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Thursday, February 21, 2013

TLC Tour Stop and Review: Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

Publisher: William Morrow
Hardback 400 pages
Book Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating: 95/100

From the tour page:

“Every story has a narrator. Someone who writes it down after it’s all over. Why am I the narrator of this story? I am because it is the story of my life—and of the people I love most. . . .”
Harry and Madeleine Winslow have been blessed with talent, money, and charm. Harry is a National Book Award–winning author on the cusp of greatness. Madeleine is a woman of sublime beauty and grace whose elemental goodness and serenity belie a privileged upbringing. Bonded by deep devotion, they share a love that is both envied and admired. The Winslows play host to a coterie of close friends and acolytes eager to bask in their golden radiance, whether they are in their bucolic East Hampton cottage, abroad in Rome thanks to Harry’s writing grant, or in their comfortable Manhattan brownstone.
One weekend at the start of the summer season, Harry and Maddy, who are in their early forties, meet Claire and cannot help but be enchanted by her winsome youth, quiet intelligence, and disarming naivete. Drawn by the Winslows’ inscrutable magnetism, Claire eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But over the course of the summer, her reverence transforms into a dangerous desire. By Labor Day, it is no longer enough to remain one of their hangers-on.

My Thoughts:

Spoilers Ahead!

You can probably tell from both the title of this novel and the description above, an affair occurs and is central to this story.  From the first few lines of the story, you also get the feeling that something tragic happens, and not just the affair.  There will be no happy ending to this story.  The four main parties in the story are:
Maddy – wife and injured party
Harry – indiscreet husband
Claire – their new young friend and the object of desire
Walter – bystander and narrator of the story, friend to all parties, and in love with Maddy since childhood

In the case of an extramarital affair its easiest to blame one party, mainly the trollop who sleeps with the husband.  But with this affair, I don’t think it’s that easy.  Throughout the story we learn about each character, and the readers attitudes change towards each character the more we read.  At first I wanted to blame Claire for most of what happened, but it takes two to have an affair.  Harry is not blameless, and the more I learned about Harry, granted from Walter’s narrative, the more I felt that it was his fault.  He could have said no, but instead he takes the easy way out.  Harry has never taken responsibility for anything in his life, so why should he now.  Harry thinks saying sorry will fix everything but it doesn't always.  

Claire, in her early 20’s, is young, vulnerable, and it’s easy to see she is looking for a father figure.  This doesn't excuse her behavior, but as an adult with 20  more years of experience than her, everyone else should have realized her hanging around was not quite right.  I know hind sight is 20/20, but still…I guess you trust that your marriage of 20 years is rock solid, and you don’t see your husband for who and what he is.

As for Walter and Maddy, my feelings about them also did a 180.  Once Maddy has her world shaken by this affair, she freaks out.  I get that.  However, at some point, you have a child, an 11 yr. old I think,  you need to attend to, so it’s not all about you.  But Maddy can’t do that.  She goes off on a path of self destruction and eventually gets herself right.  However, I do think it’s her actions that in the end, contribute to the final devastating blow.  No, I won’t give that away folks!  As much as I wanted to empathize with Maddy, I couldn't.  Maybe it’s me but Maddy ended up being the character who I ultimately disliked.  I do not like people who are always the “victim” and need to be cared for.  Harsh? Probably, but I’m being honest.  And no, how this story concludes did not alter my opinion of her.

As for Walter, he also suffers through this entire story, being disappointed at every turn.  He seems to have more sense than Walter and Maddy, but not really.  It’s those childhood feelings for Maddy that constantly hold him back from ever achieving his own happiness, separate and distinct from Maddy.  And you know, Maddy has to know Walter still carries a torch for her, so she is a bit irresponsible too, now that I think about it.  Poor Walter!

In the end, it’s actually Claire that is the adult.  After everything is said and done, she is the one with the wisdom and enough sense to know what she did was wrong.  Claire was sorry, and she moved on with her life.

This book was a page turner for me, and I enjoyed it immensely.  Not my typical read at all, but Charles Dubow sucked me into his novel with the first page.  I was immersed in the story, and apparently as you can see from my thoughts above, was strongly interested in these characters, whether I liked them or not.  What I enjoyed the most, was how my feelings changed for each one as I read the story.  What I thought and felt at the beginning, was completely different by the time I closed the book.  That’s what makes Indiscretion such a great read for me.

To read what other's thought about this book, please visit one of the tour stops below.

You can also follow Charles Dubow on  Twitter.

Charles’ Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 5th: 5 Minutes For Books
Wednesday, February 6th: toothy books
Thursday, February 7th: Sweet Tidbits
Friday, February 8th: I Read a Book Once
Monday, February 11th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, February 13th: Sara’s Organized Chaos 
Thursday, February 14th: BookNAround
Monday, February 18th: JulzReads
Tuesday, February 19th: You’ve GOTTA Read This!
Wednesday, February 20th: The House of Crime and Mystery
Thursday, February 21st: Jenny Love to Read
Monday, February 25th: Book Addiction

 © Jenny Girl - 2013 "All Rights Reserved"

Friday, February 15, 2013

February 2013 Culling of the Book Shelves

This month I am offering up these new titles to choose from:

Written in the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt
Lost and Found and Picture This by Jacqueline Sheehan (two book set)
Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd
Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall
Lucky Bunny by Jill Dawson

Or, your choice from the ones not chosen last month.  After this contest they will never be seen again!

