Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

I would compare this book to a reality TV show. 
By comparing the book to a reality TV show what I am, in essence, saying, is that you are given an intimate look at what goes on behind the facade of an upscale, fancy community. As the story unfolds we are given a glimpse, through Lyssa’s eyes, of what life is truly like. We see the cliques, the gossip, the affairs, and get the inside scoop on a lot of it.
The book deals with issues such as divorce, affairs, cheating, friendship, and more. It imparts the importance of being happy, of being yourself, and of always doing what is right and standing up for yourself. It also ends a little bit too easily with everything wrapped up nicely with a bow.
Did I like it? Well, like reality TV it was a little bit plastic, a little bit predictable, a little bit snobbish, and ultimately not very satisfying. That being said, I enjoyed the book, it was a light, easy, and fast read, I kept reading and couldn’t put it down. I would recommend it as a light read, or to anyone who enjoys the topics of marriage, divorce, infidelity, etc. It very well may be that these topics do not hold as much interest to me because I am simply not at that point in my life. We will see in a few years I guess!
To read my full review check it out over at Amy Reads! I am also doing a giveaway of this book that ends at midnight, June 30th, so there is still time to enter! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

But Harry's presence soon stirs up trouble in paradise: if Harry and his wife, the neighborhood’s "perfect couple," can call it quits, what does that mean for other so-called happy couples, like Lyssa and her husband, Ted? When Harry sets boundaries with his new fan club, he is exiled from the ladies' clique. But Lyssa refuses to snub him. What she never expects is the explosive impact her ongoing friendship with Harry will have on her close-knit pals—and on her marriage.

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives was like brain reality tv, and brain fluff. It was entertaining. Was it the most interesting book I have ever read, no. It was Desperate Housewives meets a VH1 reality tv show, meets the Real Housewives. It was not stunning literature it was the perfect beach read, the perfect break from reality that was well organized well put together. Not an essential read by any stretch of the imagination but still entertaining. There were some gloriously scandalous moments, the intrigue read like a housewives version of Machiavelli's "The Prince" or the "Fourty-Eight Laws of Power", with allegiances steadily changing, and power-shifts, satellite tracking, and back-room dealings. The divorce dealings, the cheating scandals, the charity work, it all combines to create a story that though not groundbreaking is exceedingly entertaining and funny.

Rating, C: if you need a mind break, this is good. No rush, just enjoy if you feel so urged. Get it from the Library and drive up patronage rates.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz

This book is, essentially, about friendship and love and what we do for both. The story is told by each of the three friends, alternating between chapters – Tara, Whitney Blaire, and Pinkie. They have been friends forever, and do everything together.
Tara is an athlete and spends her time training for marathons and hanging with her mom.Whitney Blaire is a bit of a diva and spends her time shopping and checking out boys, and dealing with parents who are never home. Pinkie is an honors student, on committees, and is always writing letters to her Mama.
Each of the girls has their own issues that they are dealing with, but they also have a strong friendship. That all changes when a new girl shows up. All of a sudden everything is out of order, and things start falling apart between them. Can their friendship weather this?
I loved the way Diaz presented (almost, see below) all of the issues in this book. Each of the girls had a major relationship issue that was at once completely believable and well written. As I am counting this book toward the QLBT Challenge, obviously you can guess there is some sort of GLBT relationship in this book. I won’t say any more, but I will say that it was written extraordinarily well. The way the friends react to it is especially well done. It’s not smooth, it’s not always pretty, but it is realistic.
To read the rest of my review, go check out my full review at Amy Reads. To see more reviews, check out Trisha's at eclectic / eccentric and Amanda's at The Zen Leaf

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Of All the Stupid Things

While in NYC for BEA and BBC, I attended the Teen Author Carnival where Alexandra Diaz was promoting her debut book, Of All the Stupid Things.  During the panel discussion, she presented the novel as a story about three girlfriends and what happens when one of those friends falls in love with a new girl in town. Copies of the book weren't available at the time, but I later saw her at the BEA in the autographing area and was able to snag a copy.  The GLBT premise and the very awesome cover had me excited to read this.  Unfortunately, the book didn't quite cut it for me.  The elevator pitch she gave and the subtitle there on the cover - Three Friends, One Forbidden Love Affair - are rather misleading.... 

