You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > August 2018 - Set in a Mediterranean country

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message 1: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15093 comments If the two chosen books are not to your liking, you can read another book that is set in a Mediterranean country. See this list for valid countries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...


In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during August 2018.
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread. Please refer to our group spoiler policy for further information.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (include a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock. Chapter numbers/titles are generally best as they are the same across all formats and editions. See our spoiler policy
2. The book may be combined with the Year Long Challenge, Topplers, and Monthly Challenges.

Happy reading!


message 2: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15093 comments I'll be reading The Thread, which is set in Greece. I read two of the author's other books and really enjoyed them. One of them even got me into reading historical fiction (which before I always thought was a stuffy genre, but I think I had historical romance in mind. My mom sometimes brought books from the library with the icon for 'historical books' (she normally reads thriller and horror) on the spine, and they always had very crappy covers, so I must have gotten it from there).


message 3: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Hey Renee, I am going to read The Corfu Trilogy for this, if you are still planning on it. I just wanted to give you a shout out.


message 4: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments I started reading My Family and Other Animals last night.


message 5: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15093 comments I read that last year I think. Or the year before. It was different from what I expected but I still enjoyed it. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


message 6: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Hi Peggy - the book showing in the Currently Reading section still show last months titles. Could you please update them?


message 7: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Peggy wrote: "I read that last year I think. Or the year before. It was different from what I expected but I still enjoyed it. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts."

I have wanted to read it for a long time. I finally bought the whole trilogy because I was going to use it for my ZZ Challenge, but I read something else instead. It has been left over from the Geo challenge two years ago - that I am still reading books for. I know, I'm crazy.


message 8: by Cherie (last edited Aug 08, 2018 04:34PM) (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments I am quite enjoying the Corfu story. I love the descriptive writing. The family members and their "pets" are a hoot.


message 9: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 13608 comments Cherie wrote: "Hi Peggy - the book showing in the Currently Reading section still show last months titles. Could you please update them?"

Hi Cherie - Thanks for the reminder. It's all set now.


message 10: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Thanks, Kristie.


message 11: by Lilisa (new)

Lilisa | 2429 comments Started In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams. Tahir Shah has nailed the first chapter - superb mastery of the language - love his writing - wow.


message 12: by Lilisa (new)

Lilisa | 2429 comments I'm enjoying In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams - Morocco is a land of storytelling steeped in tradition. It's interesting to experience the author navigate his way living in Casablanca, searching for his own story and the trials and tribulations of owning the Caliph House.


message 13: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Lilisa wrote: "I'm enjoying In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams - Morocco is a land of storytelling steeped in tradition. It's interesting to experience the author navigate his way livi..."

Added to my TBR list. Maybe I'll need a Morocco book next year. ;o)


message 14: by Lilisa (new)

Lilisa | 2429 comments Cherie wrote: "Lilisa wrote: "I'm enjoying In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams - Morocco is a land of storytelling steeped in tradition. It's interesting to experience the author naviga..."

:-) it's the second in the series. The first is The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca - which can be read as a standalone. The author is a U.K. journalist. His parents were from Afghanistan but he grew up in the U.K. The first book is about his experience moving to Casablanca - I enjoyed that one too.


message 15: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Lilisa wrote: "Cherie wrote: "Lilisa wrote: "I'm enjoying In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams - Morocco is a land of storytelling steeped in tradition. It's interesting to experience th..."

Okay - I'm convinced. I added it too. :o)


message 16: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments I finished the first book of The Corfu Trilogy. I read My Family and Other Animals for this alternate theme selection. I will continue with the trilogy, since I bought it.

