Book Discussion of The Broken Girls

June 2018

For the month of June we read the book The Broken Girls by Simone st. James.

WOW! We all want to thank Megan for bringing this book as one of her picks… and we want to thank ourselves for voting for this book to be the book of the month. For those of you who have not read this book- here is the synopsis:

“Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears…

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won’t be silenced…”

This creepy tale will have you hooked in a few chapters. The way the author builds and connects the stories that take place in 1950, 1994 and 2014 will bring a chill to you. Making this book a perfect beach read! As the characters evolve and the story lines deepen, you are left wondering what is going to happen. Even myself, who typically can spot an ending, was left in the shadows, trying to figure everything out.

I have already lent this book to a couple of friends and have passed along the name of this book to many more. This story is an easy read, with deep intertwining stories that will leave you reaching for a blanket to stop the chills.

Dear Mrs. Bird

September 2018

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

Let me start off by saying that everyone LOVED this book cover. And I do mean everyone. The letters- set like an old typewriter’s keys… come on? Who wouldn’t love that and the colors? This cover captured your heart and sadly, that is about it for this book.

When reading the synopsis and reviews for the book- you read words like Charming, Plucky and Fresh to describe this story. For those that have not read Dear Mrs. Bird- Here is the synopsis:

“Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are doing their bit for the war effort and trying to stay cheerful, despite the German planes making their nightly raids. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent, and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance; but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, renowned advice columnist of Woman’s Friend magazine.

Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. But as Emmy reads the desperate pleas from women who many have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she begins to secretly write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.”

Seems Intriguing right? Once you start reading the book; you realize that 1- it is a very easy read and that 2- you think you like the book. Once you finish the book and actually begin to think about the story… you are left with this dread. With this “What the hell?” type of feeling. At first, I truly felt that it was just me; that the other D&O gals would say “WHAT?! Karie no! the book was good.” So the night of the meeting came and the verdict? Many felt the same. The story, although easy to read and you wanted to route for the characters left you unfulfilled. The main Character, Emmeline Lake, left you feeling like you wanted to knock some sense into her. The characters around her, that just let her get away with her antics, also left you questioning humanity (Not in a deep sense but in a “Would this really happen” way). She isn’t the go-getter that the synopsis would lead you to believe, instead she is self-centered, careless, immature character that really…. you want to smack up side the head and say “what are you thinking?”.

The end of the book leaves much to be desired as well. The author manages to wrap it up in a bow and the pieces that don’t tie up… are not mentioned. It really is sad that a book that we thought was going to be interesting/enjoyable left us not wanting more and truly not excited.

Any D&O’s out there that have any thing that they would like to add… please do! And for those of you reading along… what were your thoughts on this book?

The Gashlycrumb Tinies

For the month of October 2018, Dine & Opine read The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Although a few have mentioned that the book is more like a picture book than a “traditional” book; I have faith that the discussion will be one that we will all enjoy. Can’t wait to discuss this one!

Update: Let me start by saying “wow”. We read the book. I mean, seriously, it is not at all a tough book. Very much a cartoon/picture book style and very quick to read. I believe many said they read the book in about 30 seconds… lol. So with a book with little words, stretches and no main plot besides rhyming deaths…. what in the world would we discuss? Ah… Here is what I learned about myself… I wanted to find questions. I searched, read articles, background on the author and then it was as if the student in me jumped up and down and instead of searching… I began researching. Very quickly it became clear that although there are many articles and papers covering the book, the theories behind the book, etc. There were no exact “Discussion Questions”. That being the case, I decided to create questions based on the research that I had done.

The night of D&O’s meeting came. Those in attendance joked about the book. We thought it was cute. Then, I began to go through the questions. Slowly, the discussion went from this is cute and we were thrusted into a conversation regarding the darker material that can be found in the book, the author’s intent and strangers vs familiar people.

At the end of the night we agreed that the book was good. Amy, a fellow D&O, kept saying that she thought I “Made up these questions”. I told her over and over… “I did… based on my research”. Suhanti, a fellow D&O, asked to take the questions home to share with her daughter. My point is that even though a book can seem so easy… you can immerse yourself into the book and find that even the easiest book, many times, can have layers… like an onion… or an Ogre. (Yes, I am quoting a line from the movie Shrek. It seemed fitting).

And never fear… I am including the questions here. I hope you read them and if you have any input.. share! Would love to hear others view points/thoughts on this book!

Discussion Questions for The Gashlycrumbs Tinies

 

The book of Unknown Americans

May 2018

For the month of May we read The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez.

