Thursday, July 29, 2010

Love Under Cover

Love Under Cover, by Jessica Brody.

So I caught the flu. I contracted the virus. The one that makes you start sentences with the word we and end them with the words isn't that right, honey? The one that makes you sick with anxiety when the phone doesn't ring exactly when it's supposed to. It's a disease that makes you dizzy, feverish, nauseated, clammy, and from time to time even delusional.

Yet once I had caught it, I never wanted to be cured. I only wanted to be with Jamie.

I liked this book a lot because although it is chick lit, the premise is unusual - the protagonist, Jennifer, is a "fidelity inspector," meaning that she tests husbands to see if they will cheat on their significant others. Usually the wife (or occasionally the husband, for his wife) will come to her and her agency and pay her a fee to do this. However, as she is now engaged to her fiance, Jamie, Jennifer has gotten out of the "game" and now only does desk work at the agency ... until one night, when getting back in is the only option.

Apparently this novel is a sequel to The Fidelity Inspector, which I am looking forward to reading next. The book can definitely be read as a "stand alone" novel, however, and that is what I originally took it as. The characters are smart and Brody's prose reads very quickly.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Girl at Sea

Girl at Sea, by Maureen Johnson.

Just because she had been well behaved all this week didn't mean that she was any less interested in what was behind this trip - it was just that she had chosen not to act on it.

Being given a shiny key is a temptation. Keys open things. And from the moment it was around her neck, her senses were tingling.

Ever since reading the two books in the "Scarlett" series, I have been working my way through Maureen Johnson's books, and this one was very good. Clio is being "dragged" to Italy by her father to work on a ship for the summer, even though she just got a job at an art store in town. She's bummed that she has to leave, and she and her father aren't exactly close, but she soon meets Elsa and Aiden on the ship, and they become friends. Clio has an interesting "back story" as well, which is told to us in bits and pieces, starting with a successful board game that she and her father invented when she was twelve.

4 stars out of 5.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bird in Hand

Bird in Hand, by Christina Baker Kline.

Alison had been living for other people for so long that she culd barely identify what she wanted for herself anymore. She'd find herself paralyzed with indecision in the strangest places - the grocery store, for instance, where she roamed the aisles with a rising panic, even as she clutched a list in her hand: What would her kids eat? What would her husband want? She rarely asked herself what she wanted. It seems irrelevant.

Alison and Charlie have two children together and live a happy live in the New York suburbs - so she thinks. Ben and Claire, Alison's best friend, are married without children, but just as happy. What Alison and Ben don't know, however, is that Charlie and Claire have been having an affair for a few months; however, when Alison gets in a car accident which kills a child, Charlie has to "be there" for her, and the cracks in the facade that is their relationship begin to show more and more.

I thought this novel was interesting because it didn't have the normal "happy ending" that one expects nowadays. The Boston Globe said "She's the real deal. Kline dramatizes private life ... with a generous, knowing appreciation of human nature," and I'd have to agree. Alison and Claire have been best friends for 30+ years, and Charlie and Claire have loved each other for the entire time he's been married to Alison (Claire, in fact, introduced him to Alison), and it is only now, at the worst possible time, that they are acting on it.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

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