Sleeping With Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner

Author: Jenny Gardiner

Genre: Fiction

About: (From the book blurb): Not-so-happily married to Jack-once the man of her dreams but now a modern-day version of the bossy, dull Ward Cleaver of ’50s sitcom fame-Claire is at the end of her rope. Gone are the glorious days of flings in elevators and broom closets. Jack? All he needs is a cardigan and a billowing pipe to become the domineering father figure Claire never wanted. And looking at her body in the mirror, Claire would cast herself as Lumpy. They’d once had a world of color, of wanton frivolity. Now, life’s black and white: a sitcom in reruns. A not-very-funny sitcom. Cue an old boyfriend-the “one that got away”-throw in a predatory hottie who’s set her sights on our leading man, and watch Claire’s world spiral out of control.

Descriptive Words:  Funny, bawdy, honest, poignant.

Thoughts: For the most part it’s laugh out-loud-funny but I also had a lump in my throat during a lot of it. Jenny Gardiner’s novel cuts right to the core of a marriage that has lost its luster. The novel is written from the wife’s perspective. Claire is feeling unappreciated and the same could be said for her husband.   There’s a lot of truth about marriages “of a certain number of years” in Sleeping with Ward Cleaver.

Source: I bought it.

Why I Chose: A few bloggers I trust gave it good reviews.

Recommend?  This is a fast read that I recommend to fans of funny, honest, and entertaining novels about marriage. It’s one I’ll pass on to my sisters.

Rating: 4 /5 stars

Show Me 5 Saturday – Your Roots Are Showing by Elise Chidley

at Find Your Next Book Here

~

1 Title:  Your Roots Are Showing by Elise Chidley

2 Words that describe the book:   Lizzie’s changes

3 Settings or characters:

*  Lizzie Buckley, in the throes of postpartum depression, has little interest in her husband or life in general.

*  Tessa, Lizzie’s best friend since they were small, is her biggest supporter.  She won’t let Lizzie fall any deeper into the abyss of depression.  She gets her started on the process of climbing out.  Everyone needs a friend like Tessa.

*  Roger, Lizzie’s father-in-law.  Always her fan, he truly hopes she and his son can make things work.  He’s a bit of a character but he seemed genuinely in Lizzie’s corner.  I thought he was the one person who gave her hope.

4 Things I liked/disliked about the book:

*  I loved Elise Chidley’s way of telling the story so that it was easy to sympathize with almost every character.

*  The humor was laugh-out-loud at times.  That said, this is not a fluff book.  It addresses serious issues faced by many women at one time or another.  It was an emotional read but not a depressing one.

*  I liked how Chidley showed Lizzie’s experience of starting to run, starting therapy, dealing with her food issues, etc.  I could imagine myself feeling the same way as Lizzie.

*  I didn’t like that Lizzie and James seemed to give up too easily from the start (that’s not a spoiler).  I guess their feelings were so hurt they just turned inward.  Maybe that’s not so unusual.

5 Stars or less for the rating:   4.5/5 stars.  I recommend it.

Your Roots Are Showing

Back of the book: Lizzie Buckley is having doubts about her picture-perfect world.  She does love her country estate, precocious three-year-old twins, and handsome husband, James.  But nobody warned her about postpartum depression and the toll it would take on her marriage.  Or how she’d fantasize about chucking it all for a box of chocolates and an uninterrupted bath.

Lizzie vents these frustrations in an e-mail and her life is shattered: James gets the message by mistake.  Lizzie soon finds herself uprooting her children to start over in a ramshackle garden cottage.  Now facing life – and the twins – alone, Lizzie struggles to reinvent herself and forget about her soon-to-be ex.  But when thoughts of James still haunt her, she begins to wonder if the best part of marriage starts after the fairy tale ends…

Show Me 5 Saturday – Real Life & Liars by Kristina Riggle

at Find Your Next Book Here

~

1 Title:  Real Life & Liars by Kristina Riggle

2 Words that describe the book:  Family reunion

3 Settings or characters:

*  Mira Zielinski – wife of Max and mother of Katya, Ivan, and Irina.

