Friday, December 29, 2006

A Weekend's Reading

I have not been ignoring the book review bits, I'm a little behind, but it is partly I have read a few Silhouette’s from a UBS and while they were wonderful, it seemed mean to tease with stuff you can’t necessarily go buy.
Sweet Hush by Deborah Smith
I got this along with something else and I confess when I unwrapped it I was sure there was a mistake because this did not look like my kind of book. So I scanned the back and found the sentence in the description that reminded me why it sounded interesting and put it in the pile. So, I went into this with prejudice it is fair to say, and that was not eased by the fact that after a brief in media res scene in the present we went back to the heroine’s great-great-great grandmother. I stuck it out and the story moved further very quickly (yay – I was not in the mood for a sweeping multi-generational portrait, although it still sort of is) and also yay, did not spend too much time focusing on the bad shotgun marriage the heroine gets in. This is not to say the marriage is not revisited, because it is, it is clearly a huge part of the heroine’s life and ties in to her building of the family’s apple business (sweet hush apples, hence the title). The story kicks into gear when the heroine’s college aged son arrives home unexpectedly with his surprise bride. (And I must say, that the characters were much more gracious than I am, because I would have pointed out to them that if they weren’t mature enough to share their marriage with their family for six months then they possibly weren’t mature enough to be making big choices like ditching college because they already know everything they need to know.) The twist is that said bride is also the First Daughter. This leads to some power plays as the apple family goes for supportive, and the presidential family leans more towards lets fix this mistake now – and both families have strong matriarchs. There are also security issues and concerns for the apple family as the attendant media spotlight threatens to reveal things they may not wish to share. And of course the presidential family has a trusted family member who they send down to keep an eye on things, and he is handsome and single, and so on. In the end I really liked the story, although there were moments where I found the scene switching a little disconcerting sine everything is in first person even though there are two narrators.
Grade: B+

To the Edge by Cindy Gerard
A series (I like series) – this one is actually the first, however I read the next one already, but whatever. Anyway the premise is that four siblings run a security firm that their dad established (and named after them). Each sibling went off and did official government ball busting of some sort before becoming part of the firm. This on is about Nolan** who has just gotten out of the military and is carrying around a duffel bag or two of guilt about not saving one of his men but is convinced to pick up a job be his brother. The job is to either convince local newscaster and socialite Jillian to go stay with her parents until her stalker is caught or accept the bodyguard. Nolan figures he can scare her quickly, collect the money and go back to drowning his sorrows. Turns out, she doesn’t scare that easily. I really liked the story – there were a couple of spots where the conversation that produced some background exposition was a little stilted, but nothing hideous. And I love that Jillian saw through most of Nolan’s attempts to be crappy to push her away, and not in the wimpy, I know deep down you love me kind of way, but in a more kick ass it is not acceptable for you to treat me like this kind of way. My one gripe is the stalker – the reason ends up being something there was just no way the reader could have gotten to, in fact no one figures it out until the stalker does the Bond-ian confession. I get that likely that is more realistic, but I felt it was a bit cheap. Not enough that I don’t still like the story and want to hunt down the next two, but still.
Grade: B+

Crazy in Love by Luanne Rice
This is another book I started with prejudice. When I really like an author, I usually don’t read the back. I think they give away too much, so I end up reading in anticipation of it leading to what the back has promised rather than just going with it. And sometimes, it’s inaccurate, or really misleading. In this case I read the back, to determine if this was one I had read yet, and was worried because I am pretty much over the whole wife finds out her perfect life is nothing like she thought it was storyline. But this is Luanne Rice, so I decided to take a chance. Without giving away much let me start by saying the back – or my interpretation of it – is extremely misleading. As with most Luanne Rice stories, this is about family. It is about the complex and changing relationships people have with their spouses, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, in-laws, and nephews. Georgie and her husband live next door to her mother and grandmother who live next door to her sister’s family. Her sister’s husband and her husband and some other folks all commute via seaplane to NYC. Georgie has recently started a project whereby she examines other people’s stories. This is one of those books that it is really hard to describe what happens, because it is not a traditional formula. I would say it is a love story although Georgie is already married. It is a snapshot, a year in the life if you will, where you get to peak in on this family – through Georgie’s eyes and watch the relationships and interactions. It is a great read. I started Sunday morning, read through much of the day, took it with me as I hit the grocery store and promptly left it in the grocery store. I went to Starbucks, read my back up book (I was almost done with Crazy in Love) and went back to the grocery store, at which point the book had been turned in, saving me having to hit a bookstore on the way home. Phew.
Grade: A-