Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coming Soon: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Well, it's been quite the week for Harry Potter news!

Just yesterday, I alerted my friends to the existence finally of the new Harry Potter movie trailer and today Jenn saw it fit to return the favor by letting us know that this book is available for pre-order!

Say what now?!? Not too long ago scores of fans thought that they'd have to suffice with only the reviews Amazon put out late last year and now we can preorder not only a standard edition, but also a collectors edition, with all proceeds going to charity. Nicely done!

So, if you didn't know, now you do... get your orders in now, because you know hotcakes won't have anything on this book, what I suspect will be the last of any and all Potter reading material.

Me - I've already ordered both!

Continue reading the review...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Alert


Wow! I'm so excited! Lisa found this but I'm posting it for her. The trailer for the Half-Blood Prince is finally here:


You can also find some nice stills at the above link too... such as Harry and Professor Slugworth (right). (And is that an allusion to the Quidditch team in those pictures?!? Hooray!)

But now the agonizing question: To re-read or NOT to re-read? I usually re-read the series prior to watching the movie. I promised myself I wouldn't do it this time; that I'll enjoy it more if I'm not counting the things omitted. But I couldn't help it. ABC Family was airing the movies a month ago and it got me all hyped up for another reading. So now I'm up to Prisoner of Azkaban and I'm trying to drag my feet (because I should be reading and writing reviews for our site) and because I promised myself I wouldn't re-read the book prior to the movie. So now I'm in a quandary. What to do? Which do you do? Advice please.

114 Days until the movie's out... *squee*

Continue reading the review...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Julie's Review: Beverly Hills Dead

Photobucket Summary: Demoted L.A. detective Rick Barron recently quit the force to head security for Centurion Studios and has now morphed into the studio's head of production. Using this new power at the studio, Rick is in charge of selecting leading actors and scouting settings for a gritty western written by famous playwright Sidney Brooks. Centurion is a worthy stand-in for the typical studio of the era, but the Hollywood blacklist story and the untimely disappearance of one of the stars is familiar territory, and Woods doesn't break any new ground. Longtime fans of Woods's Stone Barrington series are sure to enjoy certain aspects of the story, but newcomers are likely to be disappointed.~amazon.com

Review: You know how when you are getting to the last 50-100 pages of a book and you wonder how the writer will wrap it up without making it seemed rush? Well that's what Stuart Woods did in his latest novel Beverly Hills Dead. Beverly Hills Dead is a continuation of the characters he introduced in 2004's The Prince of Beverly Hills, except it doesn't take off right where the 1st book left off, it jumps a several years and fills you in on what we missed, which is perfect.

We are in "old" Hollywood for the time period and during the "Red Scare" or the McCarthy era where people were blacklisted for being Communists. This is the main storyline and I found it very facinating but thought that it could have been a bit more flushed out or examined. Not only does the novel deal with politics in that nature but it also slightly touches on homosexuality but from the female perspective and how that would have played out in the 1940/1950s in Hollywood. Maybe the plots aren't strong but I always love Mr. Woods character development and he did a fantastic job again. I was thrilled when I read he was coming out with another Rick Barron novel. Rick Barron himself could be a movie star but he's not, he's an ex-cop who ends up making a good life for himself. His boss Eddie is hilarious and of course well connected. I found the part about shooting on location very interesting since it was rare in those days since most everything was shot in a backlot or studio. The book also briefly introduces us to the media medium called television and how it first got started.

Within the first few chapters my mouth dropped because Mr. Woods tied in a major character from his series with Stone Barrington. I was thrilled and really enjoyed getting to know this person at this stage in their "life".

Beverly Hills Dead isn't a complicated book by any means but there are a few good twists and turns and is an extremely enjoyable read. I always find myself not wanting to put his books down; therefore I typically read them in a a day or so.

If you've never read a Stuart Woods book, I would say this is a good "series" to start with since there are only 2 and if you like them move on to his Stone Barrington books.