Thinking back to when we read The Book of Unknown Americans I remember the following things:

  • The writing was simple (makes this book a quick read)
  • Even though the book was a quick read- I remember taking time with the book and enjoying the development of the characters.
  • I felt that there was a window that allowed me to look/experience the life that immigrants face.

There are a couple of other items that come back to mind when reflecting on this book. However, the last bullet point is the one that really sits strongly in my memory. The story, built around a family that faces serious changes after the daughter has an accident, is gripping. The story covers so many matters of the heart; love, happiness, sadness, guilt, death, acceptance, hopes and dreams. If I remember correctly; I believe that every character has a moment where they deal with each matter of the heart.

Schindler’s Ark

April 2018

Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally

 

Sometimes it happens. Sometimes you don’t read a book. I completely missed reading this book. I can’t remember why and that bothers me a little. I normally will read every book. I guess missing one every once in a while is ok and not that bad. So, I will have to rely on the other Dine and Opiner’s for this book discussion. I hope that they will comment and/or email me so that I can add their opinions on this book… and any other book discussion.

Educated: A Memoir book Discussion

July 2018

Educated: A Memoir by Tata Westover


What can we say about this book that hasn’t already been said? This book was a wonderfully captivating read. As a whole we, D&O, enjoyed the book and could not stop talking about all of the cringe worthy stories. A few D&O ladies were quick to be able to share moments from their life that were crazy, a way of connecting with the author. We discussed the idea of how people remember things differently. There were so many moments when discussing different parts of this memoir.

We even began google searching, at the table, information on the author and her family; trying to find anything that would fill in the gaps/questions that we began to point out and discuss. This book, we all agreed, is one that we would recommend to another reader.

 

Book Discussion on Less

August 2018

For the month of August we read Less by Andrew Sean Greer. The Dine & Opine Ladies definitely had a few thoughts on this book. It received mixed reviews. The readers that did not completely enjoy the book felt (and I am paraphrasing here) disconnected. Many missed the humor that the author was portraying. The Dine & Opine ladies that enjoyed the book- really enjoyed the book.

Being one of the D&Os that enjoyed the book, here are my thoughts on Less. Using a writing technique that makes everything in a book seem simple is not an easy task. Throwing in the sense of humor that comes across with ease; truly makes this book a delightful read. With all characters the reader will feel a connection and not even realize how much of a character’s development will have taken place until the end of the book. Arthur, an unaware genius, is a lovable aging man facing self awareness and future path of his life. The characters that surround him help in building the background information of Arthur’s character.

Book Discussion The Wife Between Us

February’s book pick offered the Dine & Opine ladies a genre that we haven’t read in a while… Thriller. For myself, coming off of ready All the King’s Men, this was a nice brain break read. Now, don’t take that to mean that this book is a no-need-to-think book. This book definitely doesn’t fit in that category.

When I read thrillers, mysteries, who-done-its books- normally I can tell early on who did what, why and so forth. This book – I HAD NO CLUE. Think Gone Girl but different (I figured out Gone Girl before the twist was given). And in this book, the book with TWO authors, there is more than one twist. There are multiple and they are surprising.

This book received an all around THUMBS UP from the Dine & Opine Ladies!

Now time to read March’s book- The Power.

Did you read The Wife Between Us? Did you like it? Dislike it?

Book Discussion for All the King’s Men

So it has been awhile since I have posted anything on here. I really dropped the ball! Hopefully you are following us on Social Media and know that we haven’t disappeared. The Book for January was All The Kings Men. I feel as though I shouldn’t write a post about this book… I didn’t finish the book. Now, that is not to say I didn’t try. BOY did I try…three or four times.

Luckily, during this book’s month- we, the ladies of Dine and Opine, went on a weekend getaway. During this weekend we enjoyed watching the 2006 movie adaptation featuring Sean Penn and Jude Law. Now the movie was, at least for myself, really good and it actually helped with getting me motivated to keep reading. The only downside was that the movie covered everything I had already read and only a few things that I hadn’t read… and I had about 250ish pages still to read. hmmmm. So I tried to keep reading and I finally (And not overly excited to fail at not finishing the book) gave up.

So did all the D & O ladies give up? NO! Did some enjoy the book? YES! Do I think that I will ever finish the book? I have no idea. Actually that’s not true. In this case, I can say at this moment… I do not foresee myself picking up that book to start reading it again any time soon!

Did you read the book? Did you like the book?