Next Up For Review

Next Up For Review
The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Even the big dogs makes mistakes

I'm back! Photobucket heeded my warnings of having a total nuclear meltdown over site maintenance & got my blog back up to snuff. Good thing too. Nobody wants to see a woman in perimenopause freaking out on their doorstep. It just ain't pretty people.
I've decided to break my cardinal rule of not reading while I'm in the heat of yammering away at the keyboard for a new book. How do writers read & write at the same time? Very carefully. I believe that each book has it's own unique voice & as a writer I don't want any voice to influence my book unless it comes from the stage in my head. Because of this I read, then I write, then I read, then I....
You get the idea.
This plan worked. It kept the number of books I consumed to a bare bones minimum, which made having a book blog a bit of a challenge. And with my wonderful little Kindle calling to me, I decided to bend a little & see what happens. So far so good. This brings me to number one in this post:
  1. Bridge to Happiness, Jill Barnett
Ms. Barnett is a well seasoned author. With 13 novels & seven short stories in print, I was surprised to find her book, Bridge to Happiness, as a kindle freebie. But, on my search for something new, there it was. I downloaded and dove in.
Before I post my opinion of the story, I want to take a minute and talk about the quality of the piece. As a writer I am acutely aware that mistakes slip out. It is a fate worse than death (as a newbie) to get a copy of your baby & find glaring misprints: commas in the wrong place, quotations that are missing, misspellings, etc. As a nobody, you know that 99.9% of the people that read your material know you personally & are going to (with the attitude that they are doing you a favor) point each & every one out in triplicate. What they might not realize, is that you have already lost a week's sleep--per mistake.
Do you think the same holds true for a seasoned Walden Book Award winner? I only ask because this book had a whopping handful of them. The biggest issue was quotes that didn't quite get around the person speaking in the correct format. It was enough that I assumed that Ms. Barnett was just like the rest of us lower level mopes running around looking for our big break. I checked out her bio & publisher at the end and thought, Hmmmm, now that is interesting. Perhaps the book was free that week while Bell Bridge Books made corrections? Or maybe they are a lower level publishing house & the book I chose to read represents her earlier work? I really don't know. But it sure did make me feel better about me! On to the review...

It was a nice well written story. I really enjoyed it. Mostly romance, it is the story of March Cantrell, a wild lioness of a woman. It chronicles her life from her twenties through her sixties.
Part one of the book is written in third person. Very beautifully done. The language flowed and descriptions were so vivid--I loved it immediately. But hold on a sec, in part two the book switches to the first person view of March. Her children are grown, her husband just passed away in an untimely manner, and she is unraveling. Can you do that? I guess Jill Barnett can. 
It threw me for a bit. I didn't like the switch. I felt that the conversations between her & her children were a tad forced. Just when I was ready to throw it down & give up...March really loses it & the book becomes very engaging once again. I guess I'm just the kind of gal that can relate to a woman on the edge, drinking margaritas with her cackling hens until she passes out. LOL
Overall this was a nice little read. I give it four stars. I did find chunks of the work to be quite predictable, but it's a love story, that tends to happen. There were other parts that were a complete surprise. They made up for any cliches. (Why doesn't the little accent show up here?) 

The book is up to full price now. A whopping $8.99 (less than three fancy coffees at Caribou & easier on the hips). If anybody pays for it, would you please send me a note & let me know if the quotes were fixed? It's been driving me crazy...

  2. Let's celebrate!
I have two reasons to celebrate today. First, I now have twenty (yep I set the bar high) followers of my review blog! This might not sound like much, but I'll tell ya' blogger fans are tough to come by. Every single follower I earned through blood, sweat, & typing. Thanks you guys. I always say, when I'm rich & famous I'll have you all over for a sleep over at my beach house. So, if you have any friends you'd like to bring along, you best get them signed up as followers now. After fame comes, it too late!
Second, and last, I have reached a big milestone in my next book, Sixty Pounds of Sh*t & Counting. Late yesterday I hit the 60 page mark. That's a page for every pound! I think that deserves a little toast, don't you? Before you know it I'll be blogging about my recommitted search for an agent (and we all know how fun that bitch-fest is).
I love you guys. Each & every blood sucking, in it for your own promotion, one of you. Without my fans...I'm nothing.


  1. Elsie, you’re blog is really cute, I love the colors. I am a new follower, I found you on book blogs. You can check me out at

  2. Yay! Heather found me! I will find you right back babe...promise! I can't take credit for the blog, I won it in a writing contest. But Leah Williams of Cutesie Blog designs can. She's very reasonable. Check out her button on my sidebar when you get a chance.