Friday, April 29, 2011

Still Life With Husband Review and Q-n-A

Still Life with Husband (Vintage Contemporaries)

Still Life With Husband
Lauren Fox
258 pgs.

Amazon Blurb -

Yes, it's an affair novel, but file this adroit but placid debut under chick lit for early marrieds—the ones who are not sure they want to be on the baby-house-'burbs track. At 30, Emily Ross is a Milwaukee freelance writer with a part-time job as assistant editor at a medical journal called Male Reproduction and a marriage to "steady, staid" Kevin, a technical writer she met in college. Kevin, "innocent and intolerable," wants a baby and a house. Emily is ambivalent and bored. A few pages in, Emily meets David Keller, a dark, good-looking writer/editor at the local alternative newspaper, and starts an affair. Things, as expected, do not go well, but Fox's voice is steady, moving easily between comedy and drama. Her emotionally literate delineation of character and relationship give the book texture, with Emily's relationship with her best friend, Meg, emerging as the book's most resonant. Fox draws just the right tension out of Emily's mix of honesty and self-delusion, reflection and romance, with an undercurrent of a sort of left-handed hope. For anyone who's lived through a relationship drama, though, Emily will have a decidedly entitled, gee-whiz quality that's hard to take. 

Emily's husband Kevin has been pestering her about starting a family, buying a home in the burbs, the whole kit-n-kaboodle.  They've been married for nine years and he feels like it's time.  Kevin is a steady calm sorta guy, I would describe both of them as hipish sorta nerds.  Emily does NOT want any part of babies or burbs right now.  Who knows when.

Meg is Emily's bff, they meet every week at Whites Cafe for coffee and muffins.  Meg is described as an absolute beauty in spite of the fact that she is on the fluffy side, and men gravitate towards her like flowers to the sun.  She and her hubby Steve are expecting their first child and Meg is over the moon.  She wishes that Emily would share their childhood dream of being preggers together.

While having coffee Meg points out a cutie eying Emily for a while now.  She doesn't believe it till she goes to get more coffee and he comes up behind her and tells her he's seen her in the cafe before.  And so starts a spiral of lies and cheating that Emily doesn't seem able to stop.

The author is able to keep a very heavy subject light with her writing style.  Truly this isn't my type of book.  Stories of betrayal cut too deep.  How Emily handles this whole thing leaves a lot to be desired, and Kevin sure didn't deserve any of it.  The small side story of Meg and Steve really could've been brought to the forefront more to make it more interesting.  I really didn't get to form a bond with any of them.  Not a bad book, just not my cup of tea.

3 cannolis



1.  Team Kevin or Team David?
 Well I didn’t look at it that way.  Kevin was her husband, and what she did was dead wrong.  It just so happens that David was a real upstanding man who couldn’t deal with this at all and if she wouldn’t have been married would have made a great boyfriend.

2.  What scene do you feel was the fatal, no turning back scene for Emily?
To be honest, I think from the moment she saw him with Meg, Emily had decided that she would cross the line with this man.

3.  If Emily asked for your advice about her marriage what would you tell her?
 That she needs to take a step back and think over if hurting her husband and fatally wounding her marriage is worth this.

4.  Do you think Emily would have made a different decision if she would have confided in Meg or Heather?
 Yes I do, and with Meg.  Meg would have talked her down off of this.   I think her relationship with her sister was no way near that deep.  The rivalry and bickering was still so heavy for their ages.

5.  Will Kevin and Emily reconcile once the baby is born?
I don’t know this is a very hard thing to recover from, a lot harder for men than for women imho.

6.  Will David re-enter their lives?
No, I think seeing Kevin that day was too much for that man to deal with.

7.  Do you think Barbara, Emily's mother, gave her good advice when she told her that sometimes our lives don't turn out the way we envision but we need to make the best of what we have?
No, I think her mother was stuck in her own life rut. She didn’t seem very insightful.

8.  Who is your favorite character?
To be honest, I didn’t feel any special attachment to any of the characters.  I really didn’t like Emily, Meg could’ve been a good character, but the relationship really was just superficially touched on.

