Monday, April 4, 2011

Coming Soon...: Mistakes

Mistakes by A.M. Hayward & L.J. Holder
Published April, 2011 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
ISBN 978-1-61213-032-3
Read April, 2011

My publisher sent me an advance copy of Mistakes to read. It is BRILLIANT! I have followed the writing of the dynamic duo Hayward & Holder online for a while now. It is sometimes a bit scary what their minds can come up with (seriously, I have read some of their online work by peaking between my fingers). But while their online work is good, Mistakes, their first published novel, is absolutely wonderful.

Maddy is a high school senior at a private school where she is a step or two down on the socio-economic ladder of her peers. Her parents have tried to protect her from the snobbishness of the upper crust. However, Maddy is ready to break out of the sheltered bubble and experience the life she has only read about in fairytales.Add in a debonaire college guy that shows her a bit of attention and you have a recipe for disaster.

Hayward & Holder are talented in bringing forth emotion in their readers. By the time Maddy left for Spring Break, my stomach was twisting with the guilt Maddy had for lying to her parents. The desperation and despair she experiences later in the book, combined with the tenderness of fellow captive Dalton, had tears streaming down my cheeks. You can't help but feel connected to these characters.

I started reading Mistakes in the early afternoon on Saturday, by bedtime I still had 30 pages or so to read. There was no way I was going to bed. I stayed up until I finished it. I can count on 1 hand the number of books I have read in one day. Now, even days later, I can't help think about the story and the characters. I wonder how much begging I would have to do to see an early draft of the sequel to this wonderfully suspenseful novel.

Mistakes will be published April 28, 2011. Pre-orders for the paperback are now being accepted at the publisher's website and I encourage you to order it NOW. I should warn my readers that the series does involve human trafficking, but in this first novel there was no graphic sex, though there was a bit of violence. At this point, I think the book would be suitable for high school students (and may serve as a warning to the dangers faced by young adults during Spring Break parties).
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Light & Fluffy

Anyone But YouAnyone but You by Jennifer Crusie
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 2006 by HQN Books
ISBN13: 9780373771462
Read March 2011


After reading many depressing books and feeling a bit depressed myself, I needed something to lift my spirits. I walked into my library and told my librarian I needed a book. She looked at me a bit funny: obviously I needed a book since I was at the library (though I seem to check out more movies than books). I explained I needed something light and fluffy. She replied you don't read light and fluffy. I love living in small towns where the librarian knows my reading taste. Anyways, she preceded to point out a few books. I picked up one book that was more my normal read - the opening pages mentioned a plane crash in the mountains and a freezing Jack Russell terrier (I have a JR terror), so I decided against it - maybe later I'll pick it up because it did look good. She also pointed me to some "funny" novels about southern society set in Savannah. I might live in the south, but I am not a southerner and southern writing doesn't really appeal to me. Then she handed me a Jennifer Crusie. I recognized the name from someone recommending her to me on Twitter. It mentioned a dog so I inquired about if the dog dies (I typically avoid animal stories because they are almost always sad). She said no so I said yes to the book.


I realized when I got home that it was a Harlequin novel. It's the first one I have ever read. While it was not the trashy bodice-ripping romance I always associated with Harlequin the love scene towards the end ruined an otherwise charming, funny as can be, fluffy novel. 


I laughed so hard through the book and not just at the dog antics. I loved Fred. I have a bit of a soft spot for basset hounds because they always look so morose. And animals can be downright hilarious. But I enjoyed the banter between brothers Alex and Max. I was at Chick-fil-a eating lunch when I read the part where Max is telling Alex that 40 year old women are insecure about their bodies. Alex asked him how he knows what a 40 year old woman thinks. Max's reply "I'm a gynecologist." The whole conversation is funny and had me literally laughing out loud (which might have drawn a few looks in my direction).


I was telling everyone how funny and good the book was. I couldn't wait to see how it ended. Did Nina get over the 10 year age difference (I totally understand her dilemma. I live in a town where most single men are 18 -24 and I am 34)? Would Alex screw up everything by trying to meet his family's expectations of adulthood thinking it would impress Nina? Then when it seems that Nina and Alex are finally getting there act together, Jennifer Crusie ruins the book from me by providing a detailed account of their bedroom activities. Why must everything have sex in it? I am not prude enough to think that sex should never be mentioned in a book, but I don't want to be in bed with Nina and Alex. 


Seriously, I think that is one of the reasons I dislike the romance genre so much. If I want a clean novel it seems that I must read a young adult novel or Christian fiction. In YA, I get silly romance that does not touch on the relationship difficulties that I experience as a 30 something and Christian fiction is so ideal that it leaves me disgusted with my own life. Why do authors of adult fiction feel the need to provide descriptive sex? Or maybe the question should be why do readers feel the need to read descriptive sex? Are there any books out there that don't have descriptive sex, but still deals with the real struggles of finding a date in a funny and upbeat manner?


Up to the sex scene, I would have read another book by Jennifer Crusie as I found Anyone but You to be truly humorous. But the ending upset me and if that is what her other books are like then I might just pass.

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