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FRABBIT's Photo FRABBIT Posts: 7,258
7/31/19 3:04 P

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Remember Me Like This - Bret Anthony Johnston - 4.5 stars

Very moving story of young boy who was found after missing for four years. The story starts with a prologue which adds to the suspense as the book goes along. I was nervous to see how the story would end.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,438
7/30/19 9:12 P

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The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi (5*)
Between 1974 and 1985 at least seven young couples near Florence, Italy, were killed by an unidentified psychokilller. In 2000 an American writer and an Italian journalist explore the evidence, which leads them on a different tack than that taken by the authorities and also leads to years of false charges and legal harassment from those thus offended. The book is in two parts, the first explores the crime and the second their struggles with the corrupt Italian criminal injustice system that abuses the power of the courts to seek personal aggrandizement and vengeance rather than justice. The first part is a gripping, well organized true crime read. The second part is a more emotional and personal account of the legal charges arrayed against them, which lacks the professional flow and pacing of Part 1. He's ticked!

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: 8,438
7/29/19 6:02 P

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First Test (Protector of the Small #1) by Tamora Pierce (5*)
10-year-old Keladry aspires to be a warrior like her hero Alanna but encounters vehement opposition in training school from those who object to a female trainee and play many dirty tricks to sabotage her. Kel spends her first page year on special probation with the prejudiced training master being the sole judge of whether she'll be allowed to proceed to second year. Kel can't tolerate bullies and will risk all to protect anything she perceives as needing protection--from kittens being eaten by a monster to young pages being hazed by older pages to a bad-tempered warhorse ruined by abuse. This is an excellent YA series with a redoubtable and big-hearted heroine, and some grisly scenes but no worse than those found in Harry Potter.

Page (Protector of the Small, #2) by Tamora Pierce (5*)
The training master plays fair and Kel is accepted into the next three years of page training, during which time she grows strong, skilled, and much taller. She's won the respect and friendship of most of the students and staff, but her already difficult training is complicated by her paralyzing fear of heights and a handful of really psychopathic older pages who pursue their vendetta against her, but more covertly, even after they have graduated into squires. Kel is forced to go way above and beyond on two very dangerous occasions. Drat, two more books to go, but I'm on a waiting list.

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: 8,438
7/29/19 3:51 P

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A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago #2) by Richard Peck (5*)
The Depression hits 15-year-old Mary Alice's Chicago family hard in 1937 and her parents can't support her, so she and her cat must go stay with her Grandmother in a small town full of bizarre characters, and the most unforgettable character of all is her Grandma Dowdel. This is such a great trilogy and this was the best book in the series. The characters are more fully developed and humanized than the first book, and Grandma has grown in wiliness and subtlety. Grandma may not do neighbor in terms of social duty, but she has neighbor in the Biblical sense down pat. She also doesn't do church or Christian or mind some creative fibbing for a good cause, but she enables those harmed by bullies to be good Christians who can turn the other cheek because Grandma will see to the justice. It isn't just coincidence that Grandma has the only outhouse in town that survives every Halloween.

A Long Way from Chicago (A Long Way from Chicago #1) by Richard Peck (4*)
The first book in the series is a collection of short stories from 1929 until 1935 when Joey and his little sister Mary Alice are sent from Chicago to spend each summer in the small town home of their eccentric and formidable Grandma Dowdel. It may have been a mistake to read the second book before the first since the second was so much better. However, the first story in this collection is so awful that if I hadn't already fallen in love with Grandma Dowdel in book 2, I'd have taken the book 1 back to the library without reading further. The stories and character development did get much better after the first story. It was also enjoyable because this book was narrated by brother Joey where the second was by sister Mary Alice, which gives us two different viewpoints on life with Grandma.

A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago #3) by Richard Peck (5*)
The third book of the trilogy jumps 20 years to 1958 with Grandma Dowdel now pushing 90 but without slowing down or changing a bit. The children who fall under her protection are those of the new Methodist pastor next door who's been sent to plant a church in the village. The story is told by the hapless son Bob whose fearless oddball little sister Ruth Ann becomes Grandma's MiniMe. Although it starts in the summer, the novel coalesces into a Christmas story in which Grandma, who doesn't do neighbor, doesn't do church, doesn't mind a few fibs for a good cause, and doesn't turn the other cheek because after four turns you run out of cheeks, shows that she has the loving and giving part of life down pat. This is a YA novel filled with laughs, life lessons, and Grandma justice.



