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Pasaal

Pasaal

Joined July 2016

review
Pasaal
Marriage Material | Sathnam Sanghera
Pickpick

Loved it! Has a flavor of Brick Lane, which I also really enjoyed.

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Pasaal
Orphan Master's Son | Adam Johnson
Pickpick

What a mesmerizing book! I am surprised I liked this as much as I did considering the subject matter, but the writing is so good, the chilling yet somehow very human world of North Korea so masterfully created, it gave me lots to think about. Love, family, relationships, self determination, free will, sacrifice: the many things that make life livable versus just bearable. This book just begs to be discussed.

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Pasaal
Mehso-so

First of what the author hopes will be a series of mysteries set in Provence. The setting was fine and some of the main characters are enjoyable, but nothing made it stand out from the hundreds of mysteries that get published every year.

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Pasaal
Good Daughter | Karin Slaughter
Bailedbailed

Just too much carefully detailed blood and gore for me in the first couple chapters. Not my cup of tea!

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Pasaal
Pickpick

Kind of a strange mix of art, biography and society in the Gilded Age. None of the women highlighted is very well known with the exception of Isabella Stewart Gardner, but I found them all interesting in the world they inhabited. I also admire a lot of Sargent's art so it was a win-win for me!

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Pasaal
Angle of Repose | Wallace Stegner
Pickpick

Very detailed characterizations and wonderful descriptions of several different areas in the West, when mining and railroads were opening the West to more settlers. There is a lot to ponder in this book including the roles of men and women and what history can teach us about ourselves.

cathysaid I love Stegner's work. 2y
2 likes1 comment
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Pasaal
Let the Dead Speak | Jane Casey
Mehso-so

Just OK. OK characters, OK plot, until the end when some of the actions taken by the detectives seem unbelievable. And I don't quite get the relationship between the main character, Maeve, and a fellow detective that seems to be an important part of the series. More puzzling than passionate. Don't plan on reading any of the other titles in the series.

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Pasaal
Pickpick

I liked the historical setting with the children in the orphanage.Hard to believe it is based on a real place and people. The modern day plot wasn't as interesting to me. Didn't need the romance sub plot. It kind of lessened the impact of what were truly awful situations for these children. They are fighting to find their parents, keep their siblings together and avoid abusive adults, and Avery is dithering about which man to choose.

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Pasaal
Sycamore | Bryn Chancellor
Pickpick

I enjoyed the book. However, I didn't quite understand how all the peripheral characters were so affected by the main characters disappearance, even years later. And, although this author handled it well, I have to say I'm getting kind of tired of the multiple charcter, every chapter a new person/viewpoint novel. A nice, straight forward plot would be nice!

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Pasaal
The House at Bishopsgate | Katie Hickman
Bailedbailed

Not badly written, but the characters just didn't grab me. Too many other books on my pile.

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Pasaal
When the English Fall | David Williams
Pickpick

What happens to an Amish family and community when a celestial storm destroys almost all power sources on Earth. They are well positioned to survive and thrive, but they find they're still part of the larger community and human race, with all the challenges that entails. It was wonderful to read a story about one man's spiritual dilemma in a meditative and illuminating way. I really enjoyed this different take on an apocalyptic story.

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Pasaal
A Good Killing: A Novel | Allison Leotta
Mehso-so

Who killed a revered high school football coach in a suburban Michigan town? Not surprisingly, the coach turns out to be a pretty disgusting character in this very average thriller. The best part of the book was the small side plot about urban farming and the revitalization efforts going on in Detroit.

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Pasaal
Mehso-so

The first third of this book would have been a solid thumbs up, but the characters and the choices they made slowly ,slowly strained credulity to the point that the GREAT setting in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall just wasn't enough to keep the thumb up. The author tells the reader how characters feel rather than making the reader believe them.

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Pasaal
Mr. Mercedes: A Novel | Stephen King
Pickpick

Listened to the audiobook and the narrator was great. King knows how to plot and pace a story. It wasn't anything outstanding, but a solid police procedural.

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Pasaal
Pickpick

Loved this book! So nice to read a story that portrayed a young girl in a very realistic way. Captured the bravado and curiosity of a ten year old without losing the naïveté and vulnerability. I also really enjoyed the novel's South African setting and history. There are serious questions and problems being considered but in a very human and well rounded way. Have recommended it to family and friends.

BiancaMarais Thank you so much! I really appreciate that lovely feedback! 2y
2 likes1 comment
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Pasaal
Nightingale | Kristin Hannah
Pickpick

WWII story set in France during the German occupation. There are many WWII novels and they tend to follow a well known and sad plotline. There is a lot of suffering and hardship. I liked Code Name Verity and All the Light We Cannot See better, but this was still well worth reading.

