mattie, is part of an ancient prophecy and begins to travel back in time to gain wisdom and foresight from the days of the Civil War. She is an unwilling subject, and this is a nonstop read after the first couple of chapters, which set the stage for this four-book series. It may just keep you reading until the wee hours of the morning! I can't wait for the second book due out sometime this year.
 
Kathy V.
Meow Is For Murder by Linda O. Johnston
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the 4th book in the Kenra Ballantyne, Petsitter Mysteries. In this series, Kendra is both a lawyer and a pet sitter. This is a fun series that keeps you guessing till the end as to who did it. It's a great way to spend the evening, curled up a reading these books.
 
Betty Burrier (bettyburrier@yahoo.com)
The Frist Pateint by Michael Palmer
Rating: 5 Stars
If you like medical thrillers, this is for you. It starts a little slowly, but soon the intrigue and mystery take over. I really enjoyed this book.
 
Jeanie
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Rating: 5 Stars
True story of a homeless man and the couple who volunteered at the shelter and became his friends. Tragedy and triumph are intertwined.
 
Jeanie
Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews
Rating: 3 Stars
A fun Chick Lit book about a local TV chef trying to find her way to a National TV show.
 
Jeanie
The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a memoir written by a 93-year-old man about his childhood, growing up in England on a street with Christian families on one side of the street and Jewish families on the other. He tells of the poverty of the times and of the differences between the two cultures.
 
Janice Wright
The Rainmaker by John Grisham
Rating: 4 Stars
I've got to thank my boyfriend for introducing me to John Grisham's novels. They move quickly and I love the characters. THE RAINMAKER is excellent.
 
Louise
Mary, Mary by James Patterson
Rating: 5 Stars
This may be my favorite of the Alex Cross series. As usual, Alex is trying to make quality time with family, but as they vacation at Disney Land, some prominent Hollywood women (mothers, to be more exact) are murdered. Of course, Alex is asked (rather, commanded) to join the investigation. There are also some poignant moments concerning Little Alex.

This one can be enjoyed and understood even without reading any others in the series.

 
LouBabe
Hour of the Hunter by J. A. Jance
Rating: 3 Stars
First, let me say that my book has 407 pages (small print). I have sort of a self-imposed rule that if I can't get into a book, I will force myself to read the first 100 pages, and then, if I still am not enjoying myself, I allow myself to quit. Boy, I could hardly wait to get to p 100 in this one! I actually wanted to stop at p 16. 

Wouldn't you just know that by the time I reached p 96, I was starting to get a little interested. By p 214 I almost gave up again. I didn't get to the point where I HAD to keep reading until p 345. At that point, I decided I really liked the book! :)

There's a lot of Papago Indian legends, names, vocabulary, etc, which makes for slow reading. If you're interested in Native American heritage (which I thought I was), it can be quite educational, but I found it to slow me down considerably. 

In case you want to hear what the story's about (sorry), a newly released prison convict is trying to get revenge on someone who helped put him there. The parts that relate to that are interesting, but there's a lot thrown in that don't seem to have all that much to do with the story, and at times, it's hard to follow. 

If you have a lot of patience and enjoy suspense stories, I think you'll like it. I'm normally a fan of J. A. Jance.

 
Judy S
Duma Key by Stephen King
Rating: 5 Stars
Edgar Freemantle's second life begins when he rents "Big Pink" on a remote Florida key. His old life lies in ruins as his head is bashed and he loses his arm in a crane accident. He also loses his rational brain, and his memory is tenuous. But, on Duma Key, he finds he has uncontrolled urges to paint and the paintings are magnificent. Of course, things are not as serene as they seem and life takes on a new meaning as Edgar befriends his octogenarian landlord who is sadly losing her grip on her own mind and her caretaker, Wireman, who is on his own second life. 
King paints a rich picture of the keys, the main characters, and, as only he can, the something "other". 

I believe a visit to the Florida Keys isn't in my immediate future and I'm still leery of Maine!

 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
On Agate Hill by Lee Smith
Rating: 3 Stars
ON AGATE HILL chronicles Molly Petree's life from youth during the Civil War to her death in the 1920s. It's the story of the mountain people and the plantation people and the journey taken by Molly with these two sets of people.
 
D Rice
Toxic Feedback by Joni B. Cole
Rating: 5 Stars
Subtitled 'Helping Writers Survive and Thrive', this book is an entertaining guide to dealing with feedback. I wish I had read this years ago when I was teaching the writing process to my intermediate students. Joni B. Cole has been on both ends: giving and receiving feedback. Parts make me laugh, parts slap me upside the head. This is a book I'll share with fellow writers and teachers, but will hound them unceasingly to return it to me when they finish reading.
 
Jennie
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Rating: 3 Stars
This novel by Ms. Sebold does not come close to THE LOVELY BONES, but is a good read all the same. It's bout a woman teetering on the edge of mental illness who kills her mother.
 
laurie blum (laurieblum@hotmail.com)
The Soul Thief by Charles Baxter
Rating: 4 Stars
Charles Baxter, one of my favorite authors, does it again with his new novel, THE SOUL THIEF, which is set in Buffalo, NY and addresses the issue of "identity theft" --- presented so uniquely with graduate students!
 
Coral Harrison
The Divide by Nicholas Evans
Rating: 5 Stars
A tremendous story of a family from New York who vacation in Montana for 4 summers. By going there, the whole family changes. It shows how what we do affects everyone in the family. It ends with peace for all.
 
Gail S.
The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller
Rating: 5 Stars
An interesting story of the parallels between the lives of two women --- one, an older wife of a senator and the other, a newly married younger lady.
 
Gail S.
The Lavender Hour by Anne LeClaire
Rating: 5 Stars
While volunteering as a hospice worker after losing her job, a woman falls in love with a dying patient. Very good read.
 
Myrna Lippman (mlipdec21@aol.com)
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Rating: 5 Stars
A wonderful historical fiction novel about Frank Lloyd Wright's scandalous affair with feminist Mamah Cheney during the first decade of the 1900s.
 
Vanessa E.
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Rating: 5 Stars
I loved every minute of ODD THOMAS and was very sad to see it end. Odd's witty perspectives were a joy to read through Koontz's flawless writing style, all wrapped up in stomach-clenching action with a heart-breaking ending. Thankfully, the story doesn't end there, and I'm now onto the sequel, titled FOREVER ODD.
 
Lisa Garrett
Crewel World by Monica Ferris
Rating: 4 Stars
Anyone who does any type of needlework will love this whodunit! You will fall in love with the characters. This is a page turner.
 
Sharon
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Rating: 5 Stars
Years ago, I read this classic as a young woman. I have picked it up again and am amazed how life experiences have changed my perception of the book. I linger over phrases where before I read for romance. How much we have lost in today's literature where action is the key to any bestseller.
 
Marleen Davis
Duma Key by Stephen King
Rating: 5 Stars
This is absolutely his best book of late. I would rate it up there with THE STAND. I enjoyed each page and wanted to know what would happen, but was sorry to get to the end of the story.
 
Eileen (knight@sxu.edu)
Peony in Love by Lisa See
Rating: 5 Stars
I read this one in hardback from the library and when it came out in paper this week I really had to have it. It is written with such gentle authority. I guess I would put this in the category of historical fiction. It is such a compelling story and one that stays on my mind. The characters are so well defined and have such a difficult time in life. This is Lisa See at her best!
 
Myrna Lippman (mlipdec21@aol.com)
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
Rating: 4 Stars
Set during World War II in Leningrad, the Hermitage Museum staff hides its treasures from the advancing Germans, and this book is about how this affects the main characters.
 
Shirley Younger
Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel
Rating: 5 Stars
This is Danielle's latest book, and as usual, it's an excellent read.
 
Norma (luckycharm6139@yahoo.com)
The Pact by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 5 Stars
I have just finished reading Jodi Picoult's book, THE PACT. I thought this book was very well written, and was an eye opener for parents of teenagers as well. The book tells the story of two teenagers, Chris and Emily, who grew up living next door to one another and shared everything all of their lives, or at least Chris and both sets of parents thought. Sometimes things happen during childhood that we cannot control nor can some accept and deal with. It's one of these things that drives Emily to suicide. It is also a reminder to parents that what we see on the outside is not what's going on on the inside; we can not always tell if our children are alright, and sometimes we really need to ask and not presume.
 
Peggy (cali_lb@msn.com)
Twisted by Andrea Kane
Rating: 5 Stars
I was privileged to read this book prior to publication this month. It is the best suspense book of the year for me.

Sloane Burbank is a woman all of us females admire. She is smart, sexy and vulnerable. She hates being that, and most of us would too. Her goal is to get her career back on track, but suddenly she is in the middle of a missing-person case. This is suspense at its best and you won't want to put it down until it is finished. To me, that is the best praise one can give a book.

 
Laurie
You've Been Warned by James Patterson
Rating: 4 Stars
This book is fast moving and exciting, just like a typical Patterson book. You want to keep reading to see what will happen next.
 
Kathryn M.
The Best of Friends: Two Woman, Two Continents and by Sara James and Ginger Mauney
Rating: 5 Stars
I found myself looking forward to reading this book every day. Jane and Grace meet and become friends at 12 years old, then they kind of lose touch for a while. They reconnect in their post-college years as they are looking for success and --- more to the point --- what defines success to them. Each journey takes us all over the world and we become part of some amazing, scary and unforgettable experiences. 

This was a great read!!

 
Helen from Buffalo
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 4 Stars
A remarkable true story of one woman's childhood, growing up with crazy, dysfunctional parents. It will make you laugh and cry.
 
Kristi Hartshorn (drizzyjo@gmail.com)
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Rating: 5 Stars
Wow! This is an historical fiction novel about Frank Lloyd Wright and his paramour. I knew nothing about this story, which made the book even better! Loved it.
 
Desmond Warzel
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the seventh and last installment in the Dark Tower series (confusing, I realize). Over two decades in coming, it's an elegant (if longish) conclusion that ties everything up neatly (or does it?).
 
Kristi Hartshorn (drizzyjo@gmail.com)
Naked by David Sedaris
Rating: 5 Stars
I picked this up at a used book sale because I liked the cover. It is laugh-out-loud funny.
 
Terri Loeffler (terri.loeffler@sbcglobal.net)
Something Rising (Light and Swift) by Haven Kimmel
Rating: 5 Stars
A great "coming-of-age" story about a young female pool hustler in Indiana. It sounds crazy, but she's the sanest in the bunch! Haven Kimmel takes us inside her head as she goes from "daddy's girl" to her own person.
 
Linda Moeller (LINDALSHOT@aol.com)
Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews
Rating: 4 Stars
Another great book, though not as good as HISSY FIT or SAVANNAH BREEZE because of the very short format. However, it's still a very amusing romp.
 
Kathryn (txtiger02@msn.com)
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Rating: 5 Stars
So what is 'happiness' when you really think about it? A place? Emotions? Activities? Possessions? Culture?
We Americans may not know our own real pleasure or happiness if it bit us! This book really makes one stop and think.


 
Thomas
7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Rating: 5 Stars
Once again, the Women's Murder Club has a pair of unrelated cases to work on. Two college-age killers are entering the homes of wealthy people, tying them up and burning their homes down around them. At the same time, Yuki Castellano is prosecuting a case against a young prostitute who has confessed to being with a famous governor's son who dies in her arms while she does nothing. Yuki's problem is there is no body and no hard evidence. Once again, Patterson doesn't disappoint.
 
