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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,790
1/29/19 11:53 P

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--Shadow by Michael Morpurgo (5*)
Aman left Afghanistan for England six years ago and was smuggled into England. Now he and his mother have been caught and are scheduled for deportation. He tells his story to his friend Matt's grandfather, who is a retired journalist, who starts a campaign to stop the deportation. This was a fairly good kids' story, especially the part about Aman's journey that was made more interesting by Aman's relationship with a lost bomb-sniffer dog who accompanied him part of the way. The writing was aimed at a middle-grade level, and it would be a great book to hold their interest and to improve their reading skills.

--The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith (4*)
Mma Ramotswe, Botswana's No.1 lady detective, has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday and leave Mma Makutsi in charge but finds herself unable to let go and trust her junior partner to work without her. This really was a cute story that I just couldn't seem to get engrossed in. The characters were delightfully kind, pleasant, and well-meaning, and Mma Ramotswe made a lot of interesting and wise observations about life that were worth contemplating and appreciating, but the cases themselves never caught my interest, and their solutions struck me as a bit hokey. On another day in another mood I probably would have enjoyed it more.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 1/29/2019 (23:54)
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: 7,790
1/24/19 8:57 P

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Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (2*)
A white supremacist couple get the hospital to forbid an African-American nurse from touching their newborn. When the baby dies, they convince the police that she murdered him and an ugly trial ensues. What sounded like a good idea for a book was sadly, badly executed. We have cardboard stereotypes instead of characters, hokey melodrama, and cliché after cliché strung out like beads on a string.The courtroom and hospital scenes were exceptionally weak and unrealistic. The writing style was on the level of a bad Lifetime movie, maybe. I have discovered I am not a Picoult fan, having now read three of her books and finding her writing style decidedly schlocky.

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: 7,790
1/24/19 8:18 P

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Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat (3*)
The narrator was raised by her aunt and grandmother in Haiti until she is summoned to NYC at age 12 by her mother. The mores for women in the Haitian culture have brought much misery to this family, even in America. The narrator resolves to break the sad legacy in order to give her daughter a chance for a freer and happier life. The novel was not particularly well developed IMHO. I loved the first part about the childhood in Haiti and what the author had to say about life there, but the next segments just seemed to ramble, and it wasn't until the last few chapters that the book got back on track and made its point.

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: 7,790
1/22/19 1:46 P

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The Black Box by Michael Connelly (4*)
Harry Bosch is working cold cases and is trying to solve the murder of a Danish journalist found executed in an alley during the LA riots 20 years ago. Harry's new self-serving chief doesn't care about victims or crime-solving except in terms of how much it puts him in a good light with the higher ups, so Harry, who is obsessed with the need for justice for victims and their loved ones, is soon at loggerheads with a chief who wants him out by any means. Everybody hates Harry...except his readers because his readers can still depend on Harry being Harry. I found this one to be an exceptionally engrossing mystery with very few dull spots. I would have rated it higher except for some implausibilities that annoyed me.

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: 7,790
1/22/19 1:22 P

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Kaspar: Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo (4*)
Penniless orphan bellboy at a luxurious London hotel risks losing his job and room to take in the depressed cat of a deceased guest. He is helped by a rich little American girl, and they decide she should take the cat home with her. The bellboy goes to see them off on their return trip to America then impulsively decides to stow away--on the Titanic. This cat story had its charms, and the bellboy was a wonderful protagonist, although the rich girl was obnoxious and mentally deranged. It is more of a book for young readers rather than one with appeal for all ages. I hated the ending and thought it would have been a better book if the author had stopped a few pages sooner. The lovely illustrations added a lot to the appeal.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 1/22/2019 (14:33)
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: 7,790
1/21/19 9:57 P

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The Cat Who Came in from the Cold by Deric Longden (5*)
A pitiful rain-drenched kitten takes over the hearts and home of the author and his wife. Told with self-deprecating wry humor and warmth, Longden weaves a tale of misadventures the kitten and his family share in his first year of life. The tale is adorable and so are the illustrations. It looked like a book for young readers but it isn't, although it is one that would be a fun read for cat people of all ages.

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: 6,267
1/20/19 5:58 P

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The Wife by Meg Wolitzer (4*)

A wife accompanies her husband to accept a literary award in Finland and reflects on their life together.

Very thought provoking. At times it frustrated me and I thought it dragged in places but overall I really enjoyed it and I was surprised by the ending.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,790
1/19/19 10:17 P

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I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (5*)
Someone is sending pitiful loser Ed three cryptic messages on each ace of all four suits to direct him to people for whom he can fill a need to make their lives better. However, if he fails to decipher the clues, the sender sends hints that can be scary or even painful. I really loved this book, kind of a contemporary Christmas Carol without ghosts and a lot more difficult tasks. I loved its painfully flawed characters, loved the life lessons, and loved the author's way with words and how the story was developed.The character and motivation of the mystery man sender may have been too cryptic considering how important it is that the reader get it. However, the book was so wonderful that I can't complain.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 1/19/2019 (23:01)
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: 7,790
1/19/19 10:11 P

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JKL0413--Loved that book. I don't know whether to feel sorry for anyone who hasn't read it or glad that they can still look forward to doing so.

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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JLK0413's Photo JLK0413 SparkPoints: (23,343)
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1/18/19 10:23 A

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (5*)
I get it, I finally get what all the fuss is about with this book! I waited for a couple months for the book to be available in my library, and I'm glad to say it was worth the wait. The story of a London writer, who becomes engrossed by a literary society in the Channel Islands during the German occupation of WW2, captures the imagination right from the start. It is written in the form of letters between the author and the members of the society, as well as her friends and publisher. The story really takes off when the writer travels to Guernsey to meet the members and assist them in finding their founding member, Elizabeth.


