Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sense Intrudes on a Lovely Fantasy

Did a bit of speed reading, so on to the second review of the weekend - finished last night actually, but my laptop was unavailable (knew it was essential to bring along :))  Anyway, review #2 goes to yet another Christian romance... I do seem to spend altogether too much time reading those, so I'm deeply sorry.  This one has the glorious title Anna Finch and the Hired Gun (by Kathleen Ybarbo) and apparently is such a Christian romance that Shifra Z. could tell what it was by looking at it... or was that Peryl? not sure, but either way... love that title, don't you? :) 

So I got it out because it was by the author of The Confidential Life of Ms. Eugenia Cooper, which turned out to be up there with Robin Hatcher in being an extremely readable Christian romance and I thought the author seemed promising.  As it turned out (should've guessed) this book is actually a sequel to the first one.  Which is always a little annoying with these kinds of books because 1) I kind of forgot the first book and then I feel like I'm missing some details - that wasn't a huge deal b/c most e/t is covered in this book and, more importantly, 2) the first heroine is obviously the favorite, and obviously the cool one so she's the prettiest and she marries the best guy... oh well :)

Anna Finch is pretty and her guy isn't bad either, so the book wasn't too bad on that front.  The writing wasn't bad, I mean we're talking pretty low standards here, but I didn't close the book in agony, so great going :) There was a lot of scenes between the two characters, and a lot from the guy's POV, so that aspect of chic lit romance was well covered.  Despite these promising signs, I can't give the book all the stars it might have had otherwise for a few reasons. 

1) I know I'm not usually the only to complain about this, but *plausibility*!!! a) Anna Finch is a society girl who decides to become a reporter.   She approaches the legendary Wyatt Earp at a chance meeting and he gives her his life story which she proceeds to publish no problem in the Denver Times, who then gives her a column, lickety split.  And then none other than Doc Holliday himself gives her an exclusive interview... you know plot has never been s/t I pay much attention to, but when the twisting is this blatant, I'm kind of forced to stop and say... this makes no sense! (of course, I'm also the one who got annoyed watching Finding Nemo last night (yes, we did :)) because fish don't have fatherly feelings toward their offspring... so maybe only certain types of implausibility bother me?
Anyway, in my book the even worse plausibility error was b) why her father hired a Pinkerton to look after her in the first place?! I mean as it turns out, she careens all over the state on her own, so she could use a bodyguard, but her father doesn't know about that and I *really* don't see how a bodyguard will help her get married... sorry, just don't.  I know it's fun though :) and I guess I'm wrong, I don't mind this inexplicable plot device nearly as much as the first, since it kind of makes the story ;)

2) So what was my second complaint? Oh yeah, the romance was just not that good - they kind of fall in together without much tension or back and forth or anything... I mean it's not like they get together in the beginning of the book, which would of course ruin everything... but it's almost like the romance takes a back seat to the rest of the story and even though they gradually become closer we don't see much of it or get to enjoy it (this is not strictly true, it's not that we don't see it happening, there's just no angst involved.  And you know what I say, angst=romance ;)) Well here it might be a case of bad writing interfering with the plot, because I think the book was entirely too abrupt, kind of skipping from scene to scene without time to revel in the good ones.  That contributed a lot I think to the feeling that there wasn't really much development.

So after all that, it was a *decent* romance,  and I did finish it.  And I'd read more of her books, because yes, my standards are that low :) So I can't really complain....

Verdict:going to do this the way I did Robin Lee Hatcher - for a Christian romance, 3.5/5  in general, 2.5/5 (that's on the low end, but 3 seems too high... 2.75/5)
Food: Well this was a food that doesn't even get that good at it's best, but this wasn't even at it's best.  Keeping with the bakery cake theme of Robin Lee Hatcher, this was like sheet cake.  Got all the ingredients, to my unrefined taste buds it's totally edible, but come on, it ain't Mama's Death by Chocolate chocolate cake :)

Love and Adventure in *this* :) Foreign Land

Anticipating that I would spend several hours every day in the car on this trip, I brought an entire duffel bag full of books (okay, it had a few other things in there as well :)) but as you can see from the lack of posts over this past week, that didn't so much happen.  Actually, it did happen, but I was usually either sleeping, trying to sleep, or arguing, with a distinct lack of reading activity thrown in.  So sorry, no updates till now.  But now, in my usual Shabbos tradition, I have finally finished a book! So I can post! And what a book...

