Searching for some real-ass book reviews!? Look no further! Thinking of starting your own book club!? Check out these tips and tricks!
I developed a rating system for those interested in either looking for new books to read or maybe even starting a book club of their own!! I sent out a survey to my fellow Finer Things Club members and calculated an average of their scores, along with a few insightful (and totally raw, honest, and even harsh) comments regarding the book. The rating system and book reviews are to follow.
***I will be updating these monthly at the conclusion of each club meeting!!***
Five Star Rating System:
1 Star: I HATED READING IT. It was extremely hard to get through and I couldn’t wait for it to end. I would not recommend this book for any book club: there was not much at all to discuss.
2 Stars: IT WAS O.K. TO READ. There were a few things about the book I liked, but for the most part it was hard to read.. I would not recommend it for a book club: there were only a few things worth discussing.
3 Stars: I LIKED READING, BUT I DIDN’T LOVE IT. There were some things about this book that were enjoyable, and other things I did not like. I was not overly excited to pick it up and read it but I did want to finish it.. I would hesitate to recommend this for a book club: limited room for discussion.
4 Stars: I ENJOYED READING THIS BOOK A LOT. I enjoyed most aspects of this book very much. It wasn’t my absolute favorite but I still really liked this book. I would recommend for a book club: there was a good amount of discussion to be had. 5 Stars: I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. I could not wait to keep reading/ it kept me on the edge of my seat/ I was sad to see it end. I would HIGHLY recommend for a bookclub: there was a ton of good discussion to be had.
5 Stars: I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. I could not wait to keep reading/ it kept me on the edge of my seat/ I was sad to see it end. I would HIGHLY recommend for a bookclub: there was a ton of good discussion to be had.
Book Club Review
⬇NEWEST REVIEW BELOW⬇
By: Kelly Lang
The entire first three-quarters of this book completely dragged. It did enjoy the conclusion but it seemed very jammed together. Although we did end up having some pretty good discussion, in my opinion it would have been much better suited for high-school aged girls. -MF
I might recommend this book to a teen or young adult, however, it was too corny and predictable for me. -JH
I liked that this was a quick read that gave a glimpse into a culture I do not know much about. Unfortunately the book had a very slow start and when the story finally started to pick up the book ended. -AH
I found this story to be boring and slightly immature. It was not a drag to get through but I definitely would not recommend it to a friend. The last bit of the book did pick up but it took too long to get there. -CP
I didn’t really like this book, I found it hard to relate to the characters and it felt a little juvenile, more young adult type book than I would typically want to read. – KN
I didn’t love this book for book club. It was a bit too young adult for me to relate. I think I would have liked it more in high school or early college. – DB
My Dark Vanessa
By: Kate Elizabeth Russell
Although tough to read because of it’s graphic nature, I found I couldn’t put this book down. Rather than glorifying a student-teacher romance like pop-culture often does, it unapologetically paints the blunt picture of a decade long case of sexual assault/rape. The story is narrated through the eyes of the victim unlike any way I have ever seen and was truly eye opening. -MF
From the very first page this book really grabbed my attention. The book sheds light on how disgustingly intricate the “grooming” process is when it comes to abuse, and just how deeply trauma can affect a persons life. It’s important to note that there are certain sections that are hard to read and could certainly be a trigger for anyone who has experienced physical or emotional abuse. JH
This book captivated my attention from beginning to end. It was a heart wrenching story highlighting the extremely complicated feelings surrounding abuse. -AH
I loved this book. I loved the realistic depiction of how she was both in love and disgusted by this man. It not only was a captivating story but an incredible book club book. We discussed this for such a long time. I would recommend it to everyone. – CP
I really loved this book. It was super intense and very disturbing at times but so captivating and I couldn’t put it down. It was one of the longest/best discussions we’ve had at book club to date – KN