Barbara Dormer (bdorm@aol.cm)
Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak
Rating: 4 Stars
I like reading books that emphasize cross-cultural relationships --- this time Turkish and Kurdish. A light on part of history most of us don't even know,
 
Peggy (cali_lb@msn.com)
Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein
Rating: 4 Stars
I had drifted away from Linda's books but this one is, as the title says, a killer. There are several story lines going and you have the familiar characters of ADA Cooper and friends. It is very well written and hard to put down. Along with being a first-rate thriller you get a great travelogue of some fascinating places in New York.
 
Margaret
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Rating: 5 Stars
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The premise is very simple. It is about two virgins in the early sixties on their honeymoon in Great Britain. They are nervous and uneducated about the ways of the world. Of course, disaster is the outcome. McEwan writes a wonderful story that is thought provoking.
 
Robin B.
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
Rating: 5 Stars
I read this as part of a presentation I was giving, and at first I wasn't sure I would like it. Somehow, the story of a man's last night managing a chain restaurant didn't sound too appealing. However, I ended up absolutely loving the book and found myself identifying with Manny and his pride in a job well done, even if it really didn't matter at the time. It was also a revealing look at the inner workings of a chain restaurant (in this case, a Red Lobster), and I found it quite interesting.
 
Pam (PDKC123@aol.com)
Gone by Lisa Gardner
Rating: 5 Stars
I loved this book! It is especially great since I've not read anything by this author before, and now I can go back and get all her others. The plot is solid, and you can read about it from the perspective of several characters. A detective and his wife are having problems, she disappears, and this is the story of the days following as a frantic search goes underway to find her.
 
Carol (carol.grubbs@gmail.com)
Girlbomb by Janice Erlbaum
Rating: 4 Stars
Having read Janice Erlbaum's 2nd book HAVE YOU FOUND HER, I had to read her 1st book. It's a memoir of her teenage years in New York City living homeless, drinking, drugging and free sex --- a story of growing up the hard way.
 
Julia Desmond
My Life in France by Julia Child
Rating: 4 Stars
It's truly "Julia"....it sounds just like her. What a success story for a girl from Pasadena, CA.! We had a French dinner to celebrate Julia, with pate, boursin, and Brie to start and coq au vin and bouef bourguinogne as entreés. 

 
Carol Riley (bookworm1957@roadrunner.com)
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
Rating: 5 Stars
This was a very touching book, and reached far into my own experiences with nursing homes, and growing old.
 
Monica
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Relin
Rating: 4 Stars
This is not a big literary masterpiece, but a wonderful true story of Mortenson and his experiences of starting numerous schools in Pakistan. His commitment resulted in forming the Central Asia Institute, which has constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. I found it difficult to read at times, having to reread poorly constructed sentences and the narrative takes off into shifts of time. The book echoes 2 things highly valued by we Americans: education and peace. The demonstrates how an individual can make a difference and education is a way to have hope. Also, it shows us a part of the world we know so little about. Mortenson also founded Pennies For Peace.
 
Sheila M
Fatal Forecast by Michael Tougias
Rating: 5 Stars
Very captivating account of a November, 1980 storm off of Cape Cod and the harrowing accounts of the survivors. I highly recommend it.
 
Sheila M
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rating: 1 Stars
I was so excited to read this book, but was sorely disappointed. All the whining and crying about her failed marriage wore thin after 100 pages. She has everything going for her --- a great job, plenty of money, and lots of friends but she still wants to obsess about anything that isn't perfect in her life. Get a clue, Elizabeth --- no one's life is perfect! 

Honestly, she was paid up front to write this book and I got the impression that she fabricated whatever she thought people would want to read. Great marketing job on this one.

 
Brenda K
Gardens of Water by Alan Drew
Rating: 4 Stars
My interest in this book was peaked by another review I read in a industry magazine. The setting of this story made me think about current events in the Middle East. The whole plot of the book made me open my eyes to what goes on when "Christian" organizations step in to assist in natural disasters. I did feel that the daughter in this book was not fairly treated by her father, but I could see where beliefs and traditions could confuse the father. People who want a "Full-Feature" story should look this book up.
 
Allison
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Rating: 5 Stars
An excellent mystery, one where even though you think you have figured out the ending you keep reading to see how it all came together --- and then at the end, you realize that it's not what you thought at all.
 
Tia Laws (tialaws@tds.net)
A Place To Call Home by Deborah Smith
Rating: 5 Stars
I love Deborah Smith and will read anything she writes. I enjoy her books, with their strong southern women and their "southern" charm. I love the humor and sarcasm along with the usually heart-rendering stories with an emphasis on family. I think most who read her books can relate to the characters, which makes them so good. I highly recommend this one and ON BEAR MOUNTAIN.
 
Frank Nigro
The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritson
Rating: 4 Stars
A thoroughly disturbing, dark tale about Satan, murder and evil. It's an exciting and riveting, and is a great late-night page turner!
 
Lori Barnes (photoquest@bellsouth.net)
A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury
Rating: 5 Stars
This was my first book by this author and I loved it. This was such a sweet story of 2 people whose lives are controlled by outside situations, until they form a friendship with each other, and what a emotional story this became. Love, trust, and loyalty can change a lot in someone's life, and this story was the perfect example of that. I will definitely look for other books by this author.
 
Jodie
Misfits Country by Arthur Knight
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a fictionalized look behind the scenes of the making of the classic movieThe Misfits. Told from the perspectives of the characters: Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, and director John Huston. Through fiction, the author is able to bring these iconic figures to life and get inside their heads. As a fan of this movie and of Marilyn Monroe, I could see the author did his research on the characters and what happened during the making of this movie.
 
Fran
The Boy and the Dog are Sleeping by Nasdijj
Rating: 5 Stars
A beautiful, haunting account of one man's journey raising his 11-year-old adopted son with AIDS. Nasdijj eloquently captures the father-son bond that developed between them. He also graphically depicts the devastating effect of AIDS on a child. Further, this book offers a glimpse into the Navajo culture, with substandard medical care and deep discrimination. A beautiful tribute from a father to his son. It's heartbreaking and sad.
 
Linda
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Rating: 5 Stars
I read this for The Big Read that takes place in libraries throughout the 50 states. Descriptions of ordinary things are outstanding. Now I know where the saying, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it" came from.
 
Monica Van Kirk
Fall To Grace by Kerry Casey
Rating: 5 Stars
If I could, I would give this book 10 stars. I have just read this for the second time. It takes place in Northern Minnesota, from the perspective of 2 boys over 8 years. They are from diverse backgrounds, but have both experienced the deaths of their fathers on the same day. One boy is an American Indian and the other a city kid on a fishing trip with his rigid father. This is a spiritual page-turner; I have given the book as a gift to friends and will read it again.
 
Robin
Then and Now by Robert B. Parker
Rating: 4 Stars
Spenser book. Also, Susan, Hawk, Vinnie and Chollo reprise their roles as his strong allies. Spenser and Susan contemplate marriage. It is fun, as always, but there is no real suspense.
 
Dianne
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Rating: 3 Stars
When I think of my reading experience with LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, I can only imagine what life was like during that period. The urgency to live life to the fullest by indulging in whatever brought the individual pleasure was heartbreaking. The characters in the book were numerous and most of them were unimportant, with the exception of the few whose lives finally became woven together. This book wore me out! I feel that is exactly what the author intended!

The author was a master at creating the exact feeling of confusion throughout the book. Every time I sat down to read, I had to go back and reread what happened last. FINALLY, at around page 270-something, my attention was grasped and I read to the end without ever retracing my "steps". The two characters had to go through the turmoils of their lives before they "found" each other, too. After reading Love..., I was tired and felt much older, too!

 
Joan
Twisted by Andrea Kane
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the first book I have read by this author and I loved it. Former FBI Agent Sloane Burbank is contacted by the mother of a childhood friend who has been missing for nearly a year. She agrees to look into the case, and to her "surprise," finds her ex-lover is leading the investigation. The author skillfully gives us insight into the perpetrator's mind and what he has planned for the abducted women, as well as Sloane. This was a very suspenseful book, one I highly recommend.
 
Heather M (hmacleod645@hotmail.com)
Helping Me Help Myself by Beth Lisick
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the first self-help book that I can relate to and how hard it is to get everything organize in my own life. There are times you want to laugh because you can sympathize with the author. I really enjoy this book, and I like how it summarizes some of the best yet long self-help books out there.
 
Bob W. (bobbewig@aol.com)
The Nazi Hunter by Alan Elsner
Rating: 4 Stars
THE NAZI HUNTER is a very enjoyable book that kept Me engrossed from beginning to end. Elsner provides a good blend of character development, historical research, romance, insights into orthodox Judaism, Washington politics and, of course, suspense that will have you turning the pages at a rapid pace.
 
Barbara Broberg (arbbroberg@hotmail.com)
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Rating: 5 Stars
A story about a child growing up during the Depression on a farm in Iowa. I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin during the Depression and this book was not only delightful but brought back many memories, both good and bad. I liked the way she had chapters for topics --- cooking, school, food, washing clothes, and particularly the chapter about out houses.
 
Shirley Akins
Twisted by Andrea Kane
Rating: 5 Stars
You find out what 'twisted' really means in this book! It's so suspenseful. I loved it! Following the character through the many twists and turns keeps you reeling. It's a must read.
 
Arlene Herring (ekelks@msn.com)
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
Rating: 5 Stars
I just finished rereading this children's classic. An inspiring family story about some very creative children growing up in the late 1800s. I look forward to rediscovering all Susan Coolidge's books.
 
Carol Zwick
March by Geraldine Brooks
Rating: 5 Stars
A wonderful book. For everyone who loved LITTLE WOMEN, here is a postscript that turns it on its head and gives us another perspective on the Marches and America during the Civil War.
 
Lisa
The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason
Rating: 5 Stars
Indridason's latest Icelandic mystery featuring moody Inspector Erlender is one of his best yet. As brilliant and methodical as Erlender is at police work, his personal life is in shambles. This time, he is investigating a body washed up from a local lake, while trying to reconnect with his adult children (with whom he's been estranged since his divorce when they were very young). His daughter, a recovering drug addict, is constantly reminding him of his failures as a father. His son is distant and doesn't seem to want a relationship with Erlender at all. Meanwhile, he's trying to determine if there is any hope for a romantic relationship with a colleague. This is a melancholic, intense, yet extremely rewarding read.
 
Brenda K
Life Class by Pat Barker
Rating: 4 Stars
Anti-War? Pro-War? I don't think the book was either. I felt the book was more a presentation of the real feelings surrounding war. I could see Paul's side of getting caught up in the "have-to-do" something. But, I also could understand Elinor's regret that war had to change their lives. The author caught my emotions up in her smooth tale and she never let them go until the end of the book.
 
Susan
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a memoir growing up as a Muslim. The author runs away from an arranged marriage and hides in Holland. She describes why she decides to leave her religion, in which women are subservient to men. A religion that causes you to live in fear is not a religion, and so she renounces it. This opens your eyes like never before. I have never read anything about anyone renouncing the Muslim religion.
 
Coral Harrison
Down River by John Hart
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a story of Adam Chase, who was accused and not found guilty of killing another man. He leaves his father, step-mother, step-brother and sister who lived in Rowan County in North Carolina to live elsewhere for 5 years. He comes back because a friend asks him to. There is more tragedy and excitement.
 
T. Thomas
Babylon's Ark by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spencer
Rating: 3 Stars
Actually 3 and a half stars. I enjoyed reading about the zoo and Anthony's efforts to rescue the animals and restore the zoo. It's remarkable what he accomplished in a war zone. However, he came across as preachy in parts, and that is why I did not rate it higher.
 
T. Thomas
Shadow Music by Julie Garwood
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a romantic mystery and it is a fast read. I really enjoyed it.
 
