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PBR Book Club Recommendations


PBR Review: Would you live your life differently if you knew your date of death? The date your brothers and sisters would die? It's an interesting concept, original and the basic premise of this bittersweet story. It's about four siblings, More


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Talking Points: When you know the exact date of your death, do you take more risks and live life to the fullest? Or do you live cautiously? What role do fate and destiny play in our lives? These are some of the issues covered in this book. It's also a family saga showing some very dysfunction, but common sibling behavior patterns. The author also delves deeply into the beginning of the aids crisis.

PBR Review: At the heart of this book are beautiful characters, and a captivating story filled with Chinese mythology, superstition, and culture. The setting is 1930s Malaya and it follows the lives of Ji Lin, a young woman making sacrifice More


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Talking Points: The Night Tiger has themes of servants and masters roles, Chinese folklore and superstition, and sibling rivalry. It also touches on family obligation and dysfunction as Ji Lin, a young girl makes many sacrifices to help pay off her mother's debt. There is also abuse and violence in the family unit. Recommend for book clubs seeking something different as this book is part mystery, part fantasy, and part romance.

PBR Review: I didn't read any this author's other works, but this book was a Reese Witherspoon pick and getting good reviews, so I decided to give it a try. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. It's a cleverly plotted combination of myst More


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Talking Points: A story that showcases the cultural traditions of Bombay in the 1920s, especially the impact on women and their rights and role in society. Perveen is headstrong and feisty if you like strong female characters. The laws of the era do not favor women and there is a lot of information on the Muslim religion and the restriction it places on women. Topics such as seclusion of women during menstruation, arranged marriages, the education of women, laws that do not favor women and domestic abuse. Some present day battles are also echoed in this story. Bonus, the story is partially inspired by a real historical figure.

PBR Review: Without a doubt, this story gives new meaning to the term "unconditional love" and what a mother is willing to do for her child. I don't want to give away too much, but I will say The Dream Daughter tells the story of More


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Talking Points: This is a story about what a mother will do to save her child and the struggles of knowing the child you are carrying has a severe birth defect. It's a story of faith and determination and the importance of family. It also shows the miraculous advances in medicine.

PBR Review: In the Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Robert Dugoni creates a beautiful story about a boy born with a genetic abnormality, ocular albinism or red eyes. Growing up and attending Catholic school, he is called "Devil Boy &q More


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Talking Points: A wonderful coming of age story about a boy born with red pupils. As a result, he is bullied and has few friends. Since there is a lot of discrimination: racial, sexual, disability, etc. there is much for book clubs to discuss. But it is also a book about strength and determination.

PBR Review: A powerful and emotionally charged memoir about a young girl who realizes she wants more from life than the poverty stricken life of her childhood. Her profound success is amazing, especially considereing the obstacles she fac More


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Talking Points: Tara has a father who is controlling and fanatical. He suffers from a mental disease, distrusts doctors, refusing medical attention for himself and his family and does not support his children going to school. Tara suffers much emotional and physical abuse and neglect but fights her way out of this untenable situation and triumphs. Her determination is inspiring and her strength amazing.

PBR Review: The writing in this book is rich and intense, making you want to read slowly so you catch every word. But at the same time, you are entranced by the story and Greek mythology so you want to read as fast as you can. I loved this More


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Talking Points: This is a captivating but a timeless story about characters from Greek mythology. And yes, it's fascinating to read about all the Greek Gods, but there is much more to discuss. Like Circe's relationship with both her father and her brother. She is also known as the witch who turns men into pigs. If you are familiar with the PBS series Ancient Aliens, it would be interesting to compare how the Gods are presented in both the book and the TV series.

PBR Review: It's hard for me to understand how any mother can walk away from her child. Kya's mother did just this and sadly, a few years later her father left. By the age of ten, Kya was completely on her own. Her journey is sentimental and More


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Talking Points: A story that touches on so many issues: domestic and alcoholic abuse, small town prejudices, loneliness, extreme poverty and abandonment. But it also shows the value of an education, the resilience of youth and the power of hope and desire.

PBR Review: Yes, this book is about the horrors of the Holocaust, but more than this, it's a book about love and the limits of human endurance. There is violence and loss, but at the same time, the reader is also a witness to bravery and det More


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Talking Points: This is an incredible story, based on the actual experiences of a Holocaust survivor. It shows the depth of what the human mind, body, and spirit can endure. It makes you think. How much risk would you take to help another? How much would you compromise yourself to live another day? Is survival possible without hope?

