Monday, December 23, 2013

Annette's Book Club Ratings for 2013

Annette's Book Club Winners and Losers  (2013 Book Lists)

If you’ve read a few of my blog posts, you may know that I belong to a small book club. We don’t always plow through a regimented list of a book a month. People get busy. The short summer months are usually calling us to do other things like make dates with the sunshine, while December is busy with Christmas activities.  This year between the sun and snow, work and family, and our own selection of books, we managed to squeeze in eight book club selections.  I have reviewed all but one of them in the blog.  Click on the titles to see the full reviews.

Here are our book club members’ average ratings of those books on a scale of 1-5 with five being the best rating.

The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas |||| (4.5)
A woman marries a man she barely knows and moves to the Colorado Territory where she faces adversity on the new frontier and in her home. Mattie is an optimistic breath of fresh air even through her trying times.

A Good American by Alex George  |||(4.4)
This is the story of a German couple who immigrates to the United States in the early 1900s and settles in Beatrice, Missouri.  The book lyrically dances through three generations of the Meisenheimers and their experience in what started as a strange and foreign land and becomes home.  It is at times funny and sad, filled with colorful and memorable characters, all expressed in a luring voice that kept us turning the pages. A Good American is  A Good Book!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern  |||| (4.25)
An unusual magical circus set in tones of black and white opens only at night. The spectacular circus itself is only a sideshow to the main storyline, where a wager involves the lives of two people who eventually become attractions in the circus. Imaginative and interesting!

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns  
After his wife passes away cantankerous, old Rucker Blakeslee marries a much younger woman to the dismay of his family. This book is a humorous ride back to the South in the early 1900s.

Crashing Through by Robert Kurson  ||| (3.8)
A man blinded at the age of three regains his sight as an adult in his forties. Read about the challenges he faced growing up blind and new obstacles that his sighted world brings him.  A true and amazing story.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty  ||(3.6)
A woman gets a bump on the head while working out in the gym and wakes up with ten years of her life completely wiped out of her memory.  Slowly she tries to piece together what happened in that decade in which she had three kids with the man she loves and is now inexplicably divorcing. 

A Dark Dividing by Sarah Rayne  
A dark story of two sets of conjoined twins born 80 years apart. Slowly their mysterious stories unwind in an eerie tale that’s disturbing, intriguing, and suspenseful.

Perfume by Patrick Suskind 
Set in eighteenth century France a baby is born with an unusual sense of smell that eventually leads him to murder. This is not an action-packed murder thriller. It’s a thought-provoking book about a man with an unusual talent that is also a curse. 

Don’t belong to a book club of your own?  Join ours by reading along with our book selections that are posted on the home page side panel of this blog.  Send me your comments before the review date and I’ll include them in the blog post.

While we all enjoy discussing our book club selections, most of the members try to find time to read our own book choices.  Below are other books members have read and enjoyed in 2013.

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Spanning four decades, this is the story of a slave and a man who runs a plantation on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarite. It’s a saga of love, loss, determination, and traditions in the late 1700s.

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
While a man’s wife lies in a coma, he must deal with his unruly teenage daughter, relatives who control a large portion of Hawaii's pristine real estate, and the revelations of his wife’s infidelity.  (The book club member read this book after she watched the movie, and found that while the movie was good, the book was better.)

Trilogy: Fever Dream, Cold Vengence, & Two Graves by Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston (Pendergast Series)
In Fever Dream, Special Agent Pendergast discovers his wife was murdered. A decade after her death he learns about her guarded secrets. In Cold Vengeance he seeks revenge, which is not as easy as he thought. The third book, Two Graves, offers another twist in this trilogy, which I will not give away here. 

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The first book in a fantasy epic where summers last decades, winters can last a lifetime, and a struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. 

City of Thieves by David Benioff
A novel about two men who are sentenced to death in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia during WWII.  They are given a one chance for survival:  get a dozen eggs for a Soviet officer for his daughter’s wedding.  It’s an almost impossible request that leads the two into heartbreaking and dangerous adventures. 

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel  

A fascinating read about Henry VIII and two of the women in his life:  Catherine and Anne Boleyn. Strife, power, murder, ambition, and passion all play into this 1500s historical fiction.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On  their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy mysteriously disappears. Her husband, Nick, is a suspect, but did he really do it?  “A nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.” 

One more thing—
I hope you have enjoyed the 100+ book reviews and recommendations I have posted in 2013.  While I have had great fun in sharing my love of books, I will be slowing down on my posts.  I will still pass on my book suggestions, just at a much more relaxed and sporadic pace. An easy way to learn of my new reviews is to follow me by email where you will automatically be sent my posts as they are released. You can sign up on the side panel of the home page. 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas with a stocking full of books and a happy, healthy new year!

Happy Reading! 

Did you read any of these books and if so, what did you think of them? Post a comment or email:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all your hard work on posting all the reviews. I love your humor. I look forward to all of your postings. Happy New Year!