*  Katya – the totally together, on top of everything wife, mother, daughter, sister.  She’s about ready to crack.

*  Irina – the youngest child of Mira and Max who arrives home with two big surprises

4 Things I liked/disliked about the book:

*  I liked how real Kristina Riggle’s characters are -the Zielinski siblings especially.

*  I enjoyed how while reading it I felt like I was watching a movie.  The descriptions and dialogue were great.  I really liked the anniversary party scene.

*  Each chapter is about or from a different character’s perspective.  The details revealed about the characters filled in a lot.

*  I liked how the title worked into the plot at what seemed like the right time.

5 Stars or less for the rating:  4/5

Real Life and Liars

Back of the book:  For Mirabelle Zielinski’s children, happiness always seems to be just out of reach.  Her polished oldest daughter, Katya, clings to a stale marriage with a workaholic husband and three spoiled children.  Her son, Ivan, so creative, is a down-in-the-dumps songwriter with the worst taste in women.  And the “baby”, impulsive Irina, who lives life on a whim, is now reluctantly pregnant and hitched to a man who is twice her age.  On the weekend of their parents’ anniversary party, lies will be revealed, hearts will be broken . . . but love will also be found.  And the biggest shock may come from Mirabelle herself, because she has a secret that will change everything.

Show Me 5 Saturday: Italian For Beginners by Kristin Harmel

A meme  by That’s A Novel Idea

Mr. Linky at Find Your Next Book Here

~

1 Title:  Italian For Beginners by Kristin Harmel

2 Words that describe the book:  Italian Holiday

3 Settings or characters:

*  Rome – Kristin Harmel described the sights of Rome so well that I felt like I was there.  Cat’s friend Marco takes her on a memorable tour that was very romantic.  *sigh*

*  Karina – is the waitress who rents a room to Cat when she finds herself without a place to stay after her first day in Rome.  Karina pulls no punches with anyone and doesn’t expect anything less in return.  She’s about Cat’s age and is a single mother of a six year old son.  She was my favorite character!

*  Cat Connelly – has always put the needs of her sister and father above her own.  She’s ready for a little ‘me time’ and heads to Rome for a month after a co-worker gives her the push she needs.  I understood Cat and really pulled for her throughout the novel.

4 Things I liked/disliked about the book:

* I liked Kristin Harmel’s writing.  I’ll be looking for her backlist books.

* I really enjoyed the main characters – flaws and all.

* I loved my visit to Rome via a novel.  I liked that the author tells how the book came about and what she added from her own experiences.  There are a few recipes at the end too.   Now I want to watch Roman Holiday and pretend I’m Audrey.

* I was satisfied with the ending.  It had me smiling – and I love when that happens.

5 Stars or less for the rating: 4/5 stars

~

Italian for Beginners

Back of the book: Cat Connelly plays it safe.  She’s an accountant with no debt who lives near her family in Manhattan.  She’s also thirty-four, unmarried, and with nothing promising on her romantic horizon.  After a humiliating incident at her sister’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and flies off to Rome to find Francesco, the man she’d fallen in love with thirteen years earlier on a trip to Italy.   When Francesco turns out to be a dud, Cat is adrift on the streets of Rome, no safety net in sight.  With the help of an eccentric waitress with a spare apartment to rent, the handsome restaurateur who calls her Princess Ann, and the family secrets only Rome can unlock for her, Cat discovers that happiness can be found on the back of a speeding Vespa. . . but only if you’re willing to take a few risks.


