Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cover and Title Survey: Suzanne Redfearn

In 2014, I reviewed a fantastic book called Hush Little Baby. Today I am honored that the author Suzanne Redfearn has offered to have our blog be a part of her search for the cover and title of her new book.

Do you enjoy novels by Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, JoJo Moyes or Anita Shreve?

Then you are the perfect reader to help up-and-coming author Suzanne Redfearn choose the title and cover for her next women’s fiction novel.

For participating, you will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble. Click here to participate. Suzanne will be notifying the winner herself! Good luck!

Contest ends on 12/21/14.



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All designs are the property of Grand Central Publishing, are not final, and subject to change. Scanning, uploading, or electronic sharing without permission of Grand Central is prohibited.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jenn's Review: The House of Hades


Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Heroes of Olympus #4
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Pages: 597
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Rating: 5.0
Bottom Line: Fantastic development and penultimate showdown
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Blurb:  At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood


Review:  I held off on reading this because the cliffhanger at the end of The Mark of Athena was pretty steep and as The House of Hades is the penultimate book in the series, I was afraid this would be worse.  I needn't have feared as the ending was tame in comparison.  However, I was glad I waited because it was good to jump right into The Blood of Olympus.

Knowing there is an entire novel ahead, you know Percy and Annabeth aren't going to splat when they land in Tartarus, but Riordan manages to prolong the anguish anyway by starting the novel with the remainder of the team on the Argo II.  Things above ground have gotten harder and everyone on the Argo II is feeling the loss of Percy and Annabeth.  Their path to the House of Hades will be the most trecherous yet and they will have to stop blaming themselves and pull together to get there. They will also need to learn to trust themselves.

When we finally get back to Percy and Annabeth (five chapters in!) they are still in free fall.  Rick Riordan's separation of this pair in the first two books made me crave their reunion so that even thought they are in Tartarus it is a relief that they are together.  Tartarus is about punishment and it causes Percy and Annabeth to evaluate the choices they have made in their lives... it's enough to throw anyone into despair.  But these two have always been stronger together and being together is what pulls them through.

Perhaps more so than the rest of the series, The House of Hades is about coming into their own.  Each of heroes must make tough choices and learn to be comfortable with who they are.  I think that is why this is my favorite of all the books thus far.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Julie's Review: The Story Sisters


Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: None
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
Publisher: Three River Books
Pages: 352
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Mystical Realism
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A heartbreaking story about what lengths sisters go to protect each other
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Her new novel, The Story Sisters, charts the lives of three sisters — Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart's desire, and a demon who will not let go. What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks. At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally, redeem them. It confirms Alice Hoffman's reputation as a "writer whose keen ear for the measure struck by the beat of the human heart is unparalleled". ~powells.com  

Review: Whenever I pick up an Alice Hoffman novel I am immediately transported to this world but only more magical. In The Story Sisters, the magic exists to block out the bad. It exists so that they can escape their troubles. It is Elv who is lost and who stays lost for most of the novel. She is troubled and we are given glimpses of why but it is never fully revealed. Ms. Hoffman doesn't have to spell it out to her readers, we can figure it out on our own. It is also Elv who is the most brave of the sisters. She is the one who protects Claire until it is Claire who tries to protect her.

Meg is the pragmatic sister, who ends up protecting Claire from Elv as she slips further and further away from her family. She is the one who ends up opening their mother's eyes to Elv's misdeeds. The misdeeds and aftermath will have lasting effects on her life.

My favorite character was Claire. She was the glue that kept the sisters together until she couldn't. She was the sweet, innocent one that knew there was evil in the world. She was the sensitive one. As she grew up, she withdrew into herself. It was art that saved her. It was within art that she found her voice.

Besides Claire, I loved their Ama, Natalia. She was always there for her daughter and her granddaughters. She was also very elegant and wise.

Ms. Hoffman always writes a novel that immediately pulls you in. She creates a world that you want to curl up in and get lost in. Her writing is poetic and lyrical. If you haven't read her, you should. I will be reading more of her books in the future.

The Story Sisters is about love, redemption and forgiveness. It is about figuring out who you are and who you are meant to be. It is about the bond of sisters, that can't be broken; even when it is.

Alice's Review

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Julie's Review: Brutal Youth


Author: Anthony Breznican
Series: No
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 516
Obtained: Be Books Consulting
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Interesting look at hazing and bullying in a Catholic high school in the 90s
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: With a plunging reputation and enrollment rate, Saint Michaels has become a crumbling dumping ground for expelled delinquents and a haven for the stridently religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal —so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies. To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youth follows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive. ~powells.com

Review: Brutal Youth is an intriguing look at bullying and hazing during the 1990s at a suburban Catholic high school. Being a freshman is never easy in any feat for anyone but when you are a bit different or don't quite fit in, it can be horrible. For our 3 incoming freshman, St. Mike's is anything from welcoming. From the teachers to the upperclassmen, no one makes it easy for Noah and Peter. Lorelei has it a bit easier because she eventually figures out how to play the game.

