Next Up For Review

Next Up For Review
The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks

Monday, October 31, 2011

Miss Butterworth is a Tasty Treat

Oh man, what a week. First, I got an offer to publish my short, POSSESSIONS. Very exciting when you consider I wasn't sure it would ever see the light of day. The offer is for a print anthology. The digital rights have also been snatched it's a win, win. I'm withholding further details until I clear the last of the foggy bits from my brain.
Last week I was 'off'--off from writing that is. The hubby & I took the tiniest minion to our cabin in the Smokies for some much needed floor replacement. It was a full seven days of hell. The highlights are as follows:
  • Hubby fell down the spiral staircase after stubbing his toe. Nothing broken.
  • Tiny minion could easily be home schooled if I were so inclined. He finished every lick of school work with minimal parental guidance. Chalk one up for decent genetics, parenting, or both.
  • Baseboard installation on non-uniform walls nearly killed us. However, our survival instincts are still running strong, much stronger than our broken down, old bodies.
  • I now, once again own a rental home that is far nicer than the house I live in on a daily basis. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment.
  • We will never again take on a major renovation without the help of professionally paid contractors. We are too old & life is meant to be enjoyed!
That's it in a nutshell. Now, on to my review.
That Affair Next Door, Anna Katharine Green

Returning from a trip abroad, the Van Burnam family enters their New York mansion to find a dead woman on the dining room floor. A curio cabinet has fallen on top of her, crushing her face, and law officers suspect that the victim is the wife of one of the Van Burnam sons. However, the son insists that he does not recognize the victim. How did this woman get into this locked house? Whose are those strange garments she is wearing? What is her hat doing in the closet and a strange, gaudy hat crushed underneath her? Why did the coroner insist that the woman was dead when the curio fell?

This was one of my famous Kindle freebies. Obviously, the cover is the standard, you got it for free so don't complain, cover. No rating required. I just consider it the classic, encyclopedia variety; clean & eyecatching by its own right.
Story: A
I loved this book. Miss Butterworth, the single, older lady with a keen eye for detail, is the perfect behind the radar star. Mr. Gryce, the crotchety old detective you can't help but like, is her perfect partner.
This book is another late 1800's miracle. Change some of the language and you could turn these two into a modern day Tracy/Hepburn. The dry wit has aged like a fine wine; and the mystery...well let's just say this super sleuth was stumped to nearly the end. There were several moments I believed I had figured out the whodunnit, only to quickly discover I was dead wrong. I did finally get it...but only a few pages before the unveiling.
It is absolutely worth it, even if you pay for the paperback. Anna Katharine Green was a lady ahead of her time. I look forward to reading more of her work!

Stay tuned dear readers. On November 3rd I will be reviewing TWO MOONS OF SERA, Pavarti Tyler. 
You won't want to miss it. Ms. Tyler is offering some pretty sweet giveaways...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why I love GOOFY characters

Just a quick blip on the blogging radar:
My favorite book characters right now? Goofy women. I want to laugh out loud at a heroine. I want her to show me her life in Technicolor humor. I want to cheer when her I LOVE LUCY antics land her the hunk.
Sure, I love ass kicking, take no prisoners heroines as well; but right now I want light & funny. An enjoyable read from beginning to end. Nothing too dark.
Maybe this is a reflection of what I desire in my own life?
No clue. 
What type of character do you love? Why?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I've Never Met a Midlife Crisis I Didn't Like...

Who doesn't love to read about people's lives falling down around their ears? Come on, society thrives on that stuff, so much so that we've coined the term 'gapers delay' for those who can't peel their eyeballs from a deadly crash on the expressway.
If you fall into the category of gawker, gaper, or other lover of melodrama, perhaps you might enjoy:
A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, by Irene Woodbury $7.98 for Kindle
Quirky jobs, wacky friends, hot crushes, and an unraveling marriage are all part of this darkly funny novel describing 45 year-old newlywed Wendy Sinclair’s life in Las Vegas after she impulsively decides to stay following a bizarre girls’ weekend in 2005.  
Cover: C
The cover is okay. Covers, by their very nature, are personal to the author/reader's taste. I love the lit Las Vegas sign against the black background; but honestly, I could do without the lady. If you took out the Wendy (main character) you could keep the slot machine. For my taste, there's just a tad too much going on. Key words: 'my taste'. To each his own.

