Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Doll by Daphne du Maurier

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Before she wrote Rebecca, the novel that would cement her reputation as a twentieth-century literary giant, a young Daphne du Maurier penned short fiction in which she explored the images, themes, and concerns that informed her later work.  Originally published in periodicals during the early 1930s, many of these stories never found their way into print again... until now.

Tales of human frailty and obsession, and of romance gone tragically awry, the thirteen stories in The Doll showcase an exciting budding talent before she went on to write of the most beloved novel of all time.  In these pages, a waterlogged notebook washes ashore revealing a dark story of jealousy and obsession, a vicar coaches a young couple divided by class issues, and an older man falls perilously in love with a much younger woman - with each tale demonstrating du Maurier's extraordinary storytelling fits and her deep understand of human nature.

I adore a well written short story more than I do the same writing in novel form.  The skill needed to tell a finely honed story in such a small amount of space, when done well, never fails to impress me.  This collection of thirteen stories blew me away, every single one of them made me laugh, shudder, and stare in amazement once I was done.

I don't know what to type next or even what to say if someone were to ask me about this one.  I think I would just stand there, tongue-tied, unable to fully express the way these stories affected me.  I would find myself being both fascinated and horrified at the same time.  I don't even know which story to start with, because there wasn't one of them that failed to impress.

The title story, "The Doll", is one that because of the subject matter, will never leave my brain.  Rebecca and her doll will wander the corridors of my imagination, doing things that I never even dreamed of, let alone want to do.  The young lady in "The Tame Cat", who comes home after years at school, only to be caught up in a web of jealousy involving her mother and her mother's lover, will find a a few brain cells to move into, and set up permanent residency.  "Maize" and her fellow prostitutes forced to live in dreams, and get back alley abortions, are frozen in time, right behind my optic nerves.  The manipulative harridan of "The Limpet", who just can't seem to understand why nobody loves her, made me pity and hate her at the same time.  She now whispers in my ear anytime she needs to whine about how unfair life is.

I had only just read Rebecca for the first time a month or so ago, and Daphne du Maurier blew me away with her lushness of style.  With these thirteen short stories, she is cemented in my brain as someone who I need to read more of, and I don't think I'll ever be disappointed.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mailbox Monday for 11/28/11

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme created by Marcia at A Girl and Her Books and is being hosted all this month by her Mailbox Monday Blog.

I received a trade paperback of Monsters of L.A. by Lisa Morton for review.

I bought Christmas Cheers, Straight No Chaser's second holiday CD for $6 from Target.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Favorite Fictional Character --- Northstar

Growing up I was a comic book junkie, not as bad as a lot of kids my age were, but serious enough.  As I grew older though, my interest died down a bit, but never went away completely.  I still knew what was going on with my favorites, even if I didn't read the books all the time.  So when Northstar came out of the closet, I was thrilled.  I had enjoyed him for a few years and found him to be my favorite of Alpha Flight, so him being gay just topped of my love for him.

Born Jean-Paul Beaubier, Northstar had a rather hard childhood.  Shortly after he was born both of his parents were killed and he was separated from his twin sister.  He was raised by distant relatives until they were both killed when he was six, and he was put into foster care.  As he got older he started to realize that he was both gay and a mutant, he has the ability of super speed and can manipulate his own kinetic energy. He acted out by petty theft until someone took him under his wing and introduced him to skiing, an activity that allowed him to train his powers as well.  He had a brief run as a trapeze artist for a circus but quickly went back to skiing, where he won an Olympic Gold Medal.  A medal he had to give back years later when the public found out he was a mutant.

He eventually joined the Canadian team, Alpha Flight, were he was reunited with his twin sister who went by the codename Aurora.  She shared his same ability and when they touched, their powers were amplified.  Throughout the years he was been killed, turned into a zombie, brainwashed to kill other heroes, and adopted a young baby girl with AIDS who dies shortly after.  Now since this is superhero land, he was done all this in different alternate realities, instead of in the same time and space.

His sexuality has been both ignored and explored, in one reality he dated Colossus.  He has had issues with his sister and the public over it and has even mentored another young hero who was gay.  He was been a role  model for thousands of gay kids who needed a hero they could look up to, and thankfully the Marvel writers (for the most part) have allowed him to do just that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Haulidays!