I do think that Diaz has potential. The book has a host of unique plot-lines which would make interesting stand-alone books. Hopefully on the next go round, she narrows her focus and sets her sights on truly exploring a single idea.

For the rest of my review including a Filmic Connection, visit eclectic / eccentric. And if you want to read reviews with a more positive spin, head over to Amy Reads or The Zen Leaf.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie

As Trisha and Alix have already posted their thoughts below, I'm posting just one part about the book that I found interesting.

Not only does the book explore rules and the power of individual choice, it also delves in to love and relationships. Cassia feels torn because by questioning the Society she questions everything her life has been based on. If she questions her Match, what does that mean about her parents? From page 221 (in the advance review copy, may change at publication):
"But if the system is wrong and false and unreal, then what about the love between my parents? If their love was born because of the Society, can it still be real and good and right? This is the question that I can't get out of my mind. I want the answer to be yes. That their love is true. I want it to have beauty and reality independent of anything else."
The Matching system, to me, seemed somewhat like arranged marriages. Only arranged marriages where our parents knew every little thing about us and about the other person and made a choice based on our genes and actions and future thoughts, all of which they have predicted out with a fair amount of certainty. Just because someone else has decided for you, does that make it less so? Can love blossom in such a scenario?

For more thoughts (and discussion, in the comments) and a chance to win the book, check out my full review here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ally Condie's Matched

Dystopian literature revs me up. Excessively controlled, socially repressive society captivates my imagination with its focus on individual freedom versus community success.  Few can argue that the world in dystopian literature, Matched included, has its benefits.  Comfort, health, safety, a sense of purpose and place, these are positive additions to life.  It is always, however, at the expense of choice; life is controlled by a select group of people who are more concerned with logic than emotion.  And despite efforts and ego, humans are primarily emotional beings.

Specific to this book, I felt the story well-crafted if a bit lacking in depth.  For example, I would have enjoyed more backstory on the origins of the Society and more details on their level and methods of control.  Also, the relationship between Ky and Cassia felt a bit random.  It was sort of like love-at-first-sight except the two had known each other for some time. It's not until Cassia sees Ky's face as her Match that she begins to have romantic feelings for him.  I needed a bit more explanation for that.  First thought says Cassia was just too indoctrinated to harbor feelings for someone, but the book makes it pretty clear that teenagers still engage in flirtations with at least some kissing.  So why hasn't Cassia crushed on Ky before this?

Overall though, I really enjoyed the book.  I could read it for long stretches of time without getting bored, a giant plus in my opinion, and my appetite has been whetted for the remaining two books in the trilogy.  At least, I'm pretty sure it's a better be.

For more of my thoughts and my Filmic Connection, head on over to eclectic / eccentric!

Review of Matched by Ally Condie- 3 peat

After meeting 2 wonderful bloggers at BEA/BBC in NYC in June ( enough acronyms for you) we have decided to team up to create the League of Rebellious Readers. Sooo the new look and the new feel of the blog is about the new partnership between us 3. Our first to do item was to review all of the books that we received at BEA and the BBC (Book Blogger Conference). Up first is MATCHED by Ally Condie.

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

The first review up is by (ME!) and the full review is posted at

A tightly controlled future world where everything is programmed for you. Not a new concept. A world with genetic matching where love is a distant concept and the benefit of society is the tantamount reason for being. Also, not new. The backdrop is one we've all heard and seen before. It was Aeon Flux-ish. What Ally Condie brings to Matched is a unique story telling style that kept me entertained while consistently making me explore my ideas about what society should and should not say.....

Rated: B Read the book, be it in paperback, e-book, or library format. Its a good story told by a great writer who can obviously do more than she has shown in this particular book. 


I reviewed this book with Amy Mckie of Amy reads and Trisha at Eclectic-Eccentric Go check out their reviews as well.