T. Thomas
Sizzle and Burn by Jayne Anne Krentz
Rating: 4 Stars
This is an Arcane Society book, and it is a fast read.
 
Susan Gorman
Celbrity Detox by Rosie O'Donnell
Rating: 4 Stars
This is unlike any other book I have ever read. But is good and raw.
 
Carol R. Cool
Love Walked In by Marisa de Los Santos
Rating: 5 Stars
This was a wonderful novel that didn't feel like a novel; it felt like my watching the lives of people I loved unfolding. Compelling characters, moving story, and beautiful language --- a perfect package that I can't stop thinking about.
 
Bev (hopeuebel@fuse.net)
The Gathering by Anne Enright
Rating: 4 Stars
Very beautifully written. I love any books about Irish ancestry.
 
Inga K. Willner
Rashi's Daughter: Miriam by Maggie Anton
Rating: 2 Stars
Where the first of the series (RASHI'S DAUGHTER: JOHEVED) was totally spectacular, this second one, though beautifully written, lacks a reason for being. It simply is there as a second of three, and for no other reason. The theme throughout --- homosexuality --- does not cause the same sense of learning as did the theme in Book 1. I'm glad I read it, but am disappointed.
 
Kirsten
Twisted by Andrea Kane
Rating: 5 Stars
This is my first Andrea Kane novel and from the moment I picked it up until the last page, I was enthralled. I didn't want to put it down. Sloane Burbank is the perfect heroine. She is strong, determined, and independent. In this book, she chases after a madman who is kidnapping women in Sloane's life, and she finds love in the process. It's a great book, and does it have a surprise for you in its twisted finale!
 
Wendy Catalano
The Secret History Of The Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the author's first novel in a series and it is a great read. A fun and witty book with romance, mystery and adventure that takes place during the Napoleonic years in England and France.
 
baker7
The Appeal by John Grisham
Rating: 5 Stars
As with all Grisham books, we are taken behind the courtroom and shown what really goes on in these long trials. The main characters are appealing and the book is an easy read. I am very much enjoying this book
 
Mary Bushnell
Gardens of Water by Alan Drew
Rating: 5 Stars
This novel has very believable characters that helped me understand how a Middle-Eastern man feels about his responsibilities and his family. It also tells about his teenage daughter, who is torn between love for her family and her desire for more freedom and independence.
 
Bob W. (bobbewig@aol.com)
Mama Flora's Family by Alex Haley & Donald Stevens
Rating: 5 Stars
At the center of MAMA FLORA'S FAMILY is the indomitable spirit of Mama Flora, the matriarch of an extraordinary family of destitute Tennessee sharecroppers. The characters are so real and believable it made this reader feel that I was right there with them, experiencing all their trials and tribulations, as well as the joys. This book is much more than a poignant, hard-to-put-down story of a Mama Flora and her descendants from 1920 to the late 1990s. I highly recommend this excellent, emotionally-packed posthumous novel written by David Stevens based on Alex Haley's notes and research.
 
Bob W.
Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig
Rating: 5 Stars
RHETT BUTLER'S PEOPLE is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in some time. McCaig creates a tale that complements as well as adds new dimensions to the classic on which it is based. While it starts off a bit slow, it then grabs a hold of your attention and never lets go. The author makes you feel that you are right there with Rhett, Scarlett, Melanie, Ashley and several other multidimensional characters throughout all of their good times and bad times.
 
Annette
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Rating: 2 Stars
I always have a hard time with Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books, but our book club selected it, and I'm determined to make it to the end.

 
Deborah Wellenstein
Duma Key by Stephen King
Rating: 4 Stars
One of his best in years!
 
Nicole
Jacob's List by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a book by a Christian author. I am really enjoying it.
 
janice Hoaglin (jhoaglin@sbcglobal.net)
Higher Authority by Stephen White
Rating: 4 Stars
I am going back to read the Alan Gregory books I missed, the early ones in the series. This is one of the best of the series. I found it very intriguing.
 
Molly Capel (mcapel4444@aol.com)
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 4 Stars
Being a big fan of Ms. Picoult's, this is one book that did not disappoint! Keeping with her formula, of writing stories that go there, NINETEEN MINUTES deals with the aftermath and trial of a high school shooting. I like the fact that the story is told from several points of view, so you can feel sympathy for all the victims, even the shooter.
 
Janet Stewart
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 5 Stars
Jodi Picoult never disappoints. She is one of the few authors whose new books I buy in hardcover the day they are released.
 
JMB
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Rating: 5 Stars
The interesting, winding plot kept me wondering and wanting to read more.
 
Michael
What Shamu Taught Me About Life Love and Marriage by Amy Sutherland
Rating: 5 Stars
Ms. Sutherland uses techniques she learned from the best animal trainers in the country to help "guide" the behavior of significant people in her life, especially her husband, Scott. While some may bristle at the thought of having animal-trainer techniques used on them, Ms. Sutherland points out that we are, in fact, animals. I've found myself using some of the techniques even before I finished the book and I look forward to more of her ideas.
 
Myrna
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm reading an advance reader's copy of this novel, due out for publication in April. It reads like a classic British novel, and I'm loving it. A 98-year-old woman remembers her youth, working as a maid for a wealthy British family. She learns a family secret that she's been harboring for the rest of her life. I like the going back and forth between the years of her youth and the present (1999).
 
Stella
Nighttime is My Time by Mary Higgins Clark
Rating: 5 Stars
The story of a 20th high school
reunion and the vengeance that one
of those present has against the
women who humiliated him years ago. There's lots of suspense here, as usual, by this author.

 
Ma Titwonky (matitwonky@gmail.com)
Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill
Rating: 5 Stars
The subtitle of this book is: The Rise Of The World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army." I first heard of BLACKWATER when I saw the documentary Iraq For Sale. I became interested in this book because of that film. How was it possible for a privately owned US company to rake in such amazing profits strictly from the war effort in Iraq? This thoroughly researched book has those answers. I could not put this book down and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the war industry.
 
J. Kaye (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
When I'm With You by LaConnie Taylor-Jones
Rating: 3 Stars
This is a fast-paced story with a plot that focuses on family, trust, and redemption. It was interesting to see the history of abuse and the similar reactions that the abused characters had. There were also parts that are heart-warming and funny. 


 
J. Kaye (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
Recharge in Minutes by Suzanne Willis Zoglio
Rating: 5 Stars
This book has 101 ways to rev up your focus, confidence, and energy.
 
J. Kaye (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
Choices by Thomas Wade Bounds
Rating: 3 Stars
In Thomas Wade Bounds's book, CHOICES, MY SECRET is clearly a Pro-Life message and is a great guide to assist youth ministers as well as families with the same belief. 


 
Mia
The Birth House by Ami McKay
Rating: 4 Stars
A wonderful story about a midwife in a small town during World War II and how her life is affected when a medical birthing hospital comes to the next town.
 
J. Kaye (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
Easy Scrapbook Embellishment by Heidi Schueller
Rating: 5 Stars
Love scrapbooking? EASY SCRAPBOOK EMBELLISHMENT will take you to a whole new level. Even if you are new to the craft, this book offers many easy step-by-step instructions with a list of materials and tips for the beginner with an expertise guide. 


 
Ma Titwonky (matitwonky@gmail.com)
Hollywood Car Wash by Lori Culwell
Rating: 4 Stars
If you've ever wondered, as I have, what on earth possesses Hollywood people to behave in ways that make no sense whatsoever, this is the book to give you some insight into the Car Wash process most any newcomer on the Hollywood scene must go through if he or she wants to make it to stardom. From cosmetic surgery to diets, to being led to believe they are the center of the universe, Lori Culwell's story --- while a novel --- certainly has the ring of truth to it. The book jacket says this first book is part of a series... I can't wait to see what comes next!
 
Ma Titwonky (matitwonky@gmail.com)
The March by E. L. Doctorow
Rating: 4 Stars
When --- during the Civil War --- General William T. Sherman marched the Union troops through Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, he left devastation and destruction behind him. Doctorow has written this historical novel describing how it may have been to be one of the Union soldiers, or perhaps with the Rebel forces, or even one of the plantation owners' families and the slaves who suddenly found themselves free. It was a horrific ordeal to live through, and Doctorow's book makes it clear that we really cannot know what this kind of life-altering experience is unless we participate in it ourselves. But, through a number of very diverse characters, Doctorow writes what it may have been like, and as ugly a subject as war is, he does a good job of describing it. There are some parts of the story that seemed contrived to me, but overall I enjoyed this book and do recommend it.
 
Ma Titwonky (matitwonky@gmail.com)
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Rating: 5 Stars
All Jerry Renault wants to do is play football, maybe connect with the girl who smiled at him at the bus stop the other day, and have a few friends. When he is singled out for an "assignment" by his school's secret society, his life becomes a nightmare. Anyone who has ever been bullied or intimidated by someone bigger or stronger can't help but identify with what Jerry feels. And that includes people of any age. Robert Cormier has written an intense book that has no compromises to it. Highly recommended for YA and older.
 
Geri Dosalua (redpaloma02@yahoo.com)
Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope by Jenna Bush
Rating: 4 Stars
I didn't expect to enjoy this story, but I did. I listened to the unabridged audio book, read by the author. I found myself engrossed in Ana's life. This girl, now a woman, suffered many indignities in her short life, but survived. She is now an inspiration to her family, her community, country and the people who have shared her story. I learned a lot about people suffering from HIV infection and the tough life they have ahead of them. They need acceptance from those around them, and a chance to live with dignity and respect and the prospect of hope for survival.
 
J. Kaye (jkayeoldner@yahoo.com)
Across Time by Linda Kay Silva
Rating: 4 Stars
ACROSS TIME is the first in a series that will take Jessie Ferguson from the first century AD, to 16th-century England under Queen Elizabeth, to ancient Egypt, and into the jungles of the Vietnam War. What Jessie learns in this book is just a tiny piece of the wisdom and knowledge she is going to need to face the other tasks at hand.
 
Catrina Pomerleau
Twisted by Andrea Kane
Rating: 5 Stars
TWISTED by Andrea Kane, is a real page turner. 

Sloane Burbank, a former FBI agent turned private consultant, was hired to find out what happened to her childhood friend who disappeared a year ago. As she starts to dig into the case, more women begin to disappear. Is there a connection? As the mystery of the disappearing women gets more and more involved, we're exposed to more of Sloane's past, especially as it involves FBI Agent Derek Parker. Can Sloane work with Derek to find the missing women? Can she deal with the injury that caused her to leave the FBI? Can she survive, being the ultimate target of the kidnappers grand plan?

Once you pick up this book, you won't be able to put it down until you get to the end.

 
Linda
Red River by Lalita Tademy
Rating: 5 Stars
Lalita Tademy honors her family with a magnificent account of their struggle in the days of Reconstruction following the Civil War. The book follows the Tademy and Smith families as they defend their rights in Colfax, Louisiana. Heartbreaking and inspiring, it's as well written as her previous novel, CANE RIVER.
 
Melanie
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 3 Stars
While it's an engrossing read, I'm finding that some of the narratives seem a bit unnecessary and add nothing to the storyline. I've started skimming these chapters and sticking to the main three characters. It is an original premise and very much typical Picoult, meaning I can't put it down and will probably be reading this one until 2 AM!
 
Jessie
Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman
Rating: 4 Stars
Things often aren't as they seem!
 
Readingrat
In the Woods by Tana French
Rating: 4 Stars
A psychological thriller with a slight paranormal bent. It draws you in and keeps you under its spell until the last page is turned.
 
Susan Dyer (susandyer1962@aol.com)
Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 5 Stars
This book is hysterical. It's light, easy to follow, and very very funny! I was reading it, laughing out loud and crying at the same time, cheering for Emma!!!
 
