Friday, September 28, 2012

Through To You by Emily Hainsworth

Through To YouThrough To You by Emily Hainsworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

My thoughts: Besides Kristen White's trilogy, most paranormal YA books are rather dark and moody. This isn't quite paranormal which is fresh and interesting. It's not quite dark but definitely moody. It begins with Cam trying to plod through life after a car accident that killed his girlfriend, Viv. Cam's a downer. Life will never be good again because Viv was all of his life. He had football but blew out his knee. It still hurts. So he sits on the corner of the scene of the accident and smokes. And broods. Then one day he sees an apparition of a girl. Could be...? But it's not. It's a stranger. But there is a portal to an alternative reality. Cool.

What I liked about this book is the exploration of "what if..." If things were different and Cam made different choices, what would his life look like? In the alternate reality, there it is. Who he knew as Viv, through different choices, blossoms into a person different than the Viv he knew, although not completely. It's the same personality, just played out differently. Oh, so interesting. I liked that the reader could experience the two worlds and understand the personalities of the main characters more clearly. Potential is a funny thing. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Language is strong.
Sex has strong innuendo.
Violence is mild beyond death. Which is not violent but not detailed.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Description: “It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

Luminous, haunting, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, a story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, a resilient and insightful young girl, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

My thoughts: Evocative language about the subtle slow of the earth's rotation as threats and nights lengthen Julia, the 11 year old narrator, continues through 6th grade. The reader experiences the tearing of societal fabric as Julia finds herself socially marginalized, then acceptable for the company she keeps, rejected by her best friend and has tastes first love.

Meanwhile, Julia's family is falling apart and people disappear to Circadian colonies or simply disappear. The earth's magnetic field changes and plants and animals die. It is kind of a doomsday cautionary tale written with enough scientific background to be believable but also terribly depressing. Although more subtle and readable, it felt too Al Gore for my tastes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova Review and GIVEAWAY!

Love AnthonyLove Anthony by Lisa Genova
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Aliceand Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.

Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

My thoughts: This one made me cry. I am not a crier. Given, I was sitting in ICU shortly after my husband had brain surgery so there may be a excuse. Or a correlation.

Lisa Genova possesses a brilliant resume. She is a scientist with many letters following her name. She must think pragmatically so I struggle to reconcile the other part of her, the one I forgot. Her beautiful writing style as she empathetically takes the reader through a neurological experience so profound and so emotional, I cried.

I haven't read Genova's Still Alice. I will. I read Left Neglected which was amazing and flawless. So I raved about the book to my friends. I love the way her titles have double meaning. This book was no exception. It can be read as Love, Anthony or Love Anthony. Anthony being on the far end of the PDD spectrum. Yet subtly, the book is also drawing similarities between Anthony who is autistic and Beth who is "normal." What is the purpose of each life? Was Anthony truly flawed? Was broken? Did he need to be fixed? Did he need to be understood? Or was Anthony perfect just the way he was? Was his purpose to learn or to teach?

So I must reiterate what I love about Genova's writing. Yes, she gives an accurate depiction of one Autistic boy. She provides a little neurological background in layman's terms. On the other hand, her brain can somehow possess the calculated mind of a scientist and the creativity of master artist in the medium of words.

It is so very blatantly a book club book.

2 copies of this amazing book up for grabs!
Enter info. I'll let you know when you win.

*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seconds Away by Harlan Coben

Seconds Away (Mickey Bolitar #2)Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads: When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.
Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?

My thoughts: Mickey continues his story as if no time has past from the last book. It's been awhile since I read Shelter so I was afraid I would be lost. Not at all. Coben catches the reader up to speed without belaboring the previous story. Not a lot happens but more groundwork is laid in order to answer some key questions that had better be answered in Book 3. Best part of the book is still character development. You just can't help but love Spoon. You know Spoon. You saw him on Saved by the Bell only he's more... Spoon.

Enjoyable read. Relationships are firmed up. Romances are still just out of reach but the three friends become closer. One friend becomes somewhat elusive. The secret organization is still using them to solve and find people. Fun read. Definitely can't wait for #3.