The Grail King and Deep Magic by Joy Nash (Two books together)
Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani
A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi
The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

Here are the rules: 
  • U.S. addresses only and no P.O. Boxes.  (sorry!)
  • Leave a comment on this post with your email and your first and second choice of book(s) [no email address, no entry]
  • There will be two winners: 1st place will receive their first choice of book, and 2nd place will also get their   first choice, unless it’s taken, thereby receiving their second choice of book.
  • Contest runs until midnight, EST, Friday March 1, 2013.

 © Jenny Girl - 2013 "All Rights Reserved"

Thursday, February 14, 2013

HFVBT Tour Stop and Review: A Tainted Dawn by B.N. Peacock

Publisher: Fireship Press
352 pages
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Synopsis from HFVBT website:

August 1789. The Rights of Man. Liberty. Equality. Idealism. Patriotism.

A new age dawns.

And yet, old hostilities persist: England and Spain are on the brink of war. France, allied by treaty with Spain, readies her warships. Three youths--the son of an English carpenter, the son of a naval captain, an the son of a French court tailor--meet in London, a chance encounter that entwines their lives thereafter. The English boys find themselves on the same frigate bound for the Caribbean. The Frenchman sails to Trinidad, where he meets an even more zealous Spanish revolutionary. As diplomats in Europe race to avoid conflict, war threatens to erupt in the Caribbean, with the three youths pitted against each other.

Will the dawn of the boys' young manhood remain bright with hope? Or will it become tainted with their countrymen's spilt blood?

My Thoughts:

This story, part one of a trilogy, is about three young men and their lives, which are caught in the cross-roads of a world that is changing at a break neck pace.  England is fighting with everyone home and away, France has inner turmoil and civil unrest, and the Caribbean which is influenced by both countries, and is key to world trade.  Also lets not forget about that just born America; who knows what they will do.  World trade and commerce are dependent upon sea travel, and the unrest that happens on land, doesn't stop at sea.  

Three boys, Edward, Louis, and Jemmy, each epitomize some slice of society that is occurring at this moment.  Edward comes from aristocratic England, but his family is in turmoil and he is unceremoniously sent to sea.  Louis from a trade family in Paris, attends University has grand thoughts on equality and liberty and how France should be governed.  Jemmy, who is poor, comes from the countryside of England, and must fend for himself on the streets.  The paths of these three cross throughout the book, and what happens when they cross drive some of the story forward.  We also read about their lives separately and how they are faring in this world.

That is the general picture of what this story is about.  Unfortunately I could not get into this story for two reasons.  B.N. Peacock knows her history and knows it well.  She captures each part of society perfectly, one of which is life on a ship.  However, I could not follow any of this part, which is Edwards story, to save my life.  I was lost, and felt thrown into a situation I couldn't understand or even try to.  Sorry I don't know the inner workings of a ship.  Granted that's probably how Edward felt, but as a reader, that could have been done here and there.  Not the whole time he was on the ship.  I felt I needed a lesson in how ships operate and a dictionary of terms.  I don't mind looking things up occasionally, but it shouldn't stop my grasp of the story.

Secondly, except for Jemmy, I did not like Edward or Louis. When two-thirds of a story has a character I don't like, interest in the story disappears.  With respect to Edward, I liked him in the beginning.  I empathized with him and his plight.  His experience at sea in the beginning, my goodness, it was horrid and shameful   However, because the chapters alternate between characters, I felt I left off with Edward one way, and when he returned he was haughty, uppity, and not someone I liked at all.  What happened?  And that was it for me with Edward.

With Louis, I did not like him from the first time I met him.  What a spoiled, idealistic  coward and brat.  Louis stirred the pot but never thought about the consequences of his actions.  I felt like he didn't care.  Yes, he was disenchanted with Paris and it's governance, but there are better ways to accomplish your aims.  Although given the general feeling at the time in France, nothing was going to stop that train, but regardless, I just never liked him.

These are the reasons I did not like this book.  I finished it hoping for things to get better, but for me they didn't.  The idea and the plot for the story are interesting and I think would make a great trilogy, but maybe the execution could be better.

Please stop by one of the other tour sites listed below to see what other people thought.  I'm sure their take is much different than mine.