I was very drawn to Gerry and his bevy of animals friends, but his family not so much. I disliked the older brothers. Really, it was a strange story and a very strange family. I liked Gerry and his adventures on the island. The writing was very descriptive, which I enjoyed.


message 17: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15093 comments I thought I would have finished my book The Thread) while on holiday, but I still have to start it.. Hopefully today! If I don't fall asleep, I feel a little jetlagged.


message 18: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 13608 comments I've started Playing with Fire. It seems like the type of book that just jumps into it, no overly long buildup. I'm enjoying that for a change. The book started off in Rome, then quickly shifted to the US. My understanding is that it will shift to Venice soon. I'm hoping the majority of the book is set there so it will work for the theme.

I'm about 19% in and the mom seems to be figuring something out. (view spoiler)


message 19: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Kristie wrote: "I've started Playing with Fire. It seems like the type of book that just jumps into it, no overly long buildup. I'm enjoying that for a change. The book started off in Rome, then qu..."

I have the book on my TBR list. I will be interested to see how it turns out for you. I have liked the books of hers that I have read.


message 20: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 13608 comments This is the first I've read by her, Cherie, so I don't really know what to expect. So far, I'm enjoying it. It has a dual timeline; it just jumped back in time to WWII in Italy and now I'm back in the present day.


message 21: by Cherie (last edited Aug 21, 2018 05:00PM) (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Kristie wrote: "This is the first I've read by her, Cherie, so I don't really know what to expect. So far, I'm enjoying it. It has a dual timeline; it just jumped back in time to WWII in Italy and now I'm back in ..."

I have mostly read her Rizzoli and Isles series books but also The Bone Garden and Girl Missing. I really liked them. I know that I reviewed first one, but cannot remember about the latter.


message 22: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15093 comments I'm 20% into The Thread but am a bit disappointed. I really enjoyed two of her other books, but this one is too much 'tell, not show' and it feels like parts of it are just history text on a topic I don't have enough prior knowledge on. And it's boring. Too bad, because these are actual events in Greek/Thessaloniki history so there's much potential for interesting historical fiction. Hopefully it will become better.


message 23: by Lilisa (last edited Aug 22, 2018 07:32PM) (new)

Lilisa | 2429 comments I finished In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams. I enjoyed it overall - one gets a taste of what it's like for an outsider to live in Morocco and get used to everyday life that is not quite straightforward. There's reasons why things happen - it's the jinns, of course, or you haven't found your own story yet. I liked all the stories - they are parables. It was a bit distracting though when stories would pop up. I think the author could have segued them in more smoothly. Still I like it - I gave it 3 stars. I enjoyed the The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca more - that was a 4-star read.


message 24: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 13608 comments That's disappointing, Peggy, especially when it's an author you enjoyed previously.

I'm about 71% in and enjoying Playing with Fire. It's a dual timeline and though I can see how they relate, I can't see yet how the older timeline will explain the newer timeline. I'm looking forward to getting that connection though.

Currently, I am enjoying both timelines, but the at the moment the older timeline is better. The husband annoys me in the modern day timeline. If I was his wife, I'd want to punch him. (view spoiler)


message 25: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 2195 comments I have been reading The Shadow of the Wind, which is set in Barcelona. I am really enjoying it so far (about half way), a coming-of-age, romance, suspense. It is beautifully, descriptively written, and as much as it is an easy read, I am not finding it a fast read. I think it was a group read at some point, and will have to search out the thread as I am sure it would have generated some interesting chatter :)


message 26: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18188 comments Definitly search out the thread Jenn. We had a great discussion. And feel free to add to it.


message 27: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 13608 comments Jenn, I still have The Shadow of the Wind on my TBR. I considered it for this theme, but felt it was a bit too long for me for this month. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

I think my book would have been good for discussion too. I keep wanting to chat about different points as I go.


message 28: by Claire (new)

Claire  | 299 comments I have read
Lustrum by Robert Harris Lustrum Robert Harris 466 p. 20 august 2018 5 stars.
I enjoyed the first part in his trilogy and thought this one was even better. While I know the figure of Cicero and the period in history the book is set in, I found the way it was told very refreshing. It strikes me how much a good writer can achieve in terms of making people understand things and grasp even more difficult concepts.
I think if you know nothing about the period, you cannot read and understand it without the first part.


message 29: by Claire (new)

Claire  | 299 comments I read
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between The Return Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between by Hisham Matar Hisham Matar 280 p. 23 august 2018 4 stars

The book is set partly in Lybia, partly in Cairo ( and partly in the Western world) , but it talks only about Lybia.