When I found out I would not be going to Alice Springs, Outback central, and would have to satisfy myself with the "outback" (yes, l&gs, that's colloquially any area outside the main urbanized part of Australia, according to Wikipedia) I knew I needed to whip up some enthusiasm from somewhere - and I recalled Sarah Sp's suggestion that I reread Victoria Holt's The Pride of the Peacock, which takes place in the opal mining towns of late nineteenth century Australia.  And we will be going by some mining towns (and some opal mining towns now that I've read the book :)) And  I was definitely amenable, especially since it wasn't a bad book the first time I read it.

So first off, *definitely* good for whipping up enthusiasm for the quote-unquote outback :) The book glories in all the primitive gorgeousness that was early Australia.  And I'm inspired to go to Lightning Ridge, which is anyway on the way, so yay :)

The book itself... well Victoria Holt has written more than two books, but other than two I was told are the best, I'm not really tempted to read any.  That's because her books are not romances, but mystery-romances.  Heavy emphasis on the drama.  I suppose I don't have *such* a problem with that, but when it comes as the expense of the romance... well naturally I do.  Here, Jessica spends half the book worried that her husband is going to kill her.  And that does tend to cut in on the romance stuff, if ya know what i'm sayin.  And I thought I remembered that he really loved her the whole time (he does :) (silly grin :)) but I wasn't positive, that the writing doesn't give much hint of that.  But still, I could dream... and the dream was the reality... so it was all worth it :) 

I mean, I definitely liked it... so much that I was almost disappointed when it finished.  But I think that was kind of my mood for some reason, like I was excited it was about Australia.  Because actually I was quite impatient with the story and all the stuff going on... but in the last analysis ;), I liked it... so it was good. 

This is a boring review... I think I read the book without keeping the review in mind, so I don't have much to say... or maybe there just isn't much to say? In any case, finishing off with this:

Verdict: 4/5
Food: (sidebar - I now have a host of new foods that I do *not* like, thanks to my rather limited food choices here, so that should open up a whole new vista of food selections :)) so I liked it for sure, not my favorite, but something good... I don't know, what else to say? something that has a little something extra over its usual that kind of added to my enjoyment.  So how about nuts... I like them in general, I don't like a few of them, and I *love* some.  And if they're honey glazed pecans... oh my :) so I'll give this book honey glazed pecans... which I love a little more than this book, but okay

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Spooky Side of Romance

All right, on to number two! (if you're wondering we I am right now... and I know you are ;), sitting in Dulles airport waiting to board the flight to San Fran on the way to... yes, you know it... Australia :)) Sorry to digress, number 2 was another Lauren Willig recommendation, Gail Carriger's Soulless.  It was actually on my Books to Read list for a while but kind of low down there, but it was recommended by a number of people (on Lauren Willig's website) as a great intro. to supernatural romance.  Now I have no interest in the supernatural element of supernatural romance, but if it's the number one supernatural romance... I expect it to be up there on the list in general :)  So definitely worth giving a whirl...

I pretty much figured I would just ignore the whole werewolf/vampire thing the way I ignore most subplots in chic lit/romance that are just uninteresting to me... because of course the main point of the book is the romance, right? But that actually was not the case here... there was just all this stuff about vampires and werewolves and ghosts and "preternaturals" which are Gail Carriger's thing - people born without a soul, like our heroine... and there was this complicated world which was pretty cute - the book was very humorous in general... but the truth is, I don't have much of a tolerance for that type of thing (I make an exception for twilight... Edward is too cool :))

And besides... Lord Maccon, hero/head werewolf, is obviously awesome... but he's not *totally* awesome - not you know one of these people who just has total control all the time, kind of new to the scene and not always the smoothest operator... which bothered me a little.  But only in the beginning, because she revs up on his awesomeness and takes down his awkwardness a notch as the book progresses.... and the romance picks up as well, so that was pretty good.  And, as in many cases, I got used to the book and the werewolf/vampire stuff got less annoying... and I kind of like the scientific bend she brings to the whole thing - I always like sciency bents (man, I am a *nerd* :)) And I think the annoyance wore off pretty quickly, and the cuteness picked up.  So I ended up enjoying it quite a lot...

