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MEL-ROY's Photo MEL-ROY Posts: 177
5/6/19 11:22 P

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4 books this month.

A Witch Before Dying (A Wishcraft Mystery #2) by Heather Blake - 4 stars

Conspiracy in Death (In Death #8) by J.D. Robb - 3 stars

Loyalty in Death (In Death #9) by J.D. Robb

The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy (A Wishcraft Mystery #3) by Heather Blake - 3 stars





Mel in Denver


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5/1/19 12:04 A

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She Who Remembers
by Linda Lay Shuler
3 stars
A novel of the prehistory of the Americas. I liked the historical fiction part of it, but there was just too much 'romance' for me...
So much is made now of non-indigenous persons writing about the indigenous way of life. I am not sure how I feel about that, but think that in his case she may have overstepped the line of current sensibilities. Just my opinion, and an issue that I need to explore further.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/29/19 8:53 P

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A Haunted heist by Angie fox
4.5 stars
Really funny. Mystery kept you guessing until the end and finally some movement on the relationship in the series. Enjoyable fun read.

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4/29/19 7:03 P

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Sophie's World
Definitely not a quick read but very thought provoking.

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4/29/19 11:59 A

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Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder 3 stars

Some of this book was a struggle to get through, but it was a cool concept. I do think a lot of the repetition that was driving me a little batty was due to translation issues.



~ Cheryl

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4/28/19 11:03 A

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Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
3.5 stars

Story of a 14 year old boy with Aspergers’s Syndrome who is a modern day Sherlock Holmes. Quite a few chuckles.

Good to open up discussion between teens on the importance of reaching out to and learning from others.

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4/26/19 7:16 A

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 4 stars


I adored this book and maybe some of that is because I'm rather weird, my oldest has autism, so he has his own quirks. Some of it may have just been because I needed this book right now. It was still so uncomfortable at times, especially early on. I wasn't sure I was going to like this one at all initially. Anyway...

I enjoyed this quite a lot to the point of almost giving it 5 stars because I thought about it and wanted to rush to get back to it when I put it down. I thought I had it all pretty much figured out and to some extent, I did, just not fully.

As for the writing, I know some have been undone (or nearly so) with some of the descriptions and phrases. I didn't have a problem with it. My reason is because it was coming out of the character, not the author and living with a son who it high functioning, I get to hear some of the very smart comments, some really interesting phraseology that I can ultimately make sense of why he used it, and not getting cultural norms in spite of being so smart with other things.

While I've never suffered the horrifying abuse some have in life, I've dealt with enough personally or seeing others go through to know coping mechanisms can seem really extreme to some.

Audio book was done well.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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4/23/19 10:42 A

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Marcelo in the Real World
By Francisco X. Stork
4 stars
A celebration of quiet, of thinking before speaking, of going slowly in a crazy rushing world. Marcelo is wonderful, but it was Jasmine who was the real hero for me. A lovely book about people who are just different.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/22/19 6:27 P

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Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy
By Jostein Gaarder
4 stars
Parts of this book (513 pages in all) were 5 star, and parts were 3 star, so I am averaging it out. The history part, the philosophers and when they lived and where and even a lot of what they believed was, at times, heavy slogging. But the story about Sophie and Hilde was a lot of fun, and really helped me to understand the philosophical schools of thought under consideration. I really feel like I have learned a lot in terms of understanding how human beliefs have evolved over time. A worthy read, all in all.

NB: This was our team April Book Club read. (See thread for thoughts by other team members.)

Edited by: JOANNEJI at: 4/22/2019 (18:31)
~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/22/19 7:35 A

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Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish 2 stars





I'm not even sure why I'm giving it 2 stars because when all is said and done, I didn't care for it. I didn't hate it either, so that may be the deciding factor.

The two major flaws with this are the flatness of the characters. I felt nothing for any of them really. There was a lot of telling, not a lot of showing going on. The premise was great, but it just fell flat.