Where The River Runs by Patti Callahan Henry

Where the River Runs

Back of the book:  Meridy Dresden was once a free-spirited, fun-loving girl. All that changed when the boy she loved was killed in a tragic fire. Since then, she alone has carried the burden of a terrible secret. Years later, married to a wonderful man and mother of a teenage son, she is shocked to learn that a childhood friend is being blamed for that long-ago fire. Fearful but determined, Meridy returns to the South Carolina Lowcountry and summons the courage to make a decision that may destroy her well-ordered life, her family’s reputation, her contented marriage, and everything she’s worked so hard to protect… including her heart.

* * * * * * *

I was pulled into Patti Callahan Henry’s touching novel from the first page.  Meridy Dresden has reached a point in her life where she is known among her husband’s friends as “perfect Meridy” – the perfect wife, mother, friend.  The problem is she feels like a fraud.  Ever since the tragic night where life changed forever she has tried to be good.  Her husband knows nothing about her life before they met; her son is grown and ready to leave for college; and her best friend was just divorced by Meridy’s husband’s boss.  Things are happening that are out of her control.

Meridy goes home to South Carolina to write a curriculum of the Gullah culture for her local school.  Repressed memories return that force her to face the past. With the help of Tulu, her family’s former housekeeper, she learns how to come to grips with what happened twenty-five years earlier – the night of the tragic fire.  Tulu teaches her the meaning of Gullah proverbs which leads to finding the truth in her past and helps her to understand what is important going forward.

I really liked this novel.  It was easy for me to relate to Meridy in a few ways.  I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the lessons learned. Where The River Runs is the second book I’ve read by Patti Callahan Henry and I look forward to reading more.

Show Me 5 Saturday – Shut Up And Kiss Me by Christie Craig

1 Book title: Shut Up and Kiss Me by Christie Craig

2 Words that describe the book: Romance/Suspense

3 Settings or characters:
*  Shala Winters, hired to make Precious, TX (pop. 893)  a tourist destination
*  Sky Gomez, police chief of Precious, needs to find out who’s trying to kill Shala Winters
*  Jose Darkwater, foster brother to Sky.  He left Precious years ago for NYC .  When he returns to see his injured father nothing goes right

4 Things I liked/disliked about the book:
I liked the quirky minor characters
I enjoyed  Christie Craig’s humor, had me laughing out loud a lot.
I think Jose needs his own book, it would be hilarious (if this book is any indication)
I liked the small-town aspect – where everyone knows everyone.  That usually makes things interesting.

5 Stars or less: 4/5


Back of the book:



Shut Up and Kiss MePhotojournalist Shala Winters already had her hands full bringing tourism to this backward, podunk town, but her job just got tougher.  Pictures can say a thousand words, and one of Shala’s is screaming bloody murder.  Now she has to entrust a macho, infuriating lawman with her life – but she’ll never trust him with her heart.
Trusted or not, Sky Gomez isn’t about to let a killer get his hands on Shala’s Nikon – or any of her more comely assets, for that matter.  Her mouth might move faster than a Piney Woods roadrunner, but all he can think about is how good it must taste…and how she’ll never escape true love.

Show Me 5 Saturday -Roses by Leila Meacham







1. Book title: Roses by Leila Meacham

2. Words that describe the book: multigenerational saga

3. Settings or characters:
* Howbutker, TX founded by the Toliver, Warwick, and duMont families.
* Mary Toliver, heir to the cotton plantation
* Percy Warwick, heir to his father’s lumber company

4. Things I liked/disliked about the book:
* I liked the cinematic feel to the writing. It was like watching a movie from the 1930s or ’40s – I love that era of sweeping epics.
* I think the author did a great job of making her characters come off the page. Appearances, emotions, actions were quite vivid.
* I thought it became a bit overly dramatic a few times – maybe that’s why it reminded me of a movie.
* I loved that it took me away – this would be a good vacation read.

5. Stars or less: 4/5


Goodreads synopsis (not my review):
RosesSpanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town’s founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been–not just for themselves but for their children, and children’s children. With expert, unabashed, big-canvas storytelling, Roses covers a hundred years, three generations of Texans and the explosive combination of passion for work and longing for love.