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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,771
5/29/18 12:04 A

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Heaven is a Beautiful Place: A Memoir of the South Carolina Coast by Genevieve C. Peterkin and William P. Baldwin III (5*)

This is a book I considered for the "local author" category in the Popsugar Reading Challenge, a collection or memories about Murrells Inlet, SC, of a bygone time and the author's own life, and she's had more than her share of both ecstasies and agonies. Although I am just a newbee transplanted Yankee with only 22 years in the area, I found this book going straight for my heart in a very personal way. I have lost many friends who described childhood adventures on the rivers, beaches, and marshes similar to those in this book, and I miss them so much that this book made me both sadly and happily nostalgic. I knew the book was a collection of local stories, but I never imagined it would be so real, warm, honest, personal, and so beautifully capture the quieter, more graceful, more gentile lifestyle that is vanishing forever. I'm so glad that Sister Peterkin kindly bequeathed the Murrells Inlet of her heart to us before she went to an even more beautiful place.

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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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/28/18 11:35 P

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J is for Judgment: A Kinsey Millhone Novel by Sue Grafton ****

Good but for the ending. Solved but not all questions answered.

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FRABBIT's Photo FRABBIT Posts: 6,240
5/28/18 4:28 P

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Prep - Curtis Sittenfeld 3 stars

The story of a Midwest girl attending a New England boarding school on a scholarship.

Though this was a NY Times bestseller I found the main character annoying and there was a limited plot. The story left me looking for more information and more depth into more of the characters rather than just the narrator. And even for her I would have liked to have heard more than just her musings and angst.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,771
5/27/18 1:48 A

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2*)
Gay adolescent boy with crush on an email friend gets outed by schoolmate just as he was trying to get the courage to out himself to his family and friends. Okay, another contemporary novel that everybody else claims to love, but I hated. I am thinking that I should stick to books written in the 20th century and earlier when writers were...literate. I found this book to be phony, pretentious, superficial, predictable, and stereotypical. The author gives the impression of having slept through her high school English classes and has such a limited vocabulary that if you took away her f-bomb she would lose all ability to communicate. An English lit teacher friend recently quit teaching because she could no longer in good conscience teach the new reading list the school gave her, with genre classics being replaced by light weight and often vulgar contemporary YA books that impart essentially nothing of importance or depth--after reading this vapid specimen, I know exactly what she means and why she quit.

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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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/26/18 6:48 P

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2nd Chance (Women's Murder Club) by James Patterson, Andrew Gross ****

Strong, interesting women solving homicides - what's not to like?

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PATSGIRLY's Photo PATSGIRLY Posts: 2,427
5/26/18 9:55 A

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"All Summer Long" by Dorothea Benton Frank

3 stars

Set in NY and the coastal Carolinas. It's the story of love, marriage, friendships and frenemies. A good read!








"Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment." -- Lao Tzu






LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,771
5/25/18 8:11 P

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (1*)
A wealthy mom offers cheap rent to an apartment trying to help an itinerant, self-absorbed artiste and her neglected daughter. Soon every member of both families is drawn in and damaged by the value clashes that come as both moms meddle in other peoples' lives. Ugh, I hated this book. It was so divorced from reality that I found no way to relate to the story and the arrogant psychopaths whom the author presents as heroic. Her reasoning makes no sense when what she tells us about her heroines' wonderfulness is contradicted by their horrible behaviors that she shows us! This celebration of toxic narcissists is a twisted story, which sympathizes only with the most pernicious perpetrators of harm, yet gives no thought, concern, or empathy to their victims or the unfortunates who get stuck cleaning up their messes.

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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COVEGIRL1's Photo COVEGIRL1 Posts: 13,959
5/24/18 8:42 A

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The Dante Connection(Genevieve Lenard #2) *** This is the third one of this series I have read. They do not need to be read in order.