9.  Did you like this book?  Why or why not?
Fox is a good writer, she was able to take a dreadful subject and make it lighter on the heart.  I don’t like stories of betrayal; I hate Camelot and King Arthur for this reason.  It was an ok book, with some very sad subjects thrown in but not delved into very deeply.  Meg’s pain of loss with her pregnancies was glossed over, and the hurt Kevin felt was as well.  I guess that’s how she kept it light.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Authors By The Alphabet Q - n - A

Ok girls, Belle has posted the ?'s on her blog BookBelle so go and check it out, just click on her blog title.  You can post your reviews and answers on your blog, and copy and paste the q-n-a onto her comment section.  I'm almost done with it.

As I said, I'm going to go back to E, check the last post *HERE* for that author link if you ever get stuck. 

May's book choice for the letter E -

The First Cut: A Novel

The First Cut
Dianne Emley
416 pgs
Ballantine Books

Amazon Blurb -

A year after surviving a brutal attack, Pasadena, Calif., police officer Nan Vining returns to duty in Emley's sizzling debut, a hard-edged police procedural with a psychic twist. Nan, a 34-year-old single mom who still bears emotional and skin-deep scars, has her mettle tested by her first case back. The gory corpse of young, blonde LAPD vice cop Frankie Lynde, who got "too close to her work," murmurs a cryptic message to Nan at the crime scene. Nan's ability to hear the dead may be connected to her near-death experience or may be a symptom of post-traumatic stress, but it does help crack Frankie's case and eerily provides a clue about Nan's unknown attacker, whom she and her 14-year-old daughter, Emily, dubbed T.B. Mann or "The Bad Man." Readers will cheer as the fast-paced, high-stakes investigation empowers Nan to triumph over a repugnant criminal and her fears.

I have never read this author.  Now, this is the first in a series that seems to have four altogether so far.  I'll see if I want to read some more.  It is availble on Kindle as well as traditional, and my library has it so I am keeping with my goal of not buying books if it can be avoided!   Hope you all like the choice, went for some murder mystery this month.  Next on the list for June is Marce with G's author :)  I know she'll find a good one for us!

Friday, April 22, 2011

About Grace

About Grace : A Novel
About Grace
Anthony Doerr
416 pgs.

Amazon Blurb -

The majesty of nature, the meaning of courage, the redemptive power of love and the pathos of isolation—all are gracefully explored in Doerr's story of the price paid for a gift. So why does so little seem to happen in this beautiful, ponderous and sometimes monotonous first novel by the author of the exquisite collection The Shell Collector? David Winkler has seen glimpses of the future ever since he was a boy. As a 32-year-old hydrologist in Anchorage, Alaska, he dreams of his future wife; soon they meet, fall in love and run away to Ohio, where she gives birth to their daughter, Grace. But when he dreams that he fails to save Grace from a flood, Winkler abandons wife and child, hoping to flee the future. He becomes a hermetic handyman on a Caribbean island near St. Vincent, befriended by a local family. The years pass until, emboldened by his surrogate family's grown daughter, a gifted marine biologist, Winkler realizes that he must embark on a journey to discover if Grace is alive. This is a lyrical tale tuned a bit too fine: Doerr's dreamy prose accords more attention to nature than character, so that Winkler, transfixed by the wonders of water and snowflakes but singularly unreflective about his actual life, is a frustratingly opaque protagonist. There are gorgeous moments here, but a stifling lack of story. 

Ok, this book STUNK!!!  I broke my cardinal rule of never ever reading a sucky book again and did with this one.  Why?  Cause the premise was so freaking good!  David Winkler has dreams of what will happen.  Sounds really good, and so sad that he dreams his daughter's death and runs away thinking that'll save her.  For 29 years he stays away in the Caribbean, and then comes home.  I kept thinking, "Oh this has gotta pick up" well it didn't.  After the 100 pages I shoulda just stopped, but then it became a matter of seeing if my hunch was right (it wasn't).  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  I did not like any of the characters and I hated Winkler.  I wanted to hit him in the head with a bat!  He was sooooo stupid!! I have absolutely learned my lesson, if a book doesn't grab me by the 1st 75 pages, stop reading and move on.

