Book Club Reviews & Menus (Month 3) – Hi Friends!  It’s May and here’s what I’ve been reading.  I hope you enjoy my reviews and menu suggestions for your next Book Club.  I’m always looking for ideas on what to read next…please leave me a comment with your current favorites!

Because there aren’t any major food themes in the books I read this month, I’m offering a fun Book Club menu that will work for ANY book.   Appetizers and desserts!  And wine, of course. 🙂

Appetizers: Kung Pao Mini Meatballs, Asian Barbecue Pizza, Fresh Salsa & Guacamole, Garlic Cilantro Hummus with fresh veggies

Desserts: Healthy Brownies with Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting and/or Skinny Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

In true fashion, Jodi Picoult tackles a fascinating topic in her latest page turner.  I love her writing style that keeps the reader constantly engaged in the characters and controversial plot lines.  This story centers around a young teenage girl searching for clues about her missing scientist mother, who was passionate about studying grief patterns in elephants.  There are some huge twists and turns in this one that will keep you guessing until the very end.  


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This book begins with the death of 16 year old Lydia, the child of Chinese/Caucasian parents living in a small Ohio town in the 1970s.  I expected this story to be a suspenseful mystery, but was surprised at the intense characters and gut wrenching family drama that unfolds.  Parents with unfulfilled dreams, a community unprepared for diversity, and a lifetime of miscommunications…yikes, this is one of those ultra sad books that is not easy to read, yet totally worth it and not one to miss.  A perfect selection for Book Clubs that will generate a lot of discussion!


The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

It’s no secret, I love historical fiction!  This was a great book and a topic I haven’t read much about, The Great Migration.  In 1923, Hattie flees Georgia with hopes of a better life in Philadelphia.  The book details stories of Hattie’s 12 children, each providing unique insight into her life and character.  I read some not great reviews of this book, mainly complaining of a lack of plot, that this book was more of a collection of short stories each centering on one of Hattie’s children.  I actually love this about the book!  At times, Hattie is not a very likeable character, but I think that is the author’s point.  Another excellent Book Club choice!


My Picks for Next Month:

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Amazon Description:  On the evening of May 3rd, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems; the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest airship; an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed.
Flight of Dreams is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster. But for the moment they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.

Brilliantly exploring one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century, Flight of Dreams is that rare novel with spellbinding plotting that keeps you guessing till the last page and breathtaking emotional intensity that stays with you long after.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Amazon Description:  

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Amazon Description:  Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, has a deadly secret that compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.

Published in 2010, The Kitchen House became a grassroots bestseller. Fans connected so deeply to the book’s characters that the author, Kathleen Grissom, found herself being asked over and over “what happens next?” The wait is finally over.

This new, stand-alone novel opens in 1830, and Jamie, who fled from the Virginian plantation he once called home, is passing in Philadelphia society as a wealthy white silversmith. After many years of striving, Jamie has achieved acclaim and security, only to discover that his aristocratic lover Caroline is pregnant. Before he can reveal his real identity to her, he learns that his beloved servant Pan has been captured and sold into slavery in the South. Pan’s father, to whom Jamie owes a great debt, pleads for Jamie’s help, and Jamie agrees, knowing the journey will take him perilously close to Tall Oakes and the ruthless slave hunter who is still searching for him. Meanwhile, Caroline’s father learns and exposes Jamie’s secret, and Jamie loses his home, his business, and finally Caroline.

Heartbroken and with nothing to lose, Jamie embarks on a trip to a North Carolina plantation where Pan is being held with a former Tall Oakes slave named Sukey, who is intent on getting Pan to the Underground Railroad. Soon the three of them are running through the Great Dismal Swamp, the notoriously deadly hiding place for escaped slaves. Though they have help from those in the Underground Railroad, not all of them will make it out alive.

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