Joanne Llatva
The Glass Castle by jeannette Walls
Rating: 5 Stars
An outstanding story about dysfunctional parents and how their kids survived.
 
maxine
The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the story of the prophet Elijah who flees his homeland from persecution in the ninth century B.C. 23-year-old Elijah takes refuge with a young widow and her son in the beautiful town of Akbar. He is forced to choose between his newly found love and his overwhelming sense of duty. This book is written in masterful prose of Coelho. I couldn't put it down and it just stays with me. It is as interesting as it is spiritual. Fabulous book!
 
R. Calloway
The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller
Rating: 5 Stars
A very interesting book about the interweaving of lives, which is sometimes sad. I love the friendships that develop!
 
Marie
The Spare Wife by Alex Witchel
Rating: 1 Stars
Somewhere I read a good review of this book. It was terrible. I am convinced that the only reason this was published was because the author is the wife ofNew York Times writer, Frank Rich.

The story was difficult to follow, and after suffering through the entire book (it was hardcover, and I bought it, I felt obligated), it just ended. Don't bother with this one. If you want to read this genre, go with THE SENATOR'S WIFE, it is excellent.

 
Betty
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the best book I have read in a while. A story of courage, triumph over unbelievable adversity, and of dreams coming true. Now I must find THE WINTER ROSE so that I can continue the story.
 
Joan B.
The Sister by Poppy Adams
Rating: 4 Stars
This is the story of two sisters who have been estranged for 50 years. Ginny, the youngest, is awaiting Vivi to return to the old family estate in England. Why is she returning after so many years? This is a dark tale of a very dysfunctional family.
 
RJ Rhodes
Tainted Hero by Michael W Davis
Rating: 5 Stars
Couldn't put it down!! It's just the right balance of suspense, action, and romance. Great read. Good job, Mr. Davis!
 
D. Lohrding
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
Rating: 4 Stars
I believe Joyce is relaying to us the same information that Eckhart Tolle is sharing in his book A NEW EARTH; it's the same information, different presentations. Reading them both at the same time is really an enlightening experience!! I love the "Ah Ha" moments.
 
Catrina Pomerleau
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the sequel to TWILIGHT and it's every bit as good. What could be more intriguing than falling in love with a vampire in the small town of Forks? How about finding out your best friend is a werewolf!
 
Joanne Latva
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 5 Stars
A true story about a heartbreaking childhood, but the author also writes about some good times. She is a fantastic young woman.
 
Pat D.
Light of the Moon by LuAnn Rice
Rating: 5 Stars
I just finished reading this book and couldn't wait to get online to recommend it. Loved it!! Great story, great characters, uplifting!! Ms. Rice has done it again.
 
Melinda Bandow
Strip Search by William Bernhardt
Rating: 4 Stars
An edgy protagonist and a somewhat bizarre, though believable sidekick in an interesting twist on the serial killer in Vegas. I can't imagine a better place. A fun read.
 
Melinda Bandow
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Rating: 4 Stars
Actually 4 1/2 stars. This was an intriguing and original story that is well written and well paced. I hated to see it end. It's definitely a keeper! Look for more from this excellent author.
 
Melinda Bandow
The Murderers' Club by P. D. Martin
Rating: 4 Stars
A new (to me) author who delivers an edge-of-your-seat plot and interesting characters. She seems to have left the door open for a follow up, which may not be such a good idea. The premise may wear thin.
 
Den Bluee
Tainted Hero by Michael Davis
Rating: 5 Stars
I really enjoyed the book. The best I have read from a first-time author. This was very thought provoking, and reminded me somewhat of a Vince Flynn novel. I'm looking forward to more of his books!!
 
Ivana Cheong (soupfaerie91@yahoo.com)
Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld
Rating: 5 Stars
This book captured my interest from the very beginning. With a fresh and interesting narration, this book spoke to me as if Sittenfeld was my very own best friend. It's an unforgettable tale of an introverted girl dealing with her past, present, and future.
 
Donna
Trouble by Jesse Kellerman
Rating: 3 Stars
I read Jesse's first novel, SUNSET, and enjoyed his '50s noir style of writing. His next book, TROUBLE, threw me for a loop. It's a modern Fatal Attraction and is a bit graphic at times. I wasn't expecting it at all. I still enjoyed it, but it's not for the queasy.
 
Bonnie
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Rating: 2 Stars
I know this is a bestseller, but I found it to be trite and predictable. The ending was no surprise, with the clues dropped like anvils. Characters were not fleshed out. It read like so many other similar books out there.
 
DP
Sunset by Jesse Kellerman
Rating: 3 Stars
Enjoyed the old-time style of this first novel, and think the author is quite talented. Jesse is the son of famous authors, Jonathan and Faye Kellerman. I felt the last portion of the book wasn't as well written as the beginning.
 
Barb Wild (bearsilu2@aol.com)
It's All About Him by Denise Jackson with Ellen Vaughn
Rating: 5 Stars
This book is about life's journey in marriage, and how the wife of a country music star can have the same feelings as other women when they have lost it all and think there is no way back to love. Her faith in God and the strength of family and her husband Alan made it all possible.
 
Mary A
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Rating: 4 Stars
I am a fan of "Dexter", the TV show, so reading this book was a necessity. I am enjoying the book as much as the show! Fabulous!
 
Noreen Brown
Free For All Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas... by Don Borchert
Rating: 3 Stars
If you remember quiet times in your library, then you're of an older generation. What a difference in today's libraries. This is a funny/sad book about the library in today's world.
 
Sandra F.
Rebels of Babylon by Owen Parry
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a mystery set in the Civil War and is full of voodoo and dark dealings. A great read.
 
Sandra F.
Aunt Dimity Takes a Holiday by Nancy Atherton
Rating: 4 Stars
An updated version of the English country house murder. A lovely way to spend an evening.
 
Sandra F.
The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe
Rating: 5 Stars
A wonderful book set in the Canadian and American west. The characters are unforgettable. This book was the winner in the Canada Reads contest.
 
3m
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Rating: 4 Stars
ANTHEM is a great introduction to the philosophy of Ayn Rand. A dystopian novella, it is much less intimidating than THE FOUNTAINHEAD or ATLAS SHRUGGED. I guess it's considered science fiction as well, so I also counted it for Carl's Sci-Fi Experience.

It was extremely fascinating reading this book after having read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin and The Giver by Lois Lowry last year, both of which were in my 2007 Top 10. Anthem definitely borrows from We, and The Giver most definitely borrows from Anthem. In Rand's book, the main character even refers to himself as 'We' because in his society individuality is highly suppressed, and the goal is for it to be eliminated. Everything must be done for the brothers in the collective and nothing for the individual.

While I agree with Rand's philosophy to a point, I believe she takes it just a bit too far. I very much enjoyed this book, but at the end it just felt too preachy to be rated the same as We and The Giver, which both received 4.5 stars.

 
Donna
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Rating: 5 Stars
My favorite Dennis Lehane book of all time. Suspenseful --- I could not put this book down. I was pleasantly surprised at ending. Usually I can guess, but this caught me totally off guard. I believe this book is being made into a movie.
 
Donna
Bloodlines by Jan Burke
Rating: 4 Stars
Lots of characters and style in this book. I enjoyed the suspense and excellent writing, and finished it in two days. I will put in my "re-read" pile for later use.
 
Kathy Kasten
The Jury by Fern Michaels
Rating: 4 Stars
Book four in the Revenge of the Sisterhood series. Again, it's not really well written, but it's a great story.
 
Judy O.
Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson
Rating: 4 Stars
Chief Inspector Alan Banks and Detective Inspector Annie Cabot are back in this popular series that takes place in England. Banks is trying to solve the murder of a young girl in an area called "The Maze". Annie is assigned to the murder of a quadriplegic woman whose throat was slit as she sat in her wheelchair. This is a police procedural that was a little too long for me, but mostly I enjoyed it.
 
DP
Most Likely to Die by Lisa Jackson/BeverlyBarton/Wendy Corsi Staub
Rating: 1 Stars
Lotta snow in the midwest this week. I had a lot more time to read. Don't waste your time on this predictable murder/20-year reunion mystery. It may have been better with just one author instead of three.
 
Kathy Kasten
Lethal Justice by Fern Michaels
Rating: 4 Stars
In this fifth book in the series, a woman gets her revenge for the year she was unjustly incarcerated.
 
Kathy Kasten
Vendetta by Fern Michaels
Rating: 4 Stars
Book three in the Revenge of the Sisterhood series involves revenge against the Chinese diplomat's son, who killed a pregnant woman while drunk driving.
 
Kathy Kasten
Payback by Fern Michaels
Rating: 4 Stars
Women who have been wronged form a vigilante group to get revenge on those who have escaped punishment. This is second in a series and involves a senator's wife, whose husband gave her AIDS and an HMO-running family who have cheated their policy holders. This was not greatly written, but it had a very good storyline.
 
Carol H.
The Reserve by Russell Banks
Rating: 4 Stars
Jordon Groves, an artist, and Vanessa Cole, a troubled heiress, head towards an affair. Trouble follows.
 
Fran
Mirage by Soheir Khashoggi
Rating: 4 Stars
Written similarly to NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER, a young Arab princess escapes her brutal, abusive husband. Well written and lots of detail about Middle Eastern Culture, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about the lives of women in the Middle East.
 
Christy H.
The Book of Old Houses by Sarah Graves
Rating: 5 Stars
With this 11th book in the Home Repair is Homicide Mystery series, Sarah Graves has written yet another page-turning, thoroughly enjoyable novel with plenty of twists and turns. The quirky cast of returning and new characters, the vivid descriptions of Eastport, Maine and the latest addition of home repairs and renovations make this a great addition to this wonderful series. I'm looking forward to the next installment, which is slated to be released in 2009.
 
Bonnie
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Rating: 4 Stars
I liked it, but I didn't love it. I prefer her older works like NINE PARTS OF DESIRE or YEAR OF WONDERS. That said, she trumps most contemporary writers with ease.
 
Kathy Kasten
On the Street Where You Live by Mary Higgins Clark
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the best book I have read lately. It took my less than two days. After moving to a small town, Emily tries to solve a hundred-year-old murder mystery that has some believing that a serial killer has been reincarnated because there are new murders on the same dates and in the same style. Could not put it down.
 
Marsha
A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones
Rating: 4 Stars
Mones takes us to Beijing and the world of porcelain. An appraiser of 
Chinese porcelain has the daunting job of authenticating over 800 priceless works of art, unearthed from pre-Communist days. Along the way, she meets an interesting love interest and today's smugglers and traders. You will learn quite a bit by reading this fascinating novel.

 
Deb Brandon (dbrandon@creighton.edu)
They Come Back Singing by Gary Smith, S.J.
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a wonderful book about Father Smith's journey in Africa helping the Sudanese. It is his vivid, inspiring journal of the deep connections forged during the years he spent as a missionary with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Northern Uganda. Through his eyes, we meet modern heroes from Africa who teach us that the most important gift of life is to give love and be loved, no matter what suffering we endure. You will not be able to put it down!
 
Donna
The Appeal by John Grisham
Rating: 2 Stars
Save your money. This is the worst Grisham novel I have ever read. I was sorry I wasted my time and money on it. It focuses on greed, and has a disappointing ending. Read "vintage" Grisham instead.
 
Dorothy Halligan (dorothy.halligan@fairfaxcounty.gov)
Trespass by Valerie Martin
Rating: 4 Stars
This portrayal of an upscale family living in NY state embodies many sociological issues we face today. The story is fluid, the characters real, and the stream-of-conscious writing is excellent!
 