"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,771
5/23/18 1:34 P

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The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (6*)
This is a novel in three parts, each with a different focus and tone, narrated by Michael, a postwar German adolescent who becomes sexually involved, to the detriment of his psychosocial and sexual development, with an enigmatic and bovine older woman, Hanna. They intersect again when he is a law student observing a war crimes trial in which Hanna is tried and convicted. Several years later he, knowing her secret about why she likes to be read to, begins sending her cassettes in which he reads aloud to her. This is a very complex book that can be read as a well-crafted bildungsroman, as well as on an allegorical level as a philosophical and psychological analysis of the postwar generation's ambivalence and inability to come to grips with the pernicious reality about parents/people whom they loved and respected as children being part of the atrocities that made up WWII and the holocaust. The first part contains graphic sexual material, that is not superfluous but part of the honesty and gritty reality with which the narrator must deal in order to overcome the detached "numbness' in which he goes through the motions of life.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 5/23/2018 (13:53)
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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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/22/18 11:13 P

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"I" is for Innocent: A Kinsey Millhone Novel by Sue Grafton ****

Sometimes it IS obvious!

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,771
5/22/18 6:01 P

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Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (5*)
Although the two existing parts of this WWII literary symphony are probably not as good as they might have been had the author given them their final polish, it was still an engrossing novel filled with vivid, very human characters who find themselves in confusing and perilous circumstances, often making foolish decisions since their usual habits, precepts, and value systems no longer apply to their present situation, but they don't yet see it. She imagined the symphony moving through Storm (invasion), Sweetness (respite after the storm), Captivity (despotic crack-downs), Battles (fighting back), and Peace. That is how the war in France would indeed progress, although as an ethic Jew, the author would not live to see beyond the first two movements. She needed to wait for history to unfold in order to make her writing accurate enough to ring true, but death at Auschwitz overruled her plans, as she knew it would. The preface from the original French publication tells how this novel came to be published in 2004 against all odds, quite a story in itself!

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: 7,771
5/20/18 3:36 P

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A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (5*)
Seven children from plantations in Jamaica are being transported to English boarding schools after a killer hurricane. They are accidentally stranded on a pirate vessel when their ship is robbed at sea, and they find themselves living an even more wild and crazy life than their indulgent parents had permitted on the Island. This novel had to be such a pioneering work for its day and a most unique and clever one at that. Whatever the norms and mores were for early 20th century literature, I am sure this novel managed to break free of most of them. I can't say that it is my type of book, but I can certainly admire the author's unique style, creativity and originality, what this book must have represented in its own time, and its inspiration to future authors.

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle (1*)
They don't make words that accurately describe just how much I hated this nauseating garbage about a truly vile little sociopathic hoodlum-wannabe and his gang. It describes through Paddy's point of view their daily routine of sadism and property damage, just because causing pain and destructiveness are fun--vandalism, fire-setting, theft, kicking dogs, hurting anyone they can, although the mentally disabled appear to be their favorite target for cruelty. The book gets old and boring really fast, and although relatively short, it felt interminable--hurt, steal, vandalize, then tomorrow...wash, rinse, repeat, ad nauseum. I think it was supposed to be funny--it wasn't. I am just glad to be finished and can now consign this trash to the dump.

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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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/17/18 11:49 P

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The Hogwarts Collection Volumes 1-3 by J. K. Rowling *****

A little additional story and background info written in very short stories.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,771
5/16/18 8:38 P

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The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (3*)
A shell-shocked Canadian nurse, a thief who was a friend of her late father, and a disillusioned Sikh sapper who's clearing the area of mines share a bomb-damaged Pisa villa, where a mysterious unidentified burn patient is dying and tells them the story of his adventurous life and the death of his greatest love.
I think I would have rated the book higher if I hadn't seen the movie first, but the book tries to be postmodern surreal and edgy at the expense of the story's realism and the humanity of its weird characters. The book was often brilliant and the author is due credit for the original and creative story, but the movie cut out the more oddball stuff, gave the characters much more humanity, and changed details in ways that made better sense and held the story together.

The Lovelock Version by Maurice Shadbolt (5*)
The story follows the lives, loves, and adventures of three English immigrant brothers and their families seeking their fortune and the fulfillment of their vastly divergent visions in late 19th and early 20th century New Zealand while encountering some of the most colorful and eccentric characters in literature, some of them based on real historical figures, others not. I found the book rather unevenly written, boring in sections, enthralling in others, but I must rate it high in spite of many criticisms because I have never read anything like it--sometimes gritty, sometimes surreal; sometimes funny, sometimes philosophical; and filled with brilliant quotes. I didn't always enjoy it, but I sure am glad that I read it.