No sex
Swearing? Not that I remember
Dialogue is not memorably dirty.

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*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What the Heart Remembers by Debra Ginsberg

What the Heart RemembersWhat the Heart Remembers by Debra Ginsberg
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Whispers of the past…

When young Eden Harrison receives a heart transplant from an unknown donor, her seemingly charmed life falls apart. Haunted by dreams of people and places she doesn’t recognize, Eden is convinced that her new heart carries the memories of its original owner. Eden leaves her old life behind as she is mysteriously drawn to the city of San Diego.

Whispers of the mind…

There, Eden becomes fast friends with Darcy, a young woman recently widowed by Peter, her wealthy, much older husband. But Darcy is unsettled by her inability to mourn, and more unsettled by recurring thoughts of Adam, a young musician she was having an affair with--who has suddenly vanished.

Whispers of the heart…

Yet, the more Eden learns about Darcy, the more she realizes that all is not as it seems, and she begins to suspect foul play behind Peter's and Adam’s fates. As the tension around them escalates, Eden’s mysterious dreams become more and more frequent. Can Eden listen to what her heart is trying to tell her before it is silenced forever?

My thoughts: The story is intriguing as it deals with cellular memory and a little bit of paranormal, mystery, and romance. The mystery comes in with Eden's sudden gear shift from doting fiance to a near personality change as she feels the pull to San Diego and a certain restaurant. She has odd dreams that repeat themselves and feel very real yet show scenes of a life she hasn't lived. There are a number of mysteries to be solved in this story, some of which pose questions without answers. That was my one complaint. That and some sudden scene changes. There is a murder committed, possibly more. The biggest question answered is who's heart is beating in Eden's chest and why is she remembering things that didn't occur in her life?

The idea of cellular memory is a lot like muscle memory. I may not remember exactly how to play a piece on the piano until I sit at the piano and, without conscious thought, I can play a long forgotten song. My fingers know the keys. Or riding a bike. The difference is that the memory is within the heart and a transplant patient is having the memories of the important aspects of the donor's life and death. The patient is drawn to the same people.

The romance is between Darcy and Peter, Darcy and Adam, and Eden and Derek. While Eden abandons her life in Portland, Derek continues to pursue Eden and the idea of cellular memory. Eden is torn between who true self and the person that used to own the heart she now has. It is an interesting concept and the story is well written. It isn't altogether believable as it escalates yet the concept is not altogether unbelievable, either.

It's a good, solid read.

3.5 stars

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*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, September 10, 2012

American Dervish Feature and GIVEAWAY!

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina arrives, and everything changes.
Mina is Hayat's mother's oldest friend from Pakistan. She is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shah's doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Even Hayat's skeptical father can't deny the liveliness and happiness that accompanies Mina into their home. Her deep spirituality brings the family's Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. Studying the Quran by Mina's side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.
When Mina meets and begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act -- with devastating consequences for all those he loves most.
American Dervish is a brilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the interplay of religion and modern life. Ayad Akhtar was raised in the Midwest himself, and through Hayat Shah he shows readers vividly the powerful forces at work on young men and women growing up Muslim in America. This is an intimate, personal first novel that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.

Seconds Away and Shelter by Harlan Coben GIVEAWAY!

By Harlan Coben
In stores on September 18, 2012

About Seconds Away
When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.

Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?

About Shelter
The stunning young adult debut from international bestseller Harlan Coben is now in paperback!

Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools. Fortunately, he's met a great girl, Ashley, and it seems like things might finally be improving. But then Ashley vanishes. Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that Ashley isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

About the author
Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of numerous adult novels, and the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award – the first author to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages with over 47 million copies in print worldwide – and have been #1 Bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.

My thoughts on Shelter: I happy to report that I am not as strange as I had originally thought. Looking over the reviewers of this book, it was not uncommon to pick up the book to read a couple of pages then set it down two hours later, finished and feeling satisfied. Maybe starting the book at 11:30 at night wasn't a great idea, though.

A well written book speaks for itself and this one definitely does. The protagonist is tall and nomodic Mickey who is currently living with an estranged uncle, mother in rehab and father dead as of a few months before. Mickey has spent the past 15 years traveling the world with his parents doing humanitarian work. What kind of humanitarian work? That, dear reader, is the crux of the book.