That being said, it's really a traditional romance, and those are never as good as the chic lit type (not going to go into why, but that's the case).... so I'm not going to laud this book to the skies, but I *am* going to read the sequel - and that's *even* though the romance is done, because there was a nice wedding at the end of this book (spoiling? hardly.... :))

So verdict: 3.5/5
Food... argle, bargle, this is getting hard... well s/t I like... but s/t w/ elements of something I *don't* like... like when I didn't used to like raisins, oatmeal raisin cookies (and I know it's cheating to use a food that I *do* like now... but what can I say, I'm pickier with books than with food :))

When First Instinct Proves Right

Well I've got *2* books to post on because I neglected to do my usual motzei shabbos one, so I'll get right to it.... The first book, which I finished Friday night, was a Christian romance, or at least I thought it was a Christian romance at first... I've got... well I wouldn't call it a love-hate, but I guess somewhat ambivalent attitude about Christian romances (see here) but this one looked promising, because it's set  in my all time favorite time period (that would be, yes, Regency England :)) and the hero has... well I don't know if it's my all time favorite rank, but I ain't complaining - he's a duke :) so definitely worth takin' a looksie :)

Funny thing as I started reading... I don't know quite how I clued into this, it might have been some combo of the authors and characters' names... anyway I figured out this was the first in a the series of which Sarah Sp. had given me the second to read! Now the second was wholly unpromising - guy was like poor... (how bad am I? :)) and it just dragged on... basically didn't actually read it at all.  But with that one, I was thinking to myself, I want to read the first one, because *that* one has a duke! and look at me, I did read it :)  And this brings me back to the point that this is not in fact a Christian romance, the author is Mormon... which might not seem that different, but apparently they have *quite* different standards for what is appropriate in a novel, plus there wasn't really much mention of overt religion at all.  Still did have that overblown and kind of drawn out quality that Christian romances seem to have...

I'm getting ahead of myself a little bit though - what I wanted to say was that when I first realized what this book was, I was pleasantly surprised, as I found the second one totally unenjoyable and this one started out pretty good... but then it went and ruined itself by getting them together too fast and bringing in other annoyances to prolong the plot instead of a good romance... so that by the time I finished, I was *not* impressed with the book... oh well, what did I expect? :)

Verdict: 2/5
Food: I don't know, what's something I don't like? or maybe not something I don't like per se, but something that was spoiled... or you know what? like that broccoli kugel I ate last week that started out *so* good (and I LOVE brocolli kugel) but then I kind of started tasting the aluminum foil aftertaste and it just...ruined it.. so that was that :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Staple Proves Its Worth :)

It seems unthinkable, but I actually finished a book Tuesday night and I *forgot* to post about it! (gasp, horror :)) In my defense, I was finishing it in mad rush just in case I wanted to return it Wednesday afternoon, which I did not, returned it today, but my focus was on getting it read (started it Sunday, btw)

So what book was it that thus occupied my time? Continuing with my current pattern of mostly junk, it was Jill Mansell's Perfect Timing.  Jill Mansell seems to have published a number of books almost all at once, with all the same covers  - I think they must be reissues.  Anyway, I read two of them by Pesach, and they were surprising enjoyable.  Especially compared with this other chic lit I read at the time, which made me think I could no longer stand reading chic lit.  But the Jill Mansells move really fast, they have decent romances and fun, likeable characters - and they have stuff from the guy's POV - #1 chic lit requirement in my book :) Of the two I read on Pesach, one was more romantic than the other (Miranda's Big Mistake was the one, An Offer You Can't Refuse was the other).  The other was almost not really romantic... if I remember correctly, there wasn't enough suspense/tension (and you know that's the only kind of tension I ever like ;)) And there tend to be side stories that may or may not be interesting.

So this one, Perfect Timing, had the somewhat uninteresting side stories thing going... actually not really uninteresting, it was just that I actually didn't like some of the characters and I kind of got annoyed with them.  But I suppose there is no way in the universe she could have written the book based on the main characters' story only, so I suppose I tolerate all the other stuff.  And it was definitely entertaining in places... (Rita and Alex's story was interesting, Jake and Claudia was annoying b/c I didn't like Claudia and found Jake slow and Dina was arggh!!) and the romance was *just my type* - guy likes girl from the get go and we know it!! (but she doesn't, b/c *that* would totally ruin it.  So basically, a good solid piece of chic lit.  And not so badly written, whatever Chava R. says :)

Verdict: 4/5... I guess that's a little high, but what can I say, that's what I like ;)
Food... same old, same old... the reliable good stuff... like... mike and ikes! love 'em, always love 'em, and they're easy to like :) not too heavy either

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tisha B'Av Reading

I read my Tante Lola's memoir of her years during the Holocaust today.  Obviously, I'm not reviewing it, but I like to mention everything I read.   It was very powerful.  I don't know if it's that I'm getting older or that I actually know the writer, but I was very much affected by the book.  (It's also quite an amazing story).  Anyway, I'm very happy I read it, and it was good to read it today.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Short and Light for the Short and Light