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"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday, or some previous day." ~James Joyce


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,790
1/17/19 4:45 P

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (5*)
Young Locke leads what is considered the smallest, poorest street-thief gang in Camorr and loves being underestimated because Locke and his friends prefer lucrative high-stakes con games to humdrum theft, even if it means breaking rules punishable by death. Suddenly, there arises a lethal new rival for alpha position in the underworld, and he means Locke no good.
Q: If you crossed Artful Dodger with Ocean's Eleven, what would you get? A: A total hoot! This is one of the best, and most fun, fantasy series going, IMHO, so if you are a fan of gentlemen bandits, then don't miss this crew of lovable con-men who specialize in the impossible. The only thing Locke appears unable to do convincingly is tell the truth.

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: 7,790
1/13/19 3:59 P

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The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore (5*)
Between the World Wars hundreds of young women painted glow in the dark clock dials with radium paint that involved using their lips to maintain the point on the brush. The companies went to extremes to continue the practice, deny the danger of the work, and fight legal suits although well aware that they were killing their employees by a means that involved years of hideous pain and disability. This is a tragic story told many times, but this book is not only concerned with the objective medical and legal facts but also subjectively humanizes the story of the real women and their families impoverished by medical expenses, who suffered and died fighting to save others from their fate. The story is hard to take but worthwhile reading.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 1/13/2019 (16:04)
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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FITMARY's Photo FITMARY Posts: 10,555
1/13/19 1:39 P

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Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin. 4 stars. Well worth your time!

What an amazing story! I picked it up in the library without knowing a thing about it and found this memoir of a young Somali man living through the chaos of civil war to be absolutely compelling. His story of growing up poor in Mogadishu during the worst of the civil war and the rise of al-Shabaab is stunning in detail and drama. The twists and turns of fate that affect his country, family and him personally should keep you spellbound. His survival and current life would be unbelievable if he weren't there narrating them himself. I'm glad I read this, and I will definitely follow up by listening to some podcasts that apparently were broadcast at the time, though I missed them completely.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,790
1/11/19 2:21 A

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Skellig by David Almond (4*)
Young Michael, traumatized by his family's move to an abominable fixer-upper and his preemie sister's failure to thrive due to a heart defect, finds amid the filthy garage full of junk Skellig, a sick humanoid...something...with wings. Michael and the oddball neighbor girl Mina find that caring for the cantankerous, secretive Skellig, also helps with what ails them, while the book explores motifs of William Blake, birds, education, evolution, persisting in moving forward, and the throwing off of various shackles to find real life and joy amid all the troubles, pains, and dangers of being alive. An odd and cryptical little book, it is strangely compelling as the reader goes with the flow into more magic and mystery than answers.

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: 7,790
1/9/19 9:31 P

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The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo (4*)
During WWII Lily's family is among those evicted from their Devon farm so the American military can use the coast for live ammo sea invasion maneuvers in preparation for D-Day. The move spooks Lily's cat who disappears, getting left behind when the restricted area is closed off. This was a great bildungsroman of the good old-fashioned kind when coming of age literature was often about other times and places and filled with history and life lessons. However, it was not my favorite Morpurgo novel since it was more about the people than the animals, and Tips was hardly in it, more talked about than present. The main character was annoyingly immature but the story wasn't--people die, animals die, there's a war going on.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 1/9/2019 (21:35)
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: 7,790
1/8/19 11:49 P

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In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (3*)
This a fictionalized version of the lives and deaths of the anti-Trujillo Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic, three of whom were killed by Trujillo's goons in 1960. The true story of the Mirabals is stunning, this fictionalized version, not so much. The events and dialogue that the author made up often had me wondering what she was thinking to include that crap. Much of the book was dragged out and so boring that I couldn't stick with it for any lengthy stretch.


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: 7,790
1/6/19 8:36 P

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The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly (5*)
Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller, is convinced that he is actually defending an innocent man! As his legal team pokes into places that the cops overlooked, they put Haller and his client into the real killer's crosshairs. Mickey needs to shake off his personal demons, quit hitting the sauce, and get back to the top of his game if he is to save them both. This book is both a great whodunnit and a nowproveit. The story is IMHO one of Connelly's better crafted novels.

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: 7,790
1/5/19 11:52 A

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Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (5*)
Teen girl from family of meth cookers in backwoods Missouri Ozarks is the only caretaker for her mentally ill mother, two small brothers, and all the chores. Her father disappears after using their property for bail, and, as his court date looms, she desperately takes crazy, deadly risks to find him before they lose everything. This is a short "finish in one sitting" book, and the prose has a flow that few writers can create. Yes, it is better than the movie. I personally didn't care for the story itself, but I was blown away by how well it was executed--creative, unique, skillfully crafted, and worthy of much admiration.

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: 7,790
1/4/19 1:46 A

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The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (4*)
In an alternative history, an Alaskan colony of WWII Jewish refugees is facing eviction as their territory is about to be reclaimed by the US. When a sweet chess genius, junkie, crime Lord's son is murdered in the same flophouse where the protagonist lives. The former chess prodigy turned misfit alcoholic detective takes crazy risks to solve the crime before he loses his job, residence, and country. This book had the makings of a great novel--original and clever plot, unique characters, many great and humorous turns of phrase, murder and mystery, and even a little romance, but somehow, it couldn't hold my interest, and I often had a hard time concentrating. It was undoubtedly an impressive novel that others might find more enjoyable than I did, but it wasn't a personal favorite.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 1/4/2019 (01:54)
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: 7,790
1/1/19 12:02 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!
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


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