1 cannoli

Authors By The Alphabet Update

Just a quick update that our book for the letter F is Still Life With Husband by Lauren Fox.  Belle, if you can get the ?'s up on your blog either Thursday the 28th or the 29th that would be great!

Ok, I've given it some thought and I really don't want to miss the letter E.  Yes, it's me and my anal obsessiveness :p so while at the library getting Still Life I went to the E's and found a few to choose from.  How do you all feel about that?  If you want I'll push on to G, but if  you don't mind then I'll post an E author book for May.

I'm going to post this link to the Literary Club's author section so if we're ever stumped on a letter we can go there to find an author.  You might wanna bookmark it :)

Authors by their last names

I think that'll come in handy for us and we don't have to worry about missing a letter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Wraith (Zoe Martinique, Book 1)
Phaedra Weldon
384 pgs

Amazon Blurb-

Zoe Martinque is capable of traveling outside her body, literally. After discovering her gift for astral projection during a rape, Zoe channeled her skill into a profitable enterprise, marketing herself as a private investigator with special abilities. But one night while out on a job, she comes across a man being murdered in an office building by a creature in a trench coat that can see her. Terrified, Zoe flees the scene, but not before the thing grabs her, leaving a mark on her wrist. At an anonymous client's behest, Zoe returns to the building the next day to spy on a meeting between the head of the company and Daniel Fraiser, the handsome police officer investigating the death. Drawn to both Daniel and the case, Zoe finds herself determined to pursue the creature in the trench coat, even as it becomes increasingly dangerous for her. With a quick-witted heroine and truly frightening baddies, Weldon offers a fantastic kickoff to what promises to be a vibrant new series.

Zoe is able to travel outside her body.  Makes for a really good spy!  Though she still has to use traditional means to get from a - b, she can't fly or float, so she walks or takes the bus.  She uses her talent to make money.  You know, like spying to find out if a job is going to be lost, that sorta thing.  While on a job she feels this irresistible pull inside the downtown Bank Of America building.  She stumbles upon a murder taking place, yet the killer isn't quite human. He seems to be like her, a traveler, yet, he can touch her.  She gets away, but he has left a mark on her arm.

From there she goes on a quest to solve this murder, and finds that she is more powerful then she thought.  While sleuthing she meets the hunky detective Daniel Fraiser, and tries to guide him to the killer.  With the help of her friends and her mother hopefully Zoe won't find herself taken by the mysterious trench coat killer.

This book was ok.  While Zoe was funny, her thoughts witty at times, I found her trying.  She kept getting herself in situations that I found aggravating.  I don't think I'll keep going with this series.

2 1/2 cannolis

Picking Cotton

Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption
Picking Cotton
Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton
320 pgs
St.Martins Griffin

Amazon Blurb-

Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken-- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After eleven years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face-- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.
In their own words, Jennifer and Ronald unfold the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.
This was my book club book for April, and to be honest, I didn't want to read it at first.  I'm not that into true stories.  Well, I was very pleasantly surprised.  This was just a fantastic book!  Jennifer's rape was just heart wrenching.  The fear was so palatable.  I just couldn't imagine what I'd do in the same situation.  What really struck me though was Ronald.  This poor man spent eleven years of his life in a cell for something he did not do.  The peace he embraced even knowing he may never get out is truly humbling.  It goes to show how some people are just filled with grace.

As you progress through the years and see all the struggles of trying to get a new trial and getting all the evidence in, the anger I felt at how unfair the courts can sometimes be!  Then you have Jennifer angry that the man she thinks inflicted this violent act on her is just trying to get out.  The emotions were amazing.  I highly recommend this book, it is certainly a wonderful read.  Though I did it on audio, which to be honest, I don't really like.  Reading is much better for me :)

4 cannolis

Waiting On Wednesday

Wow!! I haven't done this baby in forever!  That's because I've been focusing on my TBR pile and the challenge I'm hosting.  If you'd like to whittle your TBR too, jump on *HERE*

This meme is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine, where we post upcoming releases that we can't wait for, stop by and jump in!


Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5)Magic Slays
Ilona Andrews
320 pgs
May 31st

Amazon Blurb -

Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn't easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn't bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt. 

I have enjoyed this series, I like Kate, I like Curran, I like all the characters.  It's got a great story behind it and am looking forward to this one.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Hopping!

 We have a great book club going called Authors By The Alphabet, for the letter F,we are now reading Still Life With Husband by Lauren Fox if you'd like to join or jump in for G in May :)  You can sign up *HERE*

This Hop is hosted by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books, and it runs through the weekend, so if you can't today, hop on tomorrow!  Just remember, go to her site, follow the rules, visit some of the blogs and get to know em, if you start to follow tell em you met them through the hop!

This weeks ? -

"Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her."

I am listening to Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton for my book club.  This is a very moving book, a true story about an innocent man going to prison for a rape he didn't commit.  He was in there for 11 years before finally cleared of all charges.  Ronald Cotton is a saint in my eyes.  This man harbors no ill will towards Jennifer nor Mary Reynolds even though he didn't do what they say.  How he came to terms with the possibility of being in prison for the rest of his life with no chance of getting out is amazing.  He is so at peace and serene, one can learn a lot about forgiveness from him.  Great book

I am also reading Wraith by Phaedra Weldon.  The protagonist is Zoe Martinique.  She is feisty, with a smart-alecy type of personality, yet a bit on the dense side if you ask me.  Getting herself in bad situations before letting herself heal physically from last scuffle is getting on my nerves a bit.  I don't know if I quite like her enough to continue this series.

Hhhhmmm, does this mean I'm breaking my rule of not more than one book at a time?  One is audio so does that count?  By the way, I truly prefer reading to listening, while it's cool to listen while I'm on my treadmill, I feel I can read faster, and I can imagine much better.  I did this cuz I got the audio for free and I'm really trying to keep my book buying to a minimum even for my book clubs, accessing the Library when ever I can, and so far so good!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What The Night Knows

What the Night Knows: A Novel

What The Night Knows
Dean Koontz
462 pgs

Amazon Blurb -

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy.

Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating
in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family—his wife and three children—will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was fourteen and killed their slayer.

As a detective, John is a man of reason who deals in cold facts. But an extraordinary experience convinces him that sometimes death is not a one-way journey, that sometimes the dead return.

Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground. Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds
What the Night Knows in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing storytelling. 

"One day you'll be a Daddy and I'll come back and ride your wife and kids harder than I did your slutty sisters."

Homicide Detective John Calvino is the sole family member to survive a horrid homicide when he was 14 1/2 that took his parents and his two younger sisters.  The killer Alton Turner Blackwood uttered those words to John right before John shot and killed him.  The crime took place 20 years ago, and Calvino's family was the last of a killing spree that took 3 other families as well.  The killer was sick and twisted and tortured and raped the young girls of the family before killing them.

Present time and John has a beautiful artist wife, a son and two daughters, they live very comfortably in a gorgeous home with a husband and wife who oversee the care of the family.  Not all is perfect though, there is a copy cat killer out there mimicking the very murders that took his family and he is now afraid that his will be the final target.

Something eerie is involved and as a cop who deals in hard facts, he is having a hard time accepting this, but those words of Blackwood keep coming back to haunt him....

I liked this book.  The reason I got it was my hubs co-worker told him about it and my hubs name is John and was a cop and the last name is just so darn similar I thought lets see what it's about.  There was only one problem, it took 250 pgs before the pace finally got to nail biting speed!  I had a hard time feeling any attachment to the family, other than the youngest, Minnie, she was just to cute.  I think the very perfectness of them, homeschooled, smart, no conflict made it a bit hard to believe.  I do recommend this book though.  Once it took off I was just at the edge of my seat.  My rating would have been higher if it would have grabbed me quicker.

