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What Are You Reading? > Reviews for September 2019 / Theme: FAMILY

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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2395 comments Mod
Read any good books lately that fit our monthly theme?

Here's the place to share your opinions / reactions / recommendations.

Our September theme:
FAMILY - A book that deals with family relationships

The theme was suggested by Koren

Be sure to let us know how your book fits the theme if it's not evident from the book title / description.


message 2: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie
5 stars
family dynamics play a role in the plot

from my library's catalog: "The murderer is with us--on the train now . . ."Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

my thoughts: A wonderful Agatha Christie novel. Tons of twists and turns throughout the plot. I love the unexpected ending. Christie usually does that to me. One of my favorite Christie novels and I enjoyed rereading it--again.

message 3: by Lewis (new)

Lewis Honor (parzival1) So, this book was given to me from a dude at our church, it was a long book, so he thought it would keep me interested for 3-4 weeks... No-no-no... I was done in less than a week! This book captured me, like no book has ever before. Everyone is always saying that Stephen King is super inappropriate, one side even asked him in an interview "so you ever go 30 seconds without thinking about sex."
Well, I don't think it's bad to put stuff like that in books, because it happens, but I mean with Stephen King, he does abuse that subject a little too much, except in this book... Most of his books are filled with it, but there's a tiny chunk of his books, probably less than 10%, that touch on it, but not in a bad way. This book was amazing. I'm not allowed to read Stephen King, but my parents said I could read this one, and from what I've heard about the sexual stuff in 'It' is way-way-way more than anything in here. I would say anyone from 12 to could read this book, unless the parents have problems with language.
There more than a few reasons I loved this book, but I will only name the most important, or the ones people are looking for more. 1) amazing plot. It doesn't happen every day that a kid goes to a world like ours, but then different. I realize while writing this review, that this is exactly like The Upside Down, in Stranger Things... There are exact replica's of yourself in the Upside Down, if you have seen season three, but they're different in a way. They are worse people. I'm this story, they have different names, more or less, and they have different lives, but it's pretty much the same. I know, I explained the different world a little bit different than in the story, but hey, you need to read the story and find out what happens!
2) The characters are really well done, and even if it has to be around a 600-800 page book, it's worth it, than just having some hobo on the street go to braums the end. See, that's boring!!! This story is about a kid, who can go to another world using his mind. I mean that's sick right!
3) This one kinda tags along with number 2, but he makes it feel real! It makes you feel like that could actually happen, and you could actually be that kid that saves their mom... Oops spoilers... Well, I put the spoiler alert thing, so your reading at your own risk!
4) And last, but not least, there's not some weird girl-friend type thing going on! No mushy gushy sexual content... All Clean!

Overall, AMAZING book! You should read it, then recommend it to someone else to read... I recommend it to everyone. It's amazing.


Mom, son family thing. Read it last month. Great read. Deals with hard stuff. Sry. I just put my review of it. Great book.

message 4: by Denise (new)

Denise | 81 comments Parcival wrote: "So, this book was given to me from a dude at our church, it was a long book, so he thought it would keep me interested for 3-4 weeks... No-no-no... I was done in less than a week! This book capture..."

Parcival - you forgot to put the title of the book you read - so intrigued to know which book it was!

message 5: by Carol (last edited Sep 02, 2019 02:37PM) (new)

Carol | 1943 comments Emma in The Night - Wendy Walker

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

I liked the book but I really expected and wanted to like it a lot more based on the other books that I have read by Wendy Walker. I have to say that the Martin family gave a whole new meaning to the term "dysfunctional". If "Mrs. Martin" had been my mother I believe I would have opted to remain on the island. Also the character of Abby Winters, the forensic psychiatrist, seemed to have no other purpose than to tell Cass's story. Her narrative became a bit over bearing after awhile. Having said that...I found that the story was intriguing enough that I kept reading but I think I was almost in danger of going into a psychology overload coma.

message 6: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2395 comments Mod
Family relationships play a role in the plight of many of these poor tenants.