The teachers are no better than the students. Ms. Bromine is truly reprehensible. She is perhaps the worst character in the novel. Just the mere mention of her makes me disgusted. She's so miserable in her own life that she takes it out on the students of St. Mike's. She's so focused on getting one over on Sister Maria that she doesn't realize that it will all turn on her. She was definitely did not have the students best interest in her sights. Mr. Zimmer wasn't a bad guy, he was just sheltered as a kid and somewhat still sheltered as an adult. It was only a mater of time until a student takes advantage of his kindness.

The hazing goes from teasing, bullying to cruelty. Now, our three freshman weren't always so innocent either. They were mouthy and "stirred the pot" with the upperclassmen as well. Some of the freshmen ingratiated themselves with the seniors and while it might have spared them from some hazing throughout the school year, it comes back to bite them at the Hazing Picnic.

Each character carries their own secrets including the kids; Peter, Noah and Lorelei. None of them have a great home life, so the terror of high school doesn't offer them the refuge that each of them had hopes for it doing. Instead of finding refuge in each other, they use each other. Some more than others. There is no doubt that kids are cruel. There is no doubt that they have no clue about the lasting effects of their actions. Some situations shape how you will forever view the world.

Unfortunately for Peter and Noah, their interactions with both kids and adults will not have lasting positive effects for them. One of them will have more emotional scars than physical and one will have both. What's true for both of them, is they will have issues trusting. This is perhaps what strikes me as the saddest outcome for both of them.

No one ever said high school was easy. No one ever said that things that happen won't hurt. The thing is most of us get through high school with some bruises and scars. Most of us have fond things we loved about it and most of us have things we would rather forget. Most of us were teased in some way but for most of us it made us stronger. 

What  Brutal Youth highlighted for me was that bullying and hazing aren't new issues but just talked about now. What was the most disturbing is that the adults didn't really try to stop the behavior and in some ways they helped perpetuate it.  I can only imagine that as an adult it might be difficult to draw the line about what is considered "too far" but it is up to them to act like adults.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Julie's Review: Dracula

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Author: Bram Stoker
Series: None
Publication Date:February 20, 2012
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 15 hours and 28 minutes
Narrators: Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, etc
Obtained: purchased via audible
Genre:  Classic, Horror
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Really can't go wrong with this one
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Because of the widespread awareness of the story of the evil Transylvanian count and the success of numerous film adaptations that have been created over the years, the modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power. ~audible.com

Review: So, I finished this at the beginning of the month and my intention was to originally finish it in October but there's a little thing called life and more simply work. That didn't stop me from enjoying this audio version immensely. To say that it transports you to another time and place would be cliche, but it does. You can feel the drafts in the castle and you can feel the fear and horror as the characters uncover what is going on.

As I listened to the story, bits and pieces of it came back to me. Now I have no clue when I read it but I'm sure I did and what struck me as the most noticeable was how the Count wasn't the main character. He was the catalyst for the horror and was in the peripheral but never the main focus of the novel.  It's funny how Hollywood changes the story and since that's what most people know, they never get the true depths of the novel.

What Stoker does so well is create a great sense of foreboding that keeps building and building until the very end of the novel when it explodes. I love that the entire novel is based on journals/diaries of all of the main characters. It is through this that we get a well rounded view of the characters and the horror they experience.

My favorite character has to be Dr. Seward. Perhaps it's because one of my favorite actors narrates his sections but I found him to be refreshing and even having a little humor at times. He also seems to be the rock that keeps them from becoming completely unhinged. On the other end of the spectrum was Lucy, she was just the most annoying character. So shallow and vain. It's a wonder her and Mina were even friends.

The ending of the novel happens furiously and rapidly. I had to pause it and start it again several times, afraid I was going to miss something important. I also enjoyed having an epilogue to see where the characters ended up and how they got on with their lives.

If you've never read Dracula, then I highly recommend this audio version. You can't really go wrong with Simon Vance, Alan Cumming and Tim Curry each playing a part.


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Jenn's Review: The Iron Trial


Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Series: Magisterium #1
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 299
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
Bottom Line: A school for magicians or a school for magical warriors?
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Just get it at the library
Blurb: Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail. All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him. So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing. Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

Review:  Lots of people reviewing this are comparing it to Harry Potter, but a more accurate comparison might be The Magicians by Lev Grossman in that it is darker and more despairing. Unfortunately, that's not a favorable comparison for me.

