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June 7, 2019 - June 21, 2019

Betty
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

4
I enjoyed reading of the different directions life took them, but how sibling loyalty was still there. We travel with them through the sixties and the time of “free love” and drugs. We feel the conflict as their sexual identity is explored. I think there is something in this book that will strike home for everyone. While I cringed over drugs and “free love” portions, it did remind me of hearing all this on the news. I was sheltered from that but knew it was out there. So to a degree I could relate. As the next two generations came along I could relate to the traits that carry on in the next generations and the frustration and dawning recognition of seeing yourself in your own children. (And blessing your parents for letting you live!)

Ilene
Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

5
Emma London gets a telephone call from her grandmother Genevieve London, who she hasn’t talked to in sixteen years. Her grandmother threw Emma out when she was a pregnant teenager and this was after living with Genevieve for ten years after her mother died and her father couldn’t take care of her. With the help of her other grandfather, she held down many jobs, educated herself and became a therapist. Now that she receives the call that her grandmother is dying, Emma has so many bad feelings and remembers how controlling and cold her grandmother was. Adding to this, her daughter Riley is going through a rough period when her best friends become abusive and give her a hard time.

Amanda
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

5
A very unique read!

Teresa
True Evil by Greg Iles

5
Like most of his other books, he NEVER fails to disappoint. This book grabs you from the very first page and keeps you enthralled through EVERY chapter, which is extremely hard to do with a book this long. AND it takes place in the South, which is his domain and why they're so realistic in tone. I highly recommend this book if you love a great mystery with a diabolical plot and a strong woman character! There's a little love story mixed in too, in case you enjoy that touch of romance.

Karen
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

5
What a roller coaster of a story. Very descriptive. Believable characters and a great storyline. I highly recommended it. I didn’t want to put it down.

Jayme
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

2
This book grabbed my attention and I wanted to discover the details about the horrible fire at Los Angeles's Central Library, but this book is just a scrambled mess of detoured facts. The book jumps around so you are not reading it sequentially. I didn't find out about the accused arsonist of the fire until I had to read about every head librarian of the library. It appears that maybe the fire story wasn't that long, so the author wrote down every known fact about the library to get it to 300 pages.

Jayme
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

3
When did giving a book a 3-star rating start meaning that you didn't like the book? I enjoyed this book and felt that Morton captured the voices and tones of her characters very well - especially Lily Millington. I do think that it ran long and some character's stories were a bit boring, but I found it interesting that water, the river, and drowning were somehow all interwoven among each story - still pondering that.

Gina
The Silent Patient by Alex Mchaelides

3
I thought it would be a better mystery than it was. It had more red herrings than a fish farm.

Richard N B
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

3
Subtitle: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator. I loved listening to the stories my father, mother, aunts and uncles would tell of “the old days” and adventures they had had. So, I was predisposed to like this tale of the author’s parents and a great adventure they embarked upon without any plan other than to “carry Albert home.”

MH
Educated by Tara Westover

4
Although I liked the book, I thought there could have been more about Mormonism. There is little mention of the family attending temple or of the practices of that religion. The father, who is fanatical and dictatorial, is given second place (in evil) to the older brother. The treatment of wounds at home is in conflict with a couple of times when an ambulance is called, as when the premature baby is born. However, it is a compelling book, one I’m glad I read.

Laurie
Montauk by Nicola Harrison

3
Fictional history/family drama/love story set in prewar Manhattan society.

JULIE
Degrees of Guilt by H.S. Chandler

5
This debut legal thriller deserves more than 5 stars! Just as the book blurb stated, I thought I knew what was going to happen. I was wrong! Even if I’d been correct, it would have been an interesting read. But wow, with all the unpredicted twists, it was amazing. I enjoyed every page of this courtroom drama! A gruesome murder at the start pulled me right in...except it wasn’t waht it seemed. One of the things that made this book so riveting was that it was horrifyingly believable. It’s terrifying to think a man can be so charming and normal to the outside world, and an actual monster capable of such mental and psychological abuse in private. I usually find legal thrillers a little slow, but I highly recommend this one!

Vivian
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

4
As a Muslim American, it was refreshing to read a story about Muslims in the West that didn't deal with terrorism but romance. This book dealt with realistic scenarios that Muslims face on a daily basis: dealing with stereotypes in the workplace, dating vs. arranged marriages for the younger generation, Muslims behaving badly (i.e. rumor-mongering, alcoholism, and more) as well being true to self and holding fast to religious beliefs without compromise. Yes, this is a PRIDE AND PREJUDICE remix, but it is also a story that can stand on its own with the Austen-inspired accolades.

Debra
A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean

5
An excellent novel filled with romance, heartache, betrayal, loyalty, danger, secrets, suspense, adventures and a cast of unforgettable characters. As you read this book, be prepared to be swept away. So many choices to make. Duty or honor? Truth or lies? Loyalty or treachery? Can any of these opposites coexist? So very well done and so very much enjoyed!

Mary
Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

5
Jennifer Chiaverini's books are always very good but RESISTANCE WOMEN was outstanding! The portrayal of the women in Germany was very realistic and made me concerned about the state of our country right now. I was amazed at what dangers these women faced daily.

Elizabeth
Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

4
This book is sweet and funny and has great character development. I really card about Eleanor and wanted her to be fine.

Sherrie
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

4
The Library Book by Susan Orlean reads like a smooth, beautifully written documentary on the background, building and almost destruction in the fire of the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles on April 29, 1986. This was a horrifying event for all book lovers and readers - 400,000 books burned and 700,000 books were damaged. Ray Bradbury who started his writing career and wrote many books in this library was quoted "the library was my nesting place, my birthing place; it was my growing place." The story is gripping and full of wonderful information, written so well you smell the smoke. Ms. Orlean starts the story from her own growing up years at the library with her mother.

Kathy
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5
Everyone is my book club loved this book. We also rate the books we read and many gave it a resounding "5".

Susan
The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne

5
This book was a can't-put-down book. Helena grew up in the Marsh of the upper peninsula of Michigan. She escapes at age twelve and the book goes back and forth between now and her growing up.