Jenn (jenlaw77@earthink.net)
Year of the Fog by Michelle Richmond
Rating: 4 Stars
A step-mom-to-be loses her step-daughter on a foggy San Francisco beach. She devotes all of her time to finding Emma, even after the police and Emma's father have given up. I could have read this book in one sitting. I wanted --- needed --- to get to the end of the book to see out if Emma was ever found. YEAR OF THE FOG is excellent --- very Jodi Picoult-like.
 
Carol
The Translator by Daoud Hari
Rating: 5 Stars
This is Daoud Hari's memoir of acting as a translator for journalists in Darfur. He so clearly writes of the genocide occurring in his homeland for the oil and behind the scenes in the rebel and government military troops. I am still reflecting on the book.
 
Steve Black (sblack1047@aol.com)
Wicked by Gregory MacGuire
Rating: 2 Stars
I started reading WICKED with great anticipation after hearing so many others rave about it.

Unfortunately, it felt as though I were reading about someone's acid trip while they watched The Wizard of Oz. I love a good quirky read, but this went beyond quirky; it was boring, dismal and often weird.

 
F Tessa Bartels
Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass
Rating: 4 Stars
Great forensic procedural! There are a few holes in the plot, but it really grabbed my interest. I'll read more of this "author" (really a team of writers).
 
F Tessa Bartels
Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a well-written, funny, irreverent look at the life of a "journalist" stuck writing obits and his investigation into a former rock star's sudden death. I haven't read Hiaasen before, and I think I'm hooked.
 
Lori Barnes (photoquest@bellsouth.net)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Rating: 4 Stars
This was a very different kind a book for me. It's one you should try and read straight through if possible. A young girl has been killed by a man in a horrible death. She tells us her story and watches the lives of people she was taken from.
 
Jane (janebeatty92083@hotmail.com)
The First Patient by Michael Palmer
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a great medical thriller that is full of surprises. Michael is a great storyteller and it will keep you up all night just to see what happens to these people.
 
Priscilla E.
Split Second by David Baldacci
Rating: 4 Stars
As always, David Baldacci is a good read!!
 
Sandra Hughes
The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a definite page turner and a 'can't put down' book! You never know what is going to happen until the very end, so don't cheat and read the last few pages because you just have to know!
 
Martha E
Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the fifth book in the series (see prior comments), and is the story of the youngest brother, Alleyne Bedwyn, who has lost his memory from an accident during the Battle of Waterloo. He is found by a young woman who has gone to steal from bodies of the dead, but instead finds a living naked man and enlists an injured Sergeant to help rescue him. They take him to where she is staying --- in a brothel with four unique ladies! He wakes up to see the ladies around his bed and claims "I have died and gone to heaven," "And heaven is a brothel..." And so the wit begins. This story contains zany deceptions, while Alleyne struggles with not knowing who he really is so he can't make any commitment to the young lady he has fallen for.
 
Martha E
Slightly Tempted by Mary Balogh
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the 4th book of the 6 Slightly series. Actually, over the past month, I have read #s 2-5 and am reading #6 now. The books tell the tale and battles ending in love matches for six brothers and sisters. If you enjoy historical romance with good sensual passion, that doesn't get overly graphic, these fit the bill! I found each to have good plot with interesting character development. Also, I enjoyed the overlapping family interaction from one book to the next.
 
Martha E
Nighttime is My Time by Mary Higgins Clark
Rating: 4 Stars
As usual for this suspense author, this was a good solid mystery. Six class members return home to be honored at a 20-year class reunion. Apparently, five female classmates who all used to sit together at lunch have died of mysterious causes over the past 20 years. The "owl" is present at the reunion and is planning to kill the last two ladies from the lunch table. No one had made the connection of the table group until the reunion when a young high school reporter starts questioning the coincidence. There are five or so men for the reader to suspect as the killer, including a man that the protagonist finds of interest.
 
Joanne Latva
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 5 Stars
This brought tears to my eyes...how their beautiful friendship survived the hurts and they shared their love for each other.
 
Joanne Latva
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 3 Stars
A true story about Jeannette's childhood --- a heartbreaking childhood, that she survives and flourishes.
 
Readingrat
Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
Rating: 4 Stars
I love this series, however this installment didn't appeal to me as much as the first two. It's still a good read, though.
 
Readingrat
The Truth by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Rating: 4 Stars
The Girl is in fifth grade, she's in love with the new boy in school, she hates it when her parents fight, and she's here to tell us The Truth. The Truth is 115 pages of observations told from the perspective of a young girl on the verge of adolescence. She isn't a girl growing up in the 21st century, she is one of a past generation, but she still talks about many things young girls today can relate to --- boys, school, parents, siblings, friends, teachers, growing up. This is also a wonderful book for the parents of girls. Sometimes it's hard for adults to remember what childhood feels like, and this book helps bring some of that back, and helps build understanding across the generations.
 
Donna Tanner
Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 5 Stars
I am loving this book, but I don't think I've read a book by Jodi that I didn't love! What a coincidence that one of the books offered in this month's giveaway is the newest novel (due out any day) by her. She's a fantastic author and comes highly recommended!!
 
Patricia Bryan (bryanpa@missouri.edu)
World Without End by Ken Follett
Rating: 5 Stars
A very fast read even though it's over 1000 pages. I loved PILLARS OF THE EARTH, which is a continuation of that, but each book stands alone. Very good!
 
Kat Sadi
Every Sunday by Peter Pezzelli
Rating: 3 Stars
I liked Pezzelli's two other books, ITALIAN LESSONS and HOME TO ITALY much better than EVERY SUNDAY. EVERY SUNDAY is about a young man and the woman he met after his father passed away. The woman was his father's mistress. I do not feel this book was anywhere near as good as Pezzellis previous books, but I am not finished with it yet.
 
Carol Pirtle
The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
Rating: 5 Stars
I'm sure the movie won't compare to this wonderful book. There is so much history that I didn't know, and I truly enjoy historical novels. This one is a treat!
 
Michelle
And Sometimes Why by Rebecca Johnson
Rating: 3 Stars
I did finish this book but it took me awhile to do so because my attention was just not kept interested enough.
 
David
Brainiac by Ken Jennings
Rating: 5 Stars
A terrific examination of America's culture of trivia lovers from the man who won 74 consecutive games of "Jeopardy". Clearly, this is a gifted fellow, as he proves himself a fine writer.
 
David
Elvis Takes a Back Seat by Leanna Ellis
Rating: 5 Stars
One of those books that makes you laugh, makes you cry, then leaves you fully sated after a good read. I can't recommend it enough.
 
David
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, audio read by Jeremy Irons
Rating: 5 Stars
This meditation on the nature of evil, as performed by Jeremy Irons, is one of the finest audiobooks I've come across. Irons is perfect as Humbert Humberts, as he goes beyond a simple reading to the level of performance.
 
Cynthia Baxter
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Rating: 5 Stars
It may be a whodunit --- but you are more interested in finding out if "she is who she says she is" --- I'm more than half-way through the book and I cannot predict how this one will come out. Excellent game playing, Ms. Lippman!
 
leola
The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a short novel. It is about life and love and hardship in a Japanese fishing village. The love between Shinji and Hatsue is very lovely and fragile. 

The descriptions of the fishing journeys, trips to the Yashira Shrine are memorable. It is a beautiful story.

 
Leola
Life on The Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a book filled with what American life is like for most of us. For example, we all experience the hectic rush to get it all done in a day; at times, we pass family members as they scoot out of the door; we begin to leave short messages on the refrigerator assuring ourselves that life is still in order. Really, while we live the rat race, painful situations begin to take root in our lives. This book is so easy to identify with and leaves a feeling of wanting to make life more simplified.
 
Leola
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Rating: 5 Stars
This novel is enlightening and sad. It is mainly about a little girl named Pecola Breedlove, who does not come from a happy home. Her parents fight, and not only that, Pecola suffers a terrible indignity by a person she should have been able to trust the most. It is also about coping mechanisms when you feel so different from what or whom the media presents to you.

 
Leola
Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas
Rating: 5 Stars
FRESHWATER ROAD is a wonderful book. It's about students who travel from the North to the South for Freedom Summer. Their goal is to prepare communities to register and vote for the first time. There is a great deal of racist tension and danger during this period. I came away fully aware these students had brave hearts and giving souls.
 
Leola
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Rating: 5 Stars
This book is about Queen Elizabeth and a new found joy --- reading. Many authors are named in the book, along with the Queen's thoughts about certain books. Not a gentle reader, the Queen's thoughts are frank as well as witty. It's an inside look at Buckingham Palace from a different perspective.
 
Swapna Krishna
Earthly Pleasures by Karen Neches
Rating: 5 Stars
This book is sweet, hilarious, and absolutely unique. I began rooting for the characters from the very first page!
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs
Rating: 3 Stars
This 2nd book in Tea Shop Mysteries is not as exciting as the first. Again, it's set in the lovely city of Charleston at the beginning of spring, with boat races in the harbor and all the delicious food and drink. This time, an antique gun explodes and kills an old, wealthy man. I love the mention of Charleston and the tea shop.
 
Angela Hoagland (vasthoagies@yahoo.com)
Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
Rating: 5 Stars
As usual, Nora Roberts brings us an engaging and delightful new trilogy. The only bad thing about this book is the wait until May for the second in the series!
 
Margaret
The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a nonfiction account of three women who get together on a regular basis to discuss their religious beliefs. One is Muslim, one is Christian, and one is Jewish. The dialogue and interaction between the women is very interesting and thought provoking. I learned so much from all three of the women. I would suggest reading this with at least one other person because you will want to discuss so many of the ideas presented within the text.
 
Debbie (delphimo@yahoo.com)
Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
Rating: 3 Stars
This is the first installment in the Tea Shop Mysteries and I must say the story is better than I anticipated. Theodosia (love that name) Browning owns and operates the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC. I love the way that Childs interweaves tea lessons into the story and also the history of the city. An evil land developer mysteriously dies at a yearly night showing of one of the city's houses. The story line is interesting, but the characters are flat. Again, the big thrill is the discussion of tea and of Charleston.
 
Bambi
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
Rating: 4 Stars
I just started and it's already helped me transform my way of thinking.
 
Kathy Bailey
Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews
Rating: 4 Stars
Sometimes we need a read that is just fun and full of laughter! This story, set in wonderful Savannah, by Mary Kay Andrews will make you laugh and think of your dearest friends and craziest relatives as the two protagonists experience another adventure!
 
Debbie (deble_2000@yahoo.com)
The Vanishing by Bentley Little
Rating: 5 Stars
This great page turner is horror at its best! Monsters, global warming, ordinary people!

 
R. Calloway
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Rating: 5 Stars
A very thought-provoking book --- one that I didn't want to put down! I highly recommend this; even though the story is sometimes disturbing, it's full of hope and love.
 
Mrs L A Ramsen
When Ghosts Speak by Mary Ann Winkowski
Rating: 5 Stars
Written by the consultant for Jennifer Love Hewitt's "Ghost Whisperer" TV show, this fast-read book is chock full of ghostly tales and trivia. For over 50 years, beginning in early childhood, Mrs. Winkowski has seen and communicated with earthbound entities. Read it with the lights on!
 
Phyllis
Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Rating: 4 Stars
A TV reporter finds her job in jeopardy as she gets older. However, through the investigation of a murder, she proves her value --- for this time. An entertaining book.
 
Phyllis
The Anatomy of A Deception by Lawrence Goldstein
Rating: 5 Stars
A very good medical and historical mystery that kept my interest to the end.
 
Sonia Zaffiris (soniasez@aol.com)
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
Rating: 4 Stars
A story about the former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl, she disguises herself because she learns that her photo is in every restaurant in NY. Some of these restaurants can be very expensive! And she also reviews ethnic ones as well as the famously old establishments. She goes all out in the characters of her disguises, complete with their own credit card and personalities as she dines undercover. The most interesting character she does is her late mother, with her clothes and mannerisms. It is not only a fun read, but how she describes the foods can be utterly mouth watering, and the service she receives as herself and her characters is a hoot. There are also recipes.
 