I loved this book! It was a fast read and a great book club discussion. It was very graphic and intense at times, but I think it made it more realistic and easier to understand exactly what the main character went through. – DB
The Midnight Library
By: Matt Haig
The concept of this book was intriguing to me and definitely got me contemplating the possibility of parallel universes. This was the first sci-fi novel I have read and I am certainly now interested in reading more. We had decent book club discussion as we were about 50/50 thumbs up vs thumbs down.-MF
Overall, this was an enjoyable book and I loved the concept. I really want it to be 4 or 5 stars, but I thought it could have been so much stronger. The main character was not likable and I didn’t feel that any of the characters were fully developed. I am a huge sci-fi fan so I had high expectations for this book, but I was disappointed by the execution of a great idea. -NE
The book was an easy read but unfortunately due to lack of character development it didn’t draw me in. -AH
This book was boring. I disliked the characters and found the plot super predictable. I also did not like that it was written by a male but about a woman. I felt a huge disconnect with the character and thought it could have been moving and interesting but just missed the mark entirely for me. Completely puzzled how this won best fiction book of 2020. Not for me. – CP
I wanted so badly to like this book more than I did. The concept was amazing, but it fell a bit flat due to lack of character development. I was unable to sympathize or connect with the main character, which was a bummer. I enjoyed reading it, but overall what slightly let down by not loving it! -JH
I loved this book. The concept was really interesting and creative. It was a fast and easy read. – DB
This plot had so much potential but just didn’t deliver, I didn’t care about the characters and thought it was just not very well written. I was super intrigued by the synopsis/concept but was disappointed by the delivery. I will say that the discussion we had at book club was good though.
The Boy who Harnessed The Wind
This story had SO MUCH potential due to how incredibly moving the ACTUAL story was… however I wasn’t crazy about how it all came together. I honestly think a better medium for this account would be a short story or documentary. -MF
I loved this book! It didn’t get a 5 because I think it could have been even better. I was incredibly moved by the story and also horrified on the conditions that people in the modern world live in. The teacher in me was so impressed by the self-motivation and intelligence of the main character and horrified that students can’t attend school without paying! -NE
This book drew me in from the very start. The ingenuity and perseverance shown by William ended up saving his entire village. While there were a few dense scientific explanations overall the book was a quick, easy and enjoyable read!
I really liked this book! They definitely could have developed the characters a bit better but overall, I found it interesting and inspiring. Many parts of the book were incredibly moving and I felt like it’s a book everyone should read because many of us (me included!) are extremely ignorant to the living conditions in other parts of the world. It led to great discussions with the group. -CP
The story was incredibly inspiring and it was so eye opening to all of the privileges we have living in a developed country. As someone who was never super interested in science and engineering, I found myself skimming over many parts. It was not my favorite read for this reason but I definitely learned a lot. JH
I thought the book was okay. It was a moving/emotional topic, but it was not very interesting to me. – DB
I really liked this book, the story was very eye-opening and inspiring, and really makes you appreciate everything you have and all that we take for granted.
By: Sebastian Junger
Although I enjoyed this book, I rated 3.5 because it wasn’t the best “book club” book in my opinion. While reading I did indeed reflect on my own life and pursuit of happiness while also attempting to put myself in the shoes of those struggling with PTSD. I felt the author could have elaborated more on many of the topics discussed and could have included more personal testimonies, however overall it was an insightful read of a topic that frankly we should all educate ourselves more on. -MF
I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this book. It was certainly not my favorite, but it made me reflect on my own life and I ended up with a lot of “takeaways.” I think it is important to note that the author is not an expert or doctor in mental health, so his claims on PTSD should be taken as his opinions only. Otherwise, it was an interesting read about modern society.