The other issue I had was with the nightmare tunnel (I think that is what it was called). I can deal with it existing. I don't agree with the spiritual belief that makes it exist as it does, but that matters less to me than the way it was resolved. Really? Really? It just took this 12 year old boy to figure out how to do it and even that wasn't really explained well. Thankfully, it was a quick read.

~ Cheryl

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4/21/19 5:48 P

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Frost Burn (Fire and Ice #1) by Erica Stevens 3 stars

Paranormal romance that I probably would've been impressed with early on in reading the genre. I will say this (may be a spoiler so I'll leave a gap)……………






I liked that they didn't get it on right away when things were initially resolved. I can deal with instant attraction and I can deal with doing the deed just for the sake of it. However, when a character has trust issues, I dislike it when they just insta-bond because they are fated to be with each other. I like that it wasn't consummated just yet. Almost gave it another star just for that reason.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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4/20/19 3:00 P

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Safe House by Nicholas Sparks

4 stars

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4/16/19 5:02 P

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When Did I Stop Being Twenty and Other Injustices
By Judith Viorst
4 stars

Suddenly Sixty and Other Shocks of Later Life
By Judith Viorst
4 stars
Judith Viorst has been where each of us has been or is now, and she finds a way to express life's joys and frustrations in the most delightful poetry. I frequently found myself nodding my head in agreement.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CHIPPEE's Photo CHIPPEE Posts: 17,830
4/15/19 8:45 P

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Us Against You by Fredrick Backman
4 stars


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4/15/19 7:26 P

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A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley 4 stars

I love Flavia. She seemed a little more vulnerable in this one. Looking forward to the next one.

~ Cheryl

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4/14/19 12:29 P

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See You in the Cosmos
By Jack Cheng
3.5 stars
At first, this book did not work for me. I found it rather juvenile, and felt that Alex was less than believable. Then about a third of the way in, I found Alex's voice inside my head and began to relate to him in a more authentic way. Finally the last third of the book had me in its clutches, and I read steadily to find out how all of Alex's questions were answered.
So I would rate each third thusly: 3-3.5-4, giving it a rounded out score of 3.5 stars. I ended up really enjoying it, so I guess that makes it a worthy read.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/12/19 8:07 P

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Liar liar James Patterson
4.5 stars

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4/12/19 2:16 P

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Deeper Than the Dead
By Tami Hoag
4 stars
A well-constructed and compelling novel filled with suspense. Kept me flip-flopping my solution til almost the end. The weakest part of the book was that many of the characters were stereotypical "types". That didn't stop me from reading past my bedtime!

Edited by: JOANNEJI at: 4/12/2019 (17:15)
~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/10/19 12:00 P

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford 3 stars

I thought this was a book for adults, but it's written as though the target audience is in the middle grades. For introducing younger kids to the history told, it's good enough. I didn't feel sucked in at all though and this is the kind of story that usually gets to me. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it felt repetitive sometimes, other times I had trouble believing the events could have unfolded as they had. I actually pushed my rating up a star because I really do think this would be a decent way to present the concept of how we treated our own citizens at the time (shamefully).

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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4/8/19 9:31 A

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No Exit
By Taylor Adams
4 stars
Edge of seat: check
Read it in one day: check
Suspenseful: check
Realistic characters: sorta' maybe check
Possible movie to follow: likely check
Favourite suspense novel: no chance - it's a good one, but not a great one.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/8/19 9:25 A

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Atonement
By Ian McEwan
3-4 stars
Ian McEwan uses a lot of words to tell this story. He composes some beautiful sentences, true, but the story is rather an ugly one. Lies, misunderstandings, deceit, the lower baseness of the upper classes.... I give the writing a 4, but the story itself a 3... my daughter told me I had read the book before AND watched the movie (with her). That I remembered neither should have alerted me to my unlikely enjoyment of the book. It is one of those books you think you SHOULD like, and then when you don't, you imagine that the failing is yours, and not the author's.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,028
4/6/19 11:44 P