Evicted Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Evicted – Matthew Desmond – 5*****
Subtitle: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Fascinating. Frustrating. Horrifying. Compassionate. Informative. Distressing. Enlightening. Desmond thoroughly explores the effects on impoverished residents of being repeatedly evicted and contrasts the plight of the poor with the profits made at their expense.
LINK to my review

message 7: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 451 comments A Brother's Journey by Richard B. Pelzer
3 stars
A Brother's Journey by Richard B. Pelzer

If you have read A Child Called "It" (Dave Pelzer, #1) by Dave Pelzer by David Pelzer, than you are familiar with this family. David suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of his mother and his father was mostly absent. You may have wondered what happened to the other brothers after David left. This is the story of one of the brothers, Richard. It seems that the mother singled out one boy at a time, as Richard was not abused until David left. This book is written in the same style as David's book, which left me wondering if they were both written by the same ghost writer. There is page after page of unspeakable horror in the book and nothing as far as exploring why the mother did what she did or what was going through the minds of the other brothers who were not abused. It is also hard to imagine why the schools and the neighbors did not do anything. I know it was a different time, but still... It would have been a much more interesting book if the author did some interviews with family and other people that were present at the time.

message 8: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 451 comments Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again by Kimberly Williams-Paisley
5 stars
Where the Light Gets In Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again by Kimberly Williams-Paisley

Kimberly Williams-Paisley is a well-known actress and wife of country singer Brad Paisley. This book is how a family deals with dementia. Having worked with dementia patients, I think this book would be helpful to anyone dealing with this terrible disease. I found it to be heart-felt but not overly emotional and the family deals with the disease in a practical and intelligent way.

message 9: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 451 comments Drunkard: A Hard-Drinking Life by Neil Steinberg
4 stars
Drunkard A Hard-Drinking Life by Neil Steinberg

The author is a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times so when, in an alcoholic rage, he hits his wife (something he never did sober), of course it is a big deal and makes the paper. He writes a book about his path to sobriety and all the pitfalls along the way. Few people succeed the first time and the author is no different. Drinking was a way of life for him and it was hard to quit when alcohol was all around and also being in the public eye. I was glad his wife stuck by him. This was a good look at what goes on inside the head of someone who is doing the best they can but, after all, is human.

message 10: by Carol (last edited Sep 16, 2019 03:45AM) (new)

Carol | 1943 comments Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault Essays from the Grown-Up Years by Cathy Guisewite
Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault - Cathy Guisewite
I loved the Cathy comic strip. There were so many things in this book that I really could relate to...and there were so many things that I have friends that do the very same things that Cathy did in the same situations. The entries were funny, they were sad sometimes, and they were all thought provoking. Those readers younger than 55 will see what they will almost mostly have to look forward to...those of us older will just smile and nod...since we've probably been there and done that.

message 11: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2395 comments Mod
The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar
The Map of Salt and Stars – Zeyn Joukhadar – 4****
Joukhadar uses dual story lines (2011 and 12th-century Syria) and two young heroines to tell this story of family, loss, perseverance, grief, love and success. I liked both Nour and Rawiya, and loved some of the supporting characters. I preferred Nour’s modern-day story, probably because I’m less inclined towards “fairytales” at this stage of my life. Still, Joukhadar gave me a compelling read with well-drawn characters and some interesting parallels. At one point Nour reflects on a scar left on her leg: Life draws blood and leaves its jewelry in our skin. This novel doesn’t draw any blood, but will definitely leave its mark on the reader.
LINK to my review

message 12: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2395 comments Mod
A family of thieves ....

Heist Society (Heist Society, #1) by Ally Carter
The Heist Society – Ally Carter – 3***
First in a series featuring Katarina Bishop, born into a family of art thieves, but desperate to get out of the family business. Or is she? This is a fun, fast, young adult novel with a likeable main character and a totally implausible plot. I did like the intricate plotting, and was glad that the romance was kept somewhat on the back burner.
LINK to my review

message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1943 comments The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham
The Secrets She Keeps - Michael Robotham
4.5 ★
An engrossing, psychological thriller focusing on two women and the dark places their relationship leads. Meg has a big secret that she's hiding since she had the big fight with her husband, Jack. We learn the story of how the women's lives come to overlap as Meg’s marriage and Agatha’s life both unravel. What starts with a gradual glimpse into the two women’s worlds, soon escalates into something much more sinister. It was a story that I just had to find out what happens. Michael Robotham certainly knows how to tell a suspense filled tale.