I was not really a fan of this book. While I think the author made some good points, he only provided anecdotal evidence. He made a lot of strong, controversial points that I did not think was supported by research-based evidence. I also found some of his views on PTSD and trauma harmful. – NE
I like the beginning of the book I found it extremely interesting. However after the first 30 pages the author seemed to lose direction and the novel became muddled and confusing. -AH
I enjoyed reading this book, it was a nice change of pace from what we normally read and I don’t think I would have read it otherwise. The subject was very interesting and although the author was not an expert on the subject I still think it was worth reading. – KN
The topic was interesting and it was a great book club discussion. However, the book was confusing at parts and the author was not an expert. – DB
This Tender Land
I liked certain sub-plots of this book a lot, but personally felt it dragged on at times as well. The ending was unexpected for me and left me with so many questions; if you love a conclusion where everything “wraps up” at the end, then this isn’t for you. To me the conclusion seemed a little rushed based on the complexity of the book’s journey, but overall it was a good read that provided a fair amount of book club discussion. -MF
I liked the book overall, but didn’t love it. I enjoyed the adventures and the storyline. I don’t know if I would have read this on my own. It was a great book for book club! – DB
I really enjoyed this book, I loved the descriptive writing and style of writing overall, it was a feel good story and I would definitely recommend. – KN
I thought this was an adventure. Some parts were definitely more exciting than others but I loved the imagery of the book and overall thought it had some great discussion topics. I wasn’t blown away with the book but felt like it was a really positive read and I would recommend it. – CP
I really loved this book. I thought it was a great story that highlighted how strong human connections can be. There were some lengthy parts but overall a great read. I highly recommend. – AH
When I first started this books, I was not feeling it. It seemed like it was dragging and I didn’t feel connected with any of the characters. The book improved as it went on and certain characters demonstrated a lot of growth throughout the land. One part I found problematic was that it was a “school for Indians” which was sadly very common – the point was to completely erase their indigenous way of life and assimilate/indoctrinate them into Western culture however the main characters were white. I think the author could have told this story using a different school. Overall, it ended up being a good book and I would recommend it. -NE
I ended up enjoying this book a lot. It started off very slow and hard to get into. I was beginning to ask myself what we got ourselves into reading this book. But I gave it a chance, and I’m so glad I did! It was a cool adventure with pretty good character development. I enjoyed the story line and imagery the Author included. I would recommend this book to others! -EE
The Guest List
By: Lucy Foley
This book reminded me so much of the Agatha Christie style murder mystery. I’ll admit while reading it seemed like it took forever to reach the “big reveal”, however I ended up being completely O.K. with this because of how the author tied everything together in the end. I’ll admit it was slightly far fetched but I genuinely enjoyed the twist and would recommend to others who enjoy this particular style novel. – M.F.
I love a quick murder mystery read. I do agree it took a long time to find out any information. I also feel like I typically can guess the ‘who done it’ by the middle of the book and the author kept me guessing until the very end! – D.B
What a fun read! The Author’s use of descriptive imagery really brings the reader to the island where the wedding takes place. I loved the style of writing from multiple perspectives. This is a great murder mystery for any lover of the genre. – J.H.
I really enjoyed this book! I love murder mystery books that keep me guessing. I did wish the author handled the flash forwards a little differently – I think it was a missed opportunity to make the book even better. – N.E.
This was a quick easy read, unfortunately I didn’t care for most of the characters. I also found the build up to the mystery to be too long. – A.H.
I did not like this book. I found it very far fetched and like it should have been labeled a Young Adult book. I didn’t care for any of the characters and found it a chore to pick up. – C.P.
This was a quick, fun book. I enjoyed reading it and love a good mystery, but there wasn’t a ton to discuss for book club – K.N.
Between the World and Me
By: Ta-Nehisi Coates
This was a tough read and you really needed to re-read and pay attention in order to understand and absorb it all. I did enjoy the topic and it made me reflect a lot on myself and how I act without even realizing it. Definitely worth the read especially with everything going on right now. The more educated we get on this matter, the better we can help make a difference. -E.E.
The book was very insightful and it challenged me to reflect on a lot of things I take for granted. It is a little wordy and at times tough to get through but worth the read. -A.E.