Final Take: 4/5

Continue reading the review...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Julie's Review: Peony In Love

Photobucket Summary: Set in 17th-century China, See's fifth novel is a coming-of-age story, a ghost story, a family saga and a work of musical and social history. As Peony, the 15-year-old daughter of the wealthy Chen family, approaches an arranged marriage, she commits an unthinkable breach of etiquette when she accidentally comes upon a man who has entered the family garden. Unusually for a girl of her time, Peony has been educated and revels in studying The Peony Pavilion, a real opera published in 1598, as the repercussions of the meeting unfold. The novel's plot mirrors that of the opera, and eternal themes abound: an intelligent girl chafing against the restrictions of expected behavior; fiction's educative powers; the rocky path of love between lovers and in families. It figures into the plot that generations of young Chinese women, known as the lovesick maidens, became obsessed with The Peony Pavilion, and, in a Werther-like passion, many starved themselves to death. See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, etc.) offers meticulous depiction of women's roles in Qing and Ming dynasty China (including horrifying foot-binding scenes) and vivid descriptions of daily Qing life, festivals and rituals. Peony's vibrant voice, perfectly pitched between the novel's historical and passionate depths, carries her story beautifully—in life and afterlife. ~amazon.com

Review: I've never been one for Chinese history, it's just never really interested me but after reading Peony in Love: A Novel my curiosity is peaked. This is a superb, spellbinding novel that has deep seeded roots in Chinese culture and history. I absolutely loved it! I'm so glad I had heard/read different things about it on the web and decided to pick it up one day while my daughter was at storytime. This book is most enchanting. You can't help but love and identify with Peony, the heroine in the book. She's idealistic, romantic, a bit selfish and self-absorbed but truly does grow up in the book. This is another book where I don't want to say too much because it'll ruin the story, but it was beautiful. Lisa See is a gifted writer. Her prose was outstanding and her detail and description of everything really brought you to China and that period of time. I loved how you learned things as Peony learned them. I loved learning about the Chinese traditions, cultures and superstitions. It was truly facinating.

I'm not one to read the "Author's Notes" at the end of the books typically but I wanted to on this one. A tremendous amount of research went into this novel and you could tell how much the story meant to the author. It truly was her passion. I can invision Ms. See doing for Chinese historical fiction what Philippa Gregory has done for English historical fiction...take it to a whole new level. Before I even finished Peony in Love, I ordered Ms. See's other novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel and I can't wait to read it.

If you are a fan of historical fiction in any sense, I highly recommend that you read Peony in Love. You won't be disappointed. I certainly was not.

Final Take: 5/5

Continue reading the review...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Julie's Review: The Whole Truth

Photobucket Summary: "Dick, I need a war."
Nicolas Creel is a man on a mission. He heads up the world's largest defense contractor, The Ares Corporation. Dick Pender is the man Creel retains to "perception manage" his company to even more riches by manipulating international conflicts. But Creel may have an even grander plan in mind.
Shaw, a man with no first name and a truly unique past, has a different agenda. Reluctantly doing the bidding of a secret multi-national intelligence agency, he travels the globe to keep it safe and at peace.
Willing to do anything to get back to the top of her profession, Katie James is a journalist who has just gotten the break of a lifetime: the chance to interview the sole survivor of a massacre that has left every nation stunned.
In this terrifying, global thriller, these characters' lives will collide head-on as a series of events is set in motion that could change the world as we know it. An utterly spellbinding story that feels all too real, THE WHOLE TRUTH delivers all the twists and turns, emotional drama, unforgettable characters, and can't-put-it-down pacing that readers expect from David Baldacci-and still goes beyond anything he's written before.~amazon.com

Review: I've been a huge David Baldacci fan since reading a book by him several years ago on a business trip and been hooked ever since. Thank goodness my dad is a fan, so he typically buys his books for us. :) The Whole Truth definitely does not disappoint. Enter Nicolas Creel, a billionaire on a mission to set the world straight by sending it back to the times of the Cold War. Nicolas Creel is definitely the villain in the story but I didn't hate him. I thought he was a bit egotistical but I somewhat understood his reasoning behind his creation of war. Enter Shaw, who is a mercenary who happens to step in to the chaos by accident. Along comes Katie James, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, who has fallen from grace and is scrambling to get her career back. She gets sucked into the main plot by circumstance and inevitably her and Shaw cross paths, separate and then reconnect.

I think this book shed light on things that could happen and maybe even are going on in boardrooms/war rooms right now. The theory of M.A.D (Mutual Assured Destruction)is a theme throughout the book and an interesting one that does go back to the cold war. If anything this book does make you think about if we are safer now or if we were safer back in the days of the cold war. What does it mean to be safe? What are the consequences of some countries having all the power? Is it a bad thing? Is it good? Is it a better known than the terrorists from the Middle East?