Adren
Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

4
LEAVE NO TRACE is a wild story that encompasses the themes of family loyalty, survival, trust, attachment, and parental abandonment. It is a well-written novel with a compelling plot. Maya Stark is a young speech therapist who has worked hard to get her life on track. Lucas Blackthorn is the boy who lived after disappearing for ten years in the Minnesota's Boundary Waters area. When these two meet at the Congdon Psychiatric Facility it is clear they have a connection and possibly a past. There is strong foreshadowing that they are connected in more ways than the reader is initially presented with. Where has Lucas been? Where did Maya's mother go? What happened to Lucas' father? And what are Maya and Lucas going to do about it?

Ivy
Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr

4
It takes diverse experiences to build character. This is precisely what happens when Tacker, a boy from Winston Salem, North Carolina, goes to Nigeria. It takes an encounter back home with a young Negro boy to jostle him and question the status quo. A slow-moving story with peaks and valleys leading to change.

Donna
Judgment by Joseph Finder

4
At an away conference, a judge has a fling with an attractive man and finds out that it is a set up to get her to rule favorably for the defendant in a case she is hearing. The threats and blackmail attempts cause her to fight back. Good story.

Rosa
Normal People by Sally Rooney

5
I had enjoyed this author's first book, CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, and had high expectations for NORMAL PEOPLE. I now see why it garnered so many awards and such praise. This is the story of two damaged people, Marianne and Connell, who are schoolmates when the book begins. Connell is a popular football player from a low-income, one-parent home. His mother is a house cleaner for Marianne's wealthy family. Marianne is introverted and not so social. They begin a relationship that they keep private, even as they both enter Trinity College. Through the years and through relationships with others, theirs stands constant. Rooney's writing is insightful and sober. A story about class difference, family, mental health, and friendship.

Lois,
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

5
Fabulous book, painting a picture of those with wealth during the 1930s.

Michelle
Summer Hours by Amy Mason Doan

5
SUMMER HOURS is a must-read! I loved this book every bit as much as I did her debut novel, THE SUMMER LIST. Amy writes so beautifully, the words flow as if they're liquid. Her descriptive words make the reader see and feel the characters, places, and events. As with her first book, the characters are so relatable, lovable, and become your friends. Thank you, Amy, for writing another book that made me smile and feel so good.

Linda
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

4
I loved A MAN CALLED OVE so much that I wanted to read more books of Backman's. This one intertwines fairy tales/characters with ones in the novel - very imaginative. "Granny" is very unconventional; but also very protective of her granddaughter, Elsa, who is labelled "different" because she's precocious and spunky. As the story unfolds, the characters living in the building become a caring community, who all have been touched/saved by Granny, a true superhero. Funny with some good messages.

Wendy
The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

4
A book with a main character that is devious and cunning. You aren't sure if she or the other characters in the story are the villain. Good beach read.

Robin
Don't Believe It by Charlie Donlea

5
Great mystery with twists and surprises.

Patricia
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

5
This was an ARC I won and I had trouble putting this book down. I laughed out loud in a few spots. And was tearing up in others. It's a really good story.

Gretchen
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

3
The last frontier in the 70s, mental and physical abuse, survivors and coming of age encompass this novel. A book club selection for this month.

Toni
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

5
Calabria to Connecticut, it’s my story and every Italian immigrant story. Witty, serious, whip smart.

Charlene
The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan

4
THE SUMMER LIST by Amy Mason Doan was one of those reads that can stay with you a long time. Reading about Casey and Laura's friendship was one of the most envious and ideal wants that I have ever felt. I was very much in awe as I watched their journey through the years. They truly were best friends. This book was cheesy, but so right. It was a familiar friend and a light in the dark to follow. I swallowed every word, every summer they lived in. And the ending? It really got to me. When you are reading about the third perspective in the book it brings you curiosity that you don't want to miss. I cared about these characters in ways that I didn't think possible at the beginning of everything.

Cindy
Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

4
This book was a surprise! When I received it in the mail from Bookishfirst (I won a copy) I hesitated to read it because it wasn’t my typical genre. After looking at it for several days the guilt trip set in and I began to read. Once I started I was hooked! The magic in the story was crazy good (once again magicians and magic not in my wheelhouse), and the suspense killed me! There is a murder, a horrific murder, in the first couple of pages. So gross! A killer is loose and a “normal” detective is hired to solve the murder at a school for mages. Ivy is the best! She is “normal”, smart, honest, and loves her wine!! Her sister, Tabitha, is a teacher at this magical school.

Debbie
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

3
Elly Griffiths constructs an interesting novel hinting at myths and archaeology. The beginning description enhances the story, but becomes tedious in the ending of the novel. I enjoy the fact that Griffiths portrays a heroine detective that is not picture perfect. Dr. Ruth Galloway lectures on archaeology in England and performs digs around the area. Bones are found and Ruth is asked to view the bones and date them. A young girl has been missing and the police believe that these might be her bones. So begins Ruth involvement with DCI Harry Nelson and his cases of missing young girls. Griffiths explains the archaeological technology in easy terms for the layman. The story has cascades of danger.

Toni
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

5
A lovely romp with loving characters.

Helen
The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

4
The latest in the author's series about investigator/psychologist Maisie Dobbs. Another aspect of WWII is featured and there is a possible romance for Maisie (widowed just prior to the war). I have learned so much from this series and have loved reading about this character. This is a terrific series. My library says the books fly off the shelves.

Gayle
Roar by Cecelia Ahern

4
The stories are very creative and witty. A very interesting collection of stories that may serve as inspiration to many women. Her writing is easy to read. I am not normally a short story fan but I am one now.

Betty
Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

5
Belle stumped me on this one. I kind of thought I knew where it was going --- but I was wrong. I knew precisely when I realized I was wrong --- as a sliver of cold ice seemed to pierce my lungs. Suspenseful and intriguing, it was really hard to put down. I just wanted to lose myself in it. The characters are believable as they all have their flaws. Each is relatable and garners an emotion from the reader whether the emotion be good or bad. Sorting them out can be difficult. Domestic abuse, secrets, lies, stealing, manipulation, betrayal --- these are just the surface of what is in store for the reader. The story is told from the perspective of three of the characters --- Beth, Sabine’s husband, and Marcus the detective.