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Pasaal
The Birdwatcher | William Shaw
Pickpick

A better than average English murder mystery. William South is a policeman and avid birdwatcher who gets drawn into a murder case that brings back many memories of the murder of his father in Northern Ireland. South is an interesting character and the town and coastal life around Kent is well done. The ending was a bit over the top, but I'd read more books with this protagonist.

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Pasaal
Windfall | Diksha Basu
Pickpick

Keeping up with the Jones, Mumbai style. The joys and pitfalls of having a lot of money land in your lap and what it does to your dreams and values. A slice of middle class and upper class life spotlighting the expanding roles for women in Indian society today.

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Pasaal
Mehso-so

It was well done graphically, but somehow I came away feeling rather uninvolved with the story, the author, and even her dog. Not sure why.

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Pasaal
Before the Fall | Noah Hawley
Mehso-so

Started out with a strong idea, but about halfway through it became a bit formulaic, with too many characters introduced as possible perpetrators of the plane crash. The characters I liked at the beginning were given short shrift by the end. The story of their lives and interactions just got lost as the "who did it plot" took over.

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Pasaal
A Rising Man | Abir Mukherjee
Pickpick

A solid mystery, evocative setting of Calcutta between the wars, and two interesting detectives, one an Englishman, one Indian. More titles are planned in this series and there's plenty of room to develop these characters.

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Pasaal
Bailedbailed

I really wanted to like this book, a mashup of a mystery and a Regency romance. Unfortunately it was just too light in both regards. The author has a good idea, but the characters seem stock and the situations unbelievable.

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Pasaal
The Heirs | Susan Rieger
Panpan

Started off really liking this book, the affect. of unknown heirs making claims on a fathers inheritance. However, that premise wasn't really pursued, and instead we got more of a character study of a man, his wife and children all whom started to resemble each other to their detriment. They were all variations on the same personality and by the end I didn't care about any of them. Not sure what the point was.

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Pasaal
Pickpick

A surprising book with a lot of humor, but also moments of total sympathy and sadness. How do we fit into the world? How do we learn to fit in if our childhood is not nurturing? As one of the few who didn't love A Man Called Ove, I thought this shared the idea of a plain speaking, antisocial character who learns to let others in, but with a much better story.

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Pasaal
Strong Poison | Dorothy L. Sayers
Pickpick

Listened to this and really enjoyed the reader, Ian Carmichael, who played Wimsey on the BBC series from years ago. This is the story where Wimsey meets Harriet Vane for the first time, while defending her from a murder charge. Old fashioned in the best way, at least for an Anglophile like me!

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Pasaal
Pickpick

This book has many bright spots in spite of its subject matter, which is the author's life dealing with breast cancer. Thoughtful,realistic, sad, joyous and enduring, Nina Riggs doesn't shy away from death, but doesn't let it dictate the rest of her life either. And she has a wide and supporting group of family and friends that help her along the way.

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Pasaal
Magpie Murders | Anthony Horowitz
Pickpick

I love a good Agatha Christie type mystery, so I enjoyed this, although the second half of the book wasn't as good as the first. It was a clever book with lots of characters, twists and puzzles, but there may have been a bit too much of that at the expense of character development and heart. A bit stereotypical.

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Pasaal
Gentleman in Moscow | Amor Towles
Pickpick

The characters,relationships, and situations are all beautifully developed. Plus, the reader learns a lot about the history of Russia between the wars. It's such a different type of book with an admirable main character and was a pleasure to read.

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Pasaal
Lost Book of the Grail | Charlie Lovett
Bailedbailed

Just too much info and history of the Grail for me.

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Pasaal
Three Dark Crowns | Kendare Blake
Mehso-so

Reading this for book club and fantasy is not a favorite genre for me. It was an easy read, but the secondary characters aren't well developed and the romance is pretty perfunctory. Just OK.

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Pasaal
The Brass Dolphin | Joanna Trollope
Mehso-so

Not one of her best books,but the setting on the island of Malta during WWII was interesting to me. It kind of devolved into more of a romance plot toward the end. Who will she end up with kind of thing.

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Pasaal
Pickpick

I'm conflicted about this book. It held my interest and I was happy to read a book with a small town setting that didn't paint all the characters in a condescending way, yet I finished the book thinking many of the characters could have been developed even more. I felt I was just starting to get to know them and the book ended. A promising author.

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Pasaal
Distress Signals | Catherine Ryan Howard
Pickpick

A very good mystery, written with a pace that definitely keeps you reading. Whenever I'm in the middle of a book and never even turn on the TV at night, but just keep reading, I know I'm hooked. You may have to suspend belief just a touch at the very end, but a very fun read.

