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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
1/17/20 4:19 P

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles
By Hiro Arikawa
4 stars
The blurb on the cover of this book describes this as a tale that “sneaks up on you”, and indeed it does. You think you are reading a quaint story about a young man and his cat, and then suddenly it becomes so very much more. I am not a cat person, but somehow Nana becomes the exact perfect voice to impart this narrative.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CHIPPEE's Photo CHIPPEE Posts: 18,218
1/9/20 2:13 P

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Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer
Excellent. Very entertaining, too!

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CHIPPEE's Photo CHIPPEE Posts: 18,218
1/9/20 2:10 P

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Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty3 stars

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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/31/19 7:20 P

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Listen, Slowly
By Thanhha Lai
4 stars
This is a JUNIOR novel
Books like this are why I love junior fiction. The main character, Mai, offers us a delightful perspective, giving the reader insight and accessibility to a foreign culture. Viet Nam, it’s traditions, it’s food, and a bit of its history, parcelled up for us to savour and enjoy!

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/30/19 1:04 P

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The Jazz Files (Poppy Denby Investigates #1) by Fiona Veitch Smith 3 stars

This was a fun little book. Yes, there was a murder and there was a fair amount of history covered. I know more about the 1920's in the U.S.A. than in England but there were enough parallels that I didn't feel lost. The funniest thing about this book was that it was *supposed* to be on my 2020 reading challenge but I finished it too soon. I have the sequel on hold at the library to substitute in its place.


~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/29/19 3:26 P

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Just a Normal Tuesday
By Kim Turrisi
2-3 stars
Good start, but it spiralled into sappy teen romance. (I am not a big fan of romance.) Lots of drama, but just not as gritty as it could have, and should have, been.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/27/19 8:20 P

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Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2) by Stephen King 3 stars

I don't know. This was just okay for me. The Shining TERRIFIED me. That chick in the tub, I read that scene, I don't know, 35 years ago? I still have the occasional nightmare with her in it. Sometimes, the shower curtain moves just a little and I freeze, petrified that she is in my bathroom. Page 4. I was on page 4 of Doctor Sleep and I decided I could only read it during the day (because she was there and I can deal with her when the sun is up, but I wasn't so sure I could deal with her when the sun was down.

But then I wasn't afraid. I was just reading a story with some familiar characters in it. It wasn't a bad book. It just wasn't one of my top 10 Stephen King books.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/27/19 11:42 A

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
By Olga Tokarczuk
3.5 stars
I wanted to give it four stars, but in the end, I couldn’t. Interesting. Quirky. Odd. Definitely different. But not for every reader, I think.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CHIPPEE's Photo CHIPPEE Posts: 18,218
12/26/19 6:56 A

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Fade Away by Harlan Coben
3.5 stars
Number 3 in the Myron Bolitar series. Good sense of humor, interesting plot, but kind of lulled at the end.

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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/24/19 10:07 A

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The Bridge Home
By Padma Venkatraman
3.5 stars
This is a JUNIOR NOVEL
My experience with middle school readers (school librarian for 20 years) is that many of them absolutely love a book about issues, injustices, and survival. I think this book would appeal greatly to that kind of reader. I read a lot of junior and YA fiction and I enjoyed the book myself.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/22/19 2:54 P

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The Chain by Adrian McKinty 4 stars (read the ARC at the beginning of the year -it was the first book I finished this year). I just read the official book. It was the last book of my Pop Sugar reading challenge for the year and potentially my last book of the year given that the rest of the books I'm reading are all rather long. My original review:

This was fast paced and as a parent, gut wrenching to read. I have very few complaints, so I will get those out of the way first.

As a "local", having the Globe delivered by a paperboy isn't something I could wrap my head around. Maybe if you live closer to Boston that is still a thing?

The peanut reaction. Accurate. Not complaining about that, but the reaction, the epi-pen, I felt probably another dose would have been needed. The feeling after needing one is hard to explain and not worthy to try in a review, but trust me when I say, there would have been more to deal with even have the breathing was better and the hives went away.

Because I read a series by this author, I noticed some similar writing styles and sometimes I slipped into the wrong narrator in my head (that's my issue, not the writing - writers have a style and you get to have a feel for it if you read a lot by the same author).

That's it for complaints. I figured out the twist, but with the information given, I feel certain you were supposed to. I thought it was like Hitchcock explaining the bomb under the desk concept - there's a bomb under the desk and there is a huge explosion that makes you jump... Or, you show the audience there is a bomb under the desk and you have the characters continue talking. Your anxiety ramps up, you scream (maybe in your head) for them to get out, and then there is a huge explosion. This felt the same to me - give you the information to know the danger, be yelling at the characters to know what you do and freak out until it gets resolved.