I was really glad we read this book, it was very well written and informative. Some of the historical people & events the author talked about went over my head and I found I had to look stuff up as I read so it took a bit longer to read, but really enjoyed the book. -K.N.
This book provides a look into the life of the oppressed. It had a lot to discuss, but I didn’t agree with all the conclusions that were drawn. I couldn’t find a way forward after reading this book. Instead, I would recommend How to be an Anti-Racist which shows a path that we can all take. -N.E.
While reading this book I was constantly reminded of my “white privilege”- it was truly eye-opening. I personally would recommend reading “How to be an Anti-Racist” prior to this book as it supported my historical knowledge of the subjects referenced throughout. -M.F.
In Five Years
By: Rebecca Serle
I liked this book and was engaged but I thought the overall plot could have been developed way better. I would recommend this to friends though. -E.E.
The ending was a bit of a bust. -D.B.
This was kind of a “meh” book for me. I didn’t love it or hate it. I found it far-fetched and thought it lacked points for discussion. -N.E.
A fun and easy read, but not exactly thought provoking. -A.H.
This was a page turner but not really any I’d recommend. Seemed farfetched. -C.P.
Just not a good book at all. -K.N.
I was waiting for this book to take off and it really never did. The ending was a complete let down. Not worth the read in my opinion. -M.F.
The Giver of Stars
By: Jojo Moyes
Would definitely recommend to any book club! -D.B.
The history behind this was really cool to read. -E.E.
I am a lover of historical fiction, especially about strong women! This definitely hit the mark. It made me think about what I would have done if I lived during that time. -N.E.
Loved this book. Historical fiction. Great look into the Depression era and quite different from anything I’ve read recently. -C.P.
I loved this book. Even if you aren’t a huge historical fiction buff, you will root for the characters and be mesmerized by the story telling. -J.H.
Great feel good book, all around awesome story about strong independent women; loved that it was based on history. K.N.
A must read! Based on a true story of a group of strong women and their quest to educate all. -A.H.
By: Colleen Hoover
I could not put this book down! I think I read it in a day! Definitely suspenseful and thought-provoking! -N.E.
A very suspenseful and eerie read! -J.H.
A thriller from start to end. It kept me up all night reading I had to know the end! -A.H.
FUN! A great discussion book. Mystery/suspense until the last page. -C.P.
Read in 2 days, SO much to discuss, loved it -K.N.
Personally this is one of the better books I’ve read. I flew through it because I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. Kept me on the edge of my seat. -E.E.
I LOVED this book. There were so many twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout and I was genuinely “creeped out” while reading. This book sparked a few hours of great discussion, even over a zoom book club!! -M.F.
The Nickel Boys
By: Colson Whitehead
The true story was interesting, but the author didn’t do it any justice. The book was rushed. -D.B.
I found this story interesting, but I thought it didn’t live up to expectations. I expected more story/background but never got it. -N.E.
Like the premise, didn’t love the way the story was told. Thought it could have been more cohesive and better written. -C.P.
Good plot but wasn’t well developed, I didn’t really feel like I knew the characters or was super invested in their story. -K.N.
This book was good and had a good story, but they could have elaborated so much more. -E.E.
This book could have had a lot of potential, but it flopped for me. the story line was slow and it jumped around a lot from past to present with no real direction. -J.H.
I enjoyed this book. It was a storyline that is not familiar to me and was very eye opening. -A.H.
Given the subject this book had great potential, however I felt it jumped around too much and was rather cluttered and disjointed, hence it was hard to keep my attention and I found myself re-reading out of confusion. -M.F.
The Polished Hoe
By: Austin Clarke
This is probably the worst book that I have ever read. I think the subject matter was interesting but it was not written in an engaging way. I dreaded picking it up. -N.E.
The book was way too long. The author had a good story but it got lost in all the detail and dialogue. -A.H.
