Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Writers' Wednesday: Three Book Reviews

I had a chance, over the long holiday break, to get through 3 books on my TBR pile. Here are my thoughts on each one:

A Summer Affair - Claire Danner Crispin, a harried housewife with 4 young children, finds herself the chair of Nantucket's summer gala, a huge fund-raising affair that requires her to rub elbows with both her modest neighbors and the elite New Yorkers who vacation there. Suddenly, she finds herself having an affair with her co-chair, questioning her devotion to being a stay-at-home mom, and longing for the innocence of her adolescence and first love (who just happens to now be a famous rock star who agrees to come and play as the headlining act at the gala). Elin Hliderbrand has an easy writing style, and it was enjoyable to get caught up in this sopa opera-type women's fiction novel. I wasn't conpletely in love with the heroine, and I thought she got out of the sticky immorality of her affair a little too easily at the end, but A Summer Affair is still an engaging book with a slew of fascinating, believable characters. I'll probably look for other books by this author.

In a Perfect World - My mom gave me this book for my birthday last month, with the warning that "It's a little weird..." I tend to agree. The story revolves around Jiselle, a former flight attendant who marries a dashing pilot and becomes stepmom to his 3 kids. The Phoenix flu is sweeping the nation, though, killing celebrities and average citizens alike, and it's only a matter of time before the herione is left alone to raise the children and deal with a changing society in the face of a terrifying plague. The most interesting thing about this book, for me, was the fact that it was so realistic, that I believed today's world could be felled by a pandemic like the fictional "Phoenix flu" before we know it. The author, Laura Kasischke, did a lot of research on the Black Plague, and it shows.

Living Dead in Dallas - This is the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse series (the TV show True Blood is based on it), and while it wasn't quite as engaging as the first, I still enjoyed it. Mostly, I love the voice of the main character, a blue-collar barmaid who can read people's minds and who's in love with a vampire. In this book, Sookie is called to Dallas to find a missing vampire, and of course she's kidnapped and almost loses her love and her friends in the process. I'm not a vampire-genre fan, but the humore and the local color in these books really pulls me in. And the main character's voice. Did I mention her voice?

Right now I'm working my way through Club Dead, the next book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, and I just borrowed Nightlight from a student. It's a Harvard Lampoon parody of Twilight, and I'm loving it so far (since I wasn't a huge fan of Twilight to begin with). Here's the back copy, just to give you a taste:

About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edwart was most likely my soul mate, maybe. Second, there was a vampire part of him–which I assumed was wildly out of his control–that wanted me dead. And third, I unconditionally, irrevocably, impenetrably, heterogeneously, gynecologically, and disreputably wished he had kissed me. And thus Belle Goose falls in love with the mysterious and sparkly Edwart Mullen in the Harvard Lampoon’s hilarious send-up of Twilight. Pale and klutzy, Belle arrives in Switchblade, Oregon looking for adventure, or at least an undead classmate. She soon discovers Edwart, a super-hot computer nerd with zero interest in girls. After witnessing a number of strange events–Edwart leaves his tater tots untouched at lunch! Edwart saves her from a flying snowball!–Belle has a dramatic revelation: Edwart is a vampire. But how can she convince Edwart to bite her and transform her into his eternal bride, especially when he seems to find girls so repulsive?Complete with romance, danger, insufficient parental guardianship, creepy stalker-like behavior, and a vampire prom, Nightlight is the uproarious tale of a vampire-obsessed girl, looking for love in all the wrong places.

Have you read anything good lately?