The great people at Chronicle Books are hosting their Happy Haulidays giveaway once again this year.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's this great opportunity for one blogger and one of their commenters to win $500 dollars worth of books.  This year they have added in another winner as well, the winning blogger will get to pick their favorite charity to win $500 dollars in books as well.  It's such a great thing that they are doing, now I just need to keep my fingers crossed.

If I win, the charity I chose is Positive Directions.  It's a local charity that assists clients with HIV/AIDS obtain housing, transportation, food, and a varied list of other services.  They also do a great job with HIV/AIDS prevention outreach.  Every year they give out holiday boxes with not only food but other items, such as books.

Not to the fun part, picking the books.  After selecting the books I wanted, the grand total was $494.25.


This Is NPR by various authors
Ramayana by Sanjay Patel
Smart on Crime by Kamala D. Harris
The Anatomy of the Sea by Dr. David Ponsonby and Professor Georges Dussart


Grilled Cheese by Marlena Spieler
Macaroni & Cheese by Marlena Spieler
The Big Book of Breakfast by Maryana Vollstedt
The Big Book of Casseroles by Maryana Vollstedt
The Big Book of Soups and Stews by Maryana Vollstedt


Bird by Andrew Zuckerman
Creature by Andrew Zuckerman
The Life & Love of Trees by Lewis Blackwell


A Time To Run by Barbara Boxer
Blind Trust by Barbara Boxer
The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay


Monday, November 21, 2011

The Heights by Kate Ascher

Part Of The Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

The Skyscraper is perhaps the most recognizable icon of the modern urban landscape.  Providing office, homes, restaurants, and shopping to thousands of inhabitants, modern skyscrapers function as small cities -  with infrastructure not unlike that hidden beneath our streets.  Clean water is provided to floors thousands of feet in the sky; elevators move people swiftly and safely throughout the building; and telecom networks allow virtual meetings with people on other continents.  How are these services-considered essential, but largely taken for granted - possible in such a complex structure.  What does it really take to sustain human life at such enormous heights.

I have read some wonderfully detailed, analytical reviews of this book by people who really know their stuff.  Thankfully, I'm not one of them so I won't have to beat myself up for not delving into the minute details of what the books is choosing to highlight or leave out.  I'm not bogged down with a vast store of foreknowledge on the subjects of skyscrapers, engineering, architecture, or any of the stuff I was so horrible at (it all required math skills way above my level) in college.  Instead this will be a rather short, but unapologetic positive review.

Using lots of pictures and graphics, thank goodness, the author does a pretty good job of giving a brief history of they skyscraper and it's genesis  Pretty quickly after that the author quickly moves into the science and the construction of the tallest building to ever see the light of day.  She gives pretty interesting detailed information on all the small stuff that I never thought about before.  How do you keep the wind from blowing a building over?  How do all the pipes needed to carry water and sewage get built into the core of the building?  How do engineers take settlement of the building into the plans?  I found it to be a rather informative read that I think I and my son will look into for years to come.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review the book.  Please visit the tour page to read some really great, educated reviews.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Favorite Fictional Character --- Jessica Fletcher

I was all set to give you guys a brand new FFC post about one of my favorite superheroes, Northstar.  I had already started to type it all up when I realized, I really do not feel well enough to write a post that makes any sort of sense.  I've been running a fever and  really am not feeling well at all, so for not being able to give you guys something new, I apologize.  I feel really bad because it seems I've been having to do that lately, more than  I would like to.  So instead I'm going to do a repost on one of my favorite fictional detectives of all time, Jessica Fletcher.  I hope you enjoy it and I'll be back next week with Northstar, the first openly gay superhero.

I decided to go with one of my favorite TV detectives for this weeks Favorite Fictional Character. The brilliant and always classy Jessica Fletcher from the show Murder, She Wrote.

Jessica was a widow and former high school English teacher who took to writing mystery novels. Shorty there after, her life started to imitate the adventures she wrote about. For the most part she stayed in her fictional town of Cabot Cove but as the seasons progressed she found herself traveling more and more around the States and internationally. For some odd reason whether she stayed at home or travelled people always seemed to die around her.

Most of the dead were friends or acquaintances so she felt compelled to solve the case, especially when the police always seemed to be chasing the wrong leads. She never cared about the danger she found herself in, she only cared about finding out the truth. Sometimes that truth wasn't what she wanted it to be, as she sometimes had to put friends in jail. No matter what she never backed down and always proved to be smarter than the criminal.