Elizabeth
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

3
I’m glad I read “A Note From the Author” (at the back of the book, before the Acknowledgements”) before I read BEFORE WE WERE YOURS. I appreciated more the chapters of this book that otherwise would have seemed exaggerated. BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is told in alternating chapters, some in present day told from the point of view of Avery Stafford, who is being groomed to take over her father’s senate seat. The majority of the other chapters begin in 1939 and are told from the point of view of Rill Foss, the eldest of five children who were stolen from their parents and experienced the horrors of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage and corrupt adoption practices.

Sherry
Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

5
This was the BEST physiological suspense book I have ever read!!! I loved it. I read this book in two days. When you pick it up you are hooked from the very beginning. AWESOME read!!!

Linda
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

4
This is a book of linked stories with a few reappearing characters and one main character, Eva Thorvald. Each chapter is about a food or recipe, and we learn about Eva through these chapters, which are about a variety of people. Sometimes Eva is prominent and other times she makes a small appearance. The people are interesting and the prose is spot on as we follow Eva from her birth until her 20s through the eyes of others. J. Ryan Stradal has written a clever, fun book, and I am excited to read his new book coming out in July, 2019.

Tessa
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

4
The García family flees the Dominican Republic for the United States amid political unrest. This is a wonderfully entertaining look at the immigrant experience and at the strong family ties that see these sisters (and their parents) through a tumultuous adolescence and young adulthood. The use of multiple narrators and non-linear timeline, however, made for an uneven reading experience. But I looked on it as indicative of the immigrant experience: looking back fondly on the home left behind, while facing the future bravely and with enthusiasm.

Megan
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

5
In PACHINKO, there are four generations of a Korean family in a world constantly being shaped by war, desperation, and discrimination. The scope of the book covers a lot of history, which was new to me. Min Jin Lee handles the large cast of characters well, and carries them through their struggles and desires to shape their own cultural identity. This award-winning book deserves all the praise it earns. I highly recommend PACHINKO to any reader.

Linda
The Cameron Women by Susan Lovell

5
WOW, WHAT A NOVEL! At first I didn't like Jamie Cameron for her self-centered and spoiled ways nor for her older sister who always tried to keep her out of trouble! Just released from a clinic for drug and alcohol addition, Jamie headed home to her small town in Illinois, but she never told anyone about her dark secret that set her on a roller coaster from hell --- not even her sister. Meanwhile, Kate, her sister, wanted a baby so badly that she and her husband secretly went to another town for help. The Cameron women go through hell when their Aunt Nina passes. The three women go through different phases in their lives and understand that they all need to change, through drugs and alcohol addition, to breast cancer, to trying for a baby.

Shelly
Amish Friends Gatherings Cookbook by Wanda E. Brunsetter

4
I love reading Amish books and always seem to enjoy hearing about the meals that they prepare. They are usually wholesome and sometimes made with ingredients that they grow. When I was given this complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing I decided I not only wanted to try some of the recipes but also review them. I started with the Orange Drink found on page 12 but had to change the measurements accordingly as I did not need 100 servings. I found it very tasty and would definitely try it again. The Butterhorn Rolls featured on page 34 where a taste my family enjoyed and I had some left over to freeze. The Melon Ambrosia found on page 47 was a huge hit with friends recently as it was cold and refreshing. Many of my friends had seconds.

Ilene
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

4
In THE JANUS STONE, Ruth Galloway returns in the second of a series as a forensic archaeologist, investigating the remains of a child’s bones found beneath the front doorstep of a turreted Victorian mansion. The mansion is being demolished by developer Edward Spens who is planning to build 75 luxury apartments with the space. This property once housed the wealthy Spens family and the Sacred Heart Children’s Home where two kids went missing. Ruth is investigating the mysteries of the child’s bones and the missing kids along with Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson. Ruth is three months pregnant and the father is Harry Nelson, who happens to be married with two grown girls. Little by little we find more mystery and intrigue...

Jayme
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

2
This is one of those books where it's not you; it's me. Though the writing is beautiful and I enjoyed it, half of the stories went over my head and left me feeling like a puppet dangling on broken strings without a clue or key. Read the book and that will make sense --- maybe.

Sharon
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

4
Excellent, compelling, and unfortunately believable murder mystery where public perceptions accuse long before investigations are properly handled. Had a bit of a surprise at the end, but an excellent reminder that everyone has gifts of some kind and not to judge too harshly.

Pat
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

5
I really enjoyed this sequel to BEARTOWN. The author reveals the woes of the rivalry between two hockey teams sponsored by local towns. He builds great interaction between the players, their families and their fans. I do not even like hockey and I loved this book. You will laugh and cry at times.

Liz
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell

3
This is my book clubs’ choice for the month of June. This is a memoir told by a woman who has had several near death experiences and how they affected the rest of her life. Most are very poignant and heartfelt, especially the one about her being sick for over a year as a child. The vignettes about her daughter are the most heartbreaking. While each story was well written, I feel the book would have been a much better read if the vignettes were told in chronological order.

Danielle
Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

4
Lyrical writing, strong sense of community, hint of romance, and delicious food and recipes inside.

Samantha
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

4
This book was a slow burn for me. I love a good family drama and this one had plenty of that. It had the whole star-crossed lovers trope down, but in a more modern fashion. I enjoyed how it covered multiple decades of the characters' lives (always a sucker for that). I really appreciated being able to see them grow and develop as people, while navigating a not-so-ideal situation. I will say that the first half flew by a lot faster than the second, which knocked it down a peg for me, but I still really enjoyed it.

Samantha
Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

4
I enjoyed the alternating timelines of this novel and mostly liked how the two friends clashed; however, I reached a point pretty early on where I got VERY annoyed with the friendship and this kept me from liking the book more. It did surprise me with a few twists, though I would say this one was milder as far as thrillers go.

Donna
Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea

5
WOW, I can’t say anything more because I don’t want to add a spoiler.

Jan
Kushner, Inc. by Vicky Ward

4
This well-written book by an exceptional journalist is welcome. After so much focus on President Trump's mistakes, misses, foolish statements, horrible wardrobe, etc., it is a joy to read a book that is well written, and provides insider views of Javanka. If Trump scares you, Javanka should scare you even more. They are naïve, driven, foolish, and determined to have their way. They ignore rules of diplomacy, laws in the U.S., and push up or dump people at will. Most frightening, they push Trump in most issues and he is so focused on their praise and phony plans that he goes along with them. Most of their schemes are failures, i.e., firing Comey. She expects to be President of the U.S. someday. Scary.

