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Shadows of Berlin: A Novel
by David R. Gillham
Another Chapter (4/29/2022)
Will we ever know what really happened during the holocaust? Really know? Recently, several books have been published to shine light on another aspect of the fear and horror, and decisions that had to be made in order to stay alive.

These stories are truly appreciated. Shadows of Berlin explained two new 'sins' of the terror bestowed on people just trying to live their lives. Reading this book has had me thinking about the aftermath of these characters...it will stay with me a long time.

Thank you, David Gillham.
Activities of Daily Living: A Novel
by Lisa Hsiao Chen
Interesting... (1/18/2022)
Once again, i was given an opportunity to read a book I might have just ignored to my detriment. The writing style is not one that I find easy to read and the story(s) was not the easiest to follow; however, the author took time to educate the reader while telling a tale of family hardship.

More than one issue is covered and all have their merits and interest points. It is easy to stop reading and think about what the author just shared, be it the life of an artist, the child of a disappearing parent, or the friend of a friend/lover. So well written!

This book will stay with me a long time. I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to absorb these pages.
The Fields: A Novel
by Erin Young
It took a while to get interesting (11/17/2021)
This was a very slow story that took its time grabbing its audience. So many times i picked up the book only to thing of anything else I could be doing. A great book will hook the reader who will no longer even hear their spouse over the roar of the words.

The plot was nothing new; however, the story line did pick up just over halfway through the book. The stale character analysis hurt the pace of the book and had me rolling my eyes several times.

Having read several good books this year, it was disappointing to feel I was wasting time on a story that wouldn't stay with me. I could not recommend this book to anyone.
The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
Please Read (5/22/2021)
One of the best books in 2021. What a shame if it is missed by any historian, especially regarding the holocaust.

There are probably many more aspects of this horrific event that have not yet been written about and the subject is just as sad today as it was when it ended. There is no way to make sense of such a tragedy.

This book gives some hope for humanity and for that I thank the author Kristin Harmel.
Of Women and Salt
by Gabriela Garcia
Hard Work (4/25/2021)
A book should be something to sit back and enjoy. Of Women and Salt is not such a book. It is exhausting to follow the author as she weaves together a story that will leave the reader wishing for an actual ending to the book.

There is a certain curiosity about reasons for people trying to find a new life in the US and this is what brought my interest to the book. Unfortunately, there were underlying stories that threw the reader into an abyss. It got harder and harder to pick up the book to finish.

Hopefully, the next book by Gabriela Garcia will be more of a treat and less like a sentence.
Waiting for the Night Song
by Julie Carrick Dalton
Good story; fair writing (1/7/2021)
The least favorite writing style of some is repetition of basic facts; it would appear the author is going for word count. Although the story was interesting, it was painful how slowly the plot moved along. It's not like the reader didn't figure out the ending relatively early.

The environmental concern was a refreshing back story, the only redeeming quality. This book will not be recommended by me. It was forgotten as soon as I finished.
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline
Great Book (10/15/2020)
Every year, there is one book that sticks out as an excellent read; one that stays with you and you think of often; the story never leaves you. This book, about very strong women under challenging circumstances and how they manage to not only survive, but to thrive. I am so impressed by the author's writing and the fact that the story never lulled. This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. Kudos to Christina Baker Kline. I have become a fan.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel
by Christy Lefteri
Why a war? (7/4/2020)
This book will haunt me for years. Every time a 'conflict' is on the news, the discussion only involves the soldiers. But what about the people who aren't involved in the fighting? The ones who were just living their life and now can't? The ones who no longer have a home, family, livelihood? And, yet, they also have no place to go, to try to find normalcy...whatever that can be after such horrendous events. I will never understand this need to cause a war with no plan for those who just want to have their life. Thank you Christy Leftri for the heart wrenching novel.
The Paris Hours: A Novel
by Alex George
Highly Recommend (5/23/2020)
I do believe this is the first book of 2020 that rates #1. The style of the writing almost requires reading four (not too long) chapters at a time and the storyline(s) are so unique, it is a surprise to find how they connect.

The choices a person makes every day are more consequential than we know. Not only for ourselves, but for those with whom we interact.

Thank you, Alex George, for this wonderful read.
The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien
Can you ever forget? (3/7/2020)
This book was read in its entirety two weeks ago and yet it remains on my mind everyday. Part of the reason is that there are some personal feelings of empathy having had a family member involved in this war. I have always wondered about this conflict because I haven't been able to get anyone I know that participated to give up any stories other than stark fear.

Our young men should never have been sent to a land without the government knowing what to expect. And who suffered for this disaster? The government that created the mess? No The poor men and women who were involved and then vilified upon their return...if they were lucky enough to return.

