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Book Chat > What have you just read? Opinions, recommendations, reviews Part 2

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 16, 2017 10:47AM) (new)

The original thread can be found here:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Please keep your opinions and reviews coming!

Just in case anyone was wondering, GR sometimes has trouble when a thread gets too big. So we are "starting over", though continuing discussions from the prior thread are welcome


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Despite working for half of it, I manged to read 2 books over the weekend because they were both brilliant.

The first was London Lies Beneath which is historical fiction set in the slums of South London in 1912. It is based a true story and also has some elements of magical realism which I really enjoyed. My (short) review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I also read The Weight of Silence. This was a fast-paced thriller sent in rural Iowa. It wasn't high-brow literary fiction but it was very enjoyable. My (even shorter) review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 3: by Petra (new)

Petra | 3246 comments I finished Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement. I loved this story. It's subtle, yet tells all. It's stark, yet rich.
This is the first, but not the last, book written by this author that I'll read.
It's horrible to think that people live these lives today, as I read about it. I hope we can stop this cycle one day.
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement


message 4: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7368 comments Mod
Petra wrote: "I finished Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement. I loved this story. It's subtle, yet tells all. It's stark, yet rich.
This is the first, but not the last, boo..."


This sounds good Petra!


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* (sandyj21) | 1299 comments Finished Weycombe by G.M. Malliet Weycombe by G.M. Malliet yesterday. Not at all what I was expecting, but it turned out to be a really good read. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 8: by Petra (new)

Petra | 3246 comments Greg wrote: "Petra wrote: "I finished Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement.

This sounds good Petra! ..."


It was, Greg! I hope to read more by this author.


message 9: by Petra (last edited Oct 16, 2017 06:43PM) (new)

Petra | 3246 comments I finished All the Broken Things and thought it was just okay.

There were too many problems thrown at poor Bo throughout the book. His anger, although understandable, made him appear very immature, considering one of the themes of his taking permanent responsibility for his disabled 4-year old sister.
It was as though the author threw every immigrant and racist problem into this book....and the Vietnam war and Canada's involvement in the production of Agent Orange.
I also found the treatment of Orange, at least in the beginning, and the entertainment value of the bears to be distasteful. The talk about Orange's deformities and her "ugliness" was, I though, overly punctuated.
That all said, it was an easy reading story, perhaps something for the beach or in front of a roaring fire. It should be rated YA. Bo is fourteen and his story is told in a young manner.

An okay read but not one I'd highly recommend. I gave it 3 stars but its more like a 2.5.

My review:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 10: by Joan (new)

Joan Is your rating of a book affected by the professional experience of the writer?
I just read two books, one by a new writer and one by a highly acclaimed writer; I quite liked both, so 3 or 4 stars. I think I cut the new writer more slack and I cannot quite decide if that is fair.


message 11: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma | 1059 comments Joan wrote: "Is your rating of a book affected by the professional experience of the writer?
I just read two books, one by a new writer and one by a highly acclaimed writer; I quite liked both, so 3 or 4 stars...."


That's a good question, Joan, and I'd like to think I'm fair, of course. I try to compare like with like, a police mystery with something similar, a family drama or a light romance with something similar.

There are some excellent authors who might publish a second-rate book (because they can get away with it), while a debut has a real struggle to get published at all. So for "equal" books, I might give 3.5 or 4 stars to the established author, saying I was a bit disappointed, and give 3.5-4 stars for the debut saying I can see a lot of promise, keep writing. If the debut is worth 4.5-5, who cares if it's a first-time author? I'm delighted to give credit where I think it's due.

And don't every be shy about giving a popular author a low rating if the book doesn't appeal to you. Just say why, if you can, so other readers will get an idea of what you think the book is like. I've read a couple of your reviews, and you look like you're on the right track to me (for what it's worth). :)


message 12: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma | 1059 comments Just read and LOVED Moonglow by Michael Chabon. Talk about passion and history and biography and imagination all mixed up - Whew!
Moonglow by Michael Chabon 5★ Link to my review


message 13: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7368 comments Mod
Joan wrote: "Is your rating of a book affected by the professional experience of the writer?
I just read two books, one by a new writer and one by a highly acclaimed writer; I quite liked both, so 3 or 4 stars...."


Like Patti, I do scale based on the type of book. So a very good humorous story, a very good mystery, a very good work of literature, etc, I rate the same (as very good). 5 stars though I reserve for something that touched me on many levels; so it's a bit tougher to reach that for certain sorts of books.

New authors, hmm, I don't read a great many new authors, but I think I'd tend to round a new author up instead of down on the grounds that they're still early in their journey. It wouldn't change the number of stars, but if it was 3.5 stars, I'd be more inclined to round up to 4 instead of down to 3.


message 14: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Joan wrote: "Is your rating of a book affected by the professional experience of the writer?
I just read two books, one by a new writer and one by a highly acclaimed writer; I quite liked both, so 3 or 4 stars...."


I don't consciously give new writers 'slack' but my ratings are gut reactions so I might do so unintentionally. I suspect I react as PattyMacDotComma described, being pleasantly surprised by a new author with work that in an established author might have seemed expected or even disappointing.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I rate purely on how much I enjoyed the book. So a trashy thriller I raced through can get a 5* but I usually write a qualifier in the review that I appreciate it's not high-brow fiction. I probably do give new authors higher reviews because I tend to enjoy reading new work

Reading is about enjoyment and that is how I rate! I think I often end up eating classics higher than I really feel because I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't like them


message 16: by Joan (new)

Joan Thanks y’all for your thoughts on ratings - very interesting.


message 17: by Pink (new)

Pink Heather wrote: "I rate purely on how much I enjoyed the book. So a trashy thriller I raced through can get a 5* but I usually write a qualifier in the review that I appreciate it's not high-brow fiction. I probabl..."