3 1/2 cannolis

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rapture In Death

Rapture in Death

Rapture In Death
J.D. Robb
320 pgs

Amazon Blurb -

The year is 2056. mood-altering drugs are legal, prostitution is licensed, virtual-reality games have replaced TV sets for entertainment and New York supercop Eve Dallas continues her sleuthing in Robb's fourth installment in the Death series (Naked in Death, Glory in Death, etc.). This time around, Eve has married her soul mate, Roarke, and is caught up in the puzzling suicide of a technician who's been working on Roarke's unfinished space resort. The young tech, Eve learns, had cheerfully hanged himself after a VR trip. Back on Earth, autopsies from two similar suicides reveal a pin-sized burn on the brains of the victims. All clues point to a deadly subliminal message in a VR toy?one that Roarke produces. This is sexy, gritty, richly imagined suspense. The fact that it is written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym J.D. Robb is a tribute to her versatility.

Before I say anything else let me say this - Roarke knows how to give his lady some goooood luvin!!!  That man is just it.  Ruthless, sexy, tough, cool as a cucumber, drop dead gorgeous with an Irish brogue, all male alpha, yum yum!!  If you haven't gotten to know Eve Dallas and Roarke just do it!

Ok, to continue ;)  Eve and Roarke are on their honeymoon at Roarke's almost complete space resort when a techie has committed suicide and Eve steps up as the cop that she is.  He had no visible depression, was all around good and fun loving, just slipped on some virtual reality glasses and then hung himself afterward.  Once the two are back home two more suicides committed by people who have everything to live for take place and Eve is starting to feel something just isn't kosher.

In the midst of all this, her best friend Mavis is just about ready to explode on the singing scene with a hit and Mavis asks Eve if Roarke would be willing to use his connections and he and Eve's home for her coming out party to set it off.  Of course they do and something happens at that party that not only upsets and stuns Eve, it makes Roarke go bonkers!

Eve persists in her investigation not happy with what she is being told by their profiler, will she crack this case before another murder takes place?  Will those who mean the most to her be safe?  Read to find out :)

Two things I still have a hard time with, the fact that somehow Roarke's company has been involved in each book's crime I know he's a gagillionaire and has holdings everywhere so it's not so far fetched, but come on, and the fact that Eve is still so hard up on affection with those who love her.  I understand she's broken and that it takes time to heal and she has come a long way, it still is a little tiring that she finds it hard to accept this closeness by her friends and Roarke.  That said, I will most certainly continue with the series, Robb still weaves a great tale.

3 1/2 cannolis

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Monthly Wrap-Up

I had a pretty good reading month!  Some nice books were in my pile that I really enjoyed.  The two BCC's were really good!  I loved the Persian Pickle, you can read my review *HERE*.  Mercy Thompson does not disappoint, I really like this series, my review is *HERE*.  # 2 in the Demonica sereis, Desire Unchained, eh, it was just ok.  Of course Queen Betsy and the Undead Series always makes me smile.

I had a great interview with the author of The Kensei, Jon Merz, you can catch that *HERE*.  He is really a great author and I enjoyed reading his book.

The Kensei: A Lawson Vampire NovelChange of Heart: A NovelUndead and Unreturnable (Queen Betsy, Book 4) (Berkley Sensation)
For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, Book 5)The Persian Pickle ClubBlood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 2)
Desire Unchained (Demonica, Book 2)

What's up for next  month?  A few good books, I think.  I already read Quickie by James Patterson, and boy it was just that, finished it in one sitting of 4 hours!  I'm reading Rapture In Death right now by J.D. Robb, and I'm also in an In Death challenge hosted by Christine of *The Happily Ever After*.  Just click on her blog title to check out her challenge.  I have two BCC's (book club choices), they are Picking Cottonby Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, which I'm just soso on reading, it's based on a true story, and Still Life With Husband by Lauren Fox, which I am looking forward to.  For my own *TBR Challenge*, just click on it if you wanna join, I'll be reading Wraith by Phaedra Weldon, About Grace by Anthony Doerr which I won in a contest held by Julie over at *Reading Without Restraint*, and What The Night Knows by Dean Koontz.

The QuickieRapture in DeathPicking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption
Still Life with Husband (Vintage Contemporaries)Wraith (Zoe Martinique, Book 1)About Grace : A Novel
What the Night Knows: A Novel

That's quite a bit, and who knows, sometimes I change my mind on what I really feel like reading so we'll see if I keep to this list.

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