The Nightingale

Today the Book it Sisters reviewed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
(Published February 2015, 448 pages)
Book it Sisters’ Grade


In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

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 France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

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 the compelling and mysterious 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. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to 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.

Here is our report:


Judy BushA'This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. I learned a lot about the French resistance, but also about sisters' relationships, and how complicated they are. The reading was beautiful, and the characters well crafted. I loved the journey!
Samantha HarrisonAI loved how this book helped me understand more about what happened in France during the war. I loved that it brings out how people make different choices during similar pressure.
Mary HalseyADelightful development of two sister's relationship.
Great twist at the end.
Anna McDanielsAIt was a beautifully written book with terrific character development. I loved the story of the two sisters. I learned a lot about how Parisians were effected during WWII.
Tricia GadberryAA great read! The story really took me in, and I felt a kinship with the characters. The writing style was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Suzanne RigbyAI loved this book! I thought I was over WWII books, but this was such a fabulous plot that I was sucked in completely. I loved the sister's relationship and how it changed. The ending was completely wonderful and took me by surprise.
Cheryl ClowesAI enjoyed this book! It really drew me in and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I did not realize what the women had to go through, It was very eye opening. The story was riveting.

Ghost Boy

Today the Book it Sisters reviewed Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius.
(Published July 2011, 304 pages)
Book it Sisters’ Grade: A-

In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.

Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.

Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.

We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin’s emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.

Here is our report:

Judy BushAThis was an amazing story. The writing style wasn't as fluid, but the story was so incredible that I loved the book. It will affect the way I act around handicapped people!
Samantha HarrisonAI thought this was an incredible book and I will never look at a person who can't communicate verbally the same way again. I almost stopped reading at the chapter he talked about abuse that he suffered. My husband kept after me to finish it inspite of that and I am glad that I did.
Mary HalseyN/AI read the wrong book--Ghost Boy by Iain Lawrence. It was about an albino who joins a circus. I highly recommend it!
Anna McDanielsBIt was an inspiring story about what love, determination and the human spirit can accomplish. Martin is an exceptional person.
Suzanne RigbyA-I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I loved how it was written first person from his perspective. I only give it an A- because it wasn't brilliantly written, but I loved how it was from his point of view. I couldn't put it down and wanted to know how this amazing young man ended up! I'm so glad there are happy endings and people who care enough to help those in need. I will never look the same way upon the disabled.
Denise LinkAI loved how the book opened your eyes to the possibilities severely disabled might be capable of.
Cheryl ClowesAI really enjoyed this book It was simply amazing that Martin made such progress after his debilitating disease. I will never look at a disabled person the same way again. This was a terrific and uplifting story!

Our Declaration

our declarationToday the Book it Sisters reviewed Our Declaration by Danielle S. Allen.
(Published June 2014, 315 pages)
Book it Sisters’ Grade: B

In just 1,337 words, the Declaration of Independence changed the world, but curiously it is now rarely read from start to finish, much less understood. Unsettled by this, Danielle Allen read the text quietly with students and discovered its animating power. “Bringing the analytical skills of a philosopher, the voice of a gifted memoirist, and the spirit of a soulful humanist to the task, Allen manages to . . . find new meaning in Thomas Jefferson’s understanding of equality,” says Joseph J. Ellis about Our Declaration. Countering much of the popular perception, she restores equality to its rightful place, detailing the Declaration’s case that freedom rests on equality. The contradictions between ideals and reality in a document that perpetuated slavery are also brilliantly tackled by Allen, whose cogently written and beautifully designed book “is must-reading for all who care about the future as well as the origins of America’s democracy” (David M. Kennedy). (less)

Here is our report

Judy BushB-I listened to it on audio and felt it dragged on too long on the first sentence. I got the point, but felt like she beat it with a stick. It made the book less enjoyable. Perhaps it would have been easier to read, where you can go faster when it is repetitive. She sounded so much like she loved the sound of her own voice! I did enjoy the historical parts at the very beginning!
Samantha HarrisonCI think that this book has good information but is written in a format that is difficult to read. Listening to it would be easier than reading. That said, I have only read about 25% but intend to finish it.
Mary HalseyA+++++I love this book. Danielle Allen brings the Declaration of Independence to life for me. I am thankful to have started to learn about this amazing memo of 1,337 words that will continue to teach me and inspire me.
Tricia Gadberry
Suzanne RigbyB-I did not finish the book, but feel like I should go back and slog through it. It was very informative, but the author tended to drag things out and was rather hard to get through. However, the topic itself, with the author's insights, means I would be a better citizen if I was a more informed person. I WILL FINISH IT SOMEDAY!
Denise Link
Cheryl ClowesBI enjoyed learning more about the Declaration of Independence. I thought I knew what it meant but this book really expanded on the meaning and the reasons why this was written. The author analysed every sentence which at times was at times was long. Overall, the book was very informative and well thought out.
Nina Yatsko