Madelon
Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

4
I always look forward to a Lisa Scottoline domestic thriller.

Madelon
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

4
Well-paced fiction. Good read.

Richard N B
They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie

4
Recently out of a job, Victoria Jones decides to follow the young man she just met to Baghdad and new opportunities. She’s a plucky heroine, able to think quickly, adapt to new situations, and spin a believable yarn (okay, she’s a talented liar). All this serves her well when she stumbles into the middle of a major international spy ring. A fun romp of an adventure.

LAURIE
The Island of the Sea Women by Lisa See

5
Really interesting. What those women had to endure. They are the "bread winners" of the family. The women are divers - no apparatus, they learn to hold their breath at a young age, dive down and capture sea creatures to sell and eat. I listened on Audible due to the Korean names and terminology.

Ilene
Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim

4
After hearing of her mother’s death, Natalie returns home to San Francisco’s Chinatown, after leaving in anger seven years ago when her mother refused to support her decision to become a chef. She is shocked to see how run down her old neighborhood is and resents how the neighbors left her alone to care for her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But she is surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant. So run down, will she be able to succeed and turn everything around? What a charming book, likeable characters and fun recipes. That you Penguin Random House for the chance to read it.

Gil
Sycamore Row by John Grisham

5
What a great book! Couldn't put it down and was sorry when I finished there was not more. The story takes place in Ford County Mississippi amid racial tension. Seth Hubbard was suffering from cancer and committed suicide by hanging. A few days before, he rewrote his will and sent it to lawyer Jake Brigance. In the will, Seth left almost everything to his black housekeeper Lettie and nothing to his children and grandchildren. As would be expected, the will was contested, the children claiming that Seth's judgment was impaired because of pain killers. The case was settled in court. Jake defended the handwritten will and was assisted by Harry Rex Vonner and Lucien Atlee, very likable colleagues, who also liked their beer.

Vicki
The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

5
I liked this book a lot because it deals with a mother’s quest to find out what really happened on the night night her daughter had her accident. It’s very thought-provoking and told from the daughter's and the mother’s point of view. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys family dynamics. It will keep you guessing!

Virginia
The Beautiful Strangers by Camille DiMaio

5
Great book that tells the story of Kate Morgan, who goes searching for a beautiful stranger for her grandfather at the famous Hotel Del Coronado. The hotel also has a ghost, a woman who died there in the late 1800s. The lives of these two women are intertwined and as the story unfolds we find out more about Kate and her family. Thrown into the mix is a secondary storyline involving Hollywood.

Michele
You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

5
This book is hilarious! A sassy and sarcastic class mom doesn’t take crap from anyone. This will keep you reading and laughing until the very end!

Margaret
ROAR by Cecelia Ahern

3
This book contains 30 very short stories about women facing challenges which, to me, read like fairy tales since most of them were unrealistic. In each story, the woman was referred to as "the woman." Other characters had a name but the protagonist did not. Each story dealt with "the woman's" feelings in a particular situation. I could relate to some but others felt strange to me so it was hard to relate to that particular woman. I felt the author was trying to empower women by making the stories humorous as well as thought-provoking, but sometimes I was at a loss. I won this book in Bookreporter.com's Spring Preview's contest.

Wendy
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

3
Another adorable, fun rom/com by Christina Lauren.

Wendy
I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

4
I really enjoyed this suspense/thriller and loved where the title came from! This author just keeps getting creepier and better!

Wendy
The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

3
I liked this book, it was a sweet story. According to Alyson Richman, this is her only story that is not historical fiction but a contemporary family on Long Island and characters based on beloved family and friends. She always incorporates the arts in her books and this one had a violin maker and a ballerina. I enjoyed the audio, especially the author's interview at the end explaining why she wrote what she did, the incorporation of food, and her son's inspiration for the title.

Susan
The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning

3
A World War II history story of friendship, and the power of courage and love.

Laurie
Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers

4
Perfect for female book review clubs with plenty of discussion themes including body image, family, weight loss, friendships, self-esteem, cultural and social issues.

Brady
Hiroshima Maidens by Rodney Barker

5
This is an excellent review of what happened to young women who lived on the outskirts of Hiroshima (those living in the city were all killed) who were maimed due to the explosion. This tells how inept Japanese surgeons were in 1945 and the terrible experience of the injured girls under their care. Later, America became involved and this is the wonderful part of the book. Many individual experiences were noted and eventually all the girls did return to Japan. Most interesting story.

Sylvia
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

5
This is, so far, my favorite read of 2019. The characters and the settings were so beautifully presented. I liked the alternating chapters, but on my second read (there WILL be a second read) I might try reading only Avery, followed by only Rill/May.

Rose
Kudzu by Stacey Osbeck

5
After receiving a copy of this book at my local bookstore I was excited to read a young adult story set in my home state of Mississippi. This story did not disappoint. Josh, a recent high school graduate from New York, decides to drive to Baton Rouge to attend a class on writing mysteries. On his way there his car breaks down in a small town in MS. Being the "stranger in town" he is automatically accused of a home break in that happened the night he arrived. He must solve this mystery to save himself and get to his class on time.

Marsha
Unsolved by James Patterson and David Ellis

4
FBI and two series of murders that may or may not be connected. Agent Emmy is working against everyone's opinion to prove several accidental deaths may be connected to a cunning murderer. Many surprises and I did not figure it out till the end. Very suspenseful and not a bedtime story. You just can't stop turning the pages.

Noreen
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

4
I won an ARC, the book comes out August 13th. Very enjoyable book about a female firefighter in a primarily male field. She is forced to reconcile with her mother due to her mother's illness. She pretty much uproots her life. The characters are very real. A nice book.

Linda
The Huntress by Kate Quinn

5
Enthralling! Do think Kate Quinn has accomplished a riveting second book as good or better than her first. She has blended history with intriguing characters and coupled facts with imagination to create a story you have to finish.

