Recent Book Club Books

Hi!  I’ve had a bit of a writing block lately for this blog but I was thinking about the books I’ve read in book club and realized I haven’t updated any of you on my thoughts.

These mini-reviews are from my goodreads account and I’d love if you followed me there if you have an account.  Have you read any of the books we’ve read for book club.  The best were Animal Farm and Winter’s Tale (although not big hits with the club.  Oh well!).  I’d love to hear your thoughts either in the comments section or on the goodreads review.

Are you in a book club? What have you been reading?   Next up for book club is Bram Stoker’s Dracula which I have never read.  It should be out of my comfort zone which is the whole point of book club right?

My favorite book I’ve read this year is Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella so I included that review down below as well.

Happy reading!
Wonder by  RJ Palacio
WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought it was ok. A good message for kids and competently written. Was a little too corny and predictable to be a favorite and I didnt think the different narrators was necessary but it’s harmless and fine

Dune- Frank Herbert
Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)Dune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I tried to read it but I kept falling asleep. No characters were engaging and the story didn’t go anywhere. It felt like Phantom Menace in book form. Honestly, all I remember is lots of talk about spices and trade. ZZZZZZZZ

Waiting for Normal- Leslie Connor

Waiting for NormalWaiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Was much better than I expected it to be. I liked that the lead girl wasn’t a genius book nerd like so many of these types of stories. I liked that everything wasn’t too depressing (more abandonment not sexual or physical abuse). I liked the ending and the dialogue was very good.

There are a lot of books like this that I think are better. It made me think of Because of Winn Dixie which I think is a little bit stronger

Animal Farm- George Orwell
Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a political science grad how can I not like this book? It’s very pessimistic though- kind of a warning of what could happen if the human race stops caring about each other’s well being but instead cares only for the power that others can give them.

This last read-through I was struck by how it comments on how easily we are manipulated. How Napoleon would say one thing, have one rule, and then talk his way out of said rule. Make the animals believe he hadn’t even had the rule in the first place. I think that happens in modern times a lot.

Not in the Script by Amy Finnigan
Not in the Script (If Only . . . #3)Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Felt like an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 but not nearly campy enough to be fun like that show was. The writer isn’t bad but I didn’t like the different perspectives and had little interest in the story of a bunch of TV stars

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
Winter's TaleWinter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone else I know hated this book and thought it was boring but I enjoyed it. I liked the romance and the unique setting. It was kind of like a magical version of Downton Abbey with time travel thrown in. I love time travel in books and Peter and Beverly were such an endearing couple.

I felt often like I was reading a Dickens or Bronte. The kind of book you never get these days with details about the house, clothes, city and everything else. I really felt like Helprin had a way with words and enjoyed how he wrote both elegant and passionate dialogue.

I can see why others find it boring but to me it was original and different and a pleasant surprise.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Out of the EasyOut of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are things I liked about this book. It has an engaging narrator and the story was surprising (if falling into underworld/mafia cliches on occasion).

My main problem was I didn’t think the author went far enough. For a story about a girl raised in a brothel it is remarkably tame and unrealistic. Not that you have to share everything but you’d think these women had any other job. Never was there talk about syphilis or the range of early death and disease such a trade brought about. It was all a little too starched and perfect. Plus, all the prostitutes are kind of the cliched hooker with the heart of gold we’ve seen a million times.

The likelihood for severe abuse on a girl like Josie with a mother she had would have been extremely high. It seemed highly unlikely she could make it out so unscathed. Just the whole thing felt a little bit too much like Cinderella fairytale than a gritty portrayal like the author was going for.

There was something about the characters I struggled to relate too. They clearly have a different lifestyle and upbringing than I do but I didn’t feel emotionally connected enough until the end to Josie or any of the characters.

Sometimes I think in books authors will make their characters readers as a way to quickly ascribe a whole range of traits. Intelligent, dreamer, idealist etc. In this case I needed a little more character development than just those typically reader traits. The 2 love interests are also very bland and predictable.

It’s not a terrible book by any means. I did think the story was pretty good and the lead character fairly engaging and the feel of New Orleans is nicely done.

Girl on the Train

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Like a lame episode of Law and Order or CSI. Didn’t like any of the characters. Big reveal is obvious. Red Herrings lame. And I am so tired of books with different narrators. Just pick one! (seriously this is like the 5th book this year I’ve read with different narrators).

I’ve seen a lot of people compare this book to Gone Girl and I haven’t read the book but I really don’t see why. I’m not the biggest fan of the movie but to me it was much more carefully structured and unique than this incredibly generic mystery story.

Also the way it dealt with alcoholism felt very Lifetime Original Movieish.

Finding Audrey  by Sophie Kinsella (not for book club but my favorite book of the year)
Finding AudreyFinding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much! I can’t think of when I’ve laughed so hard. The interactions between Mom and Frank, Frank and Audrey, Audrey and Mom and everyone else were perfect. It actually felt like a real family but it was still very funny.
I also loved how it handled mental illness in a nuanced way that also felt real. The way it handled therapy, healing, anxiety, panic everything was perfect.
I loved the characters and story and voice.
It does have a fair amount of swears including F words several times.

To View all my reviews click on this link

5 thoughts on “Recent Book Club Books

  1. Nice reviewes of all these books. I feel sort of bad that I didn’t even try to read Winters Tale. I liked the movie so I was hoping to like the book.

    1. Thanks. I think if you like reading the classics you might like Winter’s Tale. It’s leisurely paced like a Dickens or Elliot but I thought it was creative and new

  2. I’d like to be in a book club but I don’t know of any around where I live. The closest I have is my NaNoWriMo regional group – we share opinions on books sometimes.

    I already mentioned my thoughts on The Girl On The Train and Dune on Twitter, and the only other one of these I’ve read is Animal Farm, which I thought was very good, both on its own and as an allegory for the Soviet Union.

    Currently, I’m reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I’ve almost finished the audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath. I’m aiming to read 40 books this year and I’m currently on 35, including audiobooks.

    Dracula may not be your preferred genre but it’s still a good read – I liked how it’s done entirely in letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, etc.

    1. It will be interesting to see what you think of Wallflower. It’s one of few books where I think the movie is a little bit better- probably because movie written and directed by author. But book is still good.

      Nice job on your goal. I think audiobook reading counts same as normal reading. It’s how I do much of my reading because I can do it while I’m working.

      I’m excited about Dracula. It’s why I like book club. It gets me to have new experiences in books

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