Connect with B.N. Peacock:  WEBSITE | BLOG


Tuesday, January 29
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, January 30
Interview & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, January 31
Review at A Book Geek

Friday, February 1
Review at Book Dilettante

Monday, February 4
Review at The Novel Life
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Tuesday, February 5
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Wednesday, February 6
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Thursday, February 7
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, February 11
Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Tuesday, February 12
Giveaway at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse
Wednesday, February 13
Review at BookRamblings
Thursday, February 14
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, February 15
Review at The Written World & Historical Tapestry
Monday, February 18
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, February 19
Review at Impressions in Ink
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, February 20
Review at Words and Peace
Thursday, February 21
Giveaway at Words and Peace
Friday, February 22
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

 © Jenny Girl - 2013 "All Rights Reserved"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

TLC Tour Stop, Review, and Giveaway: The Expats by chris Pavone

Publisher: Broadway
Hardback 352 pages
Book source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating: 87/100
At first glance, Kate Moore is an ordinary American expat mom whose days are filled with coffee mornings and the mundane demands of childcare. But Kate is also guarding a secret: until recently she’d been leading a double life as a CIA agent, traveling the globe on increasingly dangerous covert missions. After her job drives her to commit an unforgivable act, Kate is ready for a less eventful life, and her husband Dexter’s new job as a financial systems security consultant in Luxembourg provides the perfect exit strategy. But still she remains unable to bring herself to reveal her secret to him.
As Kate struggles to adapt to her new expat existence, always wondering when her past will catch up with her, her spook instincts take over and she grows suspicious of those around her. There’s an overly friendly American couple, Bill and Julia, who clearly are not who they say they are, and who Kate suspects may be assassins; and Dexter has become withdrawn, evasive, and unhealthily absorbed in his work, which mysteriously leads him to come home with mud-stained shoes. When Kate breaks her vow to never investigate her own husband and begins to dig for the truth, her world quickly unravels as she discovers that Dexter has been harboring an explosive secret of his own—and that he may be involved in a dangerous scheme involving shell corporations, unforgiven war crimes, and the brazen theft of 50 million euros.
My Thoughts:
People have a hard time facing the truth or reality of their situation.  No one wants to believe they don't really know their partner or themselves.  That as much as they want a particular kind of life, it's that other life, that life filled with suspense, danger, and excitement  is what really gets them going.  It's who they are.  This is the situation Kate finds herself in.  Doubting her husband, herself, her choices for the kind of life she wants.  Kate now has to decide who she is, what kind of life she wants, and can she handle the consequences of these choices.

All of this introspection on Kate's part, takes place as a result of her and her husband Dexter starting a new life in Luxembourg  Europe.  Just their choice of where to live should tell you there's something shady going on.  Events begin to happen, and the story goes from there. It 's up to Kate to figure out what's going on and see her family to safety. 

Overall the story was interesting and there are twists and turns along the way.  The first half of the book sets the stage with Kate's state of mind and settling into a new life.  The second half, Kate starts to put the pieces together and the action really begins.  Pavone describes the streets of this old European city so well, I felt the cobblestones under my feet and the dampness in the air.  It's his writing that really makes the story.  I felt Kate's nervousness when she was putting clues together, and the thrill of the chase through the museum gallery.  Pavone excels at hooking his readers into his story.  This book is a great combination of spy thriller, what would you do, and character exploration.

I do have one minor negative item.  I liked Kate, but I felt like after spending so much time in the CIA and on covert missions, she should have realized sooner something was amiss when she met Bill and Julia.  My street smarts kicked in as soon as these two were introduced, and I felt that should have been the same with Kate.  I understand Kate not figuring the other bit out.  You never want to doubt the ones you love, but Bill and Julia, Kate should have questioned their appearance from the start.  You can take the girl out of the CIA, but not the CIA out of the girl, which this story ultimately shows.
Great debut book!

Thanks TLC Book Tours!

For other points of view on The Expats,  please visit one of the tour stops listed at the end of this post.


Now for the GIVEAWAY.  Here are the rules for entry:

  • Must be in the U.S. or Canada and no P.O. Boxes
  • Leave a comment with an email address.  No email address no entry.
  • For an extra entry, tell me what your spy name would be, if you were a spy. [Mine is Sassy Whisper]
  • Deadline to enter is midnight, Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Good luck!

Chris Pavone’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, January 22nd:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, January 23rd:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, January 24th:  My Bookshelf
Friday, January 25th:  The Blog of Litwits
Monday, January 28th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, January 29th:  Literally Jen
Wednesday, January 30th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, January 31st:  BookChickDi
Friday, February 1st:  Book Club Classics!
Monday, February 4th:  She Treads Softly
Wednesday, February 6th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Thursday, February 7th:  A Bookworm’s World
Friday, February 8th:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Monday, February 11th:  Book Addict Katie
Tuesday, February 12th:  Jenny Loves to Read
Wednesday, February 13th:  Crime Fiction Lover
Friday, February 15th:  Dolce Bellezza
Monday, February 18th:  Reviews by Elizabeth

© Jenny Girl - 2013 "All Rights Reserved"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Deadline for Winners!

To the winners announced on Tuesday, February 5th.  You have until midnight, February 12th to contact me with your mailing information.
If I don't hear from you by then, I will choose another winner.

Thank you for your cooperation :)

© Jenny Girl - 2013 "All Rights Reserved"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

January Winners!

January's big winners are:

Renee Brown who chose Six Seconds and Murderers' Club 
 Carol M who will receive On the Run by Iris Johansen

Thanks for participating everyone!
Stop back on February 15th to see what next round of books will be up for grabs :)

 © Jenny Girl - 2013 "All Rights Reserved"