I've loved this character so much that I have read quite a few of the over 30 books by Donald Bain that are based on her exploits. I keep telling myself to buy the DVDs of the show but I always get distracted by other purchases, so for now I stick to the reruns that occasionally air on cable.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Conference of Birds by Peter Sis

If I ever had a reason to ban ereaders for all of eternity, it would be this book.  Peter Sis' adaptation of Farid ud-Din Attar's epic, 4500 plus line poem, The Conference of Birds, uses some of the most gorgeous images I've ever had the privilege to behold.  The images some in simple hues, others in sumptuous colors, leap off the page and tell the story more than the words.

I was not familiar with the poem before this, and what little of it I have experienced by reading this adaptation, makes me want to read the entire poem.  It tells the story of  a hoopoe bird that gathers all of his kin from around the world in a quest to find their true king, Simorgh.  All the birds from around the globe meet together and the hoopoe convince them to take part in the journey.  Many of them fall away through despair of cowardice along the way, many of them die, and only a few of them make it to the mountain of Kar where Simorgh is said to reside.

Along the way the birds must travel through seven valleys that test their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels.  The Valleys of Quest, Love, Understanding, Detachment, Unity, Amazement, and Death all have their own perils but it's only through making that journey that the remaining birds are prepared to accept the final outcome.  Simorgh, the true king, has already been found.  He resides in each one of the birds, it's their better, noble nature that they discover, but only through a journey of self discovery first.

The few poetic words that Peter Sis uses in this book are really just their to accent the richness of the illustrations.  It's in the tea stained pages, or the labyrinths in each of the valleys that really tell the story.  The book is full of symbols and other visual storytelling techniques that keep the eye on the beauty of it all as each page is turned.  The tactile nature of the pages, the texture and thickness of it just helped the process along.

This will be a book that stays around my house for a very long time to come.  It's one that is truly a honor to own and one that I can't wait to share with others.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Motor City Shakedown by D.E. Johnson

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

Detroit, 1911.  Seven months have passed since Will Anderson's friend Wesley McRae was brutally murdered and Will and the woman he loves, Elizabeth Hume, barely escaped with their lives.  Will's hand, horribly disfigured from the sulfuric acid he used to help save them, causes him constant pain, forcing him into morphine addiction.  He lives for nothing except revenge against the people who contributed to Wesley's murder - first among them crime boss Vito Adamo.

When Will stumbles upon the bloody body of Adamo's driver, Carlo Moretti, he knows he'll be a suspect, particularly since he was spotted outside the dead man's apartment that same night.  He sets out to find the killer, and the trail leads him to a vast conspiracy in an underworld populated by gangsters, union organizers, crooked cops, and lawyers.  Worse, it places him directly in the middle of Detroit's first mob war.

The Teamsters want a piece of Will's father's car company, Detroit Electric, and the Gianolla gang is there to be sure they get it.  To save their families, Will and his ex-fiancee, Elizabeth Hume, enlist the help of Detroit Police Detective Thomas Riordan, the teenage members of what will one day be know as the Purple Gang, and Vito Adamo himself.  They careen from one danger to the next, surviving shootouts, kidnappings, and police brutality, while barreling toward a devastating climax readers won't soon forget.

I think I've already made my first New Year's resolution for 2012, I will not review books that are not the first of a series.  I will not, for my own sanity, review a book that is the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or....... in a series.  It's too stressful and it keeps adding to my already growing wishlist of books that I'll never have time to read.  The crappy thing is, I keep reading some fantastic books because of my poor decision making process.

Normally, and I think I've gotten lucky so far, most of the books haven't required me to have read the previous one.  This was one time, while not necessary, I'm really wishing I had done so.  The characters of Will and Elizabeth had been through so much in the previous book, and while some of it is explained in this one, I still felt at a loss sometimes to truly understanding the deep emotional scars between them.  It's apparent they have been through hell and back, I just wish I had been along for the ride.  It would have been nice to experience the background first hand, instead of in bits and pieces.