This Young Adult novel is appropriate for my children. I feel confident loaning it out to the ever-present neighborhood girl who wants a good read but I will have to answer to her mother if it isn't appropriate content. That said, slight spoiler alert, the book is about white slavery and people trafficking, although details are not provided.

Mickey is a funny and enjoyable protagonist and I thoroughly enjoyed being in his head. His sidekicks, Ema and Spoon are incredibly enjoyable, although I just remembered that Ema's story is never revealed which is now rankling me. Ah, well. I still liked her and she becomes Mickey's friend, something he hasn't had due to his Nomadic life. Spoon is hilarious. 

Bottom line: Excellent story, action packed, has a social conscience (the humanitarian work), provides some historical value, excellent character development, loved the protagonist, enjoyed the high school drama and Ema, Spoon and Mickey's overall dialogue. Clean read albeit violent at times. Highly recommend.

5 Stars

Seconds Away Review under construction! But for now, let's go ahead and post this giveaway! Two lucky winners will get both books! Wahoo!

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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith by Joanna Brooks

The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American FaithThe Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith by Joanna Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Every Mormon girl has a story to tell. This groundbreaking memoir brings you into one of America’s most fascinating but least understood religious traditions. With humor, tenderness, and honesty, The Book of Mormon Girl reveals what it’s like to grow up in a world where angels stand at our bedsides and ancestors know our names, where Coca-Cola is forbidden fruit and Marie Osmond is a style icon. This is a story about leaving behind the innocence of childhood belief and embracing the complications and heartbreaks that come to every adult life of faith.

My thoughts: This is a quick read that both irritated me and touched me. First of all, it is not anti Mormon propaganda nor is it pro Mormon propaganda. It is simply Joanna 's story.

Joanna and grew to in the same tome period. I shared the stories of lore and cautionary tales and enjoyed hearing them again. I was irritated by the details give to the mundane like the film from the childhood. Every scene and word spoken which I found more than was needed. Also, there was too much flowery descriptors that seemed forced. On the other hand, the meat of her story lacked specifics, although I suspect she didn't want to make allegations that might not be supported and I respected that.

Ultimately, Joanna joins the rest of the women who are a little more open minded and question a few of the stances of the church along with the way certain other ideas are carried out. The problem with the LDS church is that is so often an ALL or NOTHING climate. Joanna makes the conscious choice to return to church and refuses to be that all or nothing woman. Understanding the Plan of Salvation, Joanna makes conscious choices to exercise her free will.

What I loved about this book is that Joanna is not the only middle aged woman who see herself on the fringes. In fact, last week I made an offer to a couple of friends to join me for lunch for our "fringe" group. It is important to note that "fringe" groups are a new trend. Although not popular, there is a greater tolerance for those of us who want to practice our free will and find out for ourselves.

Although I find part of the book to move a little too slowly, it was while reading this book that I had my great epiphany. Like Joanna, I felt uncomfortable with taking a stand for or against gay marriage. Okay, I'm exaggerating. Joanna turned tail and ran to the other camp. I was simply unprepared and have felt resentment for someone high up in the church hierarchy marrying our church with Proposition #8. I feel judged for the stance that was taken by whoever it was that began it all. It's not that I don't agree with the LDS faith. I also don't agree with the other side of the argument. I was not nor am I ready now to take a stand on the issue. Both sides have valid arguments that I support. And that is where my epiphany hit me.

There are those who feel compelled to act. Like a wise woman once said, and I paraphrase this, the burden to judge is too heavy. Our only obligation to our fellow man is to love them. I feel no obligation to point out their sexual sins. Callous as it sounds, I just don't care. Not only that, but I don't have to. I am consciously choosing to lay down that burden of judgment and love my friends, cousins, and whoever for the people they are; souls worthy of God's love.

So I thank you, Joanna. I also thank you for bringing a practice that is becoming more prevalent in the LDS church. There is a growing number who are more unorthodox yet we have no desire to throw away what is good about the religion and the organizations. We simply want to use our free will to ask questions and get answers. We are feeling more secure in knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. 

