Llew's Reviews

Archive for November, 2009

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

Sunday, November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura

nick_hornby_juliet_naked_300x471 Two decades after their prime, a washed-up rock musician, an overzealous fan, and the woman at the crossroads between them all must face the reality of adulthood. You will want to spend time with these characters — and see how things unfold for them.”
— Andi Allen, Piece of Mind Books, Edwardsville, IL
October 2009 Indie Bound Pick

I didn’t dislike this book – I just disliked every single character in it.




A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Sunday, November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura

reliable_wife “Set in a land where long winters drive residents to unthinkable acts, this is the story of a wealthy Wisconsin foundry owner gets more than he bargains for when he orders a mail-order bride. Determined to quickly change from new bride to wealthy widow, his wife is as surprised as the reader to discover the sexual intensity of this quiet man. Many secrets. Many lies. Very sensual.”
— Beth Golay, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
April 2009 Indie Bound Pick

The characters are more than they seem from that snippet. That wealthy lonely widow isn’t a kind old man, even if he is pining for new love. He’s not cruel to his new bride but that didn’t keep him from flying into a rage after his first wife left him. Now he’s filled with guilt and a longing to make the past right – but that longing is so steeped in frustration and doom it becomes very narrow minded in focus.

He chooses the most simple plain looking girl to take as his wife only to discover the moment she steps off the train that she lied. She’s strikingly beautiful — instead of the plain stern woman in the picture she sent him — and though she’s pretending to be the simple daughter of missionaries it’s not a story she’s good at seeling. She’s not a reliable wife – except for the fact that she is an expert at changing herself to match whatever someone else wants her to be so she is trying to be the kind of wife she thinks the widower wants her to be.

For a book that doesn’t seem to have a lot of action, a lot seems to happen. It’s completely absorbing, even if it wasn’t completely satisfying. It’s well writen and a compulsive (and violent and dark) read.




The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Sunday, November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura

thehelp

“The Help recreates a time — Mississippi in 1962 — that is totally engrossing and pitch-perfect. This story of women in the South, black and white, in the eye of a hurricane of monumental change is thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable.”
— Sheila Burns, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

Indiebound Pick February 2009

After hearing more than one customer proclaim The Help as the best book they had read in years, I had to wait until it stayed in stock long enough for me to buy a copy to read myself. It’s the debut novel by Kathryn Stockett which takes place in Mississippi in the early 1960s. It is about three women, one white and two black, in Mississippi in the early 60’s. The main character is a recent Ole Miss journalism Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan who aspires to be a writer.

She’s single which seems to cause her mother and friends perpetual turmoil. I mean 22 and still unmarried – THE SHAME & HORROR! Although, maybe her friends need some turmoil because her closest childhood friends are right racist bitches. One is the president of the Junior League and is determined to get her sanitation project which encourages separate bathrooms for health reasons published in the League’s newsletter which Skeeter writes monthly.

Somewhere in the middle of this Skeeter decides to write a book, in secret, which features the stories of Aibileen and Minny who are the maids for two close childhood friends of Skeeter. Due to the racial tensions, it puts all of their lives at risk. The book is told in the first person from Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny’s point of view.

I can definitely see why everyone has been proclaiming it the best book they’ve read in a while. It’s cohesive, powerful, and emotional. Stockett also is skilled at giving the characters depth. The president of the Junior League is a good friend and a loving mother. She’s not all evil. Skeeter isn’t all halo and angel wings either. It’s a thought provoking read without being preachy.




I Saw Mama Chewing Santa Claus

Sunday, November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura

Yesterday, I woke up from dreams about zombie pick up lines (“You’re dead sexy”, “Baby, I’m after more than just your brainnns”). I have no idea what precipitated this dream. I also have no idea why there’s so many zombie books out of late either. Vampires I can understand … Whatever the reason – I like it!

So here are the fun zombie books I’ve seen out recently (besides the Pride Prejudice & Zombies which I’ve heard great things and all – but everyone knows about that one. Right?):

1. beginningtolookalotlikezombies.jpg It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies: A Book of Zombie Christmas Carols

Oh yes! It’s a book that takes classic Christmas carols from a zombies point of view. Obviously, not a Jewish Zombie.

“Tiny tot’s eyes are no longer aglow, they’re in a bowl. Good King Wenceslas Tastes Great and we Deck The Halls With Parts Of Wally.”

Personally, I can’t wait to bust out a little “We Three Spleens” this holiday season!

2. neverslowdance.jpg Never Slow Dance With A Zombie by E. Van Lowe.
“Principal Taft’s 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:
Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won’t attack other zombies.

Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.

Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.”

Sounds like Zombie High is kind of almost exactly the same as regular high school. Especially the part about wearing a vacant expression on your face.

3. zombies4zombies.jpg Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead

Well, being bitten is inevitable so you might as well get the modern day Emily Post guide for your new lifestyle. It includes advice on:

– How to dress for your new lifestyle Handy recipes for brains
– Fitness ideas for keeping you somewhat energetic
– New skin-care techniques to help ward off “rotting flesh syndrome”
– How to overcome that darned zombie social stigma
– Dance steps for the motor-impaired

I kind of need that last one as I am now.

4. creepycutecrochet.jpg Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More!

Zombies need arts & crafts time too!

Although, I confess that  if I see a Zombie shambling around carrying a knitting needle in one hand and a tiny top hat in his other disintegrating hand my first thought will most likely not be, “Aw, what adorable little creation is this Zombo about to make?”

5. mamasayszombies.jpg My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, Or Other Things.

Your mama lies, son. Your mama lies.





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