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Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon (4*)
Lord John and his brother Hal seek to solve the mystery of their father's long ago murder, which was labeled a suicide and gave rise to gossip and scandal that stain the family honor. Meanwhile, his mother plans to remarry, which brings her widowed fiance's stepson into the family, which was no problem until the young man gets arrested and tried for a hanging offense. John and Hal's regiment are posted to Prussia, where John is critically wounded. I like the natty, urbane, and courageous Lord John, a spin-off character from Outlander, but didn't enjoy this book as much as the others in the Lord John series. The Lord John in this book seems out of character, with the wit, charm, and manner not up to par. There's an annoying overabundance of gratuitous and graphic sex scenes which are overdone and a disruption to the flow of the mystery plot. As a whodunnit, It is generally creative and well-built, but I would have loved to edit out the excess flab into a more taut and focused story.


Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,028
4/6/19 11:38 P

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--The Flying Flea, Callie, and Me
--That Furball Puppy and Me
--Chomps, Flea, and Me by Carol and Bill Wallace (4*)
I read these three short kids' stories as if they were one book, which essentially they are. A gray kitten is adopted by a farm family when the old cat gets too arthritic to keep down the mice and rats. There is good continuity in plot and character in the three books, centering around the put-upon and often misunderstood little gray cat, who seems to have a bit of the middle child syndrome in this farm family of pets. I enjoyed the stories and think most cat-loving kids would also enjoy Gray's misadventures. The books were written by a couple of retired teachers who had a good grasp kids' reading level and attention spans, so pre-middle school kids should be able to follow along and enjoy the stories without getting lost or confused.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,028
4/6/19 11:34 P

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--Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (5*)
Eleanor narrates the events, as filtered through her uniquely idiosyncratic POV, that occur when the IT guy from work enlists her aid for an old man who passes out on the streets. The grungy but endearing computer geek and the sweet old man and his family give the dissociated Eleanor little opportunity not to engage with them, but poor Eleanor distrusts and dislikes the human species. These caring human interactions make strange changes occur in a life Eleanor considers perfectly fine! This book contains much charm, wit, original characters, great dialogue, creativity, and so much more. I had to love Eleanor Rig...er, Oliphant and her rock solid integrity, her unique personal logic, and her true-to-self authenticity and how well the author led the reader to walk in Eleanor's sensible shoes. Of course, I loved Raymond because he is just so...lovable! This is one of the truly great modern novels, a masterpiece of insight, humanity, and story, and a completely fine example of a literary classic to be.

--Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (5*)
After The Lies of Locke Lamora, conmen Locke and Jean plan the heist of an impenetrable casino, where any hint of cheating is punished by death, but their risky venture is further complicated by several assassination attempts for unknown reasons, the interference from their enemies among the magi, and being kidnapped, poisoned, and blackmailed by the powerful local warlord into fomenting a war with pirates to scare the council into not cutting funds to his navy. If they mess up, he withholds the antidote but probably plans to withhold it even if they succeed. Skipping this book, would not interfere with following the series but doing so would mean missing out on some great fantasy/adventures/heists/scams/wit/and danger. I'm definitely loving this series!

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 4/6/2019 (23:34)
Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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4/6/19 11:25 P

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--Time Was by Ian McDonald (4*)
A modern book dealer finds photos taken decades apart showing the same two men, who did not age, leading to his piecing together the story of a failed WWII experiment blasting a gay scientist and his poet lover into a time warp. As agreed, if they get separated, the poet leaves notes in a certain rare book wherever and whenever he find a bookshop that carries it, in an attempt to reconnect. This novel is not primarily a gay romance but science fiction, which led to many bad reviews by disappointed people who expected otherwise. Not being a fan of romances, I was delighted to find more science fiction and mystery than romantic schmaltz. As time travel books go, this one is rather well-polished, well-organized, creatively original, narrated in beautiful prose, and has the added intrigue of a mystery being skillfully unfolded.