The Apothecary

Today the Book it Sisters reviewed The Apothecary by Maile Meloy.
(Published 2011, 362 pages)
Book it Sisters’ Grade:A-

It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows—a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies—Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.

Here is our report:

Judy BushAWhat makes a young adult book a young adult book? is it just the fact that the character is youn? if not for that, this weould be a regular book. It was an enjoyable spy story. I loved flying like a bird. The Apothecary/scientist was a fun idea. It seems like it's ripe for a sequel!
Samantha HarrisonAI thought the book was entertaining and kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen.
Mary HalseyAGreat hook into the book with the preface explaining how Janie had such an adventure she couldn't remember...
I enjoyed the flying the best. Characters and adventures were engaging and interesting.
Tricia GadberryAI enjoyed this book! It was a fun and easy read, and had a cute story that kept me interested in reading the book.
Suzanne RigbyB+I enjoyed the story and the characters, especially the magical theme. I only give it a B+ because it didn't grip me in a "I can't do anything else until I finish this book!" kind of way.
Denise LinkB+A fun book to spark your imagination.
Cheryl ClowesAI really enjoyed listening to this story It was very griping. The descriptive verse makes you fell as if you are there. The characters were also very believable and well developed. I can't wait to read the sequel.
Nina Yatsko




Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Today the Book it Sisters reviewed Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.
(Published 1981, 338 pages)
Book it Sisters’ Grade:

When Tess Durbeyfield, the daughter of a poor villager, learns that she might be a descendant of the ancient D’Urberville family, her family pressures her to claim kinship in order to seek a portion of the fortune. But when her meeting with young Alec D’Urberville does not go as planned, she returns home a ruined woman. A kinder man, Angel Clare, seems to offer Tess a more stable life—but she must choose whether to reveal her past to him and risk losing everything, or stay quiet and live a lie. Set in the rural town of Wessex, Tess of the D’Urbervilles examines the impact of Victorian hypocrisy and societal struggles on the rural classes.

At once hopeful and tragic, Tess of the D’Urbervilles remains a scathing indictment of the injustices of English social and class structure. First published serially in the British newspaper The Graphic, the novel went on to become one of Thomas Hardy’s most successful, ranking number 26 on the BBC’s survey, “The Big Read.” It has been adapted countless times for stage and film.

Here is our report:

Judy BushC+I did not enjoy the writing style. It was so pompous and preachy. The story was a downer, and I wanted to knock some sense in the characters. I am, however, happy to say read it and check it off my list!
Janet Maisel
Mary HalseyBI loved Tess, her spirit and courage in the face of such dire circumstances. Hardy has powerful descriptions that made it easy for me to visualize and feel the heartbreak of Tess.
Tricia GadberryI didn't finish the book. Although I wanted to find out what happened, I just had a hard time "slogging" through the book.
Suzanne RigbyA-I thoroughly enjoy Thomas Hardy. Athough the times/society into which Tess was born was depressing and not very kind to women, I feel that Tess is a strong character who rises to every twist of fate that comes to her. It is such a well developed story with flawed characters and great description. It is a tale of society at the time, with all it's barriers and prejudice. Yet there was the bright spots where love was found and shared.
Denise Link-
No comment! Didn't read it.
Cheryl ClowesC+This tale is so tragic. The description verse is very beautiful regarding the countryside, light, the human form and the human condition. The tale is although is very disturbing. To think that an innocent young girl's life can be steered off course with one terrible act that was done to her, is heartbreaking. Several times I was hoping that the men would step up and give Tess a reprieve but they did not. I also wished that Tess would have stood up for herself much sooner. I did not enjoy the book because it was tragic. I am glad not to live back then when women were judged so harshly.
Nina Yatsko
Megan Lewis



Intertwine by Nichole Van

Today the Book it Sisters reviewed Intertwine by Nichole Van.
(Published March 2014, 300 pages)
Book it Sisters’ Grade: A-

In 2012, Emme Wilde can’t find the right guy. She wants to feel that swept-off-your-feet dizziness of true love. But so far, her dating life has come up short. Star Trek geek? Nice but too serious. Hippy artist? Cute but too vulnerable. Instead, Emme obsesses over the portrait of an unknown man in an old locket. Granted, a seriously dreamy guy with delicious, wind-swept hair she just itches to run her fingers through. But still. Dead men may be great listeners, but they are not exactly boyfriend material. Emme travels to England, determined to uncover his history and conquer the strong connection she feels.

