The Makedown

Fun, quick, well-written chick lit! Similar to Jennifer Weiner. I went to the school with the author and her sister. Kudos to you Gitty for writing a novel. I am impressed!

The 19th Wife

Fabulous! A compliment to Under the Banner of Heaven. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in Mormonism.

Skylight Confessions

Depressing, but good. I enjoyed the second half better then the first.  Parts hit too close to home. 

He Who Fears the Wolf

An quick, enjoyable, psychological read. 

Sleep, Pale Sister

I had a hard time getting into this book, but a third of way in, I was hooked. It is dark and strange. Each chapter the narrator changes which can be a tad confusing, however, I loved the elements of witch craft as well as the gypsy and Gothic themes.

The Zookeeper's Wife

A stunning novel that depicts tremendous human spirit, bravery and love. The story brought me to tears and then had me smiling. Students should read this book!

The Likeness

I have been waiting for this to come out in paperback, since I finished Into the Woods. French is a great mystery writer. Very enjoyable. 

City of Thieves

The story perfectly mixed a tale of friendship, coming of age, and the bleak situation of war. It is captivating. I couldn't put this book down. Benioff does a tremendous job of creating terrific characters. Read this book.

The Book Thief

The story begins being told from the perspective of Death which at first, for me, was quite off putting. As the story continues Death as well as the stories protagonist, a German preteen narrate. I highly recommend staying with this book. I was uncomfortable with Death as the story teller. However, the symbolism is critical. Enjoy this fantastic, moving, very sad novel.

Firefly Lane

Quick, girlie read. Great book for the beach or traveling since it is pretty mindless. Although not a particularly well written book it did the job of keeping me entertained while on the plane.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A classic which escaped me in high school. 

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

I read over 120 pages, but had to stop. I'm giving myself permission to not finish a book when I dislike it. Enjoy life; move on!  This is my new philosophy! 

Wells' first book, Ya Ya Sisterhood was entertaining, but this book and I am imaging the others are just more of the same. I don't recommend it. 

Charlotte Gray

Sebastian Faulks' novel of a young woman clandestine adventure in Vichy France is exceptional. The book explores patriotism, purpose, love, hate, and hope even in dreadful situations. 

Enemies of the People

I saw an interview with the author on the Colbert Report. I don't usually read non-fiction, but highly recommend this book. It is a fascinating and frightening true story of a families experience in Hungary during WWII and the Cold War. This would be an excellent movie. 

The Center Cannot Hold

Excellent! I commend Saks for sharing her difficult story. I was moved by her struggles and was ultimately thrilled that she defines herself by her accomplishments, not by her illness. This should be required reading in undergraduate and graduate courses for medicine, law and psyche. The John Wayne Cancer Institute and Wellness Community connections were a real surprise.

The Forgotten Garden

An enchanting, engrossing, escapist read! I enjoyed this book very much. Here's a sentence that captures the feel of this mysterious and spellbinding novel. "She found fairies playing in the spiders' webs, insects whispering incantations on the windowsills, fire sprites spitting and hissing in the range." Read this book, you are in for a treat!

Crush It!

This is an easy, short read with no confusing or convoluted concepts. In fact, the entire book is simple tips mixed with the strong message of the importance of passion, desire, drive and patience in moving your project forward. The benefit of reading Crush It! is in having a current case study of what one entrepreneur did to build his passion into an online, successful business. Not my usual type of read, but I admit it was interesting.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

By the stories completion, I felt great sadness for all three of the Native American women depicted by Dorris. Their lives have been so challenging but failure to candidly share their trials pushes these mothers and daughters apart rather then bringing them together. Yes, in the end they share a meal, watch television and talk peripherally, but the reader is privy to details of what makes each women who they are. If only these characters had shared more with each other, there relationships could have been stronger. How interesting that the author shared with the reader, but choose not to have the characters divulge to one another.