PBR Review: The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips has been on my TBR list for quite some time, and I'm sorry I didn't read it sooner. Phillips is an excellent storyteller and delivers an emotional read I thoroughly enjoyed. I listened to it More


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Talking Points: Book clubs will love this book because it has lots of discussion worthy topics; race issues, child abuse, poverty, and education. There is also plenty of family drama, and it touches on the issue of mental illness. The struggles of the main character are also noteworthy as she struggles to survive and find her true north.

PBR Review: Here we have an emotional and compelling story about a black market child trafficking ring. Itís inspired by true events, which for me, makes it all the more meaningful. Avery Stafford is a successful federal prosecutor with a b More


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Talking Points: Base on a true story of child exploitation, shedding light on the evilness and greed that allowed these events to happen. It is so hard to imagine how the parents of the kidnapped children felt and impossible to fathom how something like this continued for so many years. Think about it and you can't wrap your head around the fact that Georgia Tann was known as THE MOTHER OF ADOPTION. This story will leave you with a strong need to Google more on this topic.

PBR Review: If you like light suspenseful stories, with some family drama tossed in, this is the book for you. I found the writing style and plotting similar to Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes,so those who love these two, should jump right i More


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Talking Points: This is an interesting combination of psychological suspense and family drama. The story goes into abuse, drugs, sexual assault and the dynamics of dysfunctional family relationships. Relationships that are filled with tension, emotion, and secrets.

PBR Review: The premise of this book is not unusual, at least if you read a lot of historical fiction about WWI. And, yes this is a story about the Nazis, but their presence is muted in this tale. It doesnít mitigate the heinousness or the e More


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Talking Points: Taking place during WWII, a time of unpredictability and danger, the story highlights events impacting both Germans and Jews. It tells of the bravery of many, events that divide and separate families and horrific acts by the Germans. The tale will cause you to question your own bravery and inner strength. This is also a story of love, grieving for what is lost and healing.

PBR Review: Iíve read a lot of World War II books, most detailing abominable acts against humanity. So, I was a bit surprised that I did not know about the events happening in this book. Be warned; this story portrays much evil and sufferin More


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Talking Points: The book is beautifully written, but deals with some tough issues. Aside from the mental and physical abuses the kidnapped women suffered, there is also the family left behind and how they cope with the pain and grief of not knowing the fate of their loved ones. The traditions and strength of the Haenyeo women is also noteworthy as is the despicable acts of the soldiers.

PBR Review: IF THE CREEK DONíT RISE is an in-depth portrayal of life in the Appalachian Mountains. I love character-driven novels, and all I can say is this one is fabulous. Itís page-turning, but itís not only the tension and suspense driv More


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Talking Points: The females in this story are diverse and strong but they do not always do the right thing. There is a cycle of violence, domestic abuse, and subjugation that seems to be an accepted part of this culture. Outsiders and change are rejected.

PBR Review: I loved this book for several reasons. To start with, Eliza Hamilton was a strong woman, and strong, inspirational women get me every time. I also love reading about the role women played in different eras and the contentment the More


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Talking Points: Eliza was a strong woman who was very much in love with her husband. This and the fact that she was a product of her times will make for great discussion. Alexander Hamilton was also a formidable man, and this story gives an intimate look at him as a husband, father and man. Some of the other Founding Fathers of America are also discussion worthy. Most will not be able to resist a comparisons to our current leadership. I know I couldn't.

PBR Review: One of the things I like most about this book is that, although a fictionalized account of a true person, it feels real. Itís also inspiring to read about a young woman ahead of her time. Sixteen year- ld Eliza Lucas is incredib More


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Talking Points: Eliza is a young woman who defies convention and perseveres to attain her goal, which is no small feat in the 1700s. The story touches on a lot of social issues of the South in this time period, like racial inequality, treatment of slaves and the rights of women. Contrasting the differences and similarities between then and now will certainly make for lively discussion, as the choices and actions of Eliza.

