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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,757
9/1/19 12:48 A

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Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (4*)
A Japanese-American girl observes her family's poverty, the community's disdain of their Japanese culture, and the cancer death of her older sister as her parents work themselves to the bone trying to make ends meet working in the chicken industries of rural Georgia. Most of the book was quite good and overall I am glad to have read it. My favorite parts were where the writing was warm, real, and human. However, the author would go off on tangents of lyrical prose that I personally found rather weird. I would prefer the book be told in a more consistently straight forward manner, as if it really were being written by a real kid.

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick (3*)
A mousie library volunteer and human doormat finally learns to assert herself and give her own happiness and needs importance upon receiving a book whose stories she herself wrote as an unhappy child in a tyrannical patriarchal home. Thus begins a series of strange events and growth experiences. I think this book was trying to be another Eleanor Oliphant, but I found it too lightweight and chick-littie to make it into the same league. It had sufficient charm, humor, interesting characters to make it an entertaining read.

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: 7,757
9/1/19 12:01 A

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (5*)
The biography of Louis Zamperini, a 1936 Olympics runner and WWII bomber, whose plane was shot down in the Pacific. He endured extreme deprivation and abuse as a Japanese POW, whose survival until the end of the war was miraculous, but his return to civilian life did not mean his problems were over. This is not the best written or best organized biography out there, but Louis' is definitely a story worth telling and thus this is a book worth reading. It is anything but a pleasant read, but it is a very inspirational one.

East of the Mountains by David Guterson (4*)
A retired widowed doctor is diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and uses a hunting trip to the area of his birth near the Columbia River in Oregon as an opportunity to fake his suicide as a hunting accident. Nothing goes according to plan as Murphy's Law takes over. Meanwhile he smokes some joints, when his pain becomes unbearable, and reminisces about his life. This was a good book that might have been a better book if the author didn't stretch credulity about the old man's bad luck to such an extreme, but then it was based on Job, so what else did I expect? It also rolled my eyes at how such a sick old man walked so far, carried so much, and endured such hardships. The book could have used more thought and polish.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (5*)
In a tongue-in-cheek manner similar to A Christmas Story, Bryson writes his memoirs of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1950's-60's, set against the historical background of that era. I don't know if people of other generations will enjoy this book as much as we fellow baby-boomers who share similar memories. Bryson certainly captured the heart and soul of the era and also mourns the uniqueness of character of each town and city of that time with its special ma and pa businesses that died a sad death with the coming of fast-food franchises and big-box superstores.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 9/1/2019 (00:03)
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: 7,757
8/31/19 11:10 P

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The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (5*)
Club-footed young girl abused by her barbarous mother runs away by joining her little brother and a mob of schoolkids being evacuated from London during WWII. Although her caretaker is forced to take them in and knows nothing about caring for kids the siblings begin to thrive there until...This book is so good, that five stars isn't nearly enough. Although a YA book, I would recommend it to people of all ages. There is a second volume to this story that I haven't been able to get to yet. READ THIS BOOK!

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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152.25
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,757
8/31/19 10:55 P

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Columbine by Dave Cullen (4*)
Think you know the story of the Columbine Massacre, you probably don't. Much misinformation was spread by county officials covering their butts and the reports of the investigation were withheld for five years and released only when forced by the Courts against county opposition every step of the way. In the meantime official lies, journalist suppositions, interviews with attention-seekers who knew nothing of what they spoke became embedded in our memories and folklore. This book was written after the documentation was finally released, and the author can draw upon documented facts and evidence previously unavailable.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (5*)
A badly injured man carrying a dead little girl stumbles into an Inn along the Thames. The child later comes back to life and three different people who lost a child to the river claim her as their missing loved one. Some very evil villains see this situation as an opportunity for profit. The story was original and creative rather than just a re-writing of some stock fantasy themes. I enjoyed most of it but was disappointed with the ending that I felt opened more loose ends than it tied up. It left me with many but, but, but...questions. This book is probably more enjoyable for people who don't overthink it and try to force magical realism to make sense.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (5*)
I liked this book and admire the writer's research and efforts, but biographies about enigmatic figures of long ago, about whom a lot of sheer speculation and myth have been written, cannot be comparable to biographies about people, like Lincoln, Adams, Truman, who left motherlodes of primary source documentation in their wake that help the author separate the wheat from the chaff. Biographies, such as this one, written from inadequate and conflicting source material are by necessity speculative, involving a lot of "maybe it was this or maybe it was that, or maybe both are wrong and the truth is something else altogether."

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 9/1/2019 (01:05)
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: 7,757
8/31/19 10:13 P

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The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons (4*)
A unique and magnificent house is built next door to a 70's yuppie couple but bad things happen to animals and people who get too close. This was a better than average suspense novel but it was spoiled by a rushed, incomplete, and unsatisfying weird ending. I hate it when a book I was loving has a dumb ending!