Francisca
For Everything a Season by Philip Gulley

3
Subtitle: Simple Musings on Living Well. This is a collection of essays written by Philip Gulley, a Quaker minister. He waxes poetic on gardening, birth stories, the advantages of front porches and stone patios, and a child’s joy in exploring the woods, among other topics. There is a nostalgia to his descriptions that just brings a smile to my face (and to my heart). Gulley can get a little preachy at times, but that’s to be expected, given his ministry. There’s still plenty of room for humor. It was the perfect comfort read at this time of my life.

Linda
Shade, Book 1 by Marilyn Peake

5
OMG OMG, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I really, really felt sorry for Shade, as what person in their right mind names a baby Galactic Shade?! I was sorry that Shade felt that she had to take care of her alcoholic mom and that her mom be the child? This book brought me to my knees as I raced toward the end!! Now, I can't wait to read Book 2.

Shannon
Becoming by Michelle Obama

5
Very well written and was great to hear about her as a person and understand how stressful it was for her and her family in the White House

Nancy
Little by Edward Carey

2
I gave this book two stars because I liked the writing style. But I hated the premise of the book. Supposedly the story behind Marie Tussaud, of Madame Tussaud's wax museum fame, the book evokes strong feelings of pity for Marie, as she is orphaned under terrible circumstances and then raised by a merciless widow whose son Marie falls in love with, but loses. However, in researching the book and author for book club, it turns out she wasn't orphaned and almost all the characters are fake. One critic calls this style "re-imagining." I call it cheap and misleading. I wish all the characters were imaginary, and then I would have enjoyed it much more.

Barbara
Clover Blue by Eldonna Edwards

5
This is a great coming-of-age story of a boy living on a commune during the late 60s and early 70s. It's such a delightful story.

Kathy
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5
Everyone in our book club loved this book and gave it a rating of a 4 or 5 stars.

Susan
Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

5
Kate Atkinson is one of the finest authors writing and after an eight-year hiatus has a new Jackson Brodie novel out. He is a private detective trying to connect with his teenage son and early 20s daughter, and a woman who has remade her life both physically and her background. She is a brand new person married to a wealthy trucker who runs a sex ring of foreign girls. She knows nothing but suspects something is off. The story is full of intertwining characters who run into each other at odd times. It's a jigsaw says the young female police detective. So much that she's from Brodie's past. How they intersect and justice happens is just captivating.

Emily
Too Close by Natalie Daniels

5
Six years ago, Connie met Ness – who had just moved into the neighborhood - in the park, and they have bonded an inseparable friendship since then. What Connie didn’t know is that the nightmare of her life had also just begun. One day, Connie wakes up in a mental health institution, with her torso and limbs covered in deep open wounds and bumpy mass of redness due to severe burning. A psychiatrist, Emma Robinson, has been assigned to work with her to recover the memories of the tragedy that has happened to her and her family. In the mean time, Emma has to deal with the demon of her life as well. Is Connie able to wake up from her nightmare? What is Emma’s demon? One has to read this original, gripping page-turner to find out!

Laurie
The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman

3
This family saga is especially fun for me as the setting, Saugatuck, Michigan is one that we visit often in the summer. A perfect chick lit light beach read with colorful, heartfelt characters!

Kristin
The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

4
This book is a family drama spanning three generations. This story examines race, antisemitism and privilege in an upper- class family. The writing was lovely, if a bit slow, and most of the characters are unwilling or unable to really see themselves as they truly are. I was carried along in this story, and there are a few poignant moments that truly affected me while reading. This was a very powerful book.

Amy
Circe by Madeline Miller

3
Not a book I would normally be drawn to, but after I spent a little time with it, it became a bit of a page-turner for me.

Jayme
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

4
“What we miss - what we lose and what we mourn - isn't it this that makes us who, deep down, we truly are.” ― Sigrid Nunez, THE FRIEND. This quote from the book pretty much sums up this powerful, gut-wrenching book.

Jayme
Alice & the Assassin by R. J. Koreto

2
This was an okay read. This book is classified as historical fiction and a mystery. I would say it is more mystery/fiction with a splash of history. True, there are real historical figures here -Teddy Roosevelt, Leon Czolgosz, Emma Goldman and of course Alice Roosevelt - but that's where the history ends. The character of Alice Roosevelt was so over-the-top and her Secret Service Agent Mr. St. Clair so lackadaisical with his job requirements that I never could suspend my belief and just go with the story.

Tessa
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

3
Martha Andersson is 79 years old and lives in a retirement home whose new management is cutting corners. Martha and her friends – the League of Pensioners – aren’t going to take this lying down. These characters are a hoot! As outlandish and ridiculous as many of their schemes are, I found it great fun to watch them unfold. This is the first in a series. Wonder what the League of Pensioners will be up to next.

Barbara
The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin

4
This is a beautiful novel full of color, fashion, Paris and New York. In the days before WWII, Lily, a young grieving widow is summoned to Paris by her handsome brother to meet his amour Ania. While visiting, Lily, an artist is caught up in the rivalry between fashion greats Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel when she begins working for Schiap. The novel takes the reader though the sadness and tragedy of the war, from Paris to NYC, including plenty of love and loss. Full of amazing characters (some based on real people, some fictional), grand descriptions of fashion, lifestyle and wonderful Paris, this novel will have you running to Google to see examples of Schiaparelli's fashions. A different spin on the popular WWII historical fiction.

Barbara
Mistress of the Rtiz by Melanie Benjamin

4
Interesting, well-researched, and nicely written historical fiction novel set at the Ritz Hotel in Paris during WWII. Great characters based on real people. I always enjoy Melanie Benjamin's novels.

Thomas
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

5
An excellent book. I enjoyed reading it.

Thomas
Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis

5
I enjoyed reading this book. It was excellent.

Rosemary
Josephine Baker's Last Dance by Sherry Jones

5
Raised in poverty in St. Louis, Josephine Baker left a segregated America to become a star in Paris. This biographical novel outlines her life in Europe, as part of the resistance movement in WWII and her return to America to help the Civil Rights movement. This compelling tale should be read by all Americans regardless of race, religion or country of origin.

Donna
The Chef by James Patterson and Max DiLallo

4
Well-written, fast moving story about a former New Orleans cop turned chef. He's a wisecracking investigator trying to find terrorists during Mardi Gras. Fun read.