I'm looking forward to seeing if Mr. Baldacci creates another book with Shaw and Katie James because it certainly was left open for that option.

At the end of the book Mr. Baldacci makes a statement about "perception management" and how real it is and how there are PR firms that specialize in this but it's kept quiet. I can't say that I'm shocked by this. I'm not a cynic but nothing really, truly shocks me anymore when it comes to world politics.

It wasn't his best book that I've read, but it definitely left me thinking about politics and consequences of too much power and money. If you like this book then I highly recommend Wild Fire by Nelson Demille, it deals with some of the same themes but in a different manner.

Final Take: 3.75/5

Continue reading the review...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Julie's Review: Names My Sisters Call Me

Photobucket Summary: Courtney, Norah, and Raine Cassel are as different as three sisters can be. Norah, the oldest, is a type A obsessive who hasn't forgiven Raine, the middle sister, for ruining her wedding day six years ago. Raine is Norah's opposite, a wild child/performance artist/follow-your-bliss hippie chick who ran off to California. The only thing the two have in common is their ability to drive Courtney, their youngest sister, crazy.

When her longtime boyfriend proposes, Courtney decides it's finally time to call a truce and bring the three sisters together. After all, they're grown-ups now, right? But it turns out that family ghosts aren't easily defeated--and neither are first loves. Soon Courtney finds herself reexamining every choice she has made in the past six years--including the man she's about to marry--and the value of reconnecting with the sisters she knows she needs, in spite of everything.~amazon.com

Review: Names My Sisters Call Me is a decent, predictable read. I honestly don't know why I expect more from books about the relationships of adult sisters because seemingly they all fall short. What bugged me most about this one is that it was stereotypical. The eldest sister, Norah, was a control freak, type-A; the middle sister, Raine, was a free spirit; and the youngest sister, Courtney, was coddled and didn't know how to think for herself because everything was done for her. While the book was supposed to be about sisters, I found most if revolved around the ex-boyfriend/childhood friend of Courtney and Raine, Matt Cheaney. I wanted a book about the complex relationships of sisters and I didn't get that. I have a sister and we never competed with each other like the sisters in this book. Did we battle? Heck yeah but vie for the same guy...HECK NO! Granted there were 4 years between us but we've never tried to out do each other. She's truly my best friend so I definitely couldn't relate to these 3 sisters.

I found Courtney to be likable enough and I wanted her to make the right choice for her in regards to love and enjoyed reading her epiphany. I expected some big twist to come during the novel but it didn't. I didn't even think that Norah was all that controlling, she was just put in the situation of having to be responsible before her time and ended up getting very hurt by her sister. Raine, was just absolutely annoying to me. She was almost a caricature of a person. I'm sure there are people like that but I found her whole "spiritual" personality to be a bit much. There is some humor that I enjoyed and the banter between Luke and Courtney was great.

I enjoyed her fiance Luke and her best friend Verena. I would have liked a little more focus on the mom since it seemed like she should have been closely tied to the girls' relationship with each other. The relationships between the 3 just seemed so one-dimensional and not very "real". Maybe this is what Ms. Crane has experienced or what she perceives sisterhood to be but that's not my reality or I'm guessing many others out there.

I've read 3 other of Ms. Crane's books before and this one definitely falls short. I would recommend Everyone Else's Girl or English as a Second Language before this one.

Final Take: 3.5/5

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Julie's Review: The Double Bind

Photobucket Summary: Readers will be startled to learn early on that the heroine of this engrossing puzzle, 26-year-old Laurel Estabrook, was born in West Egg. Wait a minute, wasn't West Egg where Jay Gatsby lived? Laurel works in a Burlington, Vt., homeless shelter and is trying to overcome mental and physical scars incurred from a brutal assault some six years earlier. After being given a portfolio of photographs taken by a recently deceased resident of the shelter, Bobbie Crocker, she becomes obsessed with questions surrounding what appears to be a picture of herself shot on the day of her attack. Laurel's already fragile mental state begins to unravel as she follows Bobbie's life from his rich-kid childhood on Long Island to homelessness in Vermont. The Gatsby references form the basis of the mystery, compelling readers to try to imagine how this fictional backdrop relates to the novel's "reality." ~amazon.com

Review: The Double Bind (Vintage Contemporaries) is by far one of the best books I've read in 2008 and I'll go further to say it's one of the best books I've read in the last 2-3 years. It'll be hard to write an in-depth review of the book because of the twists and turns that occur and I definitely do not want to spoil this book for those of you who have not read it.

