Review: “If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?” By Gina Barreca

  
I’ve been reading Gina Barreca’s columns in my local newspaper for years. I love her brash attitude that reminds me so much of my own, her exasperation at injustices that no one should allow – no one!, and her talent for capturing just the right facet of a social issue to make a difference. 

 The dozens of essays in this book are tied together by section headings such as “I’m not needy; I’m wanty” and “If you met my family, you’d understand,” but more importantly woven together by the exploration of feminism.  

Barreca doesn’t bash men or bash women who like men. She doesn’t tell me I can’t wear pantyhose or I have to be pro-choice or I shouldn’t read smut. What I think Barreca says is that women should do what they do for themselves. For themselves! What a concept. If cooking for your husband makes you happy, do it. But don’t do it because he tells you to, because you feel worthless to him if you don’t, or because society tells you that’s all you have to offer if you’re a housewife. Get it? Read the book. You’ll get it. 

For me, it was nice that someone put a bunch of my thoughts into rational written form and then published it for all to read. For others, Barecca might not echo your exact thinking, but she will give you some food for thought. 

-calliope

Buy ‘IF YOU LEAN IN, WILL MEN JUST LOOK DOWN YOUR BLOUSE?’

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Review: Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis 

  
I never thought I’d love a Jill Shalvis series other than my First Jill Shalvis Series, Lucky Harbor. But I am falling in love all over again. Maybe it’s Cedar Ridge itself – sort of reminds me of Robyn Carr’s town of Virgin River, or maybe it’s the Kincaid brothers, but either way Shalvis has me hooked. 

In Nobody But You, military guy Jacob Kincaid returns home to his estranged twin brother and several other siblings (who are happier to see him than his twin pretends to be). Jacob didn’t realize there was more waiting for him in Cedar Ridge: one spit-fire Sophie Marren, recently divorced from her cheating ex-husband and living in a boat illegally moored at, yup, Jacob’s dock. 

Nobody But You reads total Shalvis: authentic and witty dialogue, lots of affection and competition among siblings, and great views. What sets this story apart from her others is the spice factor. Shalvis describes a lot more bedroom activity than usual, though not a gratuitous sentence in the bunch. Every kiss and caress reflects the passion Sophie and Jacob develop for each other, because of and despite misunderstandings and heartfelt fears of commitment. 

The only question I had at the end was Who’s Next to fall in love in Cedar Ridge now that the Kincaid brothers are taken? 😉 

-calliope 

Buy NOBODY BUT YOU

Review: Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher 

  

I loved Rosamunde Pilcher’s Shell Seekers so much that I wanted another Pilcher novel ASAP. So I put Winter Solstice on my TBR list, and here we are. 

Winter Solstice has the same depth and character development and saga feel as Shell Seekers, but it’s a little more lighthearted, fun and romantic. 

Pilcher speaks my language when she writes parallel relationships and symmetrical settings. I liked comparing Carrie to her cousin Elfrida, or Lucy to her Aunt Carrie. The men who enter their lives aren’t necessarily similar, but they all share a tender heart for the right woman. Carrie, Lucy and Elfrida treasure their independence, but appreciate being cared for and treasured as well. 

Death, divorce, and family secrets move this plot along. Property changes hands, mothers shirk their duties, love is lost in a variety of ways. But rising above the bleak Scotland winter as well as the winter season of life are the warm hearts and hands of three generations celebrating love. 

-calliope 

Buy Winter Solstice

Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

  
Detective Cormoran Strike’s assistant Robin receives a special delivery – of a severed leg. And that’s the impetus for following around dangerous and seedy characters from Strike’s past. 

This book is way more gory and psycho than the first two – and definitely too much so for my tastes. But it’s a beautifully written book with just enough clues to make you feel like you should have known who the culprit was all along. Personally, I liked the side stories of Robin’s fiancĂ© and Cormoran’s superficial love life. I also liked traipsing around city and country alike, accompanying Robin in shadowy doorways and looking out for the bad guys. 

Excellent read. 

-calliope

Buy: Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Book 3)

Musing: A go-to author disappoints

 Many of us have those go-to authors … writers we follow on social media so we know exactly when their latest book will hit the shelves AND when it’ll be available for preorder. I scour NetGalley for my faves because I’m too impatient to wait for the publication date! 

What happens when you finally get one of those yummy advance copies? Or you wait up for your preorder to appear on your kindle? You eat it up, right? Maybe stay up all night, or stick a virtual bookmark in whatever you’re currently reading so you can get to THIS ONE. The one you’ve been waiting for. 

Until it disappoints. That awesome writer did something different this time. And maybe some people like it, but you don’t. You can’t stand it but you keep reading because it’s GOT to get better, right? It’s by a wonderful author, after all! Aaaaaannnnnndddd it doesn’t get better. You muddle through, and then you hope it doesn’t happen with the next book by this writer. 

I don’t want to name names, but my latest disappointment included off-kilter character development and a weird/disjointed storyline. I thought the hero was just bizarre, and I was unsympathetic toward the heroine. What a downer after all those I loved by a favorite author. 

What’s your latest disappointment? 

-calliope