I love mysteries, I love noir even more so this book was a terrific treat for me.  It had all the gritty, dirty elements that I love in a book like this and I got lost in the story every time I was able to pick it up and dive in.  Will is such a damaged character who is trying his best to get him and those he loves out of dangerous situation.  If he makes the wrong decision or abuses moriphine too much, his entire family could be killed.  It's a pressure that combined with the events of the previous year, is about to put him into the ground as well.  He does everything he can to raise above it and protect those he loves, and in the end he does it.  He just has to go through hell first.

I'm really looking forward to not only reading the first book in the series, but any others that this author chooses to write about Will, Elizabeth, and the rest of the cast (at least those that didn't die this time around.)

I would like to thank Lisa of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.

Challenges: A-Z

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mailbox Monday for 11/14/11

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme created by Marcia at A Girl and Her Books and is being hosted all this month by her Mailbox Monday Blog.

I stopped in at Target the other night and found two great Christmas deals that I couldn't pass up.  I found a CD I've been wanting for a while, Holiday Spirits from Straight No Chaser for $9.99.  I also picked up a DVD of Miracle On 34th Street for the same price.  It has both the B&W and colorized versions on it.

One of the perks of my job is that I get free stuff every once in a while.  Two weeks ago I was given a $110 gift certificate to, my favorite shoe company in the world.  When I went on the site I really couldn't find any shoes I wanted, I already own quite a few.  So I got two shirts instead.  I got the Hoffman Flannel shirt and a long sleeve T-Shirt that has vintage national park posters on the back.  I'm already in love with the flannel shirt, but haven't had a chance to wear the T-Shirt yet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Favorite Fictional Character --- Micki Foster

I guess I'm still in a spooky sort of mood and I was thinking about some of my favorite paranormal TV shows, which of course lead me to some of my favorite characters from those shows.  Well today's character is that of Micki Foster who for three seasons tried to recover cursed antiques on the show Friday The 13th: The Series.

When Micki inherited her late uncle's antique shop, little did she know that she was about to put her life in danger for the next three years.  When Micki, along with her cousin Ryan, first inherit the shop, all Micki can see is dollar signs.  She's not exactly the strong, independent, kick ass woman that she becomes later on in the series.  She eventually talks Ryan into reopening the shop and selling off the contents.  Little did they know that the former owner, their uncle, had made a deal with the devil to sell cursed objects. Objects that granted their owners certain powers for the exchange of human lives.

When Micki and Ryan learn what their uncle did and their role in making the problem worse, Micki realizes that they need to do everything they can to recover the objects.  Over the next three years Micki grows into a woman that is still at the core fragile but has a tough outer skin that allows her to deal with the horrors that she sees everyday.  She had to deal with losses along the way, Ryan being turned into a kid with no way back and ever her own death, but through it all she came out the other side a stronger more confident person.

I really wish this show would have lasted longer than it did, but I'm grateful for the three seasons they allowed Micki to become a character that I would not only like to be friends with but one I know would have my back regardless of the circumstances.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

My good friend Michelle from The True Book Addict  has a great Christmas blog as well.  The Christmas Spirit is a wonderful year round blog that highlights what I love about Christmas.  Every year she hosts a Christmas reading challenge and I'm happy to sign up once again.

I'll be signing up for The Christmas Tree Level (5 or 6 books) plus the other two side challenges, one about movies and one about kids books.  If you are interested, go on to the sign up post to do just that.

Here are the details in her own words:
  • challenge will run from Monday, November 21, 2011 through Friday, January 6, 2011 (Twelfth Night or Epiphany).
  • cross over with other challenges is totally permitted AND encouraged!
  • These must be Christmas novels, books about Christmas lore, a book of Christmas short stories or poems, books about Christmas crafts, and for the first time...a children's Christmas books level!
  • visit this POST for a list of new Christmas books for 2011.  Two books I highly recommend for this season that I have read and reviewed...The Christmas Village by Melissa Ann Goodwin and The Reindeer Keeper by Barbara Briggs Ward (click the titles to read my reviews).
  • Levels:
            --Candy Cane:  read 1 book
            --Mistletoe:  read 2-4 books
            --Christmas Tree:  read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!)