So I did read another book this week - Julia Quinn's Ten Things I Love About You - but that title/author combo should probably be enough to explain why it doesn't get a full review.... but since  I like posting, and I like keeping track of what I read, I'll do a short one - but please remember, this is not a recommendation that you will read it.  I think JQ is by far the best of her genre, but I know many of you would never touch that genre, and I understand that.  I'm just saying, she's pretty good.  This book wasn't her best though... I thought the romance didn't have quite enough tension - they basically liked each other right away - and there was too much drama going on with other stuff- plus a *slightly* implausible ending.  Though it was funny - she's definitely pretty funny.  And romantic enough... don't regret that I read it :)

Verdict: 3/5
Food: I thought of a perfect food for this on Friday... it'll take me a second to remember it though... well now I remember, it was  the Edy's SF butter pecan I ate on Thursday night (yes I did - mischievous grin :)) I mean, it's ice cream in a matter of speaking, but it *not* haagen daaz, and it kind of has an aftertaste... plus it makes you feel pretty sick after a while (yes I can testify to that) - but still, don't regret eating it :)

Imitatation is the Sincerest Form of... Well I Don't Know, but It Works

Well... it's definitely been longer than I thought it would be before I got to this promised double feature.  I can only say, I'm sorry, and not only for the delay, but because I cannot promise the quality of this review will be quite up to par, since I've somewhat forgotten what I thought of the first one in the first place - the second is quite fresh in my mind (I wonder if there's a/1 who knows what that phrase brings to my mind - it's totally obscure, so I doubt it, but it made me smile) because I only finished it last night... which is why I can only post now... so with that in mind, feel free to continue...

So as I've mentioned, Paula Marantz Cohen's Jane Austen in Scarsdale and Laurie Horowitz's The Family Fortune are both modern retellings of Persuasion.  So there is no question that I would like both these books, since Persuasion is one of the three most romantic books ever written (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it is *good* - which is why there are modern retellings of it (there's actually a third that I know of, Melissa Nathan's Persuading Annie, but my library didn't have it, so it's not being reviewed here at the moment)).  Anyway, I've read both of these before, I think JA in S I read in like 12th grade or something, and TFF a few years ago, and I enjoyed both so I was happy to read them again.  And I did enjoy them.

But here's the interesting thing - the first one I read, Jane Austen in Scarsdale, wasn't even such a romance! I mean there was a bit of a romance there, but I don't think I would have slogged through the rest if I hadn't enjoyed it.  But I did, thoroughly - the main character is a high school guidance counselor in Westchester, so she basically spends her whole life helping kids get into college.  I mean I definitely got annoyed with a few things about how it was written - one, that the author is not exactly a young thing, and it kind of shows in the way she writes about teenagers, and second, that I hate books that make a huge deal out of what college you go to and all that - makes me feel inferior.  To some extent, the book was making fun of the attitude, but I think it actually made a bigger deal of how these parents approach college applications.  But that was more in the beginning, and as I read, I think the book hit mostly good notes in writing a humorous saga of those tense high school years.  And I liked the main character, Anne, and I definitely liked Ben a lot - so it was good.  funny, romantic and good.

The first thing that struck me about The Family Fortune, as opposed to JA in S, was that it is really a carbon copy of Persuasion.  With JA in S, the main characters were basically the same- woman with mean father and sister, fallen down in the world, and the nice guy she jilted, but it wasn't like it was the same book.  But TFF took Persuasion and transplanted it from the 1800's English countryside to modern old-money Boston.  The back story here is the editor of a literary review, which wasn't quite as fun as the high school scene, but it was a much less major part of the book.  Here it was like, oh so Lindsay (aka Louisa) wants to ski the black diamond (aka jump down the stairs at Lyme) even though it dangerous b/c she's reckless.  And when they pass Guy Callow, (aka Mr. Elliot), Miranda (aka Elizabeth - I almost forgot that name - *blush*)'s old flame, he offers Jane (aka Anne) admiring look... tough I'm not sure Max, aka Captain Wentworth, notices... and it goes on.  The level of detail she manages to transcribe is fairly impressive, I think.  But interestingly enough, as much as the plot follows the original so meticulously, I have some definite objections (another obscure reference here) to the parallelism - namely, the characters themselves.  First of all, I think Jane's position is much more pathetic than Anne's - she really does just sit at home doing very little (I mean she has her work but not much of a life outside that) and unlike Anne, she did have a choice.  And the fact that she didn't take that choice makes her into much more of a decrepit old maid than I is, I think.  And then there's Max.  Captain Wentworth is a good match for a 27 year old, not in her first bloom, whose family was foolish enough to lose their money (not a direct quote, but that's the gist), but he ain't no Mr. Darcy. Max on the other hand... best-selling celebrity author who's also rather gorgeous? yeah, pretty up there on the the scale.  I mean it's not a huge deal, and it kind of makes the story all the more fun, but it was definitely a discrepancy in my book.  But whatever, still fun to read and I liked how it followed Persuasion so closely.