The premise is interesting and Chris Bohjalian handles it with great ease and creativity. It is a story set inside a story. The Double Bind encompasses the characters of The Great Gatsby into the life of Laurel Estabrook. Essentially the book is about the secrets we hide and how events that happen to us shape our lives. Laurel was attacked when she was 19 while bicycling in the countryside of Vermont and this changes her choices. She no longer wants to bicycle, so she takes up swimming at the college's pool and this is where she meets Katherine, whom runs BEDS, a homeless shelter. Laurel starts off by volunteering there and after graduation begins to work there full time. Bobbie Crocker, a client of BEDS, dies unexpectedly and leaves photographs behind. Katherine thinks the pictures will be a great fundraiser for the shelter and Laurel offers to head up the project.

Before long the photos begin to take on a life of their own and Laurel takes notice of pictures that go back to the Gatsby Mansion during the 1920s. As she begins to unravel the story of Bobby Crocker we become enthralled in not only his story but in the story of the aftermath of The Great Gatsby. While Laurel is the main character here, I believe we got to know Bobbie Crocker through his photos and other sources. You really feel for a man who had hardship in life because of his mental illness.

Mr. Bohjalian does an excellent job at weaving such important societal issues into his book. The Double Bind focuses on mental illness and homelessness; how the two are often intertwined. He shows great compassion for people in both situations and you can tell he did his due diligence on both subject matters.

My one complaint is that Whit was a bit more involved in the book instead of a background character and I knew what his ultimate connection was to Laurel. I enjoyed getting to know Talia, David and Katherine.

There really is so much more I'd love to discuss but it would spoil major plot points so I won't go there. If you are looking for a wonderful, character driven storyline with lots of twists and turns; The Double Bind is the book you've been waiting for. If you were a fan of My Sister's Keeper: A Novel by Jodi Picoult than this book is right up your alley.

Final Take: 5/5

Continue reading the review...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Julie's Review: Takeover

Photobucket Summary: Forensic Scientist Theresa MacLean is investigating a grisly murder when she gets word that her fiance has been taken hostage with seven others in a bank robbery. Arriving at the scene, she discovers that the police have brought in Cleveland's best hostage negotiator. Handsome, high profile Chris Cavanaugh hasn't lost a victim yet, but Theresa wonders if he might be too arrogant to save the day this time around. Wary of Cavanaugh, she seizes the opportunity to trade herself for her injured fiance. Once on the inside, Theresa will use all her wiles, experience, and technical skills to try to get control of the crisis. Yet nothing can prepare her for what is about to unfold....In the tradition of Kathy Reichs and Jeffery Deaver, promising young novelist Lisa Black introduces a sharp and gutsy forensic investigator in a stunning thriller sure to take readers by storm. ~backcover

Review: Takeover is another book that I received from LibraryThing.com's Early Reviewers club. Based on the description and the comparison to Kathy Reichs I had pretty high hopes for it. I wouldn't say it totally fell flat but I was disappointed. I do think that for a first novel it's a solid effort but the publisher's should definitely not be comparing it to Kathy Reichs'. Theresa MacLean is a Forensic Scientist who works for the Cleveland M.E. office. The book opens with her and the police investigating a murder of Mark Ludlow who was found outside of his home and the real plot begins when hostages are taken at the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank because Detective Paul Cleary one of the investigators from the murder is in there and he's Theresa's fiance.

The hostage situation takes a bad turn and Theresa makes a heroic or stupid move to get inside the bank. Now, I get why she does it but on the other hand I kept thinking "What are you doing?" since I didn't think she was capable of handling the situation, seeing that she's a scientist and not a detective. Predictably, Theresa gets the bad guys to open up and the story becomes pretty formulaic after that. I didn't feel like that was tension between Theresa and Chris Cavanaugh, just a difference of opinion on how to resolve the situation.

