Monday, May 3, 2010

Book Reviews - April 2010

About midnight or so tonight, I realized that we were already two/three days into the month of May and I hadn't posted my April book reviews yet. Mildly alarmed that I had missed my once-a-month reason to blog, I vowed to do it sometime on Monday. Who knew I would be doing it at 2:35 am? Storms and sleep don't mix, people. I'm always telling John we need one of those emergency weather radios, but he scoffs at the idea. Actual scoffing, I tell you. Satellite TV is totally unreliable in bad weather, and how on earth am I supposed to know if we're about to die? He is, of course, sleeping peacefully in the other room. I am totally resentful of this. SOMEBODY has to stay awake wandering the house and looking out the windows for twisters. And whatever happened to those nifty tornado sirens? If we had one of THOSE, I could at least lay down and close my eyes knowing the siren would warn me of danger. I could stay on this rant all night, but since I'm thinking I've only got a good 15/20 minutes before the laptop battery dies, I'd better move on.

I write these reviews as I read the books, so that's why the below mentions me drinking a cup of tea, which sounds calming, and I can promise you I am not doing right at this moment. I think the storm is passing, but I'll be up for another good 30 minutes, just in case I'm wrong. John and Samuel have no idea, but I am ON THE JOB.

Without further ado, the book reviews:

1. Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn

In honor of this review, I am sipping tea with half & half and honey, because that's how Pam Morgan told me they do it in England. I don't know if this is true or not, but I am totally on board. If I could smell or taste right now, I'm sure I'd be thrilled. I could really use a scone or shortbread "biscuit" at this moment. This is the third or fourth Sisterchicks book I've read, although it was a very long time ago when I read the others. I liked the other books, but never loved them enough that I wanted to continue with the series, until I saw that they were going to "Go Brit!". I have a thing about everything British, so I had to read this one. I really didn't love the book, but I did enjoy all the places in England that they visited and talked about. It was almost more of a travel guide than anything. I did cry when I read the last page, but I'm not sure that made the whole book worth it. You can't trust my tears since I tend towards the emotional side. So, if you have this Brit obsession as I do, you might enjoy it. If you don't, you probably want to skip it.

2. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
I think I established in the previous review that I am emotional. I didn't used to be this way, but I believe that while pregnant with Samuel he flipped some sort of internal switch while he was kicking around in there and the waterworks have been on ever since. It's not always very bad, but give me a small amount of stress or illness and I'm done for. Add that praise & worship song about Paul and Silas and mind prisons and chains breaking and I'm seriously undone. You are probably wondering what any of that has to do with this book. I started the book on Tuesday night while I was feeling really, really, really sick. I'm not sure how far in I started the crying, but I didn't read a lot that night and I know I had one good boo-hoo session before it was over. I was really missing my Daddy.

Flash forward to Wednesday. John and Samuel went to church without me because I was pretty sure no one would appreciate the volume of snot I was producing. I still felt horrible, but decided to read for a bit. It didn't take long for it to start again. I cried, I laughed, I cried, I laughed. One particular chapter ending had me weeping so hard that I had to put the book down and just wail for a few minutes. By the time the guys got home I felt about 1000 times worse than I had when they left, but I still couldn't put the book down.

I finished the book on Thursday late afternoon with no more tears.

I highly, highly recommend this book - especially if you are a little more stable than I am. It is funny and it makes you think a lot about your family and friends, and then it might make you cry a little too...or a lot, if you have issues. There are a few "F" bombs thrown in here and there, so be warned, but one of them did make me cackle out loud. This one is a keeper.

3. A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins Clark
I love books by Mary Higgins Clark. I know I've read a lot of them, but probably because I read them so far apart, I have a very hard time remembering what I have read before and what is new. This was an old book I found at the used book store and the description did not seem familiar to me, so I took a chance. In several books of Mary Higgins Clark's that I've read, there is a twist or a moment where I am surprised by who is actually the evil person behind whatever is going on. That was not the case in this book. It was pretty clear from the get-go that the main character's new husband - Erich - was creepy. Really, REALLY creepy. So, even if there were a twist and he was not responsible for all the weirdness, she still needed to get away from him. So, I liked the book, but I like being surprised and I wasn't as much with this one. Mary Higgins Clark mysteries are very good and you can read them without fear of bad language or raunchy sex scenes or anything other than just a good suspenseful story.

4. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This book was one my husband had me request on Paperback Swap. I knew nothing about it, but he read it and suggested that I would like it. I read a little over half of this book and really enjoyed it. And then I got bored with the never-ending hostage situation and crazy opera love and just wanted resolution. I tried going back to the book several times and never stuck with it longer than a page or two. Then I lost the book for a day or so, only to discover it had been in one of the many pockets in my mammoth purse the whole time. Finally, I just asked John to tell me what happened so I could read something else. And he did. Then we had this ridiculously long discussion about whether it was acceptable to have an affair if you were in a prolonged hostage situation in a third world country. Let's just say that one of us found the situation understandable, while the other one is COMMITTED TO HER MARRIAGE EVEN IN THE FACE OF THIRD WORLD TERRORISTS AND FAMOUS OPERA SINGERS. Reading is knowledge, people. Even if that knowledge is that you should never, ever, ever send your husband to a third world country.

When John wakes up and reads this, he's probably going to be perturbed that I typed that last part, but he can THANK ME FOR BEING ALIVE. The Riddle men can sleep like babies knowing I am watching out for them. Good night, dear friends.