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Pasaal
Wolf Hollow | Lauren Wolk
Pickpick

My book club likes to read juvenile fiction from time to time and this was worthy of our time and discussion. It definitely describes a simpler time when more was expected of children. It also takes on the subject of bullying in a very realistic way, with no simple answers. The loving relationship depicted in Annabelle's family is a pleasure to read.

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Pasaal
Celine: A novel | Peter Heller
Pickpick

Enjoyed this story, especially the sections out in the Yellowstone Park area of the country. My only quibble is that the main character, Celine, was excellent at everything she did. Program a computer, outsmart a CIA operative, stare down a motorcycle gang, take apart and put together guns. It almost read like a fairy tale at times.

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Pasaal
Panpan

Totally oversold as a great, new thriller. I wanted to like it, as the setting in a remote Icelandic town seemed to be ideal for a mystery. But both the characters and writing were terribly inconsistent. It read more like a movie prospectus. Writing was choppy and most of the characters did not come to life. Disappointing.

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Pasaal
Staggerford | Jon Hassler
Pickpick

Interesting slice of small town life with an absolutely surprising ending. Hassler seems to have an affection for all his characters even the vain, pompous and ineffectual ones! The book provides a lot of gentle amusement.

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Pasaal
The Girls: A Novel | Emma Cline
Pickpick

I had to go back and refresh what I knew about Charles Manson and his family after reading this book. The author presents a vivid picture of the counter culture sixties.

1 stack add
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Pasaal
A Tale of Two Cities | Charles Dickens
Pickpick

The amount of verbiage and description in Dickens books is amazing and almost overwhelming and yet I enjoyed this book. It's so unlike books written today, where characters are memorable and scenes are stick with you. Madame DeFarge knitting. The cruelty of the aristocrats. The cruelty of the proletariat. Somehow, classic books always make me think more and that's a good thing.

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Pasaal
Big Little Lies | Liane Moriarty
Pickpick

It was entertaining and some issues were surprisingly thought provoking.

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Pasaal
Eligible | Curtis Sittenfeld
Panpan

Jane Austen's classic brought down to the level of a Three's Company sitcom. So sad. If you want a much funnier book with just the flavor of P&P, Bridget Jones Diary is a lot better.

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Pasaal
Swing Time | Zadie Smith
Mehso-so

Writing and characterization are so strong, but to what end? The meandering plot didn't engross me. I still want a story. The start of several good stories were there, but they all just ran circles around each other.

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Pasaal
Mehso-so

Started off strong, but the ending became a little contrived.

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Pasaal
The Secrets of Wishtide | Kate Saunders
Pickpick

Enjoyable "old school" British mystery with a redoubtable,older vicar's widow who investigates to save an innocent man from the gallows. Not extraordinary, but a step up from a cozy.

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Pasaal
They Found Him Dead | Georgette Heyer
Mehso-so

Very old school British mystery. It is not the authors best, but Heyer's dialog and strong plotting kept me reading until the end. I love British mysteries from the first half of the 20th century, but have read a lot of them already. Can't give this a complete thumbs up, but I enjoyed it.

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Pasaal
Pickpick

Loved this book! So different from books I've been reading lately. A 70-ish ex-captain from the Civil War is hired to return a young girl, who was a captive of the Kiowa, back to her relatives. It's a dangerous journey, and they come upon both good and bad people, but the Captain is intelligent and determined,and they bond to make a resourceful team. The setting of 1870 Texas is wonderfully done. And the author also offers us a real ending.

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Pasaal
The Other Side of the World | Stephanie Bishop
Mehso-so

Where to people feel they belong? What is "home"? Those are the weighty questions this book tackles. Both main characters need to live in the surroundings they identify with and when removed from them, languish to the detriment of their marriage and children. Interesting ideas, but the characters never engaged my emotions.

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Pasaal
The Strangler Vine | M.J. Carter
Pickpick

I'm a sucker for books set in India and I like mysteries, so this was a very enjoyable read for me. It is set in India in the time of the Raj. The only weakness was the abrupt, unsatisfying ending.

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Pasaal
Pickpick

What I call a dense book. I really enjoyed it, because it went deep into the Brontes life and surroundings. Immense amount of illness and deprivation for all of them, but the story was beautifully written.

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Pasaal
Quiet Place | Seichao Matsumoto
Mehso-so

The author, much published in Japan, was called "a master crime writer" by the NY Times. Well, no. The mystery was fairly pedestrian and the ending was rushed and incomplete. The only part I did enjoy was the setting in modern day Japan, and the man/woman relations of that country.