Phyllis
Darkness Falls by Kyle Mills
Rating: 4 Stars
A suspenseful thriller of what would happen if the oil supply became endangered.
 
T. Thomas
Strangers in Death by J. D. Robb
Rating: 5 Stars
A wonderful mystery.
 
Liz
Light of the Moon by LuAnne Rice
Rating: 5 Stars
As I read the beginning of this book, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. All of a sudden, it grabbed me and wouldn't let go of me until I got to the end. It left me sobbing yet comforted about life and the families who inhabit my little corner of the world. It's not really an academic book, just a fun read!!
 
Ashley
The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
Rating: 4 Stars
This book is great! I couldn't put it down. Go out and get a copy...
 
Ashley
World War Z by Max Brooks
Rating: 4 Stars
A zombie book...what else can I say. I have never read a book like this. Max Brooks is an artist!
 
Ashley
Speak Softly, She Can Hear by Pam Lewis
Rating: 4 Stars
I was really excited about this book so I took my time reading it. It is a moving story with great characters. Read it!!
 
Kathy
The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
Rating: 3 Stars
This book was nicely written, and the plot sounded interesting, but, it just has not caught my attention. I would probably try to read it again at a later date.
 
Bev
The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 by Philip Shenon
Rating: 3 Stars
So...how was the 9/11 Commission formed? What was the story behind the many months of investigation led by this panel...and ultimately, the "editing" of the final report? Intriguing in its research, that relies on various interviews given by commission staff personnel, personal e-mails, and articles written inThe Washington PostTimes and other documented sources, this book is a worthwhile read, albeit slow in areas. It made me wonder if perhaps one of the biggest threats in our nation isn't the animosity between our two biggest political parties.
 
Sheila M.
The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradham
Rating: 3 Stars
Chick lit, Asian style. I didn't care for this book --- many of the e-mails did not ring true to character and the story was confusing at times. The Asian history was the best part of the book. The recipes looked interesting but, to be honest, I didn't read it for the recipes.
 
Ashley
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Rating: 4 Stars
I love books like this. I am transported into another world of magic and wonder. I will read this book again and again.
 
Kathy
Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema
Rating: 5 Stars
This book was amazing. I felt connected to the characters. I cried through most of the book, some parts were real tear-jerkers. I think this book will stay with me for a long time.
 
Sheila M
Playing For The Ashes by Elizabeth George
Rating: 5 Stars
This was the first book in the Inspector Lynley mystery series that I read. Kept me up past my bedtime reading more than one night! It has great characters, multi-layered mystery, and a few unexpected plot twists. Lynley and Havers are a great sleuth team for Scotland Yard. I've read and enjoyed all of the Inspector Lynley series.
 
Kathy
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Rating: 5 Stars
This book was very funny. I enjoyed reading about this kooky family. Dysfunctional is FUN with this book.
 
Judy S
Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
Rating: 2 Stars
Sydney, once divorced/once widowed, tutors a teen daughter of a wealthy New Hampshire family. There's a very nice dad, a haughty mom, an innocent daughter, and two competitive brothers who vie for the affection of Sydney. I found the writing style very off-putting and the story line less than interesting. I really hate to give poor reviews but the last two books I've read of Ms. Shreve has put me off reading anything else she might write. I had read this one as two people had recommended it. Her style is just not for me.
 
Karen
Sarah's Daughter by Ruth Bass
Rating: 4 Stars
This story line reminded me of a young adult version of a LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE tale. It gives great insight into the lives of those living in rural America during the 19th century. I think that some of today's teens would like Sarah and her friends --- there's a lot of girlfriend "stuff" going on in the book. Good read.
 
Bridget
The Glory Cloak by Patricia O'Brien
Rating: 4 Stars
Fictional story of Louisa May Alcott told by her fictional cousin. This narrative device worked well in this book. Facts about Louisa were presented in a way that allowed for commentary and analysis by her 'cousin." The two go to Washington during the Civil war to become nurses. This segment of the book is somewhat gruesome in the realistic descriptions of health and hygiene conditions of the time. Louisa's supposed romance with a patient is a little far fetched, but works.

The Alcotts are not presented as the perfect March family à la LITTLE WOMEN, but that's good. Bronson Alcott, especially, is portrayed in a realistic, but not very flattering way.

 
Bridget
Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter
Rating: 2 Stars
I've read other books by this author that I just could not put down, but this was not one of them. The beginning was somewhat dragging and a little hard to get into. The pace did pick up, but not to the point that I'd hoped it would. Also, character development was lacking. Several of the main characters were featured in other books by this author, yet they seemed one-dimensional. The ending was surprising. I was disappointed with this book.
 
Karen
Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein
Rating: 5 Stars
Another great Alex Cooper story line. I couldn't put the book down and had to keep on reading to find out what was going to happen next, and see if I guessed who the murderer was and how all the characters were related. The book comes out sometime in March (I won an ARC) and is a must read for all Linda Fairstein fans.
 
Sherman Hughes
You Staying Young by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet Oz
Rating: 5 Stars
I received this book as a Christmas present and started reading it immediately. It is a wonderful book on health, diet and everyday living. It has so much good information in it and will be a great reference book for later. And Oprah just loves him!
 
Ashley
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Rating: 5 Stars
One of the best books I have read all year! I am a sucker for a beautiful love story.
 
Sheila M
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Rating: 5 Stars
What a great book! Gus, Call, Pea Eye, Newt, and the other characters were old friends by the time I finished this novel. At 900+ pages it is a bit daunting but I finished it in 5 days. The character development is excellent; plenty of adventure and enough humor that I had to stop and read pages to my husband because I knew he would enjoy it.
 
Ramona Young
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Rating: 5 Stars
Follett writes a tale of family, politics and religion that spans from 1123 to 1174. I found myself connected to the characters' lives and gained a new appreciation into the blood, sweat and tears that went into the building of cathedrals during that time.
 
Amee
The Promised Land by Mary Antin
Rating: 4 Stars
An interesting tale of a Russian Jewish immigrant that is wonderfully written and will really make you think.
 
Taylor
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Rating: 4 Stars
This debut mystery is an intriguing historical novel set in upper-class Victorian England, following a young widow intent on finding her husband's murderer. Aided by an enigmatic but off-putting private inquiry agent, she uses her inquisitive mind and her sometimes lack of decorum to bring justice to her husband's killer. An interesting, fun read.
 
Kellie (acountkel@bellsouth.net)
A Special Relationship by Douglas Kennedy
Rating: 5 Stars
This was one of the most engaging books I have ever read. It is also the first Douglas Kennedy book I have read, and it won't be the last. This was a story about Sally, a journalist who goes to Somalia to report on a major flood. There, she meets Tony, who is also a reporter. He is attractive and very charming. So, Sally and Tony hook up. Soon after, Sally finds out she is pregnant, and Tony offers to marry her if she would move to London with him. For most of the book, I did not care for Sally's character at all. You can't help but feel some compassion for her because of her difficult pregnancy and post-natal depression. However, I thought she was totally irresponsible with Tony in the first place and she never really took control of her life until it was too late. It is amazing to me that Kennedy did such a great job writing in the voice of a woman --- especially a pregnant woman. This was one of those books that kept me up late so I could finish it. I highly recommend it.
 
Marie
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Rating: 4 Stars
The story was strange and mesmerizing --- I couldn't put it down. I love it when the ending isn't obvious, and I would never have guessed this one!
 
Amee (amee821@gmail.com)
Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 5 Stars
A light, fluffy read about a woman who spills all her secrets on a plane only to find out the person on the receiving end was her boss. Great for a plane ride :)
 
Andie J. (onemoccasin@cox.net)
My Heart May Be Broken But My Hair Still Looks Gr by Dixie Cash
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a really fun read about a rich debutante who gets cut off financially by her Dad, and has to find a way to make a living. She gets fired from McDonalds, and ends up with a dream job cutting horses like her Mom did. It will make you laugh, cry, and just feel plain good!
 
Andrea West
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Rating: 4 Stars
A powerful novel about the German occupation of France in the early 1940s. Wonderful character development, as well as the blend of fact and fiction.
 
Laurie Blum (laurieblum@hotmail.com)
Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice
Rating: 3 Stars
ORANGE MINT AND HONEY, a debut novel by Carleen Brice, could also be titled FORGIVENESS, which to me is the central theme of this book. Delicate universal themes including the challenges of motherhood, alcoholism/treatment, sibling relationships and more are presented well, and will lead into excellent book club discussions.
 
Jennifer Baker
Little Stalker by Jennifer Belle
Rating: 3 Stars
I really enjoyed the dark, NY humor in this book. What I didn't like about it was a lot of the characters. I just didn't care about them much. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I just wish I could have connected with the characters a little more.
 
Dewbelle
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 5 Stars
It is wonderful to have a friendship that lasts through three decades of life. It is more wonderful what these two friends would do for one another - especially when tragedy strikes.
 
Karen F.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Rating: 3 Stars
Reading this book is a little like reading a text book in school. I'm having a hard time following the author's train of thought. He says a lot of "nothing." I would like to say I will finish it, but my book shelves have several new arrivals that call my name.
 
Jennifer Baker
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Rating: 5 Stars
I loved this book! It is hilarious! I can't wait to read the sequel.
 
Ramona Young
The 5 Lessons A Millionaire Taught Me... by Richard Paul Evans
Rating: 4 Stars
Richard Paul Evans shares from personal experience five simple lessons he learned as a 12-year old boy that helped him go from being destitute to being a millionaire. Evans's primary goal is to help others and he uses proceeds from the book to help abused and neglected children.
 
Lynda Briggs
What Remains by Carole Radziwill
Rating: 4 Stars
I really enjoyed this memoir and give it 4.5 stars. It's very well written, captivating, and devastating. 

Carole Radziwill shares with us the triumphs in her career and family. She's a girl from a working-class town who marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill, the cousin of John Kennedy Jr. Her marriage leads her into the old world of European nobility and the newer world of American Aristocracy. The couple are best friends with John Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Besset. We are taken through the devastating loss of their unexpected deaths and the death of her husband, shorty thereafter.

Carole Radziwills strength and grace is truly an inspiration.

 
Ramona Young
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Rating: 5 Stars
Philippa Gregory writes an amazing historical fiction novel that takes you into the Boleyn family's quest to have one of their own become Queen to King Henry. This book is hard to put down once you start reading.
 
Mel Isaacson
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 4 Stars
If you were a teenager in the '70s this book is for you. It will bring back memories of songs, hairdos and friendship. I highly recommend this book.
 
Barb Dalious
Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards
Rating: 4 Stars
This book is a moving memoir of an abused horse healing an abused woman. While it sounds like a downer, this book is not heavy on the details of abuse, but emphasizes the healing. It is written with humor and insight and you will feel better for having read it.
 
Louise Pledge
Double Cross by James Patterson
Rating: 5 Stars
I didn't really want to read this latest Alex Cross book once I learned that two psychopathic killers were after Alex and his family, one being Kyle Craig. I put it off for weeks after buying it in a Heathrow bookshop. It turned out to be one of my faves, and not nearly as scary as I had feared. Apparently, that's coming in the next one.
 
Coral Harrison
The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller
Rating: 5 Stars
Miller is a good storyteller. This book is primarily about Meri, a new bride and mother-to-be, and Delia who lives in the adjoining house. Delia has been married many years to the unfaithful Senator. They live apart but are not divorced. It is a book you will remember.
 