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: 7,771
5/16/18 8:30 P

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Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (4*)
A sophisticated African-American women is mysteriously transported back and forth between 1976 California and a 19th century Maryland plantation where she experience the cruelties of slavery first hand. She repeatedly saves the life of the dissolute, reckless young master, who is her own great, great, etc. grandfather.
This novel is about time travel, so it is mislabeled science fiction, even though there is no science involved. No attempt is made to explain the mechanism that moves the protagonists through time, nor is it consistent; it operates arbitrarily through some unknown force of fate. I found it to be an original, creative, often tense, and impressive read as long as you don't expect it to consistently make sense and don't hold your breathe waiting for any hows, whys, and wherefores to be clarified.

The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff (3*)
A love triangle complicates the efforts of three attorneys defending an elderly businessman against charges of collaborating with the Nazis in a war crime that led to the deaths of many Jewish children and his own brother who was trying to smuggle them to safety. The key to their defense lies in finding the family's missing antique clock that contains something hidden in the base.
This book was disappointing, soap-opera melodramatic, lacking in reality contact, and its characters too flat and underdeveloped. It had the potential to be good story if skillfully planned, organized, and executed, but it wasn't. It vastly exceeded sane limits to coincidental implausibilities, and the plot hung upon a major, and ridiculously stupid, impossibility.

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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PATSGIRLY's Photo PATSGIRLY Posts: 2,427
5/16/18 4:59 P

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"The Art Of Asking" by Amanda Palmer.

6 stars

Singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer's autobiography. Though it may have been cathartic for Ms. Palmer to write; it's also a self-help book for the rest of us.









"Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment." -- Lao Tzu






JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/15/18 8:07 A

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Wyoming Winter: A Small-Town Christmas Romance (Wyoming Men) by Diana Palmer ***

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PATSGIRLY's Photo PATSGIRLY Posts: 2,427
5/12/18 6:25 P

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"Commonwealth" by Ann Patchett
3 stars

A story of two families that span about 50 years. Set in California and Virginia it's the story of affairs, remarriages, kids growing into adulthood and all the relationships and how they intertwine.








"Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment." -- Lao Tzu






JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/12/18 11:29 A

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A Very Merry Princess by Susan Mallery - **** A novella from her Happily Inc series, short read but good :)

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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/11/18 11:53 P

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1st to Die (Women's Murder Club) by James Patterson *****

Thank you to whoever replied to my query of their favorite James Patterson book and suggested this series. The 1st one has me hooked. I though I knew what was happening a couple of times but then it twisted again! Excellent!

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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/9/18 8:57 A

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Year One: Chronicles of the One, Book 1 by Nora Roberts *****

Love this writer, but as I started this book, it was a little too scary for me! I thought, uh-oh, don't know if I can continue, but I am glad I did! As it got more sci-fi and less real (for me) I enjoyed it much more!!!

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 7,771
5/7/18 12:08 P

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The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy (5*)
An unhappily married Englishwoman must protect and provide for her two daughters and always obstinate but now increasingly senile mother-in-law on Guernsey while her husband is away in the British army and the Nazis occupy the island. To complicate matters further she falls in love with a married German officer, even though they both know that this can't turn out good.
Maybe it's a relative thing. I've been reading a lot of bad books lately, so it was very refreshing to read a book with characters that resembled real human beings facing realistic problems and dangers in an exciting story of war and relationships that was difficult to put down.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (3*)
This story focuses on five main protagonists in a small Wisconsin college where the pitiful baseball team is turned around by an unlikely but phenomenal shortstop, who then chokes and cannot recover his abilities.
I didn't enjoy this book. The characters were rather unsympathetic cardboard stereotypes in a story that tended to drag on and on in so many places. I am also sick to death of novels that the author misuses to repeatedly inflict the reader with inappropriate injections of his politics. Seriously, Dude, the book is already bad enough without throwing your garbage into it, too.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 5/9/2018 (21:16)
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: 7,771
5/7/18 12:08 P