          Additional levels:
            --Fa La La La Films:  watch a bunch or a few Christmas's up to you!
            --Visions of Sugar Plums:  read books with your children this season and share what you read

          *the additional levels are optional, you still must complete one of the main reading levels above the most important rule?  Have fun!!!
  • I will have a review linky posted as a page the day the challenge starts.  You will find it at the top of the right sidebar.
  • Sign up in the linky below (link to your post with your reading can change up your list during the challenge...I just want to be able to stop by to welcome you and see what you plan to read).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mailbox Monday for 11/7/11

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme created by Marcia at A Girl and Her Books and is being hosted all this month by her Mailbox Monday Blog.

I won a trade paperback of The Handmaid's Tale from Alexis at Reflections of a Bookaholic during the Banned Book Week Giveaway Hop.

I received a trad paperback of The Doll by Daphne du Maurier for an upcoming TLC Book Tour.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the military to ban anyone from certain areas of the country, with primary focus on the West Coast.  Eventually the order was used to relocate 120,000 people of Japanese descent to internment camps such as the Rohwer Relocation Center in remote Desha County, Arkansas.

This time of fear and prejudice (the U.S. government formally apologized for the relocations in 1982) and the Arkansas Delta are the setting for Camp Nine.  The novel's narrator, Chess Morton, lives in tiny Rook, Arkansas.  Her days are quiet and secluded until the appearance of a relocation center built for what was in effect the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans.

Chess's life becomes intertwined with those of two young internees and an American soldier mysteriously connected to her mother's past.  As Chess watches the struggles and the triumphs of these strangers and see her mother seek justice for these people who came briefly and involuntarily to call the Arkansas Delta their home, she discovers surprising and disturbing truths about her family's painful past.

For some strange reason, I've been reading a lot of books this year that relates a story during World War II.  I've never been a big fan of war history or that particular time period, so I have found it all that more curious that I seem to be reading everything that comes my way that deals with that era of history.  They have for the most part been nonfiction and the few fiction books have been mysteries or Gothic that just happens to be set during that period.  Up until this point, I hadn't read a fiction books that needs to be set in that period in order for the story to work.  Camp Nine is the first one and if they are all like this one, I have a very busy life ahead of me.  For me this book wasn't about the history, though it played a huge part, it was more about the story itself.

Now while this book does deal with race, class, and the societal structures of the day, that's not what I focused on as I was reading it.  Those elements needed to be there in order for the story to progress, but I couldn't take my mind off the characters long enough to really analyze the rest of it.  This experience was all about some of the most wonderful characters I have had the pleasure of discovering in a long time.

The action revolves around Chess and her mother from the beginning and it never leaves them as the other characters are introduced.  The way they interact with one particular family in the internment camp, the Matsui family, made me feel hope and relief that there may still be people who are willing to fight for what's right and just, even if it's only in the smallest way.  They, despite their faults and blindness to other issues, do what they can to make the lives of those in the camps a little better and develop close friendships with some of them.  I can't even start to explain the richness of all the other characters as they bought in their voices and stories to the tale.  These will a cast of extraordinary people that I don't think I will forget for a very long time.

But the one character that set this book apart from a lot of others, was the place.  The land became the most important character as it dictated so many of the relationships between the human characters.  The land controlled the fates of those who owned and those who worked.  It gave some riches and caused others to be little more than serfs of those who owned the land.  It was the canvas that gave life to all those who lived on it and it wouldn't hesitate to take it all back.  It was a living, breathing entity that provided a lush and rich background for the dynamic relationships that I found so much pleasure in.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews as they are posted.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Favortie Fictional Character --- Nick & Nora Charles (Repost)

I'm going to apologize right up front for not coming up with a new character to feature.  Life and work has been chaotic this week and I've been lucky to remember to tie my shoes.  I would like to thank everyone who has been reading my blog for the last few years, no matter how frequently.  I appreciate all of you and if it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be doing this anymore.  Becuase of not having any time at all this week, I'm going to repost my Nick & Nora Charles FFC.  It was originally done within the first few weeks of starting the blog, I hope you enjoy it.

With it's witty and daring couple, The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, brought to mind my favorite sleuthing couple of all time. Nick and Nora Charles the star of 6 Thin Man movies and one book by Dashiell Hammett.

I have never read the book so I can't say how much Nora is in it but without her the movies would not have been the same. (There was also a TV show in the 1950s that I'm not familiar with either).