Just kidding, this is the worst book I ever read. Interesting words and plot but the constant repeating of stories made reading it a daunting task. Didn’t hit the mark for me. -C.P.
SO long, repetitive, painful to get through. -K.N.
Wow..if this book was literally 300 pages shorter it could have been SO much better. The actual storyline was intriguing but it was so darn wordy and literally repeated itself for 400 freakin pages that the plot itself was overshadowed!! -M.F.
By: Kristin Hannah
A quick read with a great story. I wouldn’t necessarily call it thought provoking but worth a read! -A.H.
This book reminded me a lot of my favorite book, Summer Sisters by Judy Bloom. It was a really great story about 2 friends growing up. -D.B.
I loved Firefly Lane. Much of the book feels nostalgic and takes you back to memories with childhood best friends. Warning – you will cry. -J.H.
I found the characters in this book very hard to connect with. It’s definitely a good discussion book, but I didn’t love it. -N.E.
This read provided ample discussion for our book club because there was a pretty even split on we felt about the protagonists (or antagonists depending on your view..). It certainly hit me in the feels..I shed real tears while reading. -M.F.
The Girl with All the Gifts
By: Mike Carey
I am in the minority that generally likes science fiction books. It was an ok read, I wouldn’t recommend it for a book club. -N.E.
I was in the minority liking this one. More on the sci fi side but I thought it was a page turner and a fun turn of events from our normal monthly reads! I liked it! -C.P.
Great book, really enjoyed reading this and would recommend. -K.N.
Not what we expected, but it was a great Halloween read! -D.B.
This book was weird and strange. I kind of hated it. If you like zombies then this book is for you.. -E.E.
The description of this book COMPLETELY differed from book itself… I wouldn’t recommend for a book club but definitely worth the read if you’re into The Walking Dead. -M.F.
What Alice Forgot
By: Liane Moriarty
I think I liked this book more than the other girls did. I felt like it really resonated with me and it made me self-reflect a lot. This one definitely stuck with me and I would recommend. -K.N.
I really enjoy enjoyed reading this and I would highly recommend to others -E.E.
A quick fun read. -A.H.
The Hate You Give
By: Angie Thomas
This was a great book! It had a compelling story, complex characters, and plenty of subjects to discuss. It helped me think from a different perspective. -N.E.
A wonderful, eye opening book. Would be a great book club discussion and taught me many things I never knew / cared to think of before. -C.P.
Very well written from the main character’s POV, felt like you really got to know her and understand what was in her head. -K.N.
This was an eye opening book. For the first time I was immersed in a different perspective than my own. It completely changed my way of thinking. A perfect book to read in today’s climate. -A.H.
This is a great book! It was a quick read for me, I didn’t want to put it down. This book had great discussion points especially with all the racial controversy going on these days. -E.E.
Very relevant for today, and insightful. -J.H.
An incredible way to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” Highly recommend for anyone looking to learn more/ immerse themselves in the BLM movement. -M.F.
By: Jodi Picoult
It was an enjoyable read but a lot of the story didn’t seem to make sense or tie together. -E.E.
It was a really good mystery and easy read. -D.B.
An emotional book from start to finish. A great book to have discussions about. -A.H.
I like this book, but i found it hard to connect with the characters and understand some of the decisions they made. It was a good discussion book! -N.E.
Albeit slightly juvenile at times, it was a page turner and opted for great discussions with book club.-C.P.
It was a decent book but probably wouldn’t recommend it or want to read it again. -K.N.
Where the Crawdads Sing
By: Delia Owens
Personal opinion – it was really hard to get into. I know it has great reviews and other people loved it! -D.B.
I really enjoyed this book and there was a lot for discussion. I will say that our book club was split evenly with those who loved it and those who hated it. -N.E.
This book was ok. I didn’t really love or hate it. It was kind of a choppy read but it did have good discussion points. -E.E.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I thought the descriptions were beautiful and it was a book unlike most that I read. -C.P.