Story: C
Wendy Sinclair, 45 year old newlywed is in the middle of some serious marital turbulence. In an effort to regain some of her sassiness she jets off on a girl's weekend with on again/off again friend Paula to none other than Sin City. Once she's there, she has a midlife meltdown and decides to extend her stay...for what seems to be an eternity.
I love stories about women who struggle against conformity. I love them even more when they include humor. This story has both. 
So why the C grade? Honestly, I felt this story had soooo much potential; but it seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time repeating the same theme without any variations. It focused far too much on food for my taste (and I love food) and other details that detracted from the humor and slowed the flow.
Up until the very last page of the book Wendy moves back & forth between loving her husband, Roger, wanting to see him & rekindle their marriage--and despising the man. The amount of time she spends making the decision of "Yes, I love him; he's mine, nobody else better go near him" and "We'll never make this work. Maybe I should move on and go with one of these other dudes?" is in the real world of marriages (most marriages) about two years too long. If I were Roger, she would have been served in the first eight months; but that's just me.

Overall: C
This book is a pretty quick read. It has some humorous moments peppered liberally with some "Oh hell no!" shockers. I will admit, I didn't see the end coming. I found reading pace picking up as I got closer to the end just to see where Wendy would finally end up. And I also started researching Vegas, as this book gives you the entire history of the city from stem to stern. I also realized, when it comes to Sin City, I missed 3/4 of it on my visit. Maybe I'll have to go back?
If you're the type of person who analyzes a characters motivation/situation/outcome against probable real life scenarios, this book will challenge you. However, if you just want to hop on board and go for a ride...this might be your book of the year. I fall somewhere in between. 
That's all for now folks.
Stay tuned for next week when I review, That Affair Next Door, by Anna Katharine Green

Saturday, October 8, 2011

That's How I Roll, Baby

1. New Elsie Love Fun Stuff:
I don't like to brag, but this week I discovered that I truly am a *triple threat*. I write, I review, and as of Thursday, I'm a slogan guru.
Yep. You heard me. I am now advertising my special brand of humor on everyday items.
It all started with my Skirt!Blog . I was writing a post about the impending demise of the overhyped, doomed before it started, Kutcher/Moore marriage. I was thinking about Demi and her current quandary, when this little gem popped into my head:
Never marry eye candy.
Eventually it will up in someone else's mouth
or on the bottom of your shoe.
Voila! The readers went mad. Then it hit me: I'm funny, dog-gone-it. Why don't I spread this snarky cheer around for the rest of the world? With a few clicks of the mouse my
Elsie Loves Life, Zazzle Store was born. Not too long after I worked up this little zinger:
Dear Family,
It's been a pleasure serving you all weekend.
Today is Monday. Get out.
Love, Mom
Genius, right? After those gems came some political stuff, diet stuff, and (of course) all the PTA Mafia stuff I could manage. Then I worked to make sure everything was ready to post on coffee mugs, organic cotton tees & totes, magnets, & bumper stickers.
Now I wait. Biting my nails in anticipation of a sale where I might earn a whopping $1.00. So far, no buyers; but I know there out there. All I have to do is keep the faith.
What is wrong with me? No wait, don't answer that.
2. Ether Books News:
I got word yesterday that Ether Books, the lovely mobile publisher for all your Apple products (RIP Steve. You were the world's last hope) has picked up not one, but TWO of my short stories!
Death of a Call Girl- Flash Fiction, & The Key to Magic- Feel Good Fiction
Death of a Call Girl will be a FREE download. The Key to Magic will be a paid download. I'm not sure what it will cost, but I doubt it will be more than $0.99.
I'm super excited about KEY TO MAGIC, since I wrote it after a very emotional weekend. Every time I read it...I start to cry. I'd sent it everywhere on God's creation...all with absolutely dismal rejections. Instead of shelving it I sent out a general request to a friend (GINGER S, who is an amazing writer/marketeer, etc. She hooked me up with the Ether connection, which I jumped on. But honestly, I wasn't holding my breath. So this was very pleasant, quite unexpected news.
I hope (if you have any Apple stuff...pods, pads, etc) you will download the free app & check it out.
BTW- I contacted Ether to ask about the app for DROID & they assured me, it is still in the works for early 2012.
Other than my garage sale (which was an abysmal failure) I've got nothing else to share. I'll be back next week with my review of "A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis".
Until then, master your triple threat skills & remember, bits of strings cannot be used to buy things unless you live in The World Of Warcraft.