--The Secret Orphan by Glynis Peters (3*)
In this WWII story an English farm girl, heiress to a late childless aunt, takes in the orphaned child of the caretakers of the aunt's home, who were killed when the house was destroyed during a bombing. The mysterious couples' secrets make the little girl and her guardian pariahs in their little rural community when a sleazy female farm worker spreads gossip about the child that she heard from her escaped German POW lover. About 3/4 of the book was really good, but the last quarter just made no sense--seriously, what was everyone so panicked about? Who would you find more threatening and vile, a sweet seven-year-old war orphan with a lot that's unknown about her background info or the vicious, skanky rumor-monger who openly brags about her affair with a dangerous escaped Nazi? Yeah, the last quarter really is that dumb and badly needs big booster shots of plausibility, cohesiveness, realism, and at least some sense.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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4/5/19 3:04 P

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Just put a hold on it so I can read it.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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4/5/19 2:47 P

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The Birchbark House
By Louise Erdrich
6 stars
NB: This is a Junior title.
This book! This amazing book! How did it take me so long to find you, Louise Erdrich?
If you are reading the Little House books with your children or students, then you should also consider reading this book (or this series; I haven't read the subsequent titles yet). The story is delightful, touching, and fascinating in a way that the Little House books are not, in that the indigenous way of living is less familiar to the modern NA psyche. This narrative is fresh and respectful and thoroughly engaging!

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/4/19 6:41 P

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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester 4 stars

It took me a bit to get used to the writing, but once I did, I really enjoyed this book. A good mix about the people involved and the making of the OED. I hadn't really thought about when that was created until I heard about this book. Glad to have read it.

~ Cheryl

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4/3/19 9:30 A

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The Inflammation Free Diet Plan
By Monica Reinagel
3 stars
Some interesting information. A few recipes. Loads of charts.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/2/19 5:25 A

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman 5 stars

Loved it when I read it the first time in 2011. Just re-read it (the 10th anniversary version this time) and loved it just as much.

~ Cheryl

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4/1/19 11:58 A

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Intensity
By Dean Koontz
3 stars
Koontz is really too scary and, well, horrifying (I guess) for me, but every once in awhile I get sucked into one of his books and can't put it down. I skimmed the last 100 pages of this because honestly the disgusting, inhuman details were too much for me. Happy ending though, more or less.

(Cheryl, I hope the Daredevil book was not a thick one! Sounds tedious!)

Edited by: JOANNEJI at: 4/1/2019 (11:59)
~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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4/1/19 11:33 A

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The Age of Daredevils by Michael Clarkson 1 star

This was so poorly written, I can't fairly review it. The repetition was unreal. The run-on sentences were rampant. This book should have been so much better than it was because the subject and people were interesting.

This is one of the sentences just to give you an idea of how bad the writing was:

After a frustrated Beatrice miscarried in 1912, she believed she could not have children, and they adopted Harry as a child, two years before she discovered she had been mistaken and gave birth to William Jr. Harry had been born in Waterloo, Ontario, the son of a factory worker and reportedly the grandson of a Prussian general.

~ Cheryl

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3/31/19 8:54 A

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This is where we can keep track of the books we read this month and rate them. This is similar to the “what are you reading” thread, but we will include only those books we finish reading in the month. If you start a book the previous month but finish in the current month, it counts for the current month. Please list the title, author, and your rating. You can also add a short review if you’d like.

Let’s use a 5-star rating system:

1 star * Hated it~Not worth your time
2 stars ** OK~There were some redeeming qualities
3 stars *** Liked it~Enjoyable read
4 stars **** Really liked it~Definitely worth reading
5 stars ***** Loved it~Great read and would recommend to others

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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