A very descriptive book, but overall a great read. An interesting coming of age meets mystery. -J.H.
An easy read, but a little wordy. It could have been written in half the amount of pages. -A.H.
By: Herman Koch
This book was slow with too many descriptions, but I will concede that the main plot did provide some points for discussion. -N.E.
Worst book I maybe ever read, ever. Boring. Slow. Barely any story. Literally takes place at one dinner. Would not recommend. -C.P.
This book was terrible. It was so slow and boring, way too drawn out for no reason. Would never recommend to anyone. -E.E.
Awful, boring, did not enjoy it at all. -K.N.
If I could give this negative stars, I would. There is no plot, and no real point to the story. It is essentially reading a 100+ page long description of a silver tea spoon and the placement of a napkin. -J.H.
By: Gillian Flynn
I always love a good thriller and Gillian Flynn doesn’t disappoint! Kept me guessing until the end! -N.E.
It kept my attention as a mystery/thriller and I wanted to know what happened but it wasn’t amazing or anything. -K.N.
Suspenseful, kept me on the edge of my seat! Love Gillian Flynn! -A.H.
I wasn’t in book club when they read this book, but I had read it before and loved it! I don’t think it’s as good as the author’s other books (Sharp Objects or Gone Girl), but it’s worth a read. -D.B.
By: Chloe Benjamin
I might be the only person who liked it – but I really enjoyed this book. I thought the writing was interesting since each section was from a different child’s point of view. -D.B.
This book was average at best. The plot was good but there was a lack of character development, didn’t feel invested in the story or really like any of the characters. -K.N.
I found this book did not hold my attention and jumped around a lot. It wasn’t horrible, but I would not recommend it to a friend. -J.H.
I didn’t particularly like this book. I didn’t connect to any of the characters and was bored while reading. -N.E.
By: K. L Randis
I LOVED this book. I’ve never cared or empathized for a character so much in a book before. I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to find out what was happening next. This book brought me to tears a few times. I highly recommend. -E.E.
Really great book club read! It’s heartbreaking though, so be ready for all the feels! -D.B.
A compelling memoir that deals with a difficult subject. -N.E.
This book was very good and well written, the story was definitely disturbing though since it was a true story/memoir – what the author went through was absolutely devastating and unimaginable. -K.N.
A heart wrenching story of a girl and her will to not just survive, but thrive. -A.H.
This book was difficult to get through given the context of abuse. It’s a heart wrenching story, but you really find yourself rooting for the author. -J.H.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
By: Bryn Greenwood
**EVERYONE GAVE THIS BOOK A 5 STAR RATING!**
***Books and reviews will be updated monthly after each book club meets***
I’ve never been a “reader” per say; for one reason or the other I always had a hard time getting through books, however joining a book club totally changed this for me. Current day, I genuinely enjoy reading with the reward of engaging in quality discussion with my fellow book club members!!
We meet about every month to month and a half, almost always after work on a weekday. We all bring either apps or stick to a themed meal (we’ve done tacos, pasta night etc). Naturally there is an abundance of wine and our other drinks of choice. We all chat about that month’s book: it’s that simple. We then all submit a pick for what next month’s book should be, and have a true democratic vote via our group text chat. In The Finer Thing Club there are two main rules:
- Don’t talk about the book to the other members of the club until book club meets.
- Always talk about the book for at least the first hour of book club. (O.K. so we don’t always succeed here but we certainly try!)
Our dynamic is particularly unique and so perfect for a book club because most of us only just met each other through the club itself so it makes for a diverse discussion/ meeting of the minds if I do say so myself. And let’s make something clear here, we are no literary critics with our pinkies up judging on how insightful we each sound. We just talk about whatever comes to mind, no judgement. Its light and its fun, and most importantly its an awesome excuse to be brought together regularly with a true purpose, other than just drinking and snackin’, thats just the bonus of it all!!!
The following pics are from previous club meetings!
Till next time fellow tropics! 📗