Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review -- Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
My enjoyment rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 2
Source: Goodreads and St Martin's Press (Other than a free review copy, I was not compensated in any way for my review).
Genre:  Fiction
Objectionable material:  Multiple Fbombs

Determined to meet her deadline, comedy writer Georgie McCool chooses a meeting with her sitcom co-creator, Seth and studio execs over Christmas with her husband, Neal, and children in Nebraska. The results of her decision lead to a personal downward spiral of doubts, reliving the past, and wondering if her marriage will survive the separation.

Rainbow Rowell is a master at writing relationships -- whether it's teenagers dating (Eleanor & Park), or Twentysomethings (Attachments), or in this case, a married couple experiencing a marital crisis AND a writing partnership on the brink of disaster. With every word and sentence I could totally relate to what the characters were experiencing. Her dialogue is equally outstanding: it's witty, honest, painful.

I also loved her use of the yellow trimline-landline phone that she uses to converse with Neal. So, so clever.

She had equally quirky characters to add to the mix: Georgie's sister Heather, her mother and step father, her mother-in-law and deceased (or is he?) father-in-law; even her mother's beloved pugs are necessary additions to the storyline.
And...for someone who is terrified of flying (me!), she absolutely NAILS the terror a person experiences on an airplane.  Just sayin...

I loved two of Rainbow Rowell's previous books, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments (I couldn't finish Fangirl) , and I liked this one too, although not as much as the others. She's very fond of the Fbomb, which felt so unnecessary in the book, almost distracting. And the ending seemed so abrupt. I liked the end...but I felt cheated. I wanted more.

Thanks to Goodreads and St Martin's Press for the preview copy.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review -- The French House

The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All
The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All by Don Wallace
My enjoyment rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hangover rating:  4
Source:  A review copy provided by Sourcebooks (I was not compensated in any monetary way for my review)
Genre:  Memoir; Travel memoir
Objectionable material:  None

Buyer's remorse: a term used to describe the feeling of regret or change of heart when making a significant purchase, like a house.

What Don and Mindy Wallace experience isn't so much buyer's remorse as, buyer's "oh my g*% what the Hell have we done?"

Surveying the condition of their French island ruin cottage, the enormity of their decision comes crashing down -- almost literally: they own a house they can't afford, in a place they don't live, and with repairs/reconstruction that needs to be done that is beyond their skill level. Their efforts seem doomed from the beginning.

But over the course of 30 years (this wasn't a property "flip" project) Don and Mindy create a second home where they become ensconced within this special Belle Ile community.

I loved this book. It was charming and witty -- full of hope and despair about this crumbling structure they chose to inhabit and make a home. I loved the friends with whom they associated -- from local farmers to immediate neighbors to vacationers -- it was truly a sense of community. I loved the history of the island from the Druids, to the Romans to the Germans.
I think we all dream about having a second home -- to live in a faraway paradise and to become a "native." The beautiful thing about the Wallaces -- is over the course of 30 years -- they made their dream come true.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Little Rock's Listen To Your Mother!

I was honored to be cast as a participant in the Little Rock edition of the nationally syndicated group, Listen To Your Mother.

The video clips from the shows were posted today -- and here is mine!