Monday, May 30, 2011

Joy For Beginners by Erica Bauermeister

Joy For Beginners

At an intimate, festive dinner party in Seattle, six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer. Wineglass in hand, Kate strikes a bargain with them.  To celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her: white-water rafting.  But if she goes, all of them will also do something they always swore they'd never do-and Kate is going to choose their adventures. 
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: June 9th 2011 by Putnam Adult
0399157123 (ISBN13: 9780399157127)

This beautifully written book tells several lovely short stories that are all interrelated.  The main character is Kate, a cancer survivor. In Kate, the author Erica Bauermeister,  skillfully captures that nameless quality that exists in people who have had battled cancer and won.  Kate seems to know and understand her friends better than they know themselves.  I found myself wishing that Kate was my friend so I could benefit from her loving wisdom.  In fact, I was wishing that all the women in the story were my friends!

I tried to pick which chapter/story was my favorite, but each has something special to offer the reader.  I couldn't pick just one.  Read it and see if you can.

This is a perfect book for a summer vacation.  it's not too long and the end of each chapter is a perfect place to stop reading and go for a swim.  If you can stop reading...

One last comment, I absolutely love the picture of Erica on the back cover.  She has a wonderful smile and I found myself wishing she was my friend!

P.S. I'm not really that lonely...I really do have some very good friends that resemble some of the characters in this book. : )

Special thanks to Putnam Books and the Penguin Group for providing me with an advance copy of this book.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Mistress's Revenge by Tamar Cohen

The Mistress's Revenge

Paperback, 224 pages
Fatal Attraction set in the era of Facebook: fiery, passionate, engrossing, unsettling, manipulative, and graphic...a debut novel written as one woman’s letter to the married man who has just dumped her—upon whom she exacts a teriffic revenge.
Expected publication: June 7th 2011 by Free Press

The "Mistress" begins a journal when her therapist  encourages her to write down her feelings after a traumatic break up with her married lover.  This book becomes a one sided conversation by the Mistress with her ex-lover.  It is an account of what she does to the ex-lover and what she is thinking as she carries out her plans to get him back.  

As the book continues, the Mistress becomes more and more obsessed with her ex-lover and his family.  She is bold and unrelenting in her pursuit of this married man.

We all know a woman that has been through a similar break up.  However, as book progressed, this mistress went beyond any resemblance to my friends.  She dives head first into mental illness.   Her only goal is to get this man back in her life.  She is willing to sacrifice anything, including her relationship with her children and their Father.  

At the mid-point in the book I became a bit uncomfortable.  It was like watching a car crash.  You really don't want to see it, but you can't make yourself look away.  So, I kept reading....

I will admit that I had to re-read the last few pages.  I was so sure that I knew what would happen, that I was surprised by the ending.  

I found this book easy to read.  It flowed well and the writing style was very "reader friendly".  It really was like reading someone's diary.  The middle of the book seemed to drag just a bit, but the paced picked up again near the end.  

While I didn't hate the book, I didn't love it either.  I have been trying to pinpoint the reason why for the last week.  I think it is because I never really felt empathy for any of the characters.  I just didn't relate to them or have any kind of connection with them.  It is entirely possible that someone who has been involved with a similar situation would feel differently.

Thanks to Free press at Simon and Schuster for proving me with an advance copy and the opportunity to review The Mistress's Revenge by Tamar Cohen.