Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #41: LibraryLove October 2, 2010

Stash by David Klein

Book description~ Gwen Raine is a thirtyish stay-at-home mom in the kind of tranquil suburban community where the wives spend their days ferrying the kids to and from school and music lessons and nature camps and where the husbands work long, grueling hours at stressful white-collar jobs in order to maintain the upscale standard of living to which the whole family has become all-too-accustomed. It’s a milieu in which everything seems to be right–yet so much can go wrong. And it does–starting with a seemingly minor decision that turns Gwen’s perfect life upside down. It’s a typical Friday morning in late summer and Gwen is anticipating a long-awaited weekend away at the lake with her overworked husband, Brian, and their two small children. After dropping her daughter off at swim class, Gwen drives across town to purchase a small bag of marijuana from an old flame. She’s counting on the pot to help her unwind later that night in those precious private moments with Brian after the kids are asleep. Then, on the way home, Gwen gets into a car accident–an accident that leaves her bruised and somewhat battered but leaves the other driver (an elderly man who crossed over into her lane) dead. The local police know the accident isn’t her fault, but when they find the marijuana in Gwen’s car, they throw the book at her. There have been problems with drugs in the schools and they want to crack down on abusers, whoever and wherever they are. Before long, Gwen is in legal hot water–and the temperature keeps rising. Finally, under pressure from the police, her attorney, and her own husband, she reveals her source’s name. Meanwhile, Brian is embroiled in a moral and legal dilemma of his own when the big pharmaceutical company he works for markets an anti-anxiety drug for “off-label” use as a weight-loss aid, only to discover that it can have deadly consequences. And Gwen’s former lover Jude, a local restaurateur and the supplier of the stash of the title, has gotten in way over his head with his little side business.

First, let me thank Jennifer Robbins of Broadway Books who sent me a Galley copy of this book to read and review.

Now down to business. I started out really enjoying this book. Think American Beauty + Season 1 of Weeds + Desperate Housewives and there ya have it. In a nutshell. Granted I absolutely love American Beauty,  Showtime’s Weeds AND Desperate Housewives, but it’s nothing new. When I make time to read, I want to expand my horizons. I want to learn something new. I want to discover about a foreign land, a time period in history, or about the human condition. This book did not enlighten me at all, but rather it made me feel like I was losing brain cells by the minute. Stash could have easily been an episode or two pulled right out Weeds or DH. I was completely on board until about half way. The action starts out really gripping. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what happened after desperate housewife Gwen decided to visit an old flame for some Mary Jane before leaving for the weekend with her husband and children to their lake house. Making yet another poor decision, Gwen got behind the wheel after smoking a joint and set a series of unfortunate events in motion. Sounds interesting right? It did….until about halfway through. The introduction of too many moderately developed characters and moderately developed plot lines later, the action, chapterization and dialogue became so choppy, it was no longer enjoyable. I hoped sometime before the ending things would pick up. The author took the (attempted) ‘plot twists’ so far into left field, I found myself suffering through the last half of this novel.

Sadly, I do not recommend this novel, nor do I want to waste anymore time reviewing it.

I know I can’t love every book, yet I am always disappointed when I can’t at least recommend folks pick it up and give it a try. You’re better off watching American Beauty and Season 1 of Weeds than reading Stash.

2/5 stars

Holy smokes. This marks 41 books read leaving 11 to go! Can I do it? Stay tuned to find out…the year is almost over!

In progress- Cutting for Stone




Book #39: LibraryLove September 2, 2010

Eighteen Acres by Nicolle Wallace – Publication date October 19th, 2010

Book description~

Eighteen Acres, a description used by political insiders when referring to the White House complex, follows the first female President of the United States, Charlotte Kramer, and her staff as they take on dangerous threats from abroad and within her very own cabinet.

Charlotte Kramer, the 45th US President, Melanie Kingston, the White House chief of staff, and Dale Smith, a White House correspondent for one of the networks are all working tirelessly on Charlotte’s campaign for re-election. At the very moment when they should have been securing success, though, Kramer’s White House implodes under rumors of her husband’s infidelity and grave errors of judgment on the part of her closest national security advisor. In an upheaval that threatens not only the presidency, but the safety of the American people, Charlotte must fight to regain her footing and protect the country she has given her life to serving.

Eighteen Acres combines political and family drama into one un-put-downable novel. It is a smart, juicy and fast-paced read that we’re sure fans of commercial women’s fiction will fall in total love with.

Special thanks to Judith Curr over at Atria Books/Washington Square Press for sending me this advanced review copy (ARC) to read. As you probably noticed, I’ve not been able to read much at all lately. The only book I read in the month of August was for book club!  I’ve not had time to sleep much either. Working 15 hour days for weeks now, albeit from home, has definitely put a crimp in my reading progress AND my sleep. It’s been an insane month with no end in sight until at least June 2011 when a huge project I’m spearheading comes to completion. Thankfully I’m still on track with this challenge…challenge, indeed!

Like many if not all little girls around the country, I too at one young point in my life aspired to be the first female president. As the facts of life set in and the naiveté wore off, I realized that would be the last thing I’d ever want for me or my family. Being under the microscope as a public figure is something I never want for myself. However, my curiosity never waned. Who wouldn’t want to know what it’d be like to be the first female president?

Author and political commentator, Nicolle Wallace, uses her experiences as political analyst for CBS evening news and campaign advisor for many big name politicos, to explore every girl’s childhood curiosities. Nicole takes us to the epicenter of the Lion’s Den and into the world of Charlotte Kramer, the first female president of the United States and the two ladies closest to her. Nicolle creates a well-rounded story using third-person narrative of three characters that rotate throughout the novel. Eighteen Acres is narrated by Melanie (White House Chief of Staff), Dale (White House Correspondent), and Charlotte, the 45th President of the United States. President Kramer is trying to get re-elected but her world is about to crumble as the plot of this novel unravels. The most interesting parts of this novel, for me, were seeing just how difficult it is to be the ‘first spouse’, husband OR wife. President Kramer’s husband Peter is navigating new waters and trying to figure out his place. Peter has his own career, interests and spends the majority of his time away from his wife, even with separate sleeping quarters. Kramer’s picture-perfect image starts to fray as she tries to juggle the public, her husband, her children, her team and everyone in her world. Kramer’s public approval ratings start to decline. Kramer starts to question her husbands’ ‘extra-curricular’ activities and things take a turn from a picture-perfect presidency when crisis hits the White House.

This book is conversational, fun, dynamic and suspenseful. Dale’s spunky edge and sinister ways throw a fun monkey wrench into the buttoned-up starched-shirt politico crowd.

I hope you will add Eighteen Acres to your TBR list and read this novel when it comes out in October!

3/5 stars

39 down, 13 to go!

In progress- The Thirteenth Tale by Diana Setterfield