Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Survivors

Author: Jane Harper 

One-sentence summary:  A new father visits his parents and hometown, bringing up painful memories of the past especially as a new tragedy is investigated. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  

Our favorite thing about it:  Easy, fast summer read. 

Our least favorite thing about it:  Didn’t grab us immediately, took a little while to get into. 

Main Topics of Discussion: Characters, mystery stories, Parent/child relationships 

Our favorite quote:  “Are they supposed to be happy or sad? I mean, is it a celebration of the people who made it, or a memorial to the ones who didn't?” 

Notes:  We liked the experience of reading this book because it was fairly fast to read and easy. But when we sat down to reflect on it, this murder mystery showed some weaknesses. It started off slow and none of the characters stood out. They were all just kind of “blah.” Even the main character, and that’s disappointing. Several characters disappeared (Olivia, Liam) or just seemed superfluous and added nothing to the story (looking at you, George, visiting police detective). We did wonder “who did it,” but this mystery did not have us on the edge of our seats. And the ending was a little unsatisfactory. The murderer acted completely out of character BOTH times. We did think this story would be great as a TV show with maybe a little more character development. One thing we did like was exploring how guilt can affect someone and the interesting relationship between the main character and his parents because of what happened to his brother. Those were at least interesting dynamics, if tragic. We’re not sad we read this book, but it’s probably not one that will leave an impression. 

Memorable Meeting Moments:  With a rainstorm that came through during our meeting, we actually had a chilly June evening! We were not able to swim, but we did enjoy the back porch with blankets! 

What We Ate:  Christina made us filet mignon, baked potatoes with all the fixings, broccoli, watermelon and feta salad, a mixed green salad, and berries with pound cake and whipped cream for dessert.

Monday, May 24, 2021

May 2021 Wine Tasting

We had wanted to book a wine tasting tour in Texas (near DFW) together but could not make any dates work, so we decided to do our own! Christina generously hosted us at her house. We each chose a wine of a different variety (3 reds, 3 whites) and brought some foods that paired well with our wine selection. We also did a little bit of research on the wine so we could present it to the group. We had SO MUCH FUN! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig 

One-sentence summary:  A struggling young woman nearly dies, but gets the unique opportunity to visit her other possible lives before deciding to which life to reside in permanently. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  

Our favorite thing about it: Such a cool concept and entertaining story. 

Our least favorite thing about it: Maybe that it was a little predictable? (at least how it would ultimately end) 

Main Topics of Discussion: Regrets, Possibilities, Choices 

Our favorite quote:  “You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.” 

Notes:  We thought this book was unique and so interesting. It was fun to explore with the main character her other possible lives and how her choices would have affected them. Choices are not what they seem…or at least the consequences and results of choices are not always what they seem. We expected the main character to ultimately choose her “root” life, but it was enlightening to see her view it in new ways as she visited each other possible life. She gained clarity (especially on Dan, her brother, her parents) and was able to let go of things she previously regretted. Overall, this was a fantastic read. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: This was our first time to eat inside a restaurant together since February 2020! We had the best time eating at Chuy’s and chilling at Dara’s house for the rest of the meeting. 

What We Ate:  Stephanie treated us to Chuy’s and then brought us Crumbl cookies for dessert, which has started an obsession for all of us!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Four Winds

Author: Kristin Hannah

One-sentence summary:  A woman and her family struggle through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in Texas and then moving to unhospitable California.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  8

Our favorite thing about it: Really captivating story that made you feel like you were there.

Our least favorite thing about it: The ending was maybe a bit rushed compared to the pacing of the rest of the book.

Main Topics of Discussion: Mothers, Love, Family, Abandonment, Politics of Refugees

Our favorite quote:  “It wasn’t the fear that mattered in life. It was the choices made when you were afraid. You were brave because of your fear, not in spite of it.”

Notes:  We gave a unanimous rating for this book because we all enjoyed it so much. For those of us who read The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck, we could not help comparing this novel to that. They are very similar, but we appreciated the woman/mother perspective in this book. The writing was so compelling and the author wove a spectacular but tragic story. We did thing some parts lagged a bit in pacing and then the ending seemed rushed, but those are nitpicky things about a great book. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: Amberly held the meeting at her house and showed us the Dust Bowl documentary on Amazon Prime during the meeting (on mute). Many of us went home and watched it later in full. It was also Stephanie’s birthday month – we ALL got her cards in YELLOW envelopes (coincidentally, not planned)! 

