About our Book Club

I am an avid reader who is part of a book club of 12 women who get together once a month at each others homes to discuss various books. We always have delicious food & wine and fabulous discussions! If you love to read then please take some time to peruse some of our book reviews, become a follower, add comments, suggestions or ratings and PLEASE share this blog with your friends too!

Aug 17, 2011

New book reviews coming soon!

Hi all-

Well, it's been a lazy summer, but certainly not for reading. We've all been busy reading but we haven't all been able to get together for Book Club, therefore I haven't posted any reviews lately. Fear not however, there will be a few coming soon!
Since we are THE BEST book club in Valencia :) we are heading out for a girl's weekend at a beachy resort  and having our next book review there! This is a first for us and we are very excited for girl talk, wine tasting, shopping and of course...book discussions! The book we will be discussing on our trip is Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson and the book that we read before that was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Both excellent reads and both will have a review on this blog soon...I promise!
Until then, please become a friend of this blog and pass it on to others who love to read.The more comments & suggestions we receive the better of a tool this blog becomes in helping you select just the right book for you!
Happy Reading! 

Jun 7, 2011

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

Laurel Estabrook was nearly raped the Fall of her sophomore year in college......this is how the book begins and from that moment on you are taken on a journey of twists, turns, clarity and confusion and you are left with a surprisingly twisted ending that will leave some of you overjoyed at the idea that you were completely duped or frustrated and angry at the way the author has written this book.
Our Book Club was almost divided equally by the two sides. It certainly made for a very lively and intense discussion, which is the whole point of Book Club after all!!
I'm certain that some of us may not recommend this book to others, (especially since it was thrown across the room in some instances) but I'm just as certain that some of us would highly recommend it and I for one, am one of those people. Since I'm writing the blog, I will take a small liberty and say that I could not put this book down and finished it in 2 days. I was delighted that I was caught off guard at the end because I tend to be somewhat of a sleuth and always try to guess the outcome in advance!
At any rate, this is a great Book Club book and will guarantee a good discussion! Enjoy!

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

This book is set in Nazi Germany and follows the lives of several people, particularly Otto and Anna Quangel, loosely based on a real life couple Otto and Elise Hampel.
The Quangels, tired and scared of the Nazi regime, begin to write postcards that are against Hitler and his propaganda and covertly deposit them in various places in hopes that the people who find them will pass them on and an uprising amongst the people will begin to grow.
The book also follows the lives of a variety of other characters from poor working class Germans to Nazi criminals. This is not an easy read, but it's a fascinating one. Our club had mixed reviews due to the brutality and difficult subject matter, but we all agreed that we learned something new about that era. Many of us felt that what happened in Nazi Germany and around Europe during that time has been written about so many times that it's sometimes difficult to go there again and again, yet Every Man Dies alone does not disappoint.
We were also fascinated by the life of Hans Fallada, which is actually the nom de plume for Rudolf Ditzen an extremely disturbed individual who had a long history of mental issues and substance/alcohol abuse. The book does a very nice job of explaining his life's history at the end of the book.
This book is not for the very sensitive and will require your full attention, but once you become invested in the characters you just can't put it down.

Mar 26, 2011

The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson

The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson is a story about a love triangle, family and life's ups and downs. It was a very enjoyable, easy read and our Book Club felt there were many times when we could really relate with the main character, Annabelle. 

 This was one of those books that you just can't wait to pick up and read. The author flip flops with chapters from the past and the present which really starts to build the reader's anticipation, although some of us would have liked to see half the book dedicated to the past and the other half to the present so they could become more engrossed in the story at hand. At any rate, Annabelle's life held something for all of us. While we all disagreed with infidelity, several of us have a,” Jeremiah", of sorts from our past who's memory will always remain frozen in time. Many of us are on the brink of becoming or have already become Empty Nester's and we also have a new grand baby in our group, so Annabelle's relationship with her son and daughter was very real to all of us.

Annabelle's relationship with her husband Grant is very complex with many years of ups and down’s. Grant is a very unique character, his personality was perplexing to many of us and we even discussed if he didn't have Asberger's Syndrome, even though this was never addressed in the book. See what happens when you get a Book Club together and start analyzing away? This story takes us through many years of Grant and Annabelle's marriage and all the twist, turns, highs and lows that go along with a relationship spanning many years.

We all had times when we were laughing out loud one minute and either seething with anger or crying the next. We highly recommend The Stuff That Never Happened to anyone over 40, we don't mean to use age discrimination but we all felt that there were so many relatable moments in this book that might be lost on someone who hasn't experienced the same life stages yet.

Feb 25, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

This month our book was, Room by Emma Donoghue.
I’m a little torn as to how much I should reveal about the book in this review because we all agreed that the best way to read this story is to just dive in blindly without too much background about the plot. Therefore, I will remain mysterious.

I think it’s important to point out that 98% of us couldn’t put the book down once we started it…we won’t go into details about the other 2% except to say that they eventually came around!
The reason for the hesitation from the 2% group is that this book’s story is a chilling combination of both unspeakable horror and precious innocence. One minute you have chills running down your spine and the next you are crying tears from heartbreak.
There is a part in the middle of the book, (once again, I won’t reveal a thing), where many of us had real heart palpitations!

We all agreed that this was one of the most unique stories we’ve read in a long time. This book has been #1 in the UK and Australia for awhile now and is up for many literary awards. It’s only recently come to the USA and has been on the LA Times Bestseller list for a few weeks now.

To say that we highly recommend this book is an understatement. Please go out and get Room as soon as possible and read it…you won’t regret it, but please be warned that it may be a few weeks before you will want to pick up another book. It sticks to your soul for a long while.

Feb 10, 2011

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

From the very first pages of this book, it felt like we were launched into a black & white Humphrey Bogart movie complete with smokey rooms and shady characters. The text contained words like, Hepcat, Ixnay and Brouhaha. It felt intriguing to be led down this path.

The main characters are Bucky Bleichert, Lee Blanchard and Kay Lake. They are involved in a strange love triangle that just continues to get stranger as the story goes on.
Bucky and Lee are cops in the late 1940s, a time where large sectors of law enforcement were corrupt. There were gangsters and Zoot Suiters and Thugs,(to use lingo from the book)!

We all felt like it took quite awhile of background story before we were able to begin reading about The Black Dahlia and the mystery surrounding her brutal murder. James Ellroy wrote L.A. Confidential which was a bestseller and was also turned into a movie, so the troubled and complex characters came as no surprise to us, but it made for some slow reading in parts of the book.
When we finally did get to the murder, several of our members felt that it was very graphic and had to take a moment to compose themselves before continuing on. Others were " TV Crime Drama Addicts" and were OK with the gory details.

A little more than halfway through the book, right when they really start getting into the police case of The Dahlia, we are introduced to several new and strange characters and things start to get really twisted and weird. Make no mistake, we were pretty much hooked at this point but it was still a hard pill to swallow at times.

The murder of The Black Dahlia really happened and remains an unsolved mystery, this book however has taken a true event and created a fictional book with a solved ending. 

At the end of the book, our consensus was that we enjoyed the book, but we were all left scratching our heads at the troubled lives of most of the characters in the story.