I did enjoy getting to know a little about Theresa MacLean and I think that Lisa Black could make her a great main character in a series of books but she needs to make her next book not so predictable. I would read another book by Ms. Black with the hopes that she's learned from this one and makes the next one with a bit more twists and turns.

Final Take: 3.5/5

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Lisa's Review: The Tea Rose

Summary: East London, 1888 - a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night. Where shining hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, a bright, defiant young woman dares to dream of a life beyond tumbledown wharves, gaslit alleys, and the grim and crumbling dwellings of the poor.

Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger's son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save and sacrifice to achieve their dreams. But Fiona's plans are shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man force her to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit – and the ghosts of her past – propel her rise from a modest West Side shop front to the top of Manhattan's tea trade. Fiona's old ghosts do not rest quietly, however, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.

The Tea Rose is a towering old-fashioned story, imbued with a modern sensibility, of a family's destruction, of murder and revenge, of love lost and won again, and of one determined woman's quest to survive and triumph. Authentic and moving, The Tea Rose is an unforgettable novel – one certain to take its place beside such enduring epics as A Woman of Substance, The Thornbirds, and The Shell Seekers. ~back of book.

Review:
Here's the thing about romance, in literature, once you realize that you've chosen a romance, you know things are going to end in one of two ways and more often than not, that ending is going to be a happy one. Therefore, any novel with a romance at its core becomes about the journey, not the destination and The Tea Rose is one heck of a ride.

I'd read The Winter Rose, the second book in the trilogy, first and knew if only by summary the path Fiona and Joe's story took, so I was concerned that the urgency would be diminished. An unfounded fear if there ever was one. As a matter of fact, I feel incredibly compelled to pick up The Winter Rose again, just to see if the story takes a different shape, now that I've gotten more of a foundation.

Here again, Ms. Donnelly's characters are rich, well formed and a pure delight to know and love (or hate)! Fiona is spirited and stubborn, strong in the face of adversity (of which there is quite a bit). Joe, equally determined and strong, is a man tortured and paying for a mistake, he hardly knew he was making. The secondary characters are just as brilliantly written, right down to Jack (the Ripper, that is).

Set in the time when Jack terrorized London, Donnelly, obviously takes her research seriously. The details packed a powerful punch and Ms. Donnelly's prose evokes emotions and images that make you feel a part of the action. I don't doubt that an anachronism exists here and there , however you are so caught up in the story, I couldn't care less about such trivialities.

So apart from an "Oh come on" moment - there were one too many near misses for Fiona and Joe- I have no complaints. The Tea Rose has joined The Winter Rose at the top of my "Best of 2008" list and Jennifer Donnelly cements a spot amongst my favorite authors. I can't wait for the third of the trilogy and in the meantime, I'm tackling A Northern Light and planning my re-reading sessions.

Final Take:4.95/5

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Julie's Review: Riding Lessons

Photobucket Summary: Like The Horse Whisperer, Gruen's polished debut is a tale of human healing set against the primal world of horses. The Olympic dreams of teenaged equestrian Annemarie Zimmer end when her beloved horse, Harry, injures her and destroys himself in a jumping accident. In the agonizing aftermath, she gives up riding and horses entirely. Two decades later, she returns to her family's horse farm a divorcee, with her troubled teenaged daughter, Eve, in tow. There, her gruff Germanic mother struggles to maintain the farm and care for Annemarie's father, who is stricken with ALS. Although Annemarie decides (disastrously) to manage the farm's business, her attention quickly turns to an old and ostensibly worthless horse with the same rare coloring as Harry. Her long-denied passion for riding reawakens as she tracks the horse's identity and eventually discovers it to be Harry's younger brother. She must heal both horse and herself as she struggles with her father's deterioration, Eve's rebellion and her attraction to both the farm's new trainer and her childhood sweetheart Dan. Impulsive and self-absorbed, Annemarie isn't always likable, but Gruen's portrait of the stoic elder Zimmers is beautifully nuanced, as is her evocation of Eve's adolescent troubles. Amid this realistically complex generational sandwich, the book's appealing horse scenes—depicted with unsentimental affection—help build a moving story of loss, survival and renewal.~amazon.com

Review: I can see why Sara Gruen's Riding Lessons: A Novel was compared to The Horse Whisperer but they really are vastly different books. The only thing that I thought was the same was the accident that happens while riding a horse but even the circumstances surrounding that are different. I read this book in 1 day because it drew me in right away. Honestly, it makes me want to take horseback riding lessons which is something I've never done. I've ridden horses bareback plenty of times but never had the formal training. The discipline it takes to become a world class equestrian rider is phenomenal and tiring.