Same here. Although recently I've stopped star rating my books. It's not how I'd talk about books in real life and so many times my opinion changes over time.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Pink wrote: "Heather wrote: "I rate purely on how much I enjoyed the book. So a trashy thriller I raced through can get a 5* but I usually write a qualifier in the review that I appreciate it's not high-brow fi..."

That's interesting. I like to give a star rating but actually it's usually a fairly knee-jerk reaction and I don't pay too much attention to it myself.

I do know that some people, including members of this group, are very thoughtful with their star ratings and I value that when deciding if I should read something.


message 19: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Pink wrote: "Although recently I've stopped star rating my books. It's not how I'd talk about books in real life and so many times my opinion changes over time. ..."

I like doing the star ratings (which I try to do following the GR explanation of the stars, e.g 2* means OK, 3* good etc).

I agree that my opinion does sometimes change over time, in which case I go back and change my rating (sometimes noting that in the review and sometimes not).

@Heather -- I suffer from that feeling of embarrassment too. In those cases, I tend to rate higher than my enjoyment because I can see that the book had some quality that made it worthwhile even while I didn't like it. Probably I should stop doing that!


message 20: by Beth (last edited Oct 17, 2017 02:46PM) (new)

Beth | 399 comments A belated (and lengthy) review of Beren and Lúthien, which I gave 5 stars

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 23: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 667 comments I just finished an ARC of Tell Tale: Short Stories Tell Tale Short Stories by Jeffrey Archer . I really enjoyed the stories! One in particular stands out in my mind. I have a visual image of the ending that I will never forget! For me, short stories are a hit or miss so I don't read very many. This collection was worth reading! I had never heard of the author Jeffrey Archer, despite having written quite a few books, but I'm interested in reading more by him. Any recommendations?


message 24: by dely (new)

dely | 5214 comments I have finished La strada di Smirne, follow-up of Skylark Farm 3,5*

I liked both books, I gave the same rating but for different reasons: Skylark Farm is really very moving and you feel for the characters, but it isn't written very well. I had often the feeling that the author went on too fast, as if some parts were missing.
The sequel is written much better, it's more flowing, and though it was very interesting, it didn't move as much as the first book.
They are both worth to be read and it's a pity there isn't an English translation of the sequel.


message 25: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I have completed The Six Wives of Henry VIII. It is VERY good. This author knows how to tell a story both clearly and engagingly. It is non-fiction that keeps you riveted. Really interesting.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 26: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 18, 2017 12:55PM) (new)


message 31: by dely (new)

dely | 5214 comments I give up also another book by Christa Wolf: Sommerstück (no English translation).


message 32: by Angela M (last edited Oct 19, 2017 03:13PM) (new)


message 33: by Petra (new)

Petra | 3246 comments I finished listening to Saints for All Occasions, a family saga over 2 generations. It was an interesting, easy listening experience. I enjoyed the story of secrets, family and immigration.
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 36: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I woke up ~ 4 am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep so I started reading one of the many Kindle mysteries I have accumulated. The one I picked, A Very Quiet Guest, I cannot recommend. Here is my review explaining why:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 37: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Leslie, horrible that first you cannot sleep and then what you read is such a disappointment. Those freebies are such a waste of time.


message 38: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Chrissie wrote: "Leslie, horrible that first you cannot sleep and then what you read is such a disappointment. Those freebies are such a waste of time."

Yeah, I figured that out but I haven't reached the decision to dump all the books I had already gotten. I have found a few good ones and I hate to miss out! But the more of these poor ones I encounter, the closer I get to making that decision to clear out my library.


message 39: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 21, 2017 01:55AM) (new)

I've definitely given up on kindle freebies. In fact I have completely gone away from reading on my kindle at the moment. I think I will bring it out for holiday reads but I'm enjoying dead tree books too much!

I've just finished Northern Lights which was a reread and a very enjoyable one. Have moved onto the next book into the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, also a reread


message 40: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7368 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I've definitely given up on kindle freebies. In fact I have completely gone away from reading on my kindle at the moment. I think I will bring it out for holiday reads but I'm enjoying dead tree bo..."

I will be re-reading those soon Heather - fun reads and in my opinion, very well done!


message 41: by Amalia (new)

Amalia Gkavea | 888 comments Continuing the Halloween reads, I finished The Halloween Children The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman by Brian James Freeman.

It was good, but nothing to write home about...3 stars.

My review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/2159106431


message 42: by Hannah (last edited Oct 20, 2017 05:40PM) (new)


message 44: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Leslie wrote: "Yeah, I figured that out but I haven't reac..."

Look at how Amazon teases and plays with us. How they wrap us around their finger. I do not like this.


message 45: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma | 1059 comments Aussie Author Michael Sala has written about his (now) hometown of Newcastle, NSW, in The Restorer, where short-fused Roy is trying to restore a house and his family.
The Restorer by Michael Sala 3.5★ Link to my review


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Greg wrote: "Heather wrote: "I've definitely given up on kindle freebies. In fact I have completely gone away from reading on my kindle at the moment. I think I will bring it out for holiday reads but I'm enjoy..."

I'm really enjoying it! It's nice to have a slightly easier book to dip into as I'm also reading Lincoln in the Bardo which is a bit harder to get into


message 49: by Angela M (new)

Angela M I finished Seven Days of Us. 3.5 stars . My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 50: by Petra (new)

Petra | 3246 comments I finished Reykjavík Nights: Murder in Reykjavík by Arnaldur Indriðason, a prequel to a detective story.
The story started slow but picked up as I got to know the main character, Erlendur. I think this is a character-driven series that will get better as the series continues.
In the end, I found this a decent read and look forward to reading more of the series.
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


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