PBR Review: This is a beautiful story, but it should come with a warning. It is disturbing and covers some uncomfortable controversial topics.It is the story of two people; both abused as children. Wavyís father is a drug dealer, and her mot More


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Talking Points: This book covers some uncomfortable topics, they are polarizing and will generate much discussion and passion, but may also not be for everyone. This is the story of two people, who were neglected as children, Wavy the daughter of meth dealer and Kellen who was also abused and neglected. As you can imagine, it explores issues of abuse, neglect, addiction, trust and different kinds of love.

PBR Review: I was a big fan of this this authorís THE KITCHEN HOUSE, so when I read Glory Over Everything picks up where that story left off, I was thrilled and couldnít wait to read it. Glory Over Everything is a story that follows James Py More


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Talking Points: It is sad but also telling that a black man, fair skinned enough to live as a white man, struggles with who he is and is conflicted on what path to take as he continues to hide the secret of his parentage. This book will bring to light the issues of racism that continue to exist in our country and explores some tough questions about racial attitudes and prejudices.

PBR Review: I read Jim Fergusís first book, One Thousand White Woman. I loved it and knew the sequel was a must read. I finished this wonderful page-turner in two sittings. Donít worry too much if you havenít read the first book; you will t More


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Talking Points: The consequences of vengeance and the absurdity of the actions of the US government as well as the treatment of females and Native Americans all play a prominent role in this book. It is also interesting to see and contrast the different values of the Native Americans versus the White population during this era. The story examines taking chances and finding a new way of life and the depth of love a mother has for her child.

PBR Review: What a gem this book is. Right from the start, I found it entertaining and original. Itís a story of love and betrayal with a unique, intriguing plot. There are three main characters. Amber is young, greedy, and jealous. She al More


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Talking Points: There is a lot of deception and unbelievable conniving in this book. And some of the characters are guilty of bad behavior and bad decisions. It looks in some detail at the extravagant lifestyle of the rich. And there are a few personality disorders that defiantly are discussion worthy. Marriage, raising children, trust and friendship are also issues in this book.

PBR Review: This is an intense story about Lilli, a young unwed mother in the late 1800s. Times were challenging for her, fiercely challenging; as she had so few options open to her. Lilli ended up in the Philadelphia Haven for Women and I More


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Talking Points: The main topic is that of an unwed mother; a powerful story of a mother and her child and the overwhelming burden society places on young girls in this condition. There is also much to discuss about the role of women and the class differences that existed. Without support from family, friends or society, daily life is all consuming for Lilly.

PBR Review: I read ďThe Boy in the Striped PajamasĒ by this author and loved it, this surprised me because itís a YA book. I bought this one, ĒThe Heartís Invisible FuriesĒ because I was curious to read an adult book by John Boyne, but als More


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Talking Points: Cyril was a gay man living in a time when he was forced to hide his true identity or face jail or even death. His teenage mother gave birth to him out of wedlock, which was reason enough for her family to publicly shame her and her church and community to run her out of town, penniless. A quirky couple adopted Cyril. They provided financially for him but continuously told him he was not a real Avery. Thus his childhood lacked the love and nurturing most children receive. The book is epic, following the lives of Cyril and his mother, and tackles many controversial topics and examines some critical issues from 1949 to present.

PBR Review: This is an excellent book for anyone who loves a good story about father-daughter relationships. Sally Cabot Gunning gives many heartwarming details about the intense and complex bond between Martha and her father, Thomas Jeffers More


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Talking Points: This book takes a look at the challenges of making a living in the South and being female in the late 1770s. The Jefferson family was conflicted on the concept of slavery. They disliked the idea but needed slaves to run their farms, so they tried to compensate by treating their slaves like workers. Martha was a strong, intelligent woman, but was limited by the customs of the time and her difficult marriage.

PBR Review: Whenever I read stories about women with incredible inner strength, it awakens something within me. I question why women must struggle so much in a manís world. To some extent, this is still true today. But, in Jennieís case, he More


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Talking Points: This story has many talking points; overcoming tragedy and personal challenges, acceptance of what we cannot change, and acceptance of others. It is not a love story, but it is a story about love. It also tackles some tough issues of the 1870s. It examines the role of women and what divorce was like in 1870. Alcoholism and abusive relations are looked at as well as the effect this and divorce had on children back then. The author also explores the struggles of being a woman, divorced and raising a child.
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