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I’m almost ready for the big holiday party extravaganza! The swag is here, the books are plentiful, and we have super cool swag bags courtesy of Nicole.

Before I get into the November book club notes, I wanted to list out who I have coming to the party to make sure I have it right. According to Evite, attendees are below. If your name has a * next to it, you are also taking part in the Secret Santa gift exchange.

  • If this is correct, you don’t need to do anything.
  • If you thought you were coming, but don’t see your name, email me ASAP.
  • If you are on the list but can no longer come, also email me ASAP.

  • Allie S
  • Amy B*
  • Christina Z
  • Cindy J
  • Emma A*
  • Gail H
  • Janice D*
  • Jay M*
  • Jeff T
  • Jose V
  • Julia R*
  • Kelly S*
  • Kim L
  • Melissa O
  • Nicole R
  • Paige B*
  • Susan G
  • Tara B*

I’ll send another email next week to those who are attending the party with a reminder of what to bring, etc.

On to November! We met last month to discuss Nine Lives by Peter Swanson. I think the book got some of the lowest scores we have seen in a long time. Especially since the last time we read Peter Swanson we really liked the book (thankfully, since THAT was the meeting the author zoomed in for).

So this book was an admitted homage to And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, according to the author. The set up was there, but did the author execute? Let’s let our scores answer that question. The fact that the highest score was a 7 should give you a hint.

The ratings were: one 7, seven 6s, nine 5s, and five 4s.

The positive comments were that it was enjoyable (although some pointed out that that applied to just the beginning), it was entertaining, it was quick (this might have been a back handed compliment), it was a beachy/summer read (meaning light, but maybe not horrible?), and the end was interesting when we found out the murderer had a brain tumor. One of the biggest compliments was from Gail when she said “I finished it.”

When we went around the room and were ‘forced’ to say something good about the book, other than that we were finished reading it, we got some interesting answers. We heard that it had a good cover, we loved the shortest chapter of all time (can’t remember how short it was, one word?), we liked the neighbor lady and Sam, the couple was cute (too bad they had to die), and it was cool that Sam found the letter in the book.

Ok, that's the good, on to the bad and ugly. We had a lot of negative things to say about the book. Again, I’m glad the author wasn’t there for this. Here goes: it was half-assed, it was shallow, we were excited at first and then stopped caring, the killer wasn’t well-developed, the characters were unbelievable and not well-developed, the final explanation was disappointing, the rationale for the murders was a big fail, it seemed lazily written, someone read it awhile ago and it didn’t stick, too many plot holes, it was very Ruth Ware’y (and that’s not a compliment when it comes from Amy), we hated the Agatha Christie re-do, there was no logic or reasoning, the motive made no sense, we didn’t like the killer’s reasoning and how he went after the kids of the original ‘culprits.’ And this probably sums it up perfectly - we were hoping for more.

In an interview, the author said he didn't like to research and that's why he doesn't like to write more police procedural books, because they require research. Some didn't buy the comment and others were begging for him to do a little research.

There you have it, not our favorite read, but many of the people who didn’t care for the book agreed that they would read the author again, so he’s not totally dead to us.

We welcomed two new members: Joel and Carole. Welcome to the group!

What everyone is reading/watching/recommending:

I will see 18 of you at the holiday party and discussion of Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton. I will see everyone else on January 23 to discuss Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza.

Happy Holidays,

Kerry

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