Elizabeth
The Risen by Ron Rash

4
THE RISEN may not have been promoted as much as Ron Rash’s other books. I hadn’t heard of it until I found it two years after its publication. And what a find it turns out to be! Two brothers, Bill, a successful neurosurgeon, and Eugene, a failed writer and an alcoholic, learn that the body of an old acquaintance, Ligeia, has been discovered. Eugene tells the story of the summer 46 years ago when they met Ligeia and of their present predicament. Who killed her? This is my favorite of all Rash's books. It’s short but leaves quite an impact.

Pam
City of Windows by Robert Pobi

4
A fast-paced, action-packed story featuring Luke Page, a former FBI agent who reluctantly joins the investigation into seemingly random sniper shootings in NYC. Page has a gruff, grumpy personality that hides a heart devoted to his family and friends. He possesses a unique talent that enables him to dissect the crime scenes using mathematics. The body count rises and things heat up quickly as Page struggles with the departmental politics and mixed emotions about leaving his family to catch the killer. A great read.

Phyllis
Two Like Me and You by Chad Alan Gibbs

5
I fell in love with Edwin, Parker and Garland! Reading about Edwin and Parker's completely over-the-top trip helping 90+ year old Garland escape from a nursing home in Hornby, Alabama to Paris, France to find the woman Garland fell in love with during WWII is a delight. I laughed, got teary-eyed and rolled my eyes at the escapades of Edwin, Parker and Garland as they created international incidents on their race across France. A fun summer read. Would love to read more about the characters and will definitely look forward to reading more from the author. Thanks to Goodreads for a copy to read.

Janice
Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles

5
I won this book from Bookreporter.com some months ago. But I wanted to catch up in the series before I read this final book, and have enjoyed all of them a great deal. In this one, Penn Cage, one of the very best fictional heroes of all time, continues to fight against the Double Eagles, an extremely violent group who grew out of the KKK around Natchez, MI. And as in some of the others in the series, there are major well-loved characters who meet their demise. Penn continues to fight for justice, and for the survival of his family. I highly recommend this series.

Nadine
Hissing Cousins by Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer

4
Slow read with a lot of historical facts.

Ruth
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

5
Loved this book! Have always liked to read books about famous unique houses. This was one of the best.

Ilene
The Sign of the Book by John Dunning

5
Another good sequel in the Cliff Janeway Bookman series. What happened at the Marshall's remote mountain home? Did Laura Marshall kill her husband, or is she trying to protect her oldest son? And what did her other three children see? And then there is also a really good scam of signed books, but is it really the author’s signature?

Janice
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

5
I loved this one. It is a great fiction story, about a woman who rides her mule through the mountains of eastern Kentucky in the 1930s, part of the Pack Horse Librarian program, which is a part of Roosevelt's WPA. This is also a story about the "blue people" of Kentucky, something I knew nothing about. This is a compelling story, with a lot of authentic history used to develop an entertaining read.

Ruth
Transcription by Kate Atkinson

5
Love this author.

Joanne
Night’s Landing by Carla Neggers

4
Second book in a series and I enjoyed both the intense plot and thorough character development in this book (knowing that characters will be heard from again in a series). Neggers does not disappoint once again!

Jan
The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

3
The best thing about this murder mystery is that it is set in Savannah. The author has written teen books before and this is her first adult novel. It would have been better if a sharp editor had cut a third of the description. Some confusion in the novel and some trite situations - an exact replica of her mother's murder, some convenient lies on the protagonist's part. And a silly romantic slide that had me thinking I had drifted into a true romance novel. I had to check the publisher. The immature lead character was dreary and the other stereotyped characters were not much better. One can find better mysteries than this. The high rating is based on the setting.

Julia
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

5
A young slave girl is "given" to a plantation owner's daughter. This creates a riveting story of these two girls' lives and the lifelong bond between them.

Gina
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

4
BAD BLOOD has the subtitle of "Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup". It is a gripping story about Elizabeth Holmes and her revolutionary company Theranos. Elizabeth and her lover raised millions for her startup business in testing one drop of blood for hundreds of tests. There was one problem...it didn't work, but Elizabeth told investors it did. She fired employees who told her it did not work. This is a page-turner from an excellent reporter.

Lory
The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

4
Although it was a bit lengthy and did lose my interest at one point, I really enjoyed all the 'isms" it addressed, generationally. Blake's writing is wonderful and led to a lot of introspective thought about the connection between beliefs, advocacy, and action. This is definitely not a weekend read. There is so much to savor and ponder.

Debbie
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd

3
A small community blames the Ashton family, owners of a gunpowder mill, for the explosion that killed hundreds of workers and permanently closed the mill. The hatred overflows into dislike for Bess Crawford. Stranded in Kent due to unreliable trains, Bess agrees to help discover what really happened. The search takes Bess over the area, but many people refuse to speak to Bess. The two writers that pen the Bess Crawford series compose a detailed novel of the beauty of England and the horrors of WWI. Charles Todd depicts the plight of nurse’s life during war time, and the rigid rule of Matron, the head of the nurses. This, A PATTERN OF LIES, is the real portrayal and not an idealized picture of war.

Debbie
The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd

3
THE SHATTERED TREE shows Bess Crawford as a determined nurse and investigator. Bess suffers a slight altercation while trying to find an ex-patient. During her recovery, Bess continues her search for a wounded soldier. In this search, Bess encounters an old case in which the wounded soldier is accused of killing a family and has been running all these years. Too many minor characters and confusing names to remember everyone. As always, the description of the country and the individuals provide a vivid picture.

Debbie
The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd

3
Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd provides more entertainment than the Bess Crawford series and The Gate Keeper gave hours of enjoyment. The final chapters gave me moments of unease as Rutledge acted out of character in his dealing with a husband and wife. The importance of the carved wolves and the phrase Gate Keeper are not revealed until the end of the novel, as well as the importance of an old book about apples. Many characters, especially some of the women, possess terrible personalities. The men show themselves as weak and easily controlled by these overbearing women. But a mother’s love for a child shows the reason for crime and hatred.

Michelle
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

5
With each chapter telling the story of each of Hattie’s children, in different years, so tells the story of Hattie through her children’s eyes. A very thoughtful way to tell the tale. I loved the writing. Such heartbreak throughout and insight into the workings of a family, particularly how a mother’s role is central to all. I could have kept reading, and wished only for a longer, tied-up ending. But in all fairness, the ending was realistic and symbolic, true to the story.