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: 8,438
7/29/19 3:03 P

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The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith (4*)
An unpopular avant-garde author disappears after rumors spread that his latest book tells nasties about poorly disguised icons of the publishing world. Strike is hired by the author's wife to find him, and does, hideously murdered and mutilated. I enjoyed the development of this whodunnit so much more than A Cuckoo's Calling, where the writing and character were wonderful but the mystery story not so much. This time the writing and character are even better, and we actually have an intriguing page turner of a whodunnnit. The characters from the publishing world were such hideously pretentious, narcissistic, artsy-smartsy swine that I was able to keep hoping throughout the story that a few more of them would bite the dust.

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith (4*)
A serial killer sends a woman's leg to Strike's secretary Robin, who is being stalked by a brutal psycho. There are four women-haters in Strike's past who might be capable of these murders, who also swore revenge against Strike, and Robin appears to be an easy means. The police arrest one, but the murders continue, leaving the cash-strapped Strike to work without pay to save the future victims. This one is better than your average whodunnit, and I personally liked it more than A Cuckoos Calling but not as much as The Silkworm. The gruesome factor is high, but the detective story well-developed. The suspects were all so rank that I wished Strike would find that they each did at least one of the murders and get the whole pack of garbage put away for life. For me the best thing about this series isn't the crime-solving but Strike himself, such a great character for a not-the-world's-luckiest detective.

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: 8,438
7/28/19 6:29 P

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (5*)
As the narrative alternates between the mundane lives of the passengers and crew steaming from NY to Liverpool, the German u-boat commander stalking his prey in the seas around the British Isles, and the social and political background of the day, including Woodrow Wilson courting his next wife, we wait anxiously for the inevitable to happen. This was a gripping and haunting book told in very human terms about real people. If I had one complaint, it was that there were too many stories that were too mundane and could have been eliminated without significantly affecting the book. We can assume that many of the people thus profiled will manage to survive since someone had to live to tell their tales, however many of them will have their tales told by surviving family and friends.


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: 8,438
7/28/19 5:41 P

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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
by Erik Larson (4*)
The book concentrates on a year in the life of American ambassador to Germany William Dodd and his family and associates during 1937-1938, as a seismic shift occurs in Nazi Germany as Hitler consolidates power and ramps up control and terror. A biography of real people getting a close-up view of this unique and terrible period of history sounded mesmerizing, but this book fell short. The parts about the ambassador, his contacts, and the political quagmire he was dropped into were indeed fascinating, but too much of the book was taken up by the idiotic sexual exploits of his brainless daughter, which became eye-rollingly monotonous. I wished Larson would have spent more time on how life in Nazi Germany affected the wife and son and other non-Germans trying to make sense of what was happening around them and way less on a slutty twit's affairs.

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: 8,438
7/28/19 5:12 P

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The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje (5*)
An 11-year-old boy from Ceylon is traveling by steamer to join his mother in England in the 1950's. He is given the worst accommodations including dining at the cat's table where the least prestigious passengers dine. However, the least prestigious table contains the most interesting and mysterious characters, as well as two other unaccompanied minors who join him in hair-raising adventures. Some might find this book slow but I am a big fan of bildungsromans told from the child's point of view. The things he observes and experiences will eventually coalesce into an intriguing mystery plot.

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: 8,438
7/28/19 4:54 P

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The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (4*)
Since I didn't have access to books as a youngster, I wondered if I was the only old lady who's never read a Nancy Drew novel, so I decided to remedy that. I had guessed them to be for a tween/young teen market but this first one probably would appeal to younger girls since the characters were all stereotyped white hats/black hats, and so much of the clues used to solve the case just fell into Nancy lap by luck. On the plus side it was clean, witty, and entertaining, and I would find it rather wholesome reading for young ones, although I suspect kids raised on Harry Potter would probably just roll their eyes at how easy the author made it for Nancy.