In 1812, James Knight has given up finding the right woman. All he wants is someone to share his love of adventure. Instead, his life has become a Shakespearean drama. His brother languishes in a tragic star-crossed romance. His beloved sister clings to life, slowly dying of consumption. But then he finds a beautiful mystery woman, dripping wet and half-dead, beneath a tree on his estate. Now if he can uncover her history, perhaps adventure—and romance—will find him at last.

Here is our report:

Judy BushAI enjoyed the book even more the second time. Loved Alter Emme and her sense of humor. Fun romance and romp through time. Clever, clean and enjoyable to the last page!
Janet Maisel
Mary HalseyAI love time travel romances...I can see this book series taking over where "Somewhere in Time" left off.
Tricia GadberryAI really enjoyed this book! It was an easy read and very entertaining. I LOVED Alter Emme and her sassy attitude.
Suzanne Rigby
Denise LinkB+I enjoyed the book although I had a difficult time at the beginning flipping back and forth between time periods. It was entertaining until the end.
Cheryl ClowesB+I enjoyed the book very much! I liked the imagery of the book, especially the historical details. I was very interested to see how everything was going to tie together. I liked how the story turned out too!
Nina Yatsko
Megan Lewis
Samantha HarrisonA-I thought it was a really good story line but a little mushy/wordy dialog for my taste.
Barb RegerBI enjoyed the humor of alter Emme. Got me thinking of what it would be like to find myself in a different time. The funniest part was during the conversation about being knocked up.



The Sisterhood

This month we read The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan
(Published April 2013, 402 pages)
Book it Sisters’ Grade: B

Menina Walker was a child of fortune. Rescued after a hurricane in South America, doomed to a life of poverty with a swallow medal as her only legacy, the orphaned toddler was adopted by an American family and taken to a new life. As a beautiful, intelligent woman of nineteen, she is in love, engaged, and excited about the future — until another traumatic event shatters her dreams. Menina flees to Spain to bury her misery in research for her college thesis about a sixteenth-century artist who signed his works with the image of a swallow — the same image as the one on Menina’s medal. But a mugging strands Menina in a musty, isolated Spanish convent. Exploring her surroundings, she discovers the epic sagas of five orphan girls who were hidden from the Spanish Inquisition and received help escaping to the New World. Is Menina’s medal a link to them, or to her own past? Did coincidence lead her to the convent, or fate? Both love story and historical thriller, The Sisterhood is an emotionally charged ride across continents and centuries.

Here is our report:


Judy BushBI enjoyed the visit to South America and Spain. It was a fun premise, possibly covering too much territory and too many people.
Janet Maisel
Mary HalseyB+I liked the way the baby found wearing only the coin ended up back at the original convent in Spain--nice character development...such a heroic girl. I enjoyed the sisterhood throughout but at times hard to follow and keep character's straight.
Tricia GadberryBI enjoyed the historical parts of this book, and the sisterhood that was presented, but I did have a hard time following the people and the story lines sometimes. Overall I enjoyed the book.
Suzanne RigbyCI thought the author had a great idea but had a difficult time wrapping up all the different threads of the story. There were a lot of characters, side plots and rushing to conclusions. I did enjoy the time period of the Inquisition in Spain, and I enjoyed the relationships between the nuns. A difficult read.
Denise LinkC+It was a little difficult keeping up with the characters. I liked the history and the thread of sisterhood throughout the book.
Cheryl ClowesI did like the overall story but it was hard to keep track of the characters. But I enjoy the stories and the "sisterhood" of the nuns at the convent.
Nina Yatsko
Megan LewisB+I enjoyed the historical aspect of the story and liked the characters although it was difficult to keep all of the characters straight esp. when they had the same name.