Every person involved with any such decision should read this book. Lots to think about.
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper
Just okay... (1/8/2020)
I know there is a story in this book, but you really have to have patience to find it. The storyline moves so slowly and didn't really get interesting until page 237. If the purpose of the book was to explain how exciting life could be in Australia, it failed. Still, one will cheer on the protagonist...every so slowly...
Red Letter Days
by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Another American Mistake (10/24/2019)
The pace of this book was perfect. Watching (or reading) the process of finding a person, deciding that person was a Communist, and then ruining that person's life was swift and sad.

Ms. Stratford obviously did her research and the story was gripping. At one point, I just had to stop reading because I knew it was going to take a sad turn...and I just needed a little time to prepare.

This book will be recommended to our book club...there is much here to discuss. Thank you!!
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao
May the men stop winning (3/8/2019)
The book is extremely disturbing in its discussion of the way women are sometimes treated by societal norms. Whether it's religious beliefs, societies (most of them originated by men), or men's lack of self control, the end game is to make women feel unimportant and that their own worth is based on what they do for others. It is this very attitude that has caused the metoo movement and the decrease in church attendance. Men are equal creatures on the earth and women need to gain the strength to reach their potential.

It was easy to sympathize with the main characters and feel for their life's journey. It would have been nice if the author actually finished the book...I was looking forward to the reunion.
Force of Nature: A Novel
by Jane Harper
Worth the Time to Read (1/7/2019)
I found this book to be interesting from the first page. It was one of the fastest reads I can remember. The plot was carried us along for a treacherous outing in the woods. The disappearance of Alice presents more questions than answers. The dual timeline keeps the story going in an interesting fashion. I did not see the ending coming...always a good sign for a thriller.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
by Anissa Gray
Life is Complex (10/24/2018)
The story is a little disjointed, but there is an eventual wrap-up of the loose ends...the preferred outcome for any book. The most interesting aspect of "The Care" book is the fact that each person suffers their trials alone without the help or support of family. In fact, family often doesn't even know (or chooses to ignore) the events/pain of siblings/children/parents. We are not on this earth alone, yet each struggles alone. Most people like to think they are there for friends/family; however, the truth is, it is difficult to seek help and it's not good to be pushy.

The book brought all this out. Issues are addressed but not resolved. Is it enough to know they exist?

All-in-all, a very thought-provoking book. Kudos to Anissa Gray.
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
by Liza Mundy
Just a history book (10/1/2018)
The purpose for picking up this book was to see how the events from Pearl Harbor going forward affected the lives of the women at that time. Most of the book gave bits of history that are common knowledge and not the stories of the young ladies who became the code girls. There were some interesting/sad items such as the pay difference...will it never end?

The search in this book for the story of the lives of the ladies and how their jobs affected were hard to find. It could happen...for every 40 pages, there were a couple tidbits of the ladies and a lot of the men working in the code breaking jobs. It was not an enjoyable assignment.

The one positive is when a story came out last week in the news talking about a woman being buried w/British military honors for her work as a codebreaker, those who read this book knew what she had gone through.
Mississippi Blood: A Natchez Burning Novel #3
by Greg Iles
Great story, but long on words (7/17/2018)
After reading the complete series, I do not feel like I understand the racial divide in this country any better than before delving into 1800 pages. The main character came across as extremely vain and condescending, not strong and moral....very arrogant. But such is life.

I would not recommend the book to a friend... maybe my husband...
Our House
by Louise Candlish
Did not see that coming! (6/14/2018)
The good and the bad of this book: the plot moved a little slower than I like; however, the ending was unpredictable. For a person who loves to read the end of the book and then sit back and enjoy the narrative, this book did not allow this option. Yes, the ending was read; but, no, it did not help move the story along. I cannot even explain how awesome the ending of this book is...well worth the extra words. Thank you, Louise Candlish! You have a new fan!
America for Beginners
by Leah Franqui
An Unexpected Journey (4/4/2018)
The author, Lea Franqui, introduced the characters perfectly. No person is perfect and it is not always easy to understand why someone might think differently than we do. But, if we can just take a moment to listen, just listen, there is much to be gleaned from another's experiences.

Pavil's life in India may have seemed charmed, but the tortures she endured made her feel her life was not worth living. By meeting a young man and young woman and traveling the US to find her son's lover, she gained an appreciation of life...and the choices her son made.

This book will stay with me for a long time. It is certainly one worth sharing.
History of Wolves
by Emily Fridlund
Tough to Follow (11/26/2017)
After looking forward to reading this novel, the disappointment cannot be overstated. The story was difficult to follow, there was no main character to “cheer for”, and the story moved so slowly that it was difficult to continue reading to the end.

The way the book was written was almost as if one’s thoughts were directing the tone of the book as opposed to preparing a well-thought-out story that a person could fall into and take part.

Hopefully, the next attempt will be better.
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