What We Ate:  Steak, Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus wrapped in Bacon, Crunchy Kale Salad, and three different kinds of dessert bars/brownies!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Author: Alix E. Harrow

One-sentence summary:  A young woman discovers the supernatural secrets about her life and past buried by someone she trusted.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  8

Our favorite thing about it: Such a great story and well-told.

Our least favorite thing about it: The more graphic parts, like when the main character had to carve into her own arm.

Main Topics of Discussion: Story, Layers of Theme, Racism, Writing as Creation, Memory, Power and Control

Our favorite quote: “It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.”

Notes:  What a fascinating and engaging story. We all loved it. This book was rich with detail and layers of theming – beautiful and fun to read. We discussed the themes of doors opening and closing, thin places, and change. As well as the ideas of color in people and other worlds that made them different. We really liked Samuel’s character because he was so loyal. He reminded us of Samwise Gamge of Lord of the Rings – the archetypal loyal character. We loved the idea of writing a door into being and contrasting that power to that of other characters who sought to destroy and not create – to control and not let free. We thought it was so interesting that individual worlds could be identified by their smell before anything else. This was just a great story that was also so well written – no superfluous descriptions, but such vivid word paintings to enjoy.

Memorable Meeting Moments:

What We Ate:  Chicken Enchilada Bake, Mexican Rice, Black Bean Salsa with Chips, Cinnnamon apples with ice cream.

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Book of Longings

Author: Sue Monk Kidd

One-sentence summary:  The author imagines the life of Jesus’s wife and what kind of woman she could have been and how being married changes our view of Jesus and his ministry.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  7

Our favorite thing about it: This was a fascinating idea and fun to imagine.

Our least favorite thing about it:  The book lagged a bit in the middle.

Main Topics of Discussion: Silencing women, longing, calling, relationships, Judas

Our favorite quote: “Lord our God, hear my prayer, the prayer of my heart. Bless the largeness inside me, no matter how I fear it. Bless my reed pens and my inks. Bless the words I write. May they be beautiful in your sight. May they be visible to eyes not yet born. When I am dust, sing these words over my bones: she was a voice.”

Notes:  We all really liked this book. It was such an interesting concept and we enjoyed reading about it. The idea that Jesus even had a wife, and that she might have been boundary-pushing, was great. It also humanized Jesus just a bit for us for him to have a wife and gave insight into what leaving his family was really like when he went off to do ministry. Probably the most interesting part for some of us was the speculation about Judas and why he might have betrayed Jesus. This also humanized Judas for us. Overall, we enjoyed the story although things lagged a bit in the middle of the story.

Memorable Meeting Moments: This meeting took place at Lindsay’s house right after the great freeze of February 2021! Rachel had just discovered a leak in her house 10 minutes before leaving for the meeting. But we all came out of the weather phenomenon pretty unscathed.

What We Ate:  MOD Pizza

Friday, January 22, 2021


Author: Matthew McConaughey

One-sentence summary:  McConaughey takes us back into his childhood and through his movie-making years in this memoir about things he’s learned in life.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  7

Our favorite thing about it: The book was interesting with lots of new info about Matthew that we enjoyed.

Our least favorite thing about it:  It was kind of self-congratulatory and we didn’t always relate to the way he and his dad “worked things out.”

Main Topics of Discussion: We talked about McConaughey’s movies and which ones we had seen or not. We talked about his different upbringing and relationship with his dad/parents. We discussed his “insights” and how his career progressed. Overall, it was a good book to listen to and entertaining, but not particularly meaningful to most of us. The tone and writing style were off-putting sometimes. And we rolled our eyes a lot. Superfans will probably enjoy it more! And listening to the audiobook is definitely the way to go.

Our favorite quote: “Life is our resume. It is our story to tell, and the choices we make write the chapters. Can we live in a way where we look forward to looking back?”

Notes:  We selected this book as a joint pick for our January trip to the lake house for Rachel’s 40th birthday and to take the place of our cancelled cruise. Most of us listened to the audiobook because McConaughey read it himself, which was neat.

Memorable Meeting Moments: This was our first time to go to the lake in winter. We liked it. ;) So much great hang time. We watched the entire Bridgerton series (again, for most of us). And a couple of other movies. 

What We Ate:  Chili, chocolate FONDUE (a big winner), tamales, and LOTS of popcorn.