This month we read Wonder by R. J. Palacio
(Published 2013, 315 pages)
Book it Sister’s Grade:A-

You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Here is our report:

Judy BushA-I enjoyed the book, and the fact that there were many good characters in it who helped the boy with the deformity. The added chapter about the bully was somewhat interesting, but also somehow seemed to mitigate the culpability of the character.
Janet Maisel
Mary HalseyAI loved the value of each individual in this book. Kindness is powerful and we all can be a little kinder to all...even ourselves.

Tricia Gadberry
Suzanne RigbyA-I thoroughly enjoyed Wonder. I thought it was a great way of presenting the story from the different points of view of the characters. It was a great journey with Auggie. Well constructed, well developed characters and a great moral. Kindness is never out of style!
Denise Link
Cheryl ClowesAI really liked this book's message of kindness and courage. The main character, Auggie, had a great sense of humor and understanding of a much older person. I enjoyed reading from the different points of view too. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Nina Yatsko
Megan Lewis
Carolyn ClowesBI think it is a good lesson about not judging a person by his/her face or cover, but learn his/her personality. That is how I look at people now instead of judging them.

The Husband’s Secret

This month we read The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
(Published July 2013, 394 pages)
Hosted by Denise Link
Book it Sisters’ Grade:

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves

Here is our review:

Judy BushB+This was an interesting story, and turned out to have a very interesting dilemma that made you really wonder what you would do. It was a little confusing figuring out the characters at first, but the writing style was very good and the character development really strong.
Janet Maisel
Mary HalseyInteresting question concerning husband but disappointed with language/situations so chose not to finish.
Tricia GadberryBI enjoyed this book as an easy read. I thought the characters were interesting, and the writing style was easy to read. There were some themes that ran throughout the book that were interesting. I would read this author again.
Suzanne RigbyBI enjoyed the moral dilemmas that these characters were faced with. The author was engaging and made me honestly relate to their situations and how I might react to a life-changing revelation. Made me grateful for my boring, uneventful life!
Denise LinkB-I had a hard time starting the book because it characters jumped around. Once I got to the middle of the book I really enjoyed it. Very hard decisions.
Cheryl ClowesBI liked this book once it got going. I was very interested to find out how all the characters were going to come together. I also liked how the one decision played out across all the characters lives.
Nina Yatsko
Megan LewisB-Enjoyed the book and moral questioning, but didn't love it. As a mother, it was difficult to deal with Janie's death and Polly's accident.


The Bonesetter’s Daughter

This month we read The Bonesetter’s Daughter
by Amy Tan
(Published January 1991, 400 pages)
Hosted by Nina Yatski
Book it Sisters’ Grade: B

Ruth Young and her widowed mother, LuLing, have always had a tumultuous relationship. Now, before she succumbs to forgetfulness, LuLing gives Ruth some of her writings, which reveal a side of LuLing that Ruth has never known. . . .

In a remote mountain village where ghosts and tradition rule, LuLing grows up in the care of her mute Precious Auntie as the family endures a curse laid upon a relative known as the bonesetter. When headstrong LuLing rejects the marriage proposal of the coffinmaker, a shocking series of events are set in motion–all of which lead back to Ruth and LuLing in modern San Francisco. The truth that Ruth learns from her mother’s past will forever change her perception of family, love, and forgiveness

Here is our review:

Judy BushA-It felt like the same book as the Joy Luck Club, which I read 20 years ago. Mother-daughter angst. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story about the mother and felt vested in her life. However, the daughter's real life relationships were flat and uninteresting. Amy Tan has a gift for storytelling, and her descriptions of growing up in China were vivid and captivating.
Janet Maisel
Mary HalseyB+Ruth's weaknesses made the first third difficult to read, but learning her mother's story and of her grandmother brought great healing to her life with her mother. Loved the dedication.
Tricia GadberryBThis book was a little difficult for me to get into but I did enjoy reading about the Chinese culture and the work that the women did for the ink shop. I felt like Amy Tan left too many loose ends and some underdeveloped story lines for my taste. I'm not sure I would read any more of her books after reading this one.
Suzanne RigbyBI enjoyed the part of the story that dealt with life in China and her mother's story. It took awhile to really get into the book. I thought the mother-daughter relationship was intriguing and is Amy Tan at her best.
Denise Link
Cheryl Clowes
Nina YatskoBI thoroughly enjoyed this book, but as Trish said, it did lack in some places in term of character development. It was a good read and I was fascinated by Lu Ling's story over all.
Megan Lewis