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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/30/18 9:27 P

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Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 3*
Adolescent Nigerian brother and sister live a life of secrets and abuse as their wealthy, respected father helps the community, the Church, and the needy while brutalizing his own family who cannot meet his perfectionistic expectations. The story and characters never drew me in, and the only thing I felt upon reading this book was "glad that's over with." It wasn't terrible but just offered nothing special, nothing to hold my interest, and I feel ripped off after wasting two days of my precious reading time on it.

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly 4*
Harry Bosch has his hands full, juggling two complex and difficult cases, both of which deserves his full attention, especially since one of them involves accusations of malfeasance against himself. One of the better crime novels that I've read lately since one case is closed by Bosch's superior policework and the other by his lawyer brother Mickey Haller's superior legal shenanigans, so both the police and courtroom procedurals were cleverly done in this one.

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: 8,023
3/27/18 8:19 P

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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann 5*
Mr. Grann has created a masterpiece of microhistory filled with an impressive degree of research, without losing contact with the human element of pain, fear, tragedy, and injustice caused by the callousness and greed of self-serving public officials and those with the wealth and power to hold them in their pockets. I found this book to be well-organized enough to get us through the complex maze of multiple murders and cover-ups that the author explores, without getting too lost, but he could dig all the way to China and never discover the whole story of the Osage murders or the depth of corruption that led to them, condoned them, and assisted in the cover-ups. Only God's justice has any hope of getting the full truth, but Mr. Grann made a noble effort!

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 4*
Wealthy Igbo twin sisters, their lovers, and a young house boy are swept into the Biafran War as the Hausa and Yoruba people of Nigeria target the minority Igbo people for genocide.
This book was excellent in parts but not so much in others. Most of the excellence was found in the parts titled "The Late Sixties," and most of the meh in the parts titled "The Early 60's." That is just because I personally did not find the main characters, except the houseboy, all that interesting, likable, or sympathetic, so the parts that centered on their petty prewar lives, loves, family problems, and political opinions also didn't interest me. However, I did find the characters' experiences in the war and struggles to survive much more gripping and worthwhile reading but also heart-breakingly painful. The parts that illustrated in flesh, blood, pain, anger, and sorrow the story of one of history's brutal injustices are far superior to the soap opera melodrama of the romances, IMHO.


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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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/24/18 3:49 P

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Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks 4*
The story of a loveless orphan who has his heart broken by the only woman he ever loved and then suffers some of the most hideous experiences of WWI, as he commands an infantry support team for the "sewer rats" who dig the spying and fighting tunnels under the battlefields of France.
I found that this generally well-written and developed, although dismal, story (essentially Germinal meets All Quiet on the Western Front) came close to being a really excellent book, but for two things that marred my appreciation of its finer qualities. It tended to run on and on, battle and heartache after battle and heartache! Then I really didn't like the 1978-79 jumps to the protagonist's boring granddaughter--I wished Faulks would have listened to a good editor and just deleted that stuff.

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond 3*
Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman of the cookbook/cookware empire writes about her romance and first year of marriage to "Marlboro Man."
I found this poorly-titled book to be an enjoyable read and also found the author's attempts to frankly view her own insecurities and shortcomings rather admirable as she tells with an unusual degree of openness about how a frivolous, pretentious spendaholic was changed by love, marriage, motherhood, and the sharing of tragedies and troubles into an adult. I doubt many of us could stand to look at ourselves so critically then put it down on paper for the world to see. However, the writing, although generally interesting, human, and often humorous, was so repetitious, the same descriptions were used over and over, yeah, we get it already! The Chicago pipedream obsession was also a bore--either go or get over it!

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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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/22/18 12:03 A

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The Dry by Jane Harper 4*
One of the better crime thrillers that I have read recently, rich in atmosphere and character, as well as being a very skillfully-developed whodunnit, well, actually two whodunnits--the violent death of a family currently being investigated and the unsolved murder of an adolescent girl 20 years ago. This is a very small town full of some really small-minded, mean-spirited people, who are in even worse ill-humor than usual, not only because of the murders, but because they have been sweltering under a lengthy, miserable heat wave/drought that is killing the livestock and destroying the town's economy.

The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich 3*
I can't say I liked this book--too much quirky, too much crazy, too many dreams and hallucinations, not enough character development or humanity. Then there was the addition of the hideous Dot, whose inclusion certainly did nothing to improve the book but did do a lot to make it a worse than it needed to be. I guess you would call the weirdo nonsense the author shoved in for no apparent good reason, "magical realism." Personally, I have never run into any magical realism that I liked. This was among the least likeable.