One of the many things I find enchanting about Cassandra Clare's work is her ability to weave a plot.  This, however, felt more like a story outline that the authors did their best to go back and obscure with layers of extranea.  Unfortunately, I knew where we were headed from the outset of the plot exposition.  That can be okay if you love the characters and enjoy the journey, but I couldn't seem to invest in any of it.  The big reveal was supposed to be shocking, but it wasn't in the least for me.

Another thing I love about Ms. Clare's novels is the her depth of characters.  None of that was evident here. It wasn't that I didn't like the characters, just that I never connected to any of them. While the potential was there for all of the characters we never really get to know them, making them all feel archetypal.  This made it hard for me to invest in any of the characters.  Are we supposed to like Cal?  Probably as it's his story, but I think not being able to invest in him was the main reason this story didn't work as well for me. The authors actually start the novel by laying the groundwork for distrusting Cal and continue to chip away at him.   Every time I felt close to getting behind him something would happen to distance me from him again.

I adore Cassandra Clare's work and have heard fabulous things about Holly Black as well so I went into this novel with huge expectations.  Perhaps that is why I was so disappointed with this book.  Will I continue on with this series?  Maybe.  But only because I have great faith in Cassandra Clare that if anyone can salvage this series, it will be her.  However, it won't jump to the top of my TBR pile when the next installment is released.


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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jenn's Review: Undeniably Yours

Undeniably Yours  (Lucy Valentine, #5)

Author: Heather Webber
Series: Lucy Valentine #5
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Blue Dandelion Press
Pages: 448
Obtained: purchased
Genre: 
Rating: 4.5
Bottom Line: Another fabulous Lucy novel
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Blurb:  NO GOOD DEED 

While still recuperating from injuries sustained in her previous case, the last thing psychic investigator Lucy Valentine wants is to dive into another job. But when Detective Lieutenant Aiden Holliday comes calling for help in finding a missing woman, saying no is not an option. 

TV journalist Kira Fitzpatrick has vanished without a trace. There’s little for Lucy to go on except picking up Kira’s current investigation where she left off. The fearless reporter had been close to cracking one of the year’s biggest cases: the disappearance of a two-year-old boy. 

GOES UNPUNISHED 

Now Lucy must use her abilities to find both of them. As she follows a twisted trail of lies and deceit, she uncovers a shocking twist to Kira’s exposé that someone is desperate to keep secret. It’s a race against the clock as Lucy struggles to discover who’s telling the truth…and who’s willing to kill to keep her from solving the case.


Review:  Whenever I'm looking for a book that I know I will love I turn to Heather Webber/Heather Blake.  I actually try to save her books, especially the Lucy Valentine seriesfor when I need a reading lift but Julie's review of the fourth novel, Perfectly Matched, left me craving a visit with LucyD.

Perfectly Matched had a significant twisty cliffhanger at the end and it was marvelous that Undeniably Yours picks up right where things were left off.  The supporting cast is more in the background this time around but they are still supportive and present in the story.  (Most of Lucy's friends and investigative team are out of commission after the last case so Lucy has to go this one with just Aiden.)  The case is intriguing and personal for everyone.  I had an inkling of where things were headed and I was not disappointed to be right, but I certainly wasn't completely right; Heather Webber always has good twists up her sleeve.

The only thing I wish there had been discussed more was her unusual predictive link with Sean.  Has it disappeared completely? Will it resurface?  Last book spent a lot of time dealing with Lucy and her abilities and while she did use them, I felt like I wanted a little more continuation with the exploration of this.  However that was a small shadow over an otherwise sunny novel.

There was no cliffhanger this time, but as always things were tied up just enough to leave you craving more time with Lucy and her family.  I love all of Heather Webber's books, but Lucy Valentine will always be my favorite, so I will patiently await her next adventure.



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Monday, October 27, 2014

Julie's Review: Saving Grace


Author: Jane Green
Series: None
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Obtained: Vine
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Another solid Jane Green novel with the focus on mental illness
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue. To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late. Powerful and riveting, Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back. ~amazon.com

Review: Here is where I say that we never know what goes on behind doors. Grace and Ted seem like the perfect couple. She's a wonderful wife and keeps things running so her very famous author husband can spend his days working on the next great novel. Saving Grace is a novel about what happens behind closed doors, how trying to figure out the next steps in your life aren't sure of what path to travel on.

As with all of Ms. Green's heroines, Grace is easy to like. She's pretty close to perfect but her life is anything but that. Her husband is a bit of an egotistical manic and not the easiest man to live with at all. Does he love Grace? I think he does but he's so used to how she runs their life, I'm not sure he'd know what to do without her. I don't think that counts as love but as dependence. Grace has her own fears which stem from her childhood.