The premise behind the movies is that a detective marries a rich socialite, then tries to retire from the business. Now if this is all that happens we would not have 6 glorious movies to watch. It seems that everywhere they go someone seems to find themselves dead. It is then up to Nick to solve the crime, well almost up to Nick that is. It seems that no matter how hard Nick tries to keep Nora out of it, she always puts herself in the thick of things and in my opinion ends up doing or saying something that helps Nick solve the case.

Now these characters, as played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, are as well rounded as movie characters can get. On the surface you see two people whose constant banter and love of cocktails seems to be all they have in common. Once you get to know them though you are able to witness a strong marriage built on love, respect, and friendship. This was the type of relationship I have always wanted and never seem to be able to find. Watching them together is a joy and I wish they would have made many more Thin Man movies to enjoy. I will say that if these characters were played by two different actors I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the movies as much. William Powell and Myrna Loy have such great chemistry together, they went on and starred in 14 movies together.

As the movies progress something happens that made the characters fuller and richer. At the end of the second movie we learn that Nora is pregnant. The third movie introduces us to little Nicky, Jr. Being able to see how they adapt their lifestyle to this development is hilarious at times. In one of the movies Nicky, Jr. insists that Nick drink milk at the dinner table. Now I'm pretty sure Nick hasn't drunk anything non-alcoholic in years and watching his face as he takes a drink of milk is hilarious.

Now Nick and Nora would not be complete without Asta, their wired-hair terrier, that was their constant companion. Asta is hilarious and acts the coward at all the right times. The obvious affection they hold Asta in, as a dog lover, is wonderful to watch. They even go to the extreme of riding in the baggage car of a train in order to keep Asta with them.

For anyone who has not had the pleasure of watching these movies, I more than strongly suggest them. I implore you, no I beg you to do so. Please take the time and familiarize yourself with two of the best detectives in the biz.

The Movies In Order Are:

The Thin Man
After the Thin Man
Another Thin Man
Shadow of the Thin Man
The Thin Man Goes Home
Song of the Thin Man

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Practical Jean by Trevor Cole

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Jean Vale Horemarsh is an ordinary small-town woman with the usual challenges of middle age.  She's content, mostly, with the life she's built: a semi successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (if you ignore the terrible falling-out she had with Cheryl all those years ago), and a comfortable marriage with a kind if extraordinary man.  And then Jean see her mother go through the final devastating months of cancer, and realizes that her fondest wish is to protect her dearest friends from the indignities of again and illness.  That's when she decides to kill them all....

Have I ever told you guys how much I love my sense of humor.  It tends to lean towards the darker side of things, which is why I find some circumstances funnier than most will.  I guess a perfect example, a short one anyway, is from the movie Titanic.  I'm sure you know which one I'm talking about, though I didn't really enjoy it that much.  There is one moment that cracks me up every time I see it though.  When the boat is sinking, tail end up in the air, passengers start to fall like confetti.  There is one in particular that makes me laugh out loud, I know it's callous but sorry.  It's the guy who falls and hits the propeller blade, the thunking sounds he makes sends me into stitches.  Now you might say I'm morbid, but it will give you an insight into why I loved this book so much.

I'm not saying that I laughed out loud the entire time I was reading it, because I didn't.  But I did find a lot of it humorous enough to say this was one of the most entertaining books I've read in a long time.  Jean is one of those rare characters that I love despite everything that she does.  She is a woman lost in pain who decides on being practical for the first time in her life.  Unfortunately for her friends, that means killing them off before they grow old and suffer in the way her mother did.

It was a joy and a thrill to to watch the internal conflict as she meandered her way and started knocking of those closest to her.  The only stipulation is that she has to make them as happy as she can before she does it.  In once case that involves sleeping with the one that has had a thing for her since college.  I love the way Jean is able to twist herself in an elaborate pretzel in order to justify what she is doing.  Much like Serial Mom and those college kids from The Last Supper, Jean starts off doing what she thinks is right and just.  For the most part, she is firm in that thinking by the end as well.  She has her moments of doubt, but all it takes is remembering the pain and suffering her mother went through for Jean to realize she is on the right path no matter the consequences to herself.

This was a wonderfully complex and inspired look at friendship and morality in an age where both things seem to be expendable.   The author, through dark humor and brilliant writing, was able to bring Jean and her friends to life in such a way that made me want to be Jean's friend, despite the risk.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this books.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.