My anxiety was high reading this book because as a parent, I regularly ask how I would handle the situation another parent is dealing with.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/20/19 2:09 P

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We Are All Welcome Here
By Elizabeth Berg
5 stars!
What a beautiful book! This is my first by this author, but it certainly won’t be my last. We Are All Welcome Here touched me, informed me, and and moved me to a greater understanding of many truths.
I love a book written from a child’s perspective. I feel myself falling into that persona, and taking on their thoughts and feelings as my own. I have to tell you, I really connected with Diana, I felt her anger and her anguish, and her emotional growth.

Edited by: JOANNEJI at: 12/20/2019 (14:10)
~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/17/19 9:03 P

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A Different Dog
By Paul Jennings
3 stars
A curious little book. It is a little sad, and a little odd; not at all what I expected with a Paul Jennings book. Still, I liked it, and I liked the way it ended. Not for every reader, though.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/16/19 5:02 P

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A Merry Christmas Herbal by Adelma Grenier Simmons 3 stars

A nice enough book with some of the history of herbs used around Christmas. Recipes are interesting. I think one thing this edition suffered from was the lack of photographs. My copy was from 1968 and it probably wasn't financially feasible to print a book like this with color photos, but it would have helped. Drawings were nice, but when describing plants, shape and color of the leaves, a photo would have been tremendously helpful.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/16/19 4:57 P

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The Village - Russian Impressions by Ernest Poole 3 stars

My book was printed in 1918. I loved the feel of the book. I loved the smell. I love the typeface. It was just a lovely book.

The reading of it didn't bring me quite as much joy. I liked it. It was decent storytelling (the author was the first winner of a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, but not for this book). What made it hard to enjoy this, was knowing what was coming. Yet, so much of what was going on is still something people struggle with.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/15/19 9:50 A

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Force of Nature
By Jane Harper
3.5 stars.
I wanted to give it a 4 star rating but I just couldn't, because I didn't like it nearly as well as the other two of hers I have read.
An atmospheric mystery about 5 women on a work-related, team-building retreat in the thickly-wooded, wet and windy, snake infested, Giralang Range of Australia. They share history; they share, and hold, secrets. When one of them turns up dead, cracks turn to fissures, and all the ugliest start pouring out!

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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CHIPPEE's Photo CHIPPEE Posts: 18,218
12/12/19 7:26 A

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Marrying Mom by Olivia Goldsmith
4 stars
Very entertaining; I laughed out loud numerous times.

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CHIPPEE's Photo CHIPPEE Posts: 18,218
12/11/19 6:47 A

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The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini
4 stars

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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/8/19 8:14 A

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Midwinter of the Spirit (Merrily Watkins, #2) by Phil Rickman 4 stars

When I started this book (and I think the first one as well), I thought it was moving very slow. The thing is, it's a bit like building a campfire. You start slow, build it up, and then you get the big 'ole campfire, crackling away.

I don't have a lot of the beliefs that are the basic tenets of the main character in the book and yet, while I'm reading, I seem to. A mark of good writing because if it was crap, I wouldn't be sucked in.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 5,519
12/7/19 8:34 P

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Reindeer Moon
By Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
3.5-4 stars
3.5 stars. A seemingly realistic account of life on the Siberian steppe some 2000 years ago. A harsh environment, and a harsh culture, and a sympathetic and flawed main character. Truly enjoyable speculation.

~ Joanne

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


 current weight: 125.2 
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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/6/19 6:50 P

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MaddAddam (MaddAddam, #3) by Margaret Atwood 4 stars

Some parts were a bit slow, but overall, I was happy with the conclusion.

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 2,213
12/6/19 6:48 P

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This is where we can keep track of the books we read this month and rate them. This is similar to the “what are you reading” thread, but we will include only those books we finish reading in the month. If you start a book the previous month but finish in the current month, it counts for the current month. Please list the title, author, and your rating. You can also add a short review if you’d like.

Let’s use a 5-star rating system:

1 star * Hated it~Not worth your time
2 stars ** OK~There were some redeeming qualities
3 stars *** Liked it~Enjoyable read
4 stars **** Really liked it~Definitely worth reading
5 stars ***** Loved it~Great read and would recommend to others

~ Cheryl

Co Leader of A Book Club team


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