Robin
Dead End Girl by Karen Slaughter

4
Good book, lots of suspense and twists. A serial killer/rapist is loose in a small town in Georgia. He ultimately wants to get a woman he has been wanting for years. His first victims are to taunt her.

Elizabeth
Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

4
This book is sweet and funny and has great character development. I really card about Eleanor and wanted her to be fine!

Charleen
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

4
So, so funny. An outrageous hilarity of people, places, and things. Shocking but incredibly witty. It's a pity Adams passed in 2001 because this stuff is comic gold. Although I found it superbly funny, it just didn't grab me completely like I expected. It's a great book, don't get me wrong, but maybe it's missing that final piece that I needed.

Trez
The Orphan Sisters by Shirley Dickson

3
Interesting story of two sisters before, during, and after World War II. The bombing of towns in England are vividly described and the effects on the residents make it seem that you are there.

sherry
Heartwishes by Jude Deveraux

5
I loved this book. It had great characters and was a very enjoyable read.

Gwen
The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

4
Maisie Dobbs is indomitable as she navigates investigating a murder at the request of Scotland Yard and with the help (maybe) of Mark Scott, the American agent in question, trying to adopt her ward, Anna, and serving country by driving an ambulance during the Blitz to help transport the injured to hospital. As ever, relationships and the tendrils of connection are critical to her investigation, even as they impact her life as well. By the end of this book, some questions are answered, and some loom large, awaiting the next installment in the series. (Having written that, perfectly readable as a stand-alone!)

Sandra
My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

4
One of the best historical fiction novels I have read this year, although it has been out for awhile and on my to-be-read list a long time. A young girl who is a midwife, learning everything from her mother, yearns to be a surgeon so she leaves home but is turned down everywhere. When the war breaks out she finally gets her chance since there is such a shortage of doctors. A heartwarming book and one you won't soon forget.

Kate
The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr

5
Incredible. A wonderful story about a woman whose life seemed so perfect but in a blink of an eye loses just about everything. What better time to go to Paris and find herself. Start over. Become exactly who she has always wanted to be. I felt like I was transported to Europe. As an artist, I relished in the sculpting and the art she saw there. A wonderful story! Beautifully written and an even more beautiful message!

Francisca
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

2
2.5 stars. I wanted to like this. I found it intriguing and interesting. I loved Owens’ descriptions of the marsh and the marvels of the natural world. I was invested in Kya’s story from the beginning, and her loneliness was practically tangible. I marveled at her resilience and intelligence. However, as the novel progressed things got a little too unbelievable and soap-opera-ish for me. After all the drama of the murder and trial, the ending seeming rather anti-climactic. BTW I loved Owens' earlier nonfiction about her work in the Kalahari desert.

Rob
The Target by David Baldacci

5
An amazing story from one of the best writers today. This is Baldacci at his best.

Karen
When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

2
Disappointing - especially after enjoying THE GOOD GIRL. The idea that a young woman wouldn't have more questions about her father and family history seemed unrealistic.

Lory
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

4
Thank you Mary Beth Keane for depicting severe mental illness and alcoholism as "recoverable." Individuals who suffer from either of these, or both, are capable, real, loving human beings and are often portrayed as fledgeling leeches who will always be a burden on others. This story of two families, intertwined by a tragedy, integrates the effect mental illness and alcoholism have on one's thinking, lives, and on those who love them. It emphasizes how stigma and secrecy (and the illness itself) forestalls recovery and equally, how negative coping patterns are unconsciously repeated through generations. Most importantly, however, ASK AGAIN, YES highlights the real possibility of recovery.

Bonnie
Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry

4
Barry's books never fail to bring a smile or a belly-laugh and also lots of common sense. This one fits the bill and a plus is his dog, Lucy, is in it. The afterword packs a wallop, too.

Bonnie
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

3
A rambling plot line and lots of extra characters didn't add to the novel. But, if you want to read about small town Russia, here it is.

Bonnie
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

5
This is a novel unlike any I've read before. The sense of place (Calabria, Italy) is almost a character in the story. Stella and her family are amazing and I'm glad I got to know them.

Nancy
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

4
Overall a great debut novel. If you like twists and turns, then this roller-coaster of a book will keep you wondering where the next turn will happen. The ending will leave you ready for more.

Jan
The Daughter's Tale by Armando Lucas Correa

4
This is another gem from Correa, almost as good as THE GERMAN GIRL. Again, the story is about women, females who have lost husbands and fathers in Europe. This time, we meet an 80-year-old woman in New York who receives letters her mother wrote to her during the war. Parents are separated from children, reflecting what actually happened all over Europe before and during the war when Jews were trying to protect their children by removing them from misery and probably death. The widow of a physician manages to get one daughter on a boat to Cuba but keeps the second child with her in Germany and then France. The younger girl eventually was sent to New York in place of the actual niece of a man to whom she was not related. Sad but so true.

Christine
The Garden of Blue Roses by Michael Barsa

4
This debut novel from Michael Barsa was very engaging, and held my interest all the way throughout the book (no small feat for one with a short attention span.) It's probably best described as a modern Gothic mystery, dealing with grown siblings whose parents are killed. Their father was a famous horror author, and it seems as if one of his villains may have come to life. It will keep you guessing, and I also liked the way the author made your feelings for the characters change over the course of the book.

Liz
The Perfect Son by Lauren North

5
I won this in a giveaway. This is a FANTASTIC psychological thriller that gripes you from beginning to end. Tess wakes up in the hospital knowing only four things: she’s in the hospital, she’s been stabbed, she’s alive and her son Jamie is missing. Tess and her family recently moved to her husband’s childhood home. Shortly thereafter, Mark, was killed in a plane crash. Tess falls into a deep depression. Her mother arranges a grief counselor, Shelly, for her. They become fast friends. Enter Ian, Mark’s brother who claims that he is owed a great deal of money that he lent to Mark. Tess believes they are both working against her and she must piece together the truth to find her son.