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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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/21/18 11:43 P

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Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer 4*
Krakauer investigates the 1984 murder of mainstream Mormon Brenda Lafferty and her baby by her husband's brothers, who had turned from their faith, embraced fundamentalist polygamous cults, and believed that they pleased God with these murders. Krakauer tells the story of the Laffertys set against the history of Joseph Smith's Mormon religion and the outgrowth of self-proclaimed prophets and their cults. The book shows an impressive amount of research and interviews, but some sidetracks and interviews aren't as relevant as others and too many of those make it difficult to follow and pick up on the thread when he eventually returns to the Lafferty story.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 4*
This was a creative story with a very likable hero, who only did a simple humane thing and ended up opening a whole can of troubles. However, in doing so he treated us to a well-developed urban fantasy, set within a well-developed fantasy world, with some clever twists and turns along the way.

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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FRABBIT's Photo FRABBIT Posts: 6,574
3/11/18 3:48 P

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The Award - Danielle Steele 3 stars

Story of a woman who helped the French Resistance during WWII. Easy read and learned a lot in the first half of the book but then it rushed through time in the second half.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/9/18 11:11 P

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Germinal by Émile Zola 5*
Set among the coal mines during an economic depression in 1860's France, an idealistic young socialist gets involved in a strike. This book is pretty much non-stop brutality, suffering, death, and lectures on Marxism--great literature, yes; an enjoyable read, no way! I pity any tender young soul who ever has to read this for a literature class.

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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196.75
174.5
152.25
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/7/18 2:05 P

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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 5*
This novel truly belongs on any list of the greatest literature in history. It tells in both emotional and descriptive terms the experiences of a once-naive German schoolboy and his friends who enlist to fight in WWI. This book reflects with full realism the confusion and horror of a youth caught in the teeth of that monster, told in the most beautiful lyrical prose that ever told a story of utmost horror.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin 3*
I didn't enjoy this book and couldn't appreciate it because I didn't like most of the character portrayals. The only one with any development was Rebecca, and I got nauseous with everyone going on and on about her amazing wonderfulness...barf! Many potentially wonderful secondary character, which might have added some interest to this rather dull book, were given short shrift and treated rather shabbily by the author because they weren't as all-glorious as Rebecca, and although kindly, loyal friends were so unworthy of her. I personally found Rebecca unlikable primarily because the author tried much too hard to make her so superhuman and far above the common rabble.

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 
219
196.75
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/4/18 7:17 P

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Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn 5*
In the independent island nation of Nollop off the SC coast, life and civilization are gradually being destroyed as the Council outlaws letters of the alphabet when they fall off a monument.This is an epistolary novel (told by the characters' letters), but the letters themselves help illustrate the story as it becomes increasingly challenging and stressful to write a simple note. I found this book to be wonderfully clever and well developed but increasingly difficult to read as more of the alphabet was outlawed. Thankfully, the notes keep getting shorter and more directly to the point as they became harder to write. It is, mercifully, a short novel, and the author knew when to quit before the bizarre letters drove the reader nuts.
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Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 3/4/2018 (19:26)
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 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/3/18 8:36 P

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The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie 3*
Country gentlefolk, the Bantrys, are awakened by an hysterical maid who has found a dead floozie in the library. Mrs. Bantry calls on her trusted friend, Miss Jane Marple, to investigate because having dead floozies in the library cannot be good for one's reputation and social standing! Not one of the better of Agatha Christie's mysteries, IMHO, but still an entertaining read, and with enough humor that it felt as if Dame Agatha had fun writing it. Personally, I thought she could have come up with a better killer and better ending.

The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry 4*
High school best friends, who don't have much except each other, are torn apart by a conniving, narcissistic beauty. The writing is excellent, the characters feel like people I know personally, but it isn't a story that is easy to take--as grim, gritty, and desiccating as the windy, dusty prairie town in which it is set. If you are looking for an uplifting inspirational tale about family, friendship, and love, look elsewhere. If you prefer hard realism about lost souls seeking a reasonably comfortable place in this world when hardly anyone they know has succeeded in doing that, then this is the book for you.

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg 4*
I read the first of this series, The Heist, several years ago and wasn't impressed with it. However, I found this second novel much more exciting and fun with a truly evil and narcissistic villain, whom I knew I'd love to see get his just deserts.


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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130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
3/2/18 12:26 P

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Please share your reading with the other team members. Let's help each other find interesting books to read, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, novellas, and short story or poetry anthologies.
Please post and rate every book members read during the month and tell each other a little about them. Please list title, author, and a 1-5* rating.
If you choose, please follow with a brief summary of what the book was about and what you did, or did not like about it.

1 star--* hated it!
2 star--** bad but not the worst, some positive attributes.
3 star--*** A good read, entertaining but nothing spectacular.
4 stars--**** A great read, above average.
5 stars--***** An awesome read, among the best!Please share your reading with the other team members. Let's help each other find interesting books to read, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, novellas, and short story or poetry anthologies.
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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 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
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