Ted needs a new assistant since the one that has been with him for 20 years is leaving to take care of her ailing mother. So when Beth enters their lives at just the right time, Beth thanks her lucky stars. Almost immediately, Grace gets an uneasy feeling around her but pushes it aside because Beth has become instrumental in making their lives run easy.

Slowly Beth begins to metamorphose in front of Grace, just as her life begins to spin out of control. The question becomes is Grace truly going crazy or is she just going through some changes?

It isn't too hard as a reader to see where this one is going. As always Ms. Green has written the journey to be interesting even if you figure out part of the plot. Grace's plight is one that many women will be able to identify with. What happens when your body and your mind betray you? When you start to feel so not like yourself but you have no idea how to fix it? These are all very powerful questions.

I found the ending to be exactly what I wanted but with a nice little twist. Saving Grace is another Jane Green classic.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Julie's Review: Bitter Greens


Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: None
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press
Pages: 496
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  historical fiction, fairy tale
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A wonderful historical fiction novel interwoven with the orgins of a classic fairy tale
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love. French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens. After Margheritas father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does. Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman. ~powells.com

Review: I love dual point of view novels but this one takes it another step and adds one more point of view. I loved all three views in Bitter Greens but I think I found Charlotte-Rose the most fascinating. She was a strong-willed woman who would not let the constraints of society hold her back. Unfortunately, in the court of Louis XIV, unless he was the one in scandal it was forbidden. Charlotte-Rose was also a gifted storyteller. She could weave a tale for the court that would delight. It is this talent that gave the world Rapunzel as we know it.

Charlotte-Rose's life was one of love, adventure, stories and indulgence. Being on the court of the Sun King was interesting. You were either in favor or out of favor. For someone like Charlotte-Rose who needed her income from being on court, it was important to stay in favor. It's also hard for someone like Charlotte-Rose to be demure when she wants to seize life. Oh and boy did she ever. She led quite the scandalous life.

It is these scandals that cause her to be banished from court and sent by Louis XIV to a convent. Can you imagine being sent to a convent and it's not your choice? How hard would that be to adapt to a life of piousness when you were used to a life of extravagance?  Lucky for her she meets a nun who opens up her creative juices.

The other two stories of Selena and Margherita are intertwined. It is these stories where we get into the darkness of the tale. Fairy Tales didn't originate as happy/cheery stories but rather they were dark. They often detailed the macabre and dark magic. I loved this aspect of the story. I loved that Ms. Forsyth gave the evil witch her own story, it added depth to the story. It was her story, after Charlotte-Rose's, that I found intriguing. Her life wasn't easy but it also didn't excuse her treatment of Margherita.

Ms. Forsyth takes historical fiction to a new level here. This isn't a fairytale retelling, it is the history of the tale and the story of the woman who wrote the story. The details of the time period are phenomenal and it's evident that she did her research.

Each character had their own voice and each was distinctive which was key in moving from chapter to chapter. I enjoyed the time that I spent with each of these women. Each was fascinating and strong in their own way. Each of them overcame and persevered in their life.



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Friday, October 17, 2014

Book to Movie Review: This Is Where I Leave You

Summary: The death of Judd Foxman's father marks the first time that the entire Foxman clan has congregated in years. There is, however, one conspicuous absence: Judd's wife, Jen, whose affair with his radio- shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father and his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva-and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. The week quickly spins out of control as longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed and old passions are reawakened. ~amazon.com

Book to Movie Review: Earlier this week you saw my book review of This Is Where I Leave You and today I bring you my movie review. Usually I don't like to read a book so close to seeing the movie, but this time it couldn't be helped. I loved that Jason Bateman was the face and voice of Judd. The way he is always understated in his expressions lends itself well. Plus I've kind of been a sucker for him since The Hogan Family days. The rest of the casting was brilliant too. I mean Jane Fonda is the perfect Hilary. She really had a lot of the laugh out loud moment. I loved the relationship between Judd and Wendy. In the book you could tell they were close but in the movie you truly felt their love for each other. They seemed to understand each other the best.

The entire cast was pretty perfect. I think it helped the Mr. Tropper wrote the screenplay as well, which kept it pretty close to the novel. While there were definite changes and some plot points left out; it didn't change the tone of the story. In fact, I found myself laughing more and crying more through different parts of the movie. Somethings work better in a novel and wouldn't translate well to the big screen. For example, most of the book we are in Judd's head and while it still is Judd's point of view, we aren't privvy to his every thought.

This is definitely dark humor but with lots of heart. There are some very funny moments and for those of us who read the book, the big twist/reveal is still there. Which made me happy to see. I felt it was essential to the book and to the family. This might be a movie that I have my husband watch with me when it comes to DVD; I think he might enjoy it.

Book To Movie: 4.5/5


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