The Story Sisters

I picked up The Story Sisters in our lending library at work. Initially, the book grabbed my interest and the author, Alice Hoffman, sounded familiar to me. Not until the middle of the book did I realize that I read Skylight Confessions and wasn’t a huge Hoffman fan. The Story Sisters is a strange tale of a three sisters coming of age. Hoffman’s main character develops a fantasy land to help her manage the grim recollections of a brutal childhood trauma that ultimately destroys her.  Sadly, this novel didn’t capture my interest.  


A touching story which highlights some of the United State's most disturbing policies. 

The Vagrants

In The Vagrants Li creates a horrific picture of life under a totalitarian regime. Be warned, a degree of patience is required of the reader as this book provides a glimpse into a sad reality of human suffering. The characters must cope with poverty, hunger, corruption, fear, isolation, etc.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

This is a frank memoir. Janzen's style reminds me of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs especially when discussing the families eccentricities. Pick it up if you feel like a laugh as well as story that emphasizes strength of character. 

Cold Sassy Tree

In this novel we see how the main character, Will struggles to resist the prejudice that exists during this era in his hometown of Cold Sasy. As the novel progresses, Will develops the bravery to express his own opionions. Will befriends Miss Love and acknowledges his feelings for Lightfoot. Sometimes the omnipresence of Cold Sassy’s prejudices overwhelms Will, yet for the most part, he resists blindly accepting the beliefs of the community and follows his own social conciousness. 

A Walk in the Woods

This book provided an historical account of the Appalachian Trail and humorous stories regarding camping. I have taken one camping trip. One was quite sufficient for me. If I ever have the urge to visit nature, I can pick up Bryson's tale and be reminded why camping isn't for me. 

The Tale of Halcyon Crane

This is a fun ghost story that kept me turning the pages. 

Shanghai Girls

I like Lisa See's books very much. The only problem with this novel is the ending. I want more! What happens to Pearl, May, Joy and Vern? I hope See continues to write this families story. 

Sacred Hunger

This is an excellent piece of historical fiction. Unsworth transports the reader to the slave trade in the 1700's. Unsworth touches on themes including power, greed and page after page of disturbing brutality.

Petals from the Sky

While the story started off strong, I was disappointed in many of Mingmei Yip's characters. The protagonist is an educated women who resides in Paris, but she can't seem to make her own decisions and is easily manipulated. Meng Ning's American fiancee, Michael, becomes less and less attractive. In fact, he became clingy and rude! Finally, I would have enjoyed if the author had developed the characters of Phillip and Lisa.


The story was interesting enough that I put the movie on our Netflix's queue. The movie's cast seems impressive, although I have heard from good sources that the movie is mediocre.  Again, the book was quick and entertaining, however I find some aspects of Minot's style such as no punctuation, run-on sentences and unclear narrator, a bit irritating. I presume the movie will be easier to follow. 

Island Beneath the Sea

This is my first Isabel Allende novel. I tried House of the Spirits a long time ago, but didn't get into it. I am now going to have to give it another try as I really enjoyed Island Beneath the Sea. Interestingly, my fellow book lover colleagues did not like this book as much as I did.  
I enjoyed the stories well developed characters and Allende's landscape descriptions as we moved from Saint Domingue, Cuba, New Orleans and even Boston.  However, what really drew me to this book was the subject of slavery which has always been an interest as well as major disturbance. I marvel at the strength of people forced into slavery and thank goodness that slavery has been abolished in America. Now we need to continue to advocate for the people around the world who have been forced into slavery.

Her Fearful Symmetry

It had potential, but got too weird. 

Isaac's Storm

I read to page 110. I can't go on. A story about a weather forcaster and terrible hurricane is just not my type of reading. I could perhaps do a 5-10 page historical article in TIME magazine, but a 200+ page account is just not my cup of tea.  

Little Bee

Little Bee is not an easy, but it is a book I am glad I read. This meaningful and heartbreaking book explores immigration laws, the choices in life, fate and the terrors in faraway lands. Nevertheless, despite exposing the evils of humanity, Cleave also shows that there are good people in the world. Cleave also portrays fantastic characters. I love Charlie. Cleave did a wonderful job of bringing him to life through the character’s narratives. 