You can read my review here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The book made me feel very ambiguous. I was incredibly moved by the horrible period and the way Libyans were treated. I understand the incredible hardship of searching for a past , a place where you belong. At the same time it made me ponder about the refugee crisis and the problems we encounter in Europe with this crisis. I can only hope the complete male orientated POV is not symptomatic, but due to a misunderstanding on my part.


message 30: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18188 comments Claire wrote: "I have read
Lustrum by Robert Harris Lustrum Robert Harris 466 p. 20 august 2018 5 stars.
I enjoyed the first part in his trilogy and thought this one was even bet..."


Which Mediterranean country is it set in? Did you read a Robert Harris book last month too? How does this one compare? I've not read any of his books yet.


message 31: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 1248 comments I just realized that a book I read for the year-long challenge this month fits this category. Yay!

I read The Girl Under the Olive Tree. It is set in Greece, bouncing back and forth between the 1940's and 2001. It was an interesting idea for a story - a woman who was a Red Cross nurse during WWII in Greece goes back to Greece for a vacation with her niece in 2000 - but much, much too long. One of those books that needed a good editing to be a better book.

I love historical fiction set during wars, so even though it dragged I enjoyed it well enough. The main character was pretty well developed, if a bit unbelievable. (view spoiler) There were some loose threads I wish the author had tied up a little better, which was frustrating. (view spoiler)


message 32: by Claire (new)

Claire  | 299 comments Sarah wrote: "Claire wrote: "I have read
Lustrum by Robert Harris Lustrum Robert Harris 466 p. 20 august 2018 5 stars.
I enjoyed the first part in his trilogy and thought this o..."


It is set in Italy (Rome) It’s my third book, but I think this is by far the best. However, you better start with the first one in the trilogy Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome. This second one was great. If anything, it feels like you’re looking at the intrigues of the powerful through time and think: ‘ nothing has changed ‘ :-(


message 33: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18188 comments Thanks Claire. I know a lot of people in this group have read his books and we've had a couple as group reads. They've been on my radar but I've never really felt the desire to pick one up even though many people have rated his books very highly.


message 34: by Lynn (new)

Lynn | 2611 comments I read Roman Crazy, which is set in Rome (not surprisingly)

Avery (our MC) escapes to her best friend in Rome for a fresh start after catching her husband having an affair with the secretary administrative assistant. She then bumps into an old flame, Marcello, on her first night there.

I've never read anything by Nina Bocci but I have by Alice Clayton and enjoyed her funny and sassy writing. The first chapter started off well with me laughing out loud but then it fell a little flat for me. The humour just wasn't at a level I was expecting.

The story itself is nothing new, it’s a second chance love story and I really wish that it had been dual POV because I didn't feel we really got to know Marcello.

The authors however did a wonderful job of portraying Rome and the Italian lifestyle. Their imagery was vivid, full of colour and the food descriptions made my mouth water! I loved how they really brought the place to life in this book. Italy is the true star of this story and I now really want to go back there.


message 35: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 13608 comments I finished Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen. It was a pretty short book that stayed focused on the story it was telling. I wasn't thrilled with part of the ending because something happened the way I thought it might, but not the way I wanted it to. However, it made a lot of sense to end it that way. I can't explain why without giving the story away. Overall I enjoyed it and gave the story 4 stars.


Saar The Book owl | 1777 comments I started reading, more accidently, I'm Not Scared and it is set in Italy.
Not quite sure on what to think of the book. I have the feeling that it's a bit dark.


message 37: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Kristie wrote: "I finished Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen. It was a pretty short book that stayed focused on the story it was telling. I wasn't thrilled with part of the ending ..."

