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Book Reviews

Susan Elizabeth Phillips * Natural Born Charmer

Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bona-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what’s gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can’t imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.

I have to start with this: WTF??? Headless beaver? Seriously?? I was on the floor laughing because of this. I didn’t read the summary (as my bad–and-not-so-bad habit dictates) so the surprise was awesome! I knew I’d fall in love with this book, and I did. It was insanely good.

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Stephen King

Lunch at the Gotham Café * Stephen King

I loved the story with the guy who’s wife left him after arguing over cats and dogs (L.T.’s Theory Of Pets) and I loved this story too. A couple breaks apart when she decides to leave him all of a sudden and he’s faced with her wrath and her therapist.
When they decide to meet up over lunch at the Gotham Café to see if they have any chance of reconciliation, her therapist mentions her long list of grievances about him, one of them being a very greedy one: a key to a box holding a 30k diamond necklace he gave her. She was going to divorce him but she was going to do it while sitting on a pile of cash.

kitchen450It all goes horribly wrong when they get inside the Gotham Café and find the M’aitre d’ in a mentally deranged state.

None of us can predict the final outcomes of our actions, after all, and few even try; most of us just do what we do to prolong a moment’s pleasure or to stop the pain for a while. And even when we act for the noblest reasons, the last link of the chain all too often drips with someone’s blood.

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Stephen King

L.T.’s Theory of Pets * Stephen King short story

I love a story with a twist. And this one is about a quarreling couple who own a cat and a dog. LT and Lulu got each other the pet they wanted most to celebrate their anniversary together. The problem was that the dog that she got him took to her more than him and the cat that he got her adored him and scratched her. The animals got OK together but the arguments did not stop between the man and his wife and only intensified. Troubled marriages always find a point of insecurity and will argue out of nowhere for the smallest of mis-doings.

LT’s wife, Lulubelle, gives LT a dog whose growls sound like purrs to Lulu but growls to LT. LT gives his wife a Siamese cat whose yowls sound like coming home to LT but yowls to Lulu.

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Book Reviews

Haruki Murakami * After the quake book review

For the characters in after the quake, the Kobe earthquake is an echo from a past they buried long ago. Satsuki has spent thirty years hating one man: did her desire for revenge cause the earthquake? Miyake left his family in Kobe to make midnight bonfires on a beach hundreds of miles away. Fourteen-year-old Sala has nightmares that the Earthquake Man is trying to stuff her inside a little box.
Katagiri returns home to find a giant frog in his apartment on a mission to save Tokyo from a massive burrowing worm. ‘When he gets angry, he causes earthquakes,’ says Frog. ‘And right now he is very, very angry.

No matter how far you travel, you can never get away from yourself

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Book Reviews

‘Wisp of a Thing’ Alex Bledsoe’s second book on the Tufas

After reading the first novel in the Tufa series, Hum and Shiver, I wanted to know what would happen with the main protagonist – the Bronwinator – and the dark – haired people in the Appalachian Cloud County. This is a story about life in a small village and about the two main families of the dark and light fairy people called the Tufa.

The protagonist of the story is  Rob Quillen – a winner at the known game show – “So you think you can sing”. His world has come crashing down around him as his wife dies in an air-crash when she flies to see him at the show final. When trying to heal his wounded heart, he goes on a pilgrimage to Tufa county after a mysterious guide has pointed him in the direction of an old secret song that can heal his broken heart.

With his beloved gone, and his career both awash and uninspiring, Rob takes the chance and makes his way, settling in to the Catamount Corner motel on the edge of Needsville, home of the Tufa.

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Book Reviews

Margaret Atwood – Bodily Harm

A powerfully and brilliantly crafted novel, Bodily Harm is the story of Rennie Wilford, a young journalist whose life has begun to shatter around the edges. Rennie flies to the Caribbean to recuperate, and on the tiny island of St. Antoine she is confronted by a world where her rules for survival no longer apply. By turns comic, satiric, relentless, and terrifying, Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm is ultimately an exploration of the lust for power, both sexual and political, and the need for compassion that goes beyond what we ordinarily mean by love.

Bodily Harm was published in 1981. It could have been written yesterday. Rennie, version 2012, would have her laptop stolen, Wifi service on St. Antoine would be non-existent. There would still be a revolution, still be people desperate or amoral enough to use a vulnerable, hapless woman.

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Book Reviews

Margaret Atwood – Life before man

Look, I’m smiling at you, I’m smiling in you, I’m smiling through you. How can I be dead if I breathe in every quiver of your hand?