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson (5*)
This book follows a similar format to The Devil in the White City but with the major historical event being Marconi and the development of wireless communication and the crime that converges with it is a mousie gentleman accused of murdering his erratic, selfish wife. Although well worth the read neither the historical event or the crime are as flamboyant as those in White City--the Marconi story is rather technical and less exciting, and the sordid little crime in Thunderstruck was just sad and may not even have happened, since the body in question later proved to be someone other than the missing wife.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (3)
I found this nonfiction analysis of what makes high-achievers different to be rather disappointing. Although it appeared to be well researched and well organized, and I did find some things fascinating, too much of it appeared to be written by Captain Obvious. So, no matter how gifted someone is in his particular area of expertise he needs to appear on the scene at the right place and the right time he's needed and having practiced, practiced, practiced--whodathunkit! Geniuses raised by successful parents who teach them attitudes, charms, dress, and manipulative skills for self-promotion have a better chance to get ahead than kids of working parents who don't know these things--amazing, Sherlock!




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: 7,757
8/31/19 9:34 P

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Squire (Protector of the Small #3) by Tamora Pierce (5*) and
Lady Knight (Protector of the Small #4) by Tamora Pierce (5*)
Keladry's skill, heroism, compassion, and honor move her from Squire to Knight, in time to place her on the forefront of a deadly war with a barbaric neighboring kingdom. Like the Harry Potter series, things turn darker and more deadly with each book as the characters age and like Rowling, the author doesn't shy from killing off characters. This is war--duties change, relationships evolve, and the danger and adventure increase in frequency and intensity as the books progress. This was an A#1 older kid's adventure series, but fantasy fans of all ages would probably enjoy them.


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
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,757
8/31/19 9:16 P

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Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson (3*)
Dying old woman with psychic powers about human relationships recognizes the same abilities in her grand-nephew's jilted wife and wills her NY brownstone, friends, and tenants to her care. A friend loved this book but I found it disappointing. It had some cute and humorous parts, but I personally found most of it idiotic, and all the "universe" crap made me so nauseous that I felt as if I was about to upchuck Oprahs. Fluffy chick lit is just not my genre and neither is new age spirituality.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (3*)
I liked the author's witty writing style and maybe will like some of her other books but this one and all its silliness was not for me. Something really stupid and nasty occurs near the end that was so inappropriate and off-the-wall that it ruined whatever charms the book may otherwise have had.



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: 7,757
8/31/19 8:57 P

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Educated by Tara Westover (5*)
A memoir of the author's life in her dysfunctional, controlling family, then struggling to take her life and her education into her own hands while dealing with the emotional trauma she suffered. This was an unusual story that needed telling, but it is an enlightening but far from a pleasant read.

Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians #3) by Kevin Kwan (5*)
The trilogy reaches its conclusion as Nick's rich and powerful matriarchal grandmother approaches death and the family await the reading of her will. By now the books have lost some of their freshness and we kind of know what to expect of many of the characters but it is still a fascinating read.

Cemetery Road by Greg Iles (1*)
Journalist moves from DC back to his Mississippi hometown to look after his dying father, only to run contrary to the powermongers of the area and to resume a sordid affair with his skanky ex-girlfriend now married to the heir of one of the most powerful families. Ugh, this book was so gruesome, sordid, and disgusting that I cease to be a Greg Iles fan.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 8/31/2019 (20:58)
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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152.25
130
LESLIEJEAN43's Photo LESLIEJEAN43 Posts: 35,701
8/4/19 6:25 A

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Love, Again by Doris Lessing - 1* not worthy of finishing.

It's about a woman in her 60's who is involved with a theatre group, and putting together a play about a French woman from the previous century. None of the characters were appealing, and the story itself did not 'grab' me so I just gave up on it.
My suggestion: don't waste your time!

"Any idiot can face a crisis. It's the day-to-day living that wears you out."
---Anton Chekhov



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FORESTPAL's Photo FORESTPAL Posts: 1,375
8/4/19 12:58 A

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It Ends Here by Willow Rose. This author has written a long list of mysteries. This one is 3***. Good enough to finish, because you do want to find out who done it.

Kate Quin is my recent discovery. The Alice Network is a fictional account of a real spy network in France during WWI, and is her best known & highest rated. I absolutely loved it, and you will too.

Patsy; Livingston TX, Central time zone: Rookie; Spark start weight 235; Paleo start 197


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,757
8/2/19 9:16 A

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Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (4*)
This is a fictionalized account of a true story of the last person executed for murder in Iceland, in 1830. Two men are murdered in their beds and the accused killers are an adolescent neighbor boy, an adolescent girl employee, and a 33-year-old woman recently evicted from the farm. The author creates a scenario about what happened between the five of them, while staying within the limits of the historical documents. I can understand how some people might be blown away by this novel, but I wasn't one of them--too modernistic, introspective, distant, and weird for my taste.

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: 7,757
8/1/19 1:11 A

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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! Torture!
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: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
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