Glad you liked it, Kristie. I agree with your comment about "not a lot of fluff". I am looking forward to reading it. Maybe we will need a book with Fire in the title next year. LOL!


message 38: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 13608 comments We need one for the zodiac this year, if you haven’t filled that task already.


message 39: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Kristie wrote: "We need one for the zodiac this year, if you haven’t filled that task already."

Yes, I did it already. I was just checking my series lists and I did not realize that Gerritsen has a next Rizzoli and Isles book out. I read the last one two years ago, I think.


message 40: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15093 comments I'm about 3/4 done with The Thread. Although it's interesting to learn about the last 100 years in this Greek city, I don't feel very connected to the characters, 100 years is too much to cram into 400 pages (she could have picked any of the major events of the book and focus solely on that), and it still too often feels like a political history lesson.


message 41: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 2195 comments I just finished The Shadow of the Wind, and did a quick read through the thread from when it was a group read (June 2016). I totally agree with Roz wrote: "The descriptions are so beautiful you can not only see the scene, you can feel and taste it as well...."
Wow, I thoroughly loved it!!! It was beautifully written, leaving you feeling immersed in all of the sights, and sounds, and feels. . . always guided through them but never beat with them.
It does leave me casually wondering (view spoiler)
I think I will let it soak in for awhile, but will definitely be reading this one again at some point.


message 42: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20009 comments Are you going to read the next book, Jenn?


message 43: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 2195 comments Cherie wrote: "Are you going to read the next book, Jenn?"

Definitely! And, it turns out that I actually have it already :)

OMG, I just realized that it would probably work for the September - Ultimate Battle . . . too many books, too little time lol


message 44: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Aug 29, 2018 08:34PM) (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 48834 comments I read The Tuscan Child which is set primarily in the Tuscan region of Italy.

I was disappointed in the book, It was lacking in substance and character development. I never got a good sense of the main characters, nor did I feel any tension over the danger involved in a war situation. (view spoiler)

The story was told in two POV's over two time periods. Joanna's story is in 1973. Hugo's was in 1940's WWII.

Joanna - (view spoiler)

Hugo - (view spoiler)

Sophia - a major component to the story, and little character development.

Overall, this reads like a cozy mystery, romance, and chick lit. I was expecting something more.


Saar The Book owl | 1777 comments I've read I'm Not Scared
I felt dissapointed in this book or maybe it was just me. I've read another book of Amaniti and found it really good, but with this one...It lacked depth to me and I couldn't believe in the characters and the story.
(view spoiler)
It has good reviews on GR, but somehow I dind't connect with the story. I get that (view spoiler), but it lacked something.


message 46: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15093 comments Last day of the month already! Don't forget to head over to the reporting thread if you haven't done so yet.


message 47: by Amanda (Mandy) (new)

Amanda (Mandy) | 614 comments I also read the The Tuscan Child.

I agree with Janice that there was not much substance to the book, but I enjoyed it anyway. I think I needed something light and not too in depth. Another time I may not have enjoyed it. However, it fit the bill this go round.

The main character met a woman, her daughter, and granddaughter who took her in. I particularly enjoyed the discussions about Italian food and cooking. The romance portion was bland and a little unbelievable.


message 48: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 48834 comments Amanda (Mandy) wrote: "The main character met a woman, her daughter, and granddaughter who took her in. I particularly enjoyed the discussions about Italian food and cooking. The romance portion was bland and a little unbelievable. ."

Paula was one of my favourite characters. (view spoiler)


message 49: by Amanda (Mandy) (new)

Amanda (Mandy) | 614 comments Janice wrote: "Amanda (Mandy) wrote: "The main character met a woman, her daughter, and granddaughter who took her in. I particularly enjoyed the discussions about Italian food and cooking. The romance portion wa..."

I know what you mean. I feel like the author was a bit lazy about developing the relationships. It all seemed to come a little too easy.


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