Nyla Thompson (theclan@triotel.net)
Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
Rating: 5 Stars
Based on the true story of Mary Ingles, her capture and her escape from the Shawnee Indians.This story follows her from the time of capture, through her weeks of escape and starving, through the 1,000-mile journey until she found the settlement where she called home. It also touches on the lives of her children after they were rescued and grown. This is one of the best true stories I have read in a long time. This author puts you at the scene and you live with the characters throughout the book. I highly recommend this book. It was hard to put down as the action continues throughout.
 
Amee
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 5 Stars
A great book about a career-minded woman who makes just about the biggest mistake a London lawyer could make, and flees to the countryside until the commotional aftermath dies down. Another Sophie Kinsella special --- I absolutely adored it.
 
Amee (amee821@hotmail.com)
Don't Die My Love by Lurlene McDaniel
Rating: 5 Stars
Star-crossed lovers that get a not-so-lucky tragic ending to their romance. It's heart wrenching and tear jerking, but phenomenal nonetheless.
 
jsiemek (lsiemek@yahoo.com)
Unspeakable by Sandra Brown
Rating: 5 Stars
He is a cold-blooded psychopathic murderer who loves violence and just escaped the penitentiary where he was serving a life sentence. She was born deaf, lately widowed, and fighting to keep the ranch that is her son's birthright. She is at the center of his horrific scheme. Super book!
 
Ramona Young
Cross by James Patterson
Rating: 5 Stars
Patterson is at his best through this story of Alex Cross, FBI agent, who watches his wife gunned down and thus has to make decisions that will affect his career and family. Through a favor to a colleague, he finds himself looking for a serial rapist that may lead him to his wife's killer.
 
Margaret
Prague by Arthur Phillips
Rating: 4 Stars
This was an interesting book about a bunch of thirty-somethings that end up in Budapest in the '90s. Some think they are going to get rich quick. One wants to reconnect with a family member. Still others are on an adventure. It definitely is an experience for these expats, but none of them quite find what they are looking for abroad. The communication and expectations of the group are poor at best, which leads to failures in business and with personal issues. It is not a light-hearted romp, but a serious book about people who just can't get it right.
 
Adam Okhai (ceo@tlcq.com)
The Terrorist Watch by Ronald Kessler
Rating: 2 Stars
Kessler is a great author who has, sad to say, written a surprisingly superficial book. He writes about how, after 9/11, there have been many positive changes in the ways different government agencies share info and co-ordinate security efforts. The author's topic is of great importance, but this book reads like an infomercial for the Bush administration. I agree wholeheartedly with author's feelings and frustrations, e.g. over how the media often focuses on reporting, even embellishing negative aspects of the excellent efforts by security and law enforcement. My problem however is that Kessler does not support his conclusions with much if any substantive information. This book is, I regret, 'fluff' ; parts of it made me feel embarrassed for the author, e.g. when he goes to great lengths showering extreme praise on key players without giving us detailed, well-researched analyses. The whole book reads like an an opinion piece, one with no depth. Kessler can be a great writer; this book, however, is not worthy of him.
 
Betty Jo (harrises@bayou.com)
Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee
Rating: 5 Stars
Wonderful story of Kim's search for home. She is left as a child, holding a handful of crumbs --- her mother tells her to wait there and she will return. Kim is eventually adopted from a Korean Orphanage by her parents from New Orleans. The recipes are divine and she mixes flavors from her many adopted cultures.
 
Laura G (gibbs936@hotmail.com)
Cover-Up by Michele Martinez
Rating: 5 Stars
Fast moving and very suspenseful
with a little romance.

 
T. Semidey
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
Rating: 5 Stars
A man with a painful past. A child with a doubtful future. A shared journey toward healing for both their hearts.
 
T. Semidey
You've Been Warned by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
Rating: 4 Stars
Just the title alone will peak your curiosity. For those of you who haven't read James Patterson before, you haven't really experienced the edge-of-your-seat reading type of book. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED will be that book.
 
Marion (lamamil@aol.com)
Those Who Save Us by Blum
Rating: 5 Stars
This is one of the best Holocaust books around. It's about Germans and Germany during World War II. I could truly understand the sadness of the war from the German point of view.
 
CarolB
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a story set in New Britain, Connecticut, where I grew up. Not making its numbers,The Red Lobster restaurant is being closed. The story revolves around the manager, Manny, and his struggles with that last night --- a snowstorm is raging outside, he is torn between his love for a waitress and his pregnant girlfriend at home, and he doesn't know which employees will show up for that last night to serve those customers who do brave the storm. I am finding the book very entertaining, and at times, amusing. It is a short book and an easy read.
 
Ramona Young
Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
Rating: 4 Stars
Roberts begins a trilogy of books about three boys who learn at the age of ten that their lives are intertwined into years of facing a demon they released on a harmless camping trip. They soon find that strange things begin to happen in their town every seven years and ultimately meet three women with whom they have a strong connection and play a role in helping them in the final showdown against evil.
 
Gerry
Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline
Rating: 3 Stars
This was a solid read, and one I recommend. I was pleased to see Lisa bring back Bennie Rosato and Mary DiNunzio after an absence of five years. Mary is the star of this novel, taking on the role of unauthorized investigator in a missing persons or potential homicide case when an old high school nemesis unexpectedly seeks her help to escape an abusive boyfriend.
 
Sandi
Hard Row by Margaret Maron
Rating: 4 Stars
This was a pretty good book, but there was a lot of family relationships more than a murder mystery. I also figured out pretty early on who offed the victim. Illegal immigration and farming are the main subjects, plus Judge Deborah, Sheriff Dwight and his son are adjusting to married life.
 
Lisa (hasil3@hotmail.com)
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Rating: 4 Stars
This book draws you in from the first moment as you want to know how the characters are going to react to what happens. I especially loved how the author described what the characters were thinking. There were times when it moved too slowly for me, but the accurate and beautiful descriptions are worth the ride!
 
Adam Okhai
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
Rating: 4 Stars
Well researched. Mr.Wright's account of the events leading up to 9/11 is thorough. The author has clearly invested time and resources to assure fact checking is well done. It is also clear that he narrates events, and gives information in a fair and balanced manner. Best of all is the way he keeps the reader's attention. I picked it up during a bout of insomnia, then found I just could not it put down. I understand it won a national (USA) prize in the 'History' category.
 
Kathy
Never Fear by Scott Frost
Rating: 4 Stars
This was my first time reading this author and I was hooked by page one. This is our monthly book group pick and I can't wait to discuss it. Read and enjoy.
 
Jackie
Duma Key by Stephen King
Rating: 5 Stars
Old-style Stephen King --- I couldn't put it down until the very end. It takes a look at art from a different perspective.
 
Jackie
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Rating: 4 Stars
A great, scary read. It will make you hesitate before you buy anything on an online auction again.
 
Anita
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Rating: 5 Stars
This is a long, wonderful book with many characters all intertwined to tell a tale that takes place in the 12th century. It is very exciting and hard to put down.
 
Shirley Younger
Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel
Rating: 5 Stars
This is Danielle's latest book, and like the others, it's full of suspense that keeps you coming back. I definitely would recommend it.
 
Amee
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
Rating: 4 Stars
A simple story told beautifully.
 
Karen Coulson
Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
Rating: 4 Stars
I really enjoy reading J. D. Robb's In Death series, so I tried this one written as Nora Roberts. I enjoyed the mystery with romance building between the two main characters (and one other couple in the story). There is good description of the country and the main character as she tries to return to her former mentally healthy self after experiencing a personal tragedy. The killer plays with her mind while trying to keep the locals from believing what she saw.
 
Karen Coulson
The Ruins by Scott Smith
Rating: 3 Stars
Smith has a way of building tension in his stories. The plants in the ruins have adapted themselves to be able to think, imitate sounds and move about as they prey on the characters trapped on the hill where they grow. Gruesome descriptions add to the tension.
 
Leslie Dinaberg
Five Men Who Broke My Heart by Susan Shapiro
Rating: 4 Stars
A fun read and a true story (memoir) about a woman who goes back and talks to all of her old boyfriends as she's about to turn 40.
 
Leslie Dinaberg
The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Rating: 4 Stars
A really gripping story about a woman's fight to keep her family and herself together while battling multiple sclerosis. It may sound like a downer, but it isn't. Plus, it's a total page turner.
 
Amee
La Maravilla by Alfredo Vea Jr.
Rating: 3 Stars
This was interesting in some parts, but it was a struggle to get through when nothing really interesting was happening. The in-between scenes didn't propel the story forward so it slowed the reading down considerably.
 
David Graham (graham2124@aol.com)
The Elements oF Scoring by Raymond Floyd
Rating: 5 Stars
This small book should be an essential read for all golfers. It gives excellent techniques to better scoring, no matter what your handicap is. It is thoughtful and informative.
 
Julie
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Rating: 4 Stars
This is in the same genre as THE DA VINCI CODE. It's an edge-of-your-seat page turner that takes place in Vatican City. I enjoy the author's style, which draws me in from page one.
 
Venessa
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Rating: 2 Stars
I haven't finished the book, but so far, it's just okay. I was expecting more so I'm kind of disappointed. I hope it gets better.
 
Antoinette from Calgary
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
Rating: 4 Stars
I really enjoyed this book. It did what you want from a mystery --- it's a suspenseful, hard-to-put-down book. I had figured out who the killer was but Ms. Cain added a nice twist after that. I'll definitely read more by this author.
 
Antoinette from Calgary
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Rating: 5 Stars
I was hesitant to pick up this book as the reviews had been mixed and I loved THE LOVELY BONES. I am sorry I waited so long. The writing was excellent. The story excellent. I found the book very believable, and I highly recommend it. Don't be influenced by others --- read it !
 
E. Quinn Knight (eqkmath@gmail.com)
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver
Rating: 5 Stars
Irina (a book illustrator) and her two men are the substance of the book. Their lives are richly characterized by the author. It is interesting to see Irina longing for one when the other man is available. It seems to be one of the pivotal themes of feminist authors to portray the woman as wanting 'the other'.

The author does it well and crafts each of the characters carefully. I really enjoyed the story development. The book is long but so enjoyable to read.

 
Joanne Latva
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Rating: 3 Stars
This is a heartbreaking story about the author's childhood. It is funny, sad, and you can't help wondering how she made it, and is a great adult.
 
PoconoPat
Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards
Rating: 5 Stars
Epic tale of a Canadian family living in abject poverty. Multiple issues of good vs. evil.
 
David Graham (graham2124@aol.com)
God's War: A New History of the Crusades by Christopher Tyerman
Rating: 5 Stars
I have just started reading this fascinating book but am unable to fully rate it yet. Thus far, I would give a 5 star rating.
 
Pat D.
Amazing Grace by Danielle Steel
Rating: 5 Stars
I haven't read Steel for quite a long time because all of her books were beginning to sound the same. I gave this a try and loved it. The characters are great and the story is uplifting. It's a great change from so many depressing books out these days.
 
Amee
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Rating: 5 Stars
TWILIGHT is the best novel in the series. It's fast paced and exciting. You'll fall in love with Edward as Bella does!
 
Mildred Bromberg
Killer Weekend by Ridley Pearson
Rating: 5 Stars
A suspense thriller with a up to the minute story, as there is a woman running for the presidency.
 
Enid
Crashing Through by Robert Kurson
Rating: 4 Stars
If you like nonfiction, this book by the author of SHADOW DIVERS is a turn in a different and fascinating direction. It is the story of a man who, blinded at 3, has an implant as an adult regains his vision. He has been quite an accomplished adult and this turns his life upside down. It is a great book for a discussion group.
 