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. 

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
My thoughts: Finally. A hilarious and quirky American book that made me laugh out loud. I have foundBritish authors that do this but the humorous is too British. American authors are often too crass and obvious. This one was perfect!

One of my favorite books of all time is "The Sweet Potatoes Pie Literary Society." Not only is the story itself worthwhile but the way the story is presented is incredibly clever. Different narrator's and all through post. This book has a narrator to fill in the gaps but the book is primarily told through emails, faxes, letters, and any other kind of written communication. The result is the best character development a reader could wish for. A pious and self righteous neighbor who is blind to her own son's delinquency and always blaming another while the world revolves around her. Her best friend, recently divorced single mother who loves the gossip and creates reality inside her head while carrying a martyr complex. Engie, who is brilliant but self absorbed, and Bernadette, the protagonist who is quirky and misunderstood.

Between communications and the added narration of Bee, the daughter, the events leading ul to Bernadette's disappearance are reconstructed. The most outlandish ideas are concocted and worked into the story in a delightful manner. You will love Bernadette and more than appreciate the gnats because you already know them from your own life. It is a hilarious read and I can't wait to read more of this author.

4.5 stars

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Good Woman by Jane Porter Interview and GIVEAWAY!

So you know how yesterday I posted a review on Jane Porter's The Good Woman? I actually meant to post it today. Ah, well. It can not be helped. In case you missed it, go back and read it. I loved it. But to continue my love of the book, Jane came to visit me. Here's what I asked her and what she told me:

  1. The first book gives a good introduction of all of the sisters but focuses on Meg. Which characters will be featured in the next 2 books?
The second book in the Brennan Sisters trilogy, The Good Daughter, will feature Catholic high school English teacher, Kit Brennan, and you’ll see less of Brianna, Sarah and Meg in this one, and more of Mom and Dad, as well as Kit’s teacher friends, her student, Delilah, and Kit’s love interest, Jude.  The third book, is really Sarah’s story, although Brianna and Meg will both return as their lives are filled with new complications that end up involving everyone.

  1. Marriage infidelity is such a touchy subject and personal. How did you prepare yourself to get into Meg’s character as she travels down the path and back up again? Did you interview men and women who have traveled that road?
I did do a lot of reading about marriage and infidelity when writing The Good Woman, and it’s a subject that returns in the third book, so it wasn’t easy reading, and it wasn’t easy writing.  The statistics on infidelity in our country are daunting and the impact on marriage is devastating.  There are definitely those who have weathered the crisis and their marriages have grown stronger, and then there are those who can’t recover from the loss of trust.   And beyond reading countless books by psychologists, social workers, and sociologists and anthropologists on the issue, I did talk to people—men and women, and it’s a tough, and touchy, subject.  People are very vocal on the subject.  But it’s a real one.
  1. How did you invent the characters for the Brennan sisters? Did you have role models for them?
The Brennan ‘family’ came to me through the parents—Tom and Marilyn Brennan, and the rest of the family just came from there.  I never really know where actual characters come from but once they’re born in my imagination, that’s who they are.  I don’t even up tweaking them a lot.  They come into my mind as whole, real people, and it’s up to me then to tell their stories to the best of my ability.  And no, I didn’t have role models for them.  Just those pictures in my head and their conversations...because once the Brennan sisters started talking, they wouldn’t shut up!  
  1. If it isn’t a spoiler, what are the main conflicts of the next books with the sisters?

In Kit’s book, the issue is one of self-trust, self-knowledge, and boundaries.  It’s a story of learning how to protect one’s self.  In Sarah’s book, the third book, Sarah has to come to terms with her inability to forgive her husband, and trust him, and what it’s doing to their marriage, and her.  Because the lack of trust, and the fear, is eating her alive. Will she be able to forgive and move forward, truly move forward, or will she have to leave the man who is the love of her life?
  1. How did you become so insightful of women of a certain age and marriages when you’re only 25 years old? Maybe 26?

