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As always, great book club meeting. We welcomed Nancy to the group (and she gave me her email address, so we didn’t scare her away). We also welcomed a guest librarian from Castle Rock, Neelam, who attended to get some tips and tricks for running a book club. My guess is she got more “what not to do” than “what to do.” But every little bit helps, lol.

Thank you to Nicole for bringing snacks, and to Joel for the wonderful bookmarks. If you weren’t there or didn’t get one, I have the extras and will bring them to the next meeting. I absolutely love the one with all the books for the year on it! It’s a great cheat sheet for upcoming and past reads. Even if you read on a Kindle, you can hang it on your fridge or next to your computer as a reminder.

This month we discussed The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark. This is the second book we’ve read by this author (who by the way only writes a book every two years because she also teaches 5th grade – we got a kick out of this). The other book we’ve read is The Last Flight and some people preferred that book and some preferred this one. Maybe slightly skewed in favor of The Last Flight.

When we went around the room with our scores, we all started our review with the phrase “Read this book if you...” Of course this could be a recommendation to read the book or to NOT read the book, depending on how it’s worded. Here are our recommendations – the number in parentheses after everyone’s name is their score for the book):

Read this book if you want to know how to manipulate people – Janice (7)

Read this book if you want to understand how to pull off a good con – Kelly (7)

Read this book if you want to read about a strong woman who isn’t an unreliable narrator – Melissa (9)

Read this book if you like a good revenge story – Allie (8)

Read this book if you want to read a psychological manipulation story – Nancy (9)

Read this book if you want to read about a modern Robin Hood – Julia (9)

Read this book if you want a book that goes in a straight line and everything works out in the end – Jose (5)

Read this book if you want an entertaining summer read that’s not a romcom – Nicole R (6)

Read this book if you like a satisfying ending – Cindy (8)

Read this book if you really want to see deplorable people get what’s coming to them – Laura (9)

Read this book if you want the dichotomy of girl power – Carole (6)

Read this book if you want a really strong female protagonist – Joel (5)

Read this book if you want to read about a revengeful Robin Hood – Kim (8)

Read this book if you want to know why “con” is the loneliest number – Christina (8)

Read this book if you want to read about a modern day, female Robin Hood – Gail (8)

Read this book if you want a great story that keeps you turning the pages – Kerry (9)

Read this book if you like to be in the mind of a criminal – Jeff (9)

Read this book if you want to see some street justice – Paige (8)

Read this book if you want an easy read about friendship – Emma (8)

Read this book if you like it when the criminal is the hero – Patricia (9)

Read this book if you want to look forward to going to bed at night in order to read – Sharon #1 (8)

Read this book if you want an enjoyable read – Sharon Also (8)

Read this book if you’ve been waiting for the sequel to How to Win Friends and Influence People – Amy (8)

I absolutely LOVED all of these. They were so creative and when we got duplicates it just showed that there was a true theme to the book. I think the Robin Hood idea was key. I like how the lower scoring people didn’t trash the book in their “Read this book if you” but they described it in a way that was like – meh, it wasn’t for me, but if you like X, you might like it.

We had 2 members who emailed their scores. Sharon Long gave the book an 8 and Jay gave it a 5. So that gave us a total of: seven 9s, eleven 8s, two 7s, two 6s, and three 5s. Not too shabby.

The high scores thought the book was an easy read; we loved the Robin Hood idea mentioned above; loved the characters (good, complex, female ones); it wasn’t too far-fetched; we just loved the revenge part and all of the good things Meg did – especially the lake house for the divorcee; and it had a great sense of justice. Some of us found that our opinion of Meg shifted as the book progressed and we liked that the author was able to do that to us, change our opinion of her protagonist.

The low scores (and even some of the high scores agreed on this first one) thought Kat was weak. Some people understood that she had to be because if she wasn’t, she would have clashed with Meg if they disagreed. Others thought that her weakness took away from the story and thought that if she were stronger, she’d be a better reporter. Others pointed out that Kat had been abused and manipulated, so they understood her weakness. We also thought the story was intriguing but there wasn’t enough excitement and everything worked out too perfectly in the end. Some didn’t buy that Kat blamed Meg for what happened to her by Nate and that she would hold on to that for TEN years.

We likened the story to the show Leverage (Patricia, the British one is Hustle and ran from 2004-2012). We also likened Meg to Dexter several times, but just not a murderer. Which brings me to one criticism from all: there...was...no...murder! For shame, Julie Clark, for shame. How in the world did we vote in a “novel” instead of a murder story? This question prompted us to turn to Joel’s handy dandy new bookmarks and there are a LOT of “novel” books on our list this year. I’d be interested to know when and why a publisher puts that word on the title. Many that call themselves a novel are really mysteries and then, many are not.

I found myself envisioning what happened after the story ended. Meg is on a beach, thinking she’s retired when a man sits next to her and he’s her next con. Kat finishes Nate off and then joins Meg in Costa Rica and they team up to do some more cons. You’ll find my fan fiction online soon.

For anyone who watched the author interviews, I went back to re-listen because two things came up. First, the alternate ending to The Last Flight. The author was contacted by a lot of people about the ending and they weren't happy that the woman who got on the plane died. Clark eventually wrote an alternative ending, but it ended up being a bonus chapter for a pre-order campaign, so I'm not sure how anyone could get a copy. I didn't google it.

Second, some people mentioned an Easter egg in this book that connected it to The Last Flight. I didn't hear anything in the interviews, but it was suggested that at the very end when Meg is at the airport going to Costa Rica and she sees two women at the bar in the airport lounge, that those are the two women in The Last Flight. A quick google search discussion mentioned that scene and pointed out that Meg flew from LAX to Costa Rica and in the other book the women were at JFK. Perhaps the author was just allowing Meg to see two women and compare them to her and Kat. Either way, if anyone finds any more info, feel free to pass it on.

If you’re coming to the Book Swap, I will see you on July 8 at Enchanted Grounds. If not, I will see you next month, on July 24, when we discuss The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman. PLEASE NOTE that there are 5 Mondays in July. We meet on the 4th Monday, not the last.

Enjoy your summer,

Kerry


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