Annemarie was on her way to being an Olympic star when tragedy struck and she walked away from her dreams. 20 years later she returns to her parent's farm and has to face the past she left behind. Coming along with her is her daughter Eva and let's just say she's a typical teenager who doesn't want to be there and can't stand her mom. Annemarie isn't perfect, in fact she's highly flawed but you do get to see her grown throughout the book. Her relationship with her parents is shaking and well her relationship with her daughter is pretty typical but she doesn't know how to deal with it. She's had her head buried in the sand for the last 20 years and through the course of the book begins to dig her head out.

She becomes obsessed with a horse that she believes to be Harry's brother and it consumes her for a great deal of the book. Her obsession is the bain of her existence and also the reason she starts to get on with her life.

While Annemarie can be whiny and self-centered at times, this didn't bother me. I found her to be true to life with as much as this woman had been through in life. I enjoyed all the supporting characters but my favorite was Highland Hurrah.

Ms. Gruen writes with such wonderful and vivid details that you feel that you are transported to a horse farm. I really enjoyed Riding Lessons: A Novel and look forward to eventually reading the sequel Flying Changes: A Novel at some point.

I do feel that Water for Elephants: A Novel (Julie's Review: Water for Elephants) was a stronger story and better written but I would definitely recommend this book especially if you've ever experienced riding a horse.

Final Take: 4.0/5

Continue reading the review...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Julie's Review: The Ten-Year Nap

Photobucket
Summary: In her latest novel, Wolitzer (The Wife; etc.) takes a close look at the opt out generation: her cast of primary characters have all abandoned promising careers (in art, law and academia) in favor of full-time motherhood. When their children were babies, that decision was defensible to themselves and others; 10 years on, all of these women, whose interconnected stories merge during their regular breakfasts at a Manhattan restaurant, harbor hidden doubts. Do their mundane daily routines and ever-more tenuous connections to increasingly independent children compensate for all that lost promise? Wolitzer centers her narrative on comparisons between her smart but bored modern-day New York and suburban mommies and the women of the generation preceding them, who fought for women's liberation and equality. Contemporary chapters, most of which focus on a single character in this small circle of friends, alternate with vignettes from earlier eras, placing her characters' crises in the context of the women, famous and anonymous, who came before. Wolitzer's novel offers a hopeful, if not exactly optimistic, vision of women's (and men's) capacity for reinvention and the discovery of new purpose. ~amazon.com

Review: I was excited to read The Ten-Year Nap, it sounded excellent and a different way to approach the issues concerning today's women. It was a let down. I often felt like telling the women to "Shut up and do something about it". I just can't handle complaining when people do nothing to change their situation. You don't like it, try to fix it!! The main characters were flat and not really likable. I just didn't care about where their lives took them.

I thought that the writing was wordy and at times said nothing at all. I think Ms. Wolitzer got caught up in trying to write a book about the affects of feminism from a fiction point of view and ended up not really saying anything at all. Yes women in today's society have more choice and yes it's because of what women did in the 70's but I'm not sure that the stories told in this book were all that powerful.

The main character, Amy was bored and lonely and so she lived vicariously through another mom's life who seemed to have it all. Jill, was dealing with the fact that she didn't have motherly instinct, Roberta was living with the disappointment of never realizing her full potential as an artist and Karen, frankly her life seemed fine. She seemed like the most well adjusted of them all. I don't think that all "stay at home mom" (I dislike that term because who really stays at home?) are bored and unhappy, which is what I thought this book painted a picture of. Sure they are out there but I don't think it's an epidemic. She painted some of husbands as money loving whores which isn't necessarily true. I think a lot of families give up a great deal and gain a great deal when a mother chooses to stay at home. And maybe that's the whole point of Ms. Wolitzer's book...we have choices where we didn't before.

I'm not typically this harsh on a book (OK I was harsh with
The Rest of Her Life) but this book was such a disappointment and a waste of my time. I actually wish I could get my money and time back. My husband remarked that he was surprised I finished it.

Final Take: 2/5

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