Laura
Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

5
A wonderful story of relationship between a 17-year-old boy and a old blind woman.

DAISY
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

3
WHAT ALICE FORGOT tells the story of a woman who faints in gym class and bumps her head causing her to lose 10 years of her memory. Follow along as Alice tries to recreate her past while trying to fit into the life she has made with herself. Along with following Alice this book also follows the story of Alice's sister and Frannie, Alice's grandmother figure. This was one of those books that I didn't love but I also didn't dislike it. It had parts that I loved, which were the sections told through the eyes of others. I loved to hear Elisabeth's struggles with IVF and her trying to make sense of her feelings. I also really enjoyed portions told by Frannie because it was like watching another generation look at the current world.

Joanne
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

5
This is a wonderful book about rural Kentucky and the bookwoman who delivered books to patrons by way of a mule in 1939. The young woman in the story is named Cussy and she is part of a group of people at the time that were the called blue people. It was a rare congenital disorder but was passed along the people for many years until a scientist found a cure. You will fall in love with Cussy and her big heart. I was sad when the book was over as I wanted it to keep going as you begin to love the character and want the best for her. We take for granted how easy it is for us to get books and these books in a minute, while these rural people had few choices and were grateful for any reading material they could get. Happy reading!!!

Milena
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

4
FIX HER UP is such a great romance book, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It has so many of my favorite elements: fake-dating and big brother's best friend tropes, humor, scorching chemistry between the hero and the heroine, and great female friendships where women support and uplift each other. I loved the setting of the book, I loved Travis and Georgie's relationship, and I liked all the secondary characters and members of Just Us League. I cannot wait to read the second book in the series. If you are looking for a fun, steamy romance, I highly recommend you pick FIX HER UP.

Tessa
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

3
Book Six in a time-travel series I swore I’d never read, but have become strangely addicted to. This one is heavy on the history of the years leading up to the American colonies declaring independence from Britain. I wanted more of the loving relationship between Jaime and Claire, and yet was happy to see the younger generation play a bigger role. Still, I think I’ll give the series a rest for a year or so. Don’t want to get too far ahead of the TV series.

Anna Servati
Becoming by Michelle Obama

5
Loved it. I gained so much insight into how difficult it is to raise a family in the White House and be the first family in America. It was written with humor and so much sensitivity and love for her parents and her family. Reading about her struggles growing up and now knowing all her accomplishments just reinforced my respect for her. She is honest and reveals her humanity and concern for others. Her appreciation for all the people who helped her and worked for the family seemed so sincere and genuine. Michelle Obama wrote the book with such openness and allowed us into her personal life and made sure to explain that she had plenty of doubts about herself and her decisions along the way. I recommend this book to anyone who likes bios.

Jan
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

4
This book is so relevant for today, with corruption in politics, and so many untruths postulated. Kingsolver has written a historical novel of the time of Red-bating, congressional hearings on everyone, accusing many folks of being communist. It did not help the protagonist in this book that he had worked for Diego Rivera and had met Trotsky and other leftist politicians when he was in Mexico. This quiet gentle man is harassed unfairly -- much as some in our society are harassed by those in power. The book won awards, was published almost a decade ago and has foretold the future in U.S. government. As usual, Kingsolver's writing is magical, elegant and spellbinding.

Anita
Drawing Home by Jaime Brenner

5
This was an interesting book. A young girl in Sag Harbor inherits a beautiful home when her mentor, a famous artist dies suddenly. His old time friend, Bea from NYC, is devastated by his death and stunned to learn that she is not going to get his home. She is his oldest friend and worked with him for many years. Of course she immediately rushes to Sag Harbor to find out why a little girl would get the house.

Linda
The Brothers K by David James Duncan

3
I have spent the last two weeks with this book and with the thoughts of David James Duncan. And here is what I learned about him: he loves baseball, he loves his family, he hates organized religion and attending church, and he hates war and all its tragedies. And he writes about these loves and hates in detail upon detail. I loved certain parts of this book, especially the love the three older brothers have for each other and the love the children have for their father. Also, mom, Laura is portrayed quite negatively because of the importance she places on attending church. She also has an unhappy husband to deal with and a limited income, but she is given very little sympathy. There is a good book here, but it is so wordy and overdone.

Jan H
Up From The Blue by Susan Henderson

5
An older book but I really enjoyed it. It had suspense, heartbreak, humor and great characters. I can see why it was chosen as a Bets-On pick. This is a debut novel for this author and I will be looking for more of her books.

Kelly
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

5
I loved this story of a bond between a mother and her child, through both a human’s perspective but also through an elephant’s. Just when I thought I knew where the story would lead, a twist would come. Picoult did an excellent job bringing awareness to elephants and their magnificent ability to love, which makes you love the incredible animal even more. Great storytelling!

Ilene
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

5
A modern Muslim retelling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, a wonderful story with great relationships and friendships. And a throwing in of Shakespeare quotes. Loved the book start to finish. Thank you Penguin Random House for the chance to read it.

Richard N B
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

3
3.5 stars. Maurice Bendrix recalls the affair he had with the married Sarah Miles. Bendrix is a writer, and he uses his experience exploring characters’ motivations and emotions to look at the attraction, passion and ultimate love-hate relationship he had with Sarah. That push-pull of the love-hate relationship is at the center of this work. And this pretty much describes my relationship with this novel. On the one hand I love the way Greene writes, and the way he draws these characters. On the other hand, I really disliked all of them.

Sean
Back on Murder: A Roland March Mystery by J. Mark Bertrand

5
J. Mark Bertrand tells an exciting, heartfelt, winding mystery involving missing girls, crooked cops, faith and family. Roland March isn't an alpha cop like many of his literary counterparts. He has realistic faults and isn't cliched. The story has a lot of moving pieces, but they all come together perfectly. I was surprised how fast I was flying through this book wanting to know how the story would unfold. I think that's a sign of a good book. I am very excited to delve into this series.

Tina
Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

5
I loved the way that the going back and forth in time kept you on the edge of your seat wanting to know what was going to happen next. I loved the strengths of the two main female characters, despite their disabilities, and was surprised by the ending. I definitely recommend the book and author.

Angie
Recursion by Blake Crouch

4
RECURSION is about a technology that allows people to return to their most precious memories, and it’s a page-turner until the very last page. A third of the way through, I was already wondering what in the world would happen next. The ideas that Crouch explores about time, memory and morality are fascinating. He grounds the story with family and romance, but it fell short in making me feel emotionally invested in the characters.