Mary Ellen Haney (Haneymeh@aol.com)
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the first book by this author I have read and what an extraordinary one it is. It is a deeply moving story about a father and doctor who gives his new born child with Down syndrome away and the consequences of this act. I would recommend this book to everyone.
 
ck
The United States of Arugula: How We Became A Gour by David Kamp
Rating: 5 Stars
"In the beginning, there was Beard," said Julia Child. She, James Beard and Craig Claiborne make up the Big Three who launched the food revolution.

French kitchens in America became the standard against which all cuisine was measured for half a century, when Henri Soule and Pierre Franey came in 1939 to operate the French Pavilion at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows. Subsequently, Soule became the face of haute cuisine at Le Pavillon in NYC.

What fun it is to read this book that explains the emergence of "foodie" delights such as EVO and sun-dried tomatoes. The author introduces eccentric chefs, columnists and authors who made cookbooks, cooking shows and gourmet shopping an integral part of our culture.

 
enid
Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell
Rating: 1 Stars
I have read all of her books and this reads without flow and makes too many references to past books without explanation. The characters have become despicable. There is not one to admire!
 
Amee
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Rating: 5 Stars
Laugh-out-loud funny! I loved it! The movies are great too.
 
Amee
Alice, I Think by Susan Juby
Rating: 5 Stars
Hilarious! I can't remember when I've laughed so much. Highly recommended.
 
Amee
Jinx by Meg Cabot
Rating: 5 Stars
Another great novel by Meg Cabot. I read it all in one day. It's one of her best yet. If you enjoy modern-day witchcraft, I would recommend it!
 
Robin Snodgrass (RECS5664@aol.com)
Being With Him by Jessica Inclan
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the first book of a new series. It's fabulous and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sizzling romance.
 
ck
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Rating: 5 Stars
For 30+ years, the Afghanistan people have suffered from violence and fear. Hosseini's protagonists mirror all the women there who are victims of oppression and reflect the indomitable spirit that helps them survive.
 
Renee (tfranzen2124@comcast.net)
Islands by Anne Rivers Siddons
Rating: 5 Stars
When in doubt, read a good Siddons story. Any one will do. This one unfolds just as surely and slowly as the lazy place it is set in. subtle and seductive.
 
Janet Stewart
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Rating: 3 Stars
An entertaining read, but it's not compelling.
 
Sharon
Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allan
Rating: 4 Stars
The book is described as CATCH - 22 ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO NEST. Dorothy is a patient in a London day hospital and her ambition is to remain there until she meets the newest patient --- Poppy Shakespeare. Its a bit of a difficult read because it is written in the street language of the London streets. Definitely worth the effort, though.
 
Christine Earl
My Lobotomy: A Memoir by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming
Rating: 5 Stars
A work of nonfiction that looks into the life of a child (Howard Dully). His life was altered by his stepmother and a doctor, while his biological father did nothing to stop it.
 
Lisa Garrett
Busy Bodies by Joan Hess
Rating: 2 Stars
This book is part of the Claire Malloy mystery series. Sometimes it gets too bogged down in details, but I have to finish it!!!
 
Kate M
The Appeal by John Grisham
Rating: 4 Stars
I have loved all of John Grisham's books, and this is another to add to my list of favorites.
 
Margaret LaDue (laduea@frontiernet.net)
Pyres by Derek Nikitas
Rating: 4 Stars
I'm giving it 4 stars only because I have not finished it, yet. I especially wanted to read it because I knew the author from the college where I worked, when he taught there. It is his first novel and takes place in the area where I live, it is a crime story and coming-of-age psychological thriller.
 
Amee
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Rating: 5 Stars
Amazing! This will have you reading late into the night. Highly recommended.
 
Fran
Cold by John Smolens
Rating: 3 Stars
The kind of book that you need to curl up by a fire with. Of course, a cuppa hot cocoa and a blanket would work well too! I enjoyed this story, of a prison escapee who flees through the upper peninsula in the middle of white out conditions to come face to face with his past and the girl he left behind. The authors descriptions literally make you feel the cold!
 
Holly Mueller (mueller_holly@hotmail.com)
The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz
Rating: 5 Stars
This lyrical book is a beautiful story of a commoner who marries the Crown Prince of Japan in 1959. Based on a true story, the novel takes you through years of painful tradition, lost identity, and finally redemption. You'll get lost in the pages as you follow this woman's amazing journey.
 
Janice Paxman (jpaxman@tcsn.net)
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Rating: 5 Stars
A classic that is well worth re-reading. Steinbeck can be read at so may levels. His language is unpretentious, his historical and geographical chapters are so fascinating, his characters varied and deep, and his plot believable and well-constructed. He makes me feel as if he is in my living room, talking to me.
 
Janice Paxman (jpaxman@tcsn.net)
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Rating: 5 Stars
I read about 2 books a week and this was one of the best I've read in the past year. Hanna, the Australian book restorer, was complex and quirky, but so likable. The history of "the book" was completely riveting, and took us to such varied historical and geographical locations.
 
Elizabeth Mays
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Rating: 5 Stars
One of the most fascinating and riveting books I have read in a long time. It centers on a young girl in ancient China, and we follow her from childhood through adulthood as she participates in Chinese rituals such as foot-binding. Excellent book!
 
Dennis J. Hotetz (djhllc@aol.com)
Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman
Rating: 3 Stars
While the storyline itself was interesting and entertaining, the "victim" was something you could care less about. His attitude towards the people helping him was such that if it were me, I would have told him to "kiss off" long ago.
The ending was sudden and very disappointing and left you to wonder, "what the heck just happened?" I listened to the audio book and was glad because if I had started the book, I would have quit long before finishing it.

 
Thomas
Double Cross by James Patterson
Rating: 5 Stars
Detective Alex Cross has two murderers to deal with. Someone the police have named the Audience Killer is murdering people in broad daylight, with as many witnesses as possible. Meanwhile, the brilliant sociopath Kyle Craig has staged a daring escape from his cell in a maximum security prison. Another excellent adventure in the life of Alex Cross.
 
Crystal Faulkner
Chill of Fear by Kay Hooper
Rating: 4 Stars
Couldn't put it down. I loved it.
 
Amee
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
Rating: 5 Stars
An awesome novel that's fast paced and exciting. I can't wait to read the rest in the series.
 
Maria
Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens
Rating: 4 Stars
Lori Lansens does an excellent job of telling the story of Adelaide (Addy) Shadd, a black women born in the early 1900's in rural Ontario (Canada). The story flashes from Addy's past to her present, where a 5 year old girl (Sharla) is dumped on her by a neighbor. Through her innocence, Sharla helps Addy come to terms with her past and forgive her family. I couldn't put this one down, as I could not believe all of the things that Addy endured in her life --- from pregnancy after rape, to the death of her 2 children and husband. An excellent read!
 
Sand
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
Rating: 3 Stars
I had higher expectations for this book.
 
Patricia Wagner
Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
Rating: 3 Stars
I enjoyed this.
 
Felipe Guimaraes
Stripped by Brian Freeman
Rating: 5 Stars
If you love Harlan Coben's stand-alone thrillers, than you have to read Brian Freeman's books. The first one is IMMORAL, followed by STRIPPED, and STALKED (just came out). These books have incredible plots, and interesting characters; they're just great psychological suspense novels.
 
Patricia Ezzell (patriciart@aol.com)
Wallis: The Novel by Anne Edwards
Rating: 4 Stars
I really enjoyed this historical biography of Wallis Simpson and her eventual marriage to the king of England. Or I should say the Duke of Windsor since he had to abdicate his throne to marry her. But the exciting parts for me were her early life in Maryland and her first marriage to an abusive naval officer. It is really a fairy tale how hard she worked at surviving until she managed to climb her way into British society. A well-done biography, even though Edwards calls it a novel.
 
Carissa Davis
Remember me? by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 5 Stars
I have loved all of Sophie Kinsella's books and this one hasn't disappointed me so far and I highly doubt it will when I'm finished. The book is very entertaining; I don't want to put it down once I start reading.
 
Katherine S.
Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah
Rating: 5 Stars
One of the best! This book grabs you and won't let go! Read this when you have lots of time. You won't get anything else done once you start this one.
 
Diane La Rue (laruediane2000@yahoo.com)
Song Yet Sung by James McBride
Rating: 4 Stars
An outstanding novel set during the Civil War. The author was inspired by Harriet Tubman to create Liz, a runaway slave who has visions of the future. This novel is multi-layered, with many fascinating characters, particularly the female ones. The plot is action packed, as Liz is pursued by slave catchers, and hidden by the Underground Railroad, who use a complex system named 'the Code' to keep her safe.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good historical fiction.

 
Elizabeth
The Island by Victoria Hislop
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a great story about Leprosy, but it's really about a family. The first 20 pages were a little slow, but afterwards, I could not put it down. If I could, I would say it is 4 1/2 to 5 stars. It was just slow to start, but what a great story. I want to go to Greece.
 
Heather Larson
24 Hours by Greg Iles
Rating: 5 Stars
A thriller and a page turner with twists throughout the book. I highly recommend it. But carve out some time, you'll not want to leave this book to do anything else.
 
Maureen
Pope Joan by Donna Cross
Rating: 5 Stars
This book was a pager turner. I read it for a book club thinking I wasn't going to enjoy it, but I was wrong. It hooked me from the first chapter and then I couldn't put it down. It was a fascinating story of a woman who poses as a man and becomes Pope back in the 800s.
 
Amee
Lucky by Rachel Vail
Rating: 4 Stars
LUCKY started out a little iffy for me because I thought it was going to be something like the Gossip Girl novels, but luckily (hehe) it has turned around. It is really good and I can't wait to finish!
 
Hazel
The Haunting of Cambria by Richard Taylor
Rating: 5 Stars
Because I live in Cambria on the California Central Coast, this title intrigued me. I read several online reviews, all good. One even called it "catnip for Stephen King''s fans." So, I had to read it and I'm glad I did. It's scary and sexy, sad and funny. It's set in the real town of Cambria, and mentions many of the places I know. The characters, while fictional, could be people I know. The "haunting" is most unusual for a ghost story --- very creepy, but very good.
 
Patricia Sanders (patricialsanders@hotmail.com)
The Reserve by Russell Banks
Rating: 4 Stars
Thus is a dark and twisted historical novel primarily set in a private reserve in the Adirondacks during World War II. This is an inventive, intriguing tale that will keep you spellbound.
 
Kat , San Luis Obispo CA
Italian Lessons by Peter Pezzelli
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a very well-written book about a boy learning Italian so he could go to Italy to find a girl he met, and his journey of learning along the way. The teacher also gets to enrich his life by agreeing to teach the boy Italian and return to Italy himself.


 
Ivy
Cotton Song by Tom Bailey
Rating: 5 Stars
A sad and insightful story about racial injustices, infidelity and redemption.
 
Laura Ostrem
In the Woods by Tana French
Rating: 3 Stars
This is a detective story set in modern Ireland. I found it a little slow going, but never boring. This is the author's first book and I look forward to further suspense novels from her.
 
Barb Wild (gimmesweeps2@aol.com)
It's All About Him by Denise Jackson and Ellen Vaughn
Rating: 5 Stars
I loved this book so much.
 
Carmie Peters (whpeters@citlink.net)
Duane's Depressed by Larry McMurtry
Rating: 5 Stars
McMurtry also wrote the Lonesome Dove series. This book is about a great male character who is totally dominated (and loves it) by his wife and family. The manner by which he escapes his domination is unique and unpredictable. McMurtry has had great female characters, as in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, but now is centering on great male characters. McMurtry is always a good read.
 
Elizabeth
Queen of Broken Hearts by Cassandra King
Rating: 3 Stars
This was a good story, but it just took too long to make its point. It wasn't nearly as good as SAME SWEET GIRLS, but it was much better than THE SUNDAY WIFE. Casandra King is a wonderful writer, but this book went on too long.