A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife is a book about despair, longing and emptiness. The characters come to a place of acceptance and understanding with one another which to me seems unrealistic. In my opinion this book is quite depressing and wasn’t as mysterious and suspenseful as I had expected. Additionally, I could have done with far less of Ralph ruminating about sex. Gross!

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

The Sanctuary of Outcasts is an engaging and detailed account of White’s time as prisoner in Carville Leprosarium. Truly how can you go wrong when you have a story about prisons and Leprosy?  Fans of The Island and Molaka'i should read this book.

The Angel's Game

Ruiz Zafon’s Gothic epic is a page turning, confusing adventure that has doomed romances, multiple murders and elements of the supernatural. By the end of the novel I wasn’t sure if our main character is sane, crazy, or just dreaming. I would recommend reading this book, but be warned you’ll have many questions at the end.
What I particularly enjoyed about this book is how Zafon explores the idea of a book capturing an author’s soul. Zafon writes, “Every book, every volume you see, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” I’m not sure this is true of every book as there are a lot of not so great reads. However, I have been affected by many books in this special way.

A Gate at the Stairs

This book explores interesting subjects such as race, the feelings after 9/11, love and that no matter how normal someone might appear from the outside, bizarre behavior and history is usually present. Even with these interesting themes I found that I had difficulty staying engaged. The author was too keen in having the main character, Tassie go off on tangents and soliloquies. 

Blood of the Prodigal

I enjoy mysteries and am interested in the Amish. The book was okay,  nothing great. I may explore more of Gaus' Amish tales as I like learning about the Plain people.

Cutting for Stone

The reviewers stated this book would be 'an unforgettable journey,' and 'an epic story.' I found it quite forgettable and not at all epic, but boring and predictable. This was a long book that unfortunately didn't make the plane ride go quicker. 

The Last Girls

I think if I was of a different age demographic, I might have related to this book better.  This southern tale reminds me of the Ya Ya Sisterhood or Evenings. This novel is nothing new.

The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay

I really wanted to like this book. The title, The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is creative and enticing. The description and reviews made this book seem interesting. This book has everything that should make up a good read: murder, the movies, love, homosexuality, sex, passion, anger, hatred, betrayal and tragedy. But for all that the novel was empty. Most disturbing were the very strange sexual metaphors and descriptions, each more gross than the other. Please take my word for it. This is coming from the reviewer who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and felt that the disgusting rape scene was very much needed in both the book and the film.

Never Let Me Go

This is an interesting, science fiction mystery. I very much enjoy mysteries, but do not usually gravitate towards science fiction.  I am very glad I did. It takes a while to get into this book, but it's worth the read.

The Distant Hours

I love Kate Morton's books. Check out House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden. I can't pick a favorite. They are all so good. You really don't want to put them down. They are magical!

The Imperfectionist

Each chapter is a short story that ties together in the end. Once I realized this I liked this book much more. I don't usually care for short stories.  My highest praises for the chapter titled, 'The Sex Lives of Islamic Extremists.' I found the characters in this chapter quite enjoyable. This book helped jury duty and not feeling very well make the day fly.

Remarkable Creatures

I really enjoy Chevalier's books. This is particularly interesting because it revolves around real, scientific figures and is loosely based on facts. I started this book during jury duty and finished it on a snowy LA day!

Parnassus on Wheels

This is a fantastic old fashion, romantic, feel good book. I highly recommend it!


I read this in a day. Dark, twisted and so, so sad. Yet it is also a story of strength. In my opinion this book would be too disturbing to new parents. 

The Psychopath Test

This book reiterates that psychiatry is an imperfect science too keen on labeling. A fascinating read which could spark hours of debate. 

Tattoos on the Heart

This book is powerful. Father Boyle and his work are an inspiration.

Winter Garden

A good vacation read. I enjoyed this by the pool!