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Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (2*)
I found this diary narrating the life and loves of a 14-year old British schoolgirl rather boring and was glad it was a short quick read. Georgia could be described as a younger Bridget Jones or a female Adrian Mole, so people who have never read the superior earlier-published books might find it enjoyable, but I could not. I couldn't see this book as anything other than just a blatant rip-off of its predecessors with nothing to offer beyond them except Angus, the cat, so an extra star for Angus. The author's lack of originality and creativity is just sad!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (2*)
A successful man is imprisoned on a false rape charge in spite of a solid alibi and an expensive hot-shot attorney, who never thought to enter the DNA evidence of his innocence. O-kay! His rich spoiled "artiste" wife has an affair with their closest friend and is all "what will we do?" when her husband wins his appeal and is released. Thus, ensues a reprehensible story of casual adultery and abortions about protagonists (can't call them characters since character is exactly what they lack) so repulsive and unsympathetic that who cares what happened to them or who ended up with whom. The synopsis sounded intriguing, but the author proved that having a good idea for a story and delivering a good execution of that story line are two vastly different things. I couldn't imagine the hideous Celestial finding two men dysfunctional and stupid enough to fall in love with her, but it's in the script and, hey, manure does attract flies! If you would like a pretentious sloppy mess about narcissists who not only lack a moral compass but have no idea what a moral compass is, then this is a book for you.

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: 7,771
5/6/18 4:22 P

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Sulfur Springs by William Kent Krueger (1*)
The synopsis sounded intriguing--recently married retired sheriff and his wife travel to southern Arizona when her son disappears after a phone call about killing Rodriguez, that they will learn is the name of the family that runs a vicious Mexican crime cartel operating through that area. Thereafter ensues one of the worst books that I have ever had the misfortune to read. As verbose, redundant, and repetitious as an old LP album with the needle stuck in a groove. It's one redeeming value is that you could probably bury it in your garden to help the roses bloom--I hear manure is good for that.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (3*)
The Director of the Louvre is murdered leaving clues as he dies to his granddaughter and a visiting Harvard professor--which results in both of them becoming the prime suspects. I didn't enjoy this book and can't see what so many people loved about it--maybe they believed the made up tripe the author used for background history and clues, mixing truth and fiction in a most confusing, misleading, and unethical manner. I found a lot of the dialogue stilted, and the story itself dragged out in yawning tediousness. I've read way better mysteries and am glad to put this one behind me. I did wonder about the author's anti-Catholic bigotry--did he go to a parochial school and get smacked once too often by a nun with a ruler or what?

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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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/5/18 6:12 P

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Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen series Book 3) by Joanne Fluke ****

Characters are developing a little more for me and I feel myself getting drawn in more to the story. Still unlikely circumstances but I am in it for the characters!

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JULIEA7201's Photo JULIEA7201 Posts: 17,015
5/3/18 12:51 A

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Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen series Book 2) by Joanne Fluke ****

Interesting characters!

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4/30/18 12:53 P

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Here we are! This is where you can list the books that you finished in May

All posts need book title, author, and stars; 0 being the worst and 6 being very special.

I would encourage you to comment on books that others have read by sending them a Sparkmail. This topic is just to list books read and finished in May 2018 for the team.

This is a thread where we list all the books that we read during the month of May and rate them by the system listed below. Please note that you need to list title, author, and your rating for it to be counted. Also, please give a description of the book and how it appealed to you. This is a great way to find new books and authors that you might be interested in. Everyone is welcome to join.

If you started a book in April (or any prior month), but finish in May, it counts for May.

DO NOT list books STARTED; only books FINISHED. Include title, author and rating.

Rereads count, audios count, electronics count. Our minimum word count is 25,000.

Book Ratings:

0 stars - Fit for only lining birdcages.
1 star - Agent was better salesman than author was writer.
2 stars - Some parts had promise.
3 stars - Solid read in its genre. Take it on plane.
4 stars - Better than average. Don't lose it on the plane.
5 stars - Recommended. One of the top 10% of books in its genre.
6 stars - Strongly recommended. Beg, Borrow, Buy, or Steal It.

Jo Ann
Starfish - (CST)
Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still. - Chinese Proverb



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