One thing though is that neither book came *close* the original in that *unbelievable* ending - but of course, that's not actually possible... given that "you pierce my soul, I am half agony, half hope" is one of the most beloved Austen quotes ever (and I know this because one time I saw a contest online with name your favorite Austen quote (I think I've mentioned it here already actually) and quite a number of people named that quote).  But in any case, it wasn't surprising that they couldn't equal that ending, but maybe they should have gone in a different direction altogether - since I should think it as possible to get Pemberley by purchase as by imitation :) (okay, okay, I know that was uncalled for, but I couldn't help it :))

Whatever, they were good books - and I liked that one of them was a minutely detailed update of Persuasion while the other one mostly tried to catch its spirit- more variety that way.  And they were totally different in tone as well, with JAinS much more humorous than TFF.  Both romantic, those I'd definitely have to go with TFF as the more romantic one, not surprising since it follows Persuasion so exactly.  But both good, definitely both good.

So verdict: 4/5 on both (I think I'm trying to reserve 5/5 for real classics)

And food... well good food - again, not 5/5, but good food - maybe like Hershey's chocolate - not Swiss, but I'm not going to say no to it on any day ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Coming Soon

Hey, readers! I know you guys are like all... it's Monday! What did Rochel read over the weekend? Why hasn't she posted? Good questions, all, and I thank you for your interest... and don't worry, you will be rewarded :) This Shabbos I read Paula Marantz Cohen's Jane Austen in Scarsdale and started Laurie Horowitz's The Family Fortune.  Besides authors with very Jewish names, these books share common source material - none other than my favorite author (or the author of my favorite book - is that the same thing? an academic question.... :))'s second-to-best book, Persuasion... and since 1) they are so similar and 2) I deliberately got them out together because they are so similar, I will be reviewing them *together* - yes a double feature! :) - when I finish the second one... so hold on tight - I'll be back before you know it :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

When Plot Does Not a Romance Make

I spend all to much time reading children's books lately, which means that I must spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing children's books.... so I request your indulgence once again (and since I don't have any more on my immediate reading list, probably for the last time for a while) while I write up Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale.  You may recall this as suggested by abg on this very blog quite some time ago... it has taken me a while to get to it, but I just finished it and here is your reward for patiently waiting :)

A. had recommended the book, if I recall, as somewhat of a romance, which it most assuredly is not.   But I forgive you darling, because I know we radically differ in what we find romantic.  I mean, it's not as if the story had no potential for romance - lady's maid and her forbidden love for the ruler of the realm, but 1) not my thing - my years of Georgette Heyer have made an unapologetic class snob of me and 2) just not written that way.  It *is* a children's book after all.

And I didn't find it to be a particularly rewarding children's book... Dianna Wynne Jones has the advantages of humor and an alluring backdrop of a rather fairy tale land, along with characters who mingle with la creme de la creme of that land.  Well this book is a fantasy, but it's based on the steppes of central Asia! of all places during what seems to be medieval times... and while Dashti may mingle with la creme de la creme, it's... somehow not quite the same when she's the maid of a rather pathetic gentlewoman.  Plus I have absolutely no patience/sympathy for what seemed to me to be the main message of the book, which is that ideas of predestined class are false and an unfair burden on the lower classes.  I mean, I'm happy I live in a democratic society at all, but please stop destroying my fantasy life as a countess ;)

And the book is written to glory in the simple things in life, to build an appreciation of the mucker's small demands from life and their happiness despite/because of this... and given this vs. Howl dying his hair a different color every two weeks because he's just that vain... well you *know* which one I choose :)

So basically this book was not for me.  Except... about half way through, the story starts to get... compelling.  I care what happens, I root for Dashti, and I'm not utterly disgusted by/skeptical of her relationship with Tegus.  And that's chiefly due to Dashti's strength, both as a character and of character.  If there's one thing I like in books, it's a character that, no matter what happens, is untouched by despair... and while Dashti herself is often despairing, we know she'll be okay, because she is that strong.  She's quite talented and always resourceful.  And it's a pleasure to see her coming up roses through everything. 