message 14: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2395 comments Mod
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
The Arrangement – Sarah Dunn – 4****
Somehow, I had the impression that this was going to be a fun, farcical comedy of manners type book. It isn’t. There are some scenes that are quite entertaining, but by and large this is a pretty serious look at modern marriage and the work of commitment – to your partner, to your child, to your values. I thought it was interesting that Dunn gave the couple the added responsibility / stress of an autistic child. My sympathies changed through the book as a result of how they interacted with their son and each other.
LINK to my review

message 15: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 451 comments If a Tree Falls: A Family's Quest to Hear and Be Heard by Jennifer Rosner
3 stars
If a Tree Falls A Family's Quest to Hear and Be Heard by Jennifer Rosner

The author has two daughters who have a genetic hearing loss. Her own mother has had hearing loss and has worn hearing aides since she was in her 30's so the author decides to search her own family tree to see if others have had this hearing loss. She does find two sisters that lived around the late 1800's or early 1900's. They were immigrants that came through Ellis Island. Aside from that there is not a lot of information about them and she intersperses her story with a fictional story about how her ancestors dealt with their hearing loss in the days before there were hearing aides and implants. She also deals with her own relationship with her mother and how her mother often seemed distant to her, but may have often been because of her hearing loss. The rest of the book deals with how she dealt with and accepted her daughters hearing loss. I think this book would be helpful to others dealing with a child's hearing loss. I would like to see a sequel telling us how her daughters dealt with their hearing loss as they got older.

message 16: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments You Belong to Me (Romantic Suspense #12; Baltimore, #1) by Karen Rose by Karen Rose
lots of family issues involved in this plot

from my library's catalog: Baltimore city Homicide Detective J.D. Fitzpatrick has seen a lot of violence but nothing like the trail of tortured bodies that are turning up throughout the city. And now he's starting to suspect that his medical examiner, Dr. Lucy Trask, may be shielding a dark secret that could connect her to these vicious killings-and put her next on the killer's hit list.

my thoughts: I don't know why this book didn't appeal to me more than it did. The concept is right up my alley. The killer was brutal and left lots of bodies in his wake. I understood the motivation behind the murders even if I thought his motives for going after Lucy were a stretch. There was just something about the main characters that irked me. And I wanted to slap the PI across the room (multiple times). Obstruction laws were written just for him. Still, it was a decent thriller and the pace moved along nicely, so I'd still recommend it.

message 17: by Jaret (last edited Oct 02, 2019 06:44PM) (new)

Jaret | 210 comments Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot, #20) by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie
4 stars
family dynamics involved in the murder plot

from my library's catalog: When multi-millionaire Simeon Lee unexpectedly invites his family to gather at his home for Christmas, the gesture is met with suspicion by many of the guests. Simeon is not given to family sentiment, and not all of the family are on good terms with one another. On Christmas Eve everyone in the house hears the crashing of furniture, followed by a wailing and hideous scream. When they get to Simeon Lee's room, they find it locked and they have to break the door down. When they finally get through the door, they find heavy furniture overturned Simeon Lee dead, his throat slit, in a great pool of blood. When Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man.

my prior review: A fun Christie locked room mystery. This one was particularly fun because it seemed that no one was who they claimed to be. It wasn't merely a whodunnit but a howtheydunnit mystery as well. I figured out who did it partway through, but kept second guessing myself because "no way could ___ have done it!" Aside from all the blood in this one, a fun holiday read.

message 18: by Jaret (new)

Jaret | 210 comments The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan by Sarah Rees Brennan
4 stars
What a family dynamic in this one!

from my library's catalog: Sixteen-year-old Nick and his family have battled magicians and demons for most of his life, but when his brother, Alan, is marked for death while helping new friends Jamie and Mae, Nick's determination to save Alan leads him to uncover a devastating secret.

my thoughts: I thought I was easily predicting the plot of the book as I was reading along. It was still an interesting read and I was enjoying the characters. Then the author threw a curve ball I was not expecting out of nowhere. I was glued until the last page when that one hit me on the head. Not my typical genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

message 19: by Donna (new)

Donna | 337 comments Parasite (Parasitology, #1) by Mira Grant , by Mira Grant
4 stars

I enjoyed this dystopian novel where, in the not too distant future, humans are being embedded with a genetically engineered tapeworm --- yes, I said TAPEWORM --- that lives happily inside and dispenses all medicines as required and keeps everyone happy and healthy. Until, of course, the tapeworms decide to rule the humans. There is a lot of family drama, and a wide definition of the word "family".

It could have been a horror story, and a darned good one, but there was some comedy inserted that I didn't think was beneficial to the story. Still, it was an interesting story that I just had to keep reading.

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