Tuesday, December 14, 2010


by Anita Shreve

Testimony: A NovelI'm currently disrupting with the time/space continuum. I read Testimony in July, but am writing my review today (December 1, 2010), and not planning to post said review until December 14. Do with this information what you will.

Actually, today was a crazy day. It started off super productive and successful ... seems my job has evolved into a bit of corporate training and it doesn't suck. It's draining for sure, but interacting with people is one of the things I do best. I'm passionate about my work and always eager to share my knowledge. After the training there were some events that took place that actually made me need to leave the office for fear of doing/saying something I might regret. As I drove home I vowed to forget about these aggravating circumstances and not speak again for the rest of the day. Oh, and drink a lot of wine.  So if I can't express myself verbally, my blog readers get treated to a buzzed post. Here goes...

I've been up and down with Anita Shreve. I read The Pilot's Wife years ago and absolutely loved it. Then I read a few other titles and as write this have no idea what they were. I knew they were forgettable, but I didn't realize until now just how much so. But this one was handed to me by Joanna, and we all know that I trust her recommendations and sort of see her as my personal screener. This one passed the test.

Testimony is the story about college students and, more specifically, how one seemingly harmless series of events effects a long string of people. Each chapter is told by a different affected person. I really like this style of writing. Easy to follow, yet complex enough to keep the reader on her toes. I'm reading other reviews to refresh my memory, and find that this book didn't get much praise. For once, I completely disagree. I thought this book was great. The subject matter was totally believable and I definitely sympathized with the characters.

Three star college basketball players and a freshman girl make a sex tape that quickly gets leaked to the entire school. It's eerily reminiscent of that poor Rutger's student who jumped from the GW bridge (even though this book was published two years ago). And I was hooked after the first two sentences:

"It was a small cassette, not much bigger than the palm of his hand, and when Mike thought about the terrible license and risk exhibited on the tape, as well as its resultant destructive power, it was as though the two-by-three plastic package had been radioactive. Which it may as well have been, since it had produced something very like radiation sickness throughout the school, reducing the value of an Avery education, destroying at least two marriages that he knew of, ruining the futures of three students, and, most horrifying of all, resulting in a death."

Quick read. Compelling. Worth it.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Last Time I Saw You

by Elizabeth Berg

The Last Time I Saw You: A NovelI have had a post-it note with Elizabeth Berg's name tacked to my computer for over a year. This was the first book I finally got around to reading. Really, whose list isn't a million miles long?! And now that I own a kindle, it seems easier to add more and more to that ever-growing list.

As I had said a couple weeks ago, I am way, way behind on posting. I read this one back in June (2010, duh, I'm not that far behind), and as I went back to read the synopsis, I realized how forgettable this book was. It's not that The Last Time I Saw You was poorly written or had an uninteresting plot, but for once I am completely in the wrong demographic for this author's novels. Luckily I'm not approaching my 40th high school reunion (not even close!), but, in a nutshell, that's the premise. And as I read a few reviews, I agreed with a few spot-on keywords like rose-tinted and vanilla, yet ably written. I couldn't agree more.

I may revisit Berg's books in about 10-15 years, but for now, I'll pass.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Twilight Saga)I'm so sucked in. As angry as I get at that martyr Bella, I can't help but love Edward and the fantasy life of Meyer's vampires. And if I haven't said it before, the version of Edward in my mind is way hotter than RPatt. I went super cheap too, and read it for free online (during the month of June on Meyer's website). No way was I paying $9.99 to read a measly 178 pages on my kindle.

I think everyone knows this was not a good novella. Terrible reviews, most calling the protagonist Poor Vampire Trash (PVT). There is nothing glamorous about Bree  like there is about the Cullens. Yet, I have to say that it was pretty interesting to see the "other side" of the vampire existence. And I did like finally understanding the impetus for the big battle of the Cullens vs. Every Other Freaking Vampire in Existence. I also suppose I felt a little sorry for Bree at the end too.

"Take care of that, Felix," Jane said indifferently, nodding at me. "I want to go home."
"Don't watch," the redheaded mindreader whispered.

I closed my eyes.

I read The Short Second Life before I saw New Moon, so it was kind of cool to recognize who Bree was and pay attention to her demise while I watched the movie. And call me a nerd, but I'm pretty excited for the two-part Breaking Dawn finale.

Bottom line is this: If you've invested time into reading all four Twilight books, read this one. It will take a couple hours, max.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lilly Ponder

by Rebecca Wells

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder: A NovelWho doesn't love some good Ya-Ya's? I adored every one of those books and think of them often. So endearing. And that was why I was so excited when Wells released Crowning Glory. For some reason, I'm drawn to books that drip with that sweet, Southern charm (I'm looking at you, Fannie Flagg).

From page one, Calla Lily made me smile. Her relationship with her mother and her dream to become a "famous" hairdresser was so cute and honest. I was really connected to the title too because my grandmother always told me, "your hair is your crowning glory." Her little phrases will pop into my mind when I least expect them and they always make me smile. I think my favorite was, "save your tears for when you're hurt."

I digress. The first half of Crowning Glory is the expected, enchanting tale. But a few tragic events take place and the book changes pace a bit. Cally Lily goes to New Orleans to attend beauty school and realize her dream. There she meets wonderful people, forms friendships and gets married. And although more tragic events follow, the story becomes way too over-the-top syrupy for my taste. Do this: with a cheesy grin, stick your index finger in your cheek and twist back and forth. That's how I felt finishing this one. Cheese ball. I have to admit that I didn't even finish the last page. Didn't care. I had had enough of how life is so perfect and friends are so perfect and she's so perfect and...puke. I'm sorry to say this one falls short of some very high expectations.

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