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: 8,438
7/28/19 4:29 P

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (4*)
Lale, a young Slovak Jew is taken to Auschwitz/Buchenwald, where he tattoos the ID #s on the arms of fellow prisoners, and he falls in love with a young girl he meets there. He establishes a lucrative smuggling operation within the camps with gems and currency stolen by the women who sort through prisoners' valuables. This was certainly an intriguing story, supposedly dictated by an elderly Lale before his death, but frankly I found the story of the smuggling operation unbelievable and in conflict with other things I've read by survivors of Auschwitz.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (5*)
An up and coming artist is accused of the murder of her fashion photographer husband, but she has withdrawn into herself and quits speaking. She is adjudicated insane and placed in a psychiatric hospital. The story is told by alternating past entries from the patient's diary with the present narration by a psychiatrist who joins the staff because of his obsession with her case. This is definitely a most intriguing page turner. I found a few plot holes, but it was generally a well-developed narrative and better than the average suspense novel.

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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FRABBIT's Photo FRABBIT Posts: 7,258
7/17/19 8:11 P

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Never Change - Elizabeth Berg - 4.5 stars

A visiting nurse takes care of a former high school classmate who has brain cancer

Really loved the insights and thoughts Berg shared through the main character. Quick read. Sad plot but really enjoyed it.

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FRABBIT's Photo FRABBIT Posts: 7,258
7/17/19 8:10 P

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Beach Town - Mary Kay Andrews 3.5*

Fun easy beach read. Location scout finds Florida beach town to film a movie and falls in love with mayor. Lots of issues occur with filming of the movie.

Could have been shorter. Sometimes too much detail but overall cute summer read.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,438
7/14/19 2:09 P

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The Stalking Moon by T.V. Olsen (5*)
1880's AZ army scout buys a fine ranch, builds a home for his girl, but she refuses his proposal and returns East, hating the brutality of the Western territory. He proposes to a white woman with two half-breed children, whom he rescued while on his last patrol, from a tribe of Apaches being rounded up for the reservation, because she has no place to go and he doesn't want to be alone. But her Apache husband is a renegade so odd and murderous he is considered a phantom by the tribe, and he will be looking for revenge.
This was one really great gripping Western with an exceptionally well-crafted story and original, warm-blooded, well-developed characters. Must be read in one sitting!

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: 8,438
7/14/19 1:17 P

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The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (4*)
When an astronomer picks up radio signals of music from another solar system, the Jesuits launch a mission to that planet. This book is both science fiction and spiritual ruminations as the protagonists seek to find their own understanding of God in the joys, tragedies, and cruelties they encounter on their mission. On the plus side is an original story, well-developed characters, well-wrought prose, and some interesting POV's. On the negative side are too many implausibilities and setting the book in 2019--which means it is now obsolete and causes some eye-rolling over what kind of 2019 the author pictured back in 1996 when she wrote it.

Children of God (The Sparrow #2) by Mary Doria Russell (4*)
Upon finishing the first book, I discovered the story is not completed without reading the next book. This book shared the good points of the first (writing, story, character), but I did not enjoy it as much. The bothersome implausibilities felt worse in this one and the theology was heavily into repetition about what a jerk God is because He let me suffer. That viewpoint was needed to forge the way into more spiritual depth, but the amount of repetition was so excessive and tiresome before we started getting anywhere. Both volumes are intriguing and entertaining books, but not without eye-rolling if you thought about some of the sillier stuff.

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: 186.0 
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,438
7/10/19 4:06 P

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A Dangerous Act of Kindness by L.P. Fergusson (4*)
Englishwoman managing dairy farm during WWII after husband's suicide cares for injured German pilot who bailed out of plane before its crash, with many perilous consequences ensuing. This was better than average historical fiction with very human characters, well written and developed, and much research to insure historical accuracy.

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: 186.0 
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,438
7/2/19 2:03 P

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One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson (5*)
I imagine Bryson could take any year and write up its major events into a fascinating history, having a talent for capturing the humanity of the people involved as well as the significance of the events for generations to come. But 1927 was undoubtedly an exceptionally eventful year. Americans lived in a cesspool of greed, corruption, racism, eugenics, and crime, yet America was also filled with greatness and innovation. It was the year of Lindberg, Ruth, Gehrig, Dempsey, major advances in automotive, aviation, and electronic technology; talking pictures, pulp fiction, and very yellow journalism. This book took me forever to read, well, not the book itself but the amount of time I spent googling the people mentioned to find out more about them--to me, that is the sign of non-fiction at its best.


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: 186.0 
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,438
7/1/19 2:15 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!

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: 186.0 
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