– Abram Tertz (Andrei Sinyavsky), The Icicle

Oh wow, what a book this has been. I read it in short bursts and I must say it’s one of the best stories from Margaret Atwood (Besides the Blind Assassin and The Edible Woman) dealing with the dissolution of a marriage post infidelity from one of the partners. It reminded me in spots of Hausfrau but while the heroine from Jill Essbaum committed suicide in the end for not being able to break through the boredom of the daily married couple, Margaret’s wife decides to live on, for the children.

Imprisoned by walls of their own construction, here are three people, each in midlife, in midcrisis, forced to make choices–after the rules have changed. Elizabeth, with her controlled sensuality, her suppressed rage, is married to the wrong man. She has just lost her latest lover to suicide. Nate, her gentle, indecisive husband, is planning to leave her for Lesje, a perennial innocent who prefers dinosaurs to men. Hanging over them all is the ghost of Elizabeth’s dead lover…and the dizzying threat of three lives careening inevitably toward the same climax.

Nate and Elizabeth are an unhappily married couple, with both husband and wife involved in extramarital affairs. Lesje, pronounced ‘Lashia,’ is Nate’s lover of Ukrainian ancestry and works along with his wife in the museum of natural history as a paleontologistfascinated by dinosaurs, giving the book its title. Elizabeth, said to have been inspired by Shirley Gibson, ex-wife of Atwood’s partner Graeme Gibson,[1] also takes a lover, Chris, who recently committed suicide. All three of the novel’s main characters influence the narration, with each chapter presenting events from a particular character’s perspective.

We have a very interesting love triangle going on. Elizabeth is married to Nate. Elizabeth has had a string of lovers, but she always told Nate about them just before she was ready to let them go. Until Chris came along and Chris killed himself because he could not be with her. Elizabeth plunges into nothingness and is unwilling to keep living normally, just passes the days in a stupor. Nate falls in love with one of Elizabeth’s coworkers, exotic Lesje and has an affair with her, dumping his previous par-amour Martha.

Elizabeth, notices the increased interest in Lesje, and comes out to fight for her marriage again. She breaks Lesje and her boyfriend William up, thinking that they will make up and leave her husband alone, but Lesje decides to move out and move in with Nate. Let the divorce proceedings begin.

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I loved the book as it delved into each of the people’s backgrounds, motivations and ideas and you can see and understand why each person moved the way they did over the chessboard that is life. But in the end, the Queen takes all.

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Excerpts

The painful story of a breakup * Blood and Gold

“But Bianca, what has it always been with you and me but harmony? Think of our long years when we dwelt in the shrine, and went out on the night winds where I could carry us. Think of the quiet between us, or the long conversations in which I talked of so many things and you listened. Could two beings have been closer than we were?”

She bowed her head. She didn’t answer.

“And these last years,” I pleaded. “Think of all the pleasures we have shared, our secretive hunting in the forests, our visits to the country festivals, our quiet attendance in the great cathedrals when the candles burn and the choirs sing, our dancing at the Court Balls. Think of all of it.”

“I know, Marius,” she said. “But you lied to me. You didn’t tell me why we were coming to Dresden.”

“I confess, it’s true. Tell me what I can do to make up for it?”

“Nothing, Marius,” she answered. “I’m going.”

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Book Reviews

Ain’t She Sweet * Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Ain’t She Sweet? Not exactly . . .

The girl everybody loves to hate has returned to the town she’d sworn to leave behind forever. As the rich, spoiled princess of Parrish, Mississippi, Sugar Beth Carey had broken hearts, ruined friendships, and destroyed reputations. But fifteen years have passed, and life has taught Sugar Beth its toughest lessons. Now she’s come home–broke, desperate, and too proud to show it.

She’s sassy, with a good head on her shoulders and a beautiful soul inside.

“It runs in the family. And don’t expect me to be ashamed. Yankees lock away loony relatives, but down here, we prop ’em up on parade floats and march ’em through the middle of town.”

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Sugar Beth
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Book Reviews

Unravel Me * Tahereh Mafi Book 2 from Shatter Me

Unravell me wasn’t as good as Shatter Me from my perspective but it’s still a very good YA book. Much better than Mortal Instruments so far. It’s starting off slow, with a small recollection of the events from the previous novel (Shatter Me) and how Juliette, the main hero of the story, tries to fit in at the Omega Point underground compound while hiding from Walter who wants her for his evil scheme and while loving Adam, her new boyfriend.

Things seem to go south when Adam stops being immune to her deadly touch and we find out that he was special too, he had a defense mechanism from other people’s powers and because he trusted Juliette now so much, his defense was letting her killing touch through, destroying their intimacy and ending their relationship.