Verdict: I wouldn't normally choose to read this book, as it's *completely* out of my genre, but it wasn't too painful  - 2.5/5

Food: something I don't normally eat, which I might have expected to be really good, but wasn't that good in the end, but also wasn't so bad... I'm going to go with mushrooms - not mushrooms and onions, which I *love*, but maybe sauted portobello mushrooms - they often have an aftertaste, but if they're cooked right, they can be pretty decent - not a treat though, unless I've never eaten them cooked really right ;)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Limited Draw of Suburban Angst

This next book was kind of low on my list and got pushed up after a slightly funny story - I had put Emily Giffin's latest, Heart of the Matter, on my reserve list a few months ago.  When it finally arrived (a month after it was published I might add) I got it out and put it in mind to read on the quick side, because as a new book, it would be difficult to renew.  Then, about a week later, I noticed it wasn't on my list online so I naturally assumed that there must have been some technical glitch... and I wasn't in a rush to read it at all, because apparently there was no record that I had it out :) so good... so I put it rather farther down on my list, being that it didn't look at all promising... fast forward a few weeks.  Tzvi asked me to renew his books because they were overdue, so I did - at which point I got a response, two books could not be renewed because there were hold requests on them... one was Tzvi's and the other one was my Emily Giffin.  Oops :) forgot I asked Tzvi to pick it up for me from the library.  So it moved up to #1, it being overdue and all. 

I had a four hour or so car ride up to CL this week, and nothing to do but read... but that's not an uncommon occurrence and it doesn't always make for a fruitful drive.   This time though... I read almost the entire book in the car! So what does that say about this book, you ask? Was it so incredible that I couldn't put it down? Did the writing just grab me and keep me turning the page? Not so much...  I'm really not sure what made it so easy to read, if it wasn't the on the larger side font. 

Emily Giffin writes relationship books.  Really, straight up relationship books, with nothing else in them.  Now I have absolutely no complaints to make about this, I'm not really one for plot anyway :) But I read her books because they tend to be pretty much feel good, sometimes romantic, if not chic lit totally girly books... and if you can't tell by now, that's pretty much right up my alley :) This one carried on with the tradition, the whole book was basically about a married couple's relationship along with a single mother's tied in with them.   Her last two were about married couples too, but if they were as angsty, I don't remember it.  Basically, the marriage isn't in great shape and I really had trouble sympathizing with either side too much.  The man was definitely the villain of the two, but I couldn't really get in to the woman's side either.

The problem is, Emily Giffin tries to explore these deep questions about trust in relationships, and what true love is, and faithfulness, but she is totally lacking in what I consider the appropriate moral basis to do so (and yes, that would be traditional frum values :)) So all I can think is, b"h this isn't my life.  Yes, you people all have major issues, and there are no easy answers to the difficulties you are experiencing in your relationship - because a relationship isn't *meant* to be easy! It's work... not cookies and milk (as if I have any right to lecture - don't worry, I know I don't :)) but I just don't have patience for these people to sit here and work it out.  So basically I spent the entire book being annoyed with the characters and thinking, what's the point?

Her books are actually all like this, with the exception of her second, which has a bit more of a chic litty feel - the rest are all, but I want this, but what's the right thing but whatever, i.d.c.  But the rest all come with a satisfying ending at least! and I have a *little* more sympathy with whatever the dilemma is.  This one, as I said, just was *not* on my wavelength... b"h for that.   And I thought the ending would be a divorce... which was the only saving grace of the book - and I'm spoiling here - it isn't :) In the last chapter, she actually finally gets around to giving the preachy result of all this back and forth.  And lo and behold.... a relationship is about work, love comes from years of life together... yes, yes, yes, but why did this take you so long? But at least she gets it right in the end :)

So I did not enjoy this book... but like I said, it was easy reading - and that's because Emily Giffin does a good job with her genre - she's good with all the minutia of daily suburban life, with making it interesting, to some extent at least, if not completely sympathetic.  As Huvi would say, she's a good writer, that why I read her :)   Fine, I'll give her that...

...but it's not much... for decent writing and ending it right, I award 2.5/5 to this rather disappointing novel by a promising writer

...which I would compare with the cold cuts I ate today - from my usual diet, a food I generally like, if not my favorite in the world, but just not as good as usual today... kind of bland and with a bit of strange taste too