I love the compliment, but at 48, I am closer to 50 than 25!  And having been married and divorced, and remarried, as well as being the mother to three sons, I’ve been in the trenches, and my friends have been in the trenches, and I write about the things we women know...even the things we wish we didn’t know. Life isn’t easy.   It will never be easy.  But it can also be thrilling and rewarding and full of joy, and that’s my goal in my take the hard things that could cause us to stumble and fall, and turn them into obstacles that ultimately empower us.

  1. When you write about something so delicate and personal, do you feel exposed as a person?

I used to feel I’m just used to being naked in the public!    But that’s me...I’m so very open and honest, and probably too honest for some people, but these are the themes and issues that interest me and they’re often the things we struggle with in private, so its what I want to bring into the open, or at least into a story, and then hopefully we can discuss the things that make us afraid or keep us from sleeping at night.  I want women to feel safe, and strong, and we can only do that by being supportive of each other.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Good Woman by Jane Porter

The Good WomanThe Good Woman by Jane Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How can I write a review on this book? I'll start by stating that it halted my reading addiction. I didn't want to jump into another book. I wanted to sit, savor and think about it. It also gave me a few epiphanies. Porter is brilliantly insightful.

We are introduced to the Brennen sisters. Meg is the oldest and highly pious and responsible. She expects herself to be perfect and sets the bar high. She is capable of doing it all and she does. But she is so tired of it. She's also feeling the effects of gravity and age. Working full-time for a pair of brothers as a marketing director of wine, she is also a wife to Jack, a brilliant architect who specializes in vintage properties, and mother to three children; each of them extremely busy and working on their high goals and accomplishments.

Meg is questioning her existence and purpose. She's also vividly aware that she has unmet needs. Jack hasn't touched her for months. Additionally, although he is a great provider, she is not only working but also arranging all the transportation, children's activities, shopping, cooking, etc. She ends up having the opportunity to go to the best wine show in London and goes with her boss, Chad Hallahan, where he admits his attraction to her. This opens the window of possibility. Someone finds her sexy and attractive. Someone finds her interesting and wants to be with her. Someone that she respects and admires admits that he can't stop thinking about her and has been thinking about her for years.

Meg begins the spiral for having an affair. This is brilliantly written. When she actually crosses that threshold, she can't believe it happened. She can say it just "happened" yet the reader can see the purposeful yet seemingly small decisions Meg made to be involved with Chad. Meg's strong Catholic upbringing can not be understated. She has horrific guilt. She tries to justify her actions by pulling at the faults of Jack but she still can't quite do it justice. And Chad loves her. Chad is a good man who deserves a good woman. Meg is terribly conflicted.

What stands out to me is how a good woman can feel that she has unmet needs and make choices to get those needs met without involving her husband. She's unhappy and talks herself into believing that if she could find happiness, she would be a better mother and wife. Meg's decisions and ultimate betrayal of her marriage vows have absolutely nothing to do with Jack or her children. Meg is dissatisfied and, rather than pin her husband into a corner and tell him what she needs, she seeks it elsewhere. She loves the way her body comes alive under Chad's touch but hates the self loathing she feels after spending an afternoon with him. I loved that Porter included the details of Meg's guilt along with her unmet needs.

What Meg soon discovers is that she can choose her actions but she can not choose the consequences. When she began her affair with Chad, it didn't cross her mind what Jack might do if he found out. She knows he'd be hurt but that's the extent of it. She doesn't consider what the fallout might do to her children nor that her sister might take it as a personal affront since her own husband had been caught in an affair a couple of years earlier. She doesn't consider that she might hurt Chad.

Additionally, the book follows Meg through her self flagellation, Jack's rage and devastation, her children's actions, right through where Meg finally understands that her debilitating guilt needs to be accompanied by action. This book could also be entitled The Anatomy of An Affair. None of the characters are all good or bad. I loved Meg and identified with her up to so many points, although I have not had an affair. I understand her feelings and unmet needs and understood her justification. My heart hurt as she suffered the consequences.

I am looking forward to this trilogy. Jane Porter is brilliantly insightful of the middle age woman and her struggles. She is brilliantly insightful of the anatomy of marriages and motherhood.

The book contains mature content. Best read by a middle aged woman.

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*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.