15 May 2012

The After Wife


I was very pleased recently to win an ARC of The After Wife from www.greatthoughts.com. I’d previously only read one book by Gigi Levangie Grazer, Rescue Me, and became very emotionally invested in it. It was a wonderful character study. I also follow Ms. Grazer on Twitter, so I’ve read countless tweets by her, and knew that she had a great sense of humor, even though Rescue Me touched on some serious shit and was not funny. I have Maneater in my TBR pile, and I could have sworn I had The Starter Wife there as well, though now I can’t find it. I already suspected, having seen both of the filmed versions of those books, that they were going to be more along the lines of chick lit than Rescue Me was (which I'm perfectly fine with of course!), and The After Wife falls into that realm as well.

But believe me, there is still plenty of emotional depth. I was already in tears by the end of the first (four page long) chapter!

Hannah Bernal, mother of a three year old daughter, becomes a widow at age forty-four. She is devastated at the loss of her husband, John, and leans heavily on her little group of friends for support, all of whom are quirky in their own way.

And then she meets Trish, the woman who used to own her house, and who happens to be dead. After Trish, other ghosts start popping up, wanting Hannah to convey messages to whoever she happens to be with at the time. John also puts in some appearances, and rather than the usual ‘oh I want you to be happy you need to meet someone else and get on with your life” crap that you usually get from ghosts in movies and such (excluding horror movies of course), John is more down to earth (so to speak) and worries that his daughter will love the new manny more than she remembers her father, and exhibits a little jealousy when he thinks Hannah might be attracted to someone else.

After the police arrest a suspect in John’s death, John tells Hannah that they have the wrong person, and pushes her to track down the real culprit. In addition to Hannah’s visits with the skeptical detective in charge of the case, there’s quite a lot going on in this book, between Hannah finding a new preschool for her daughter, losing her job, trying to find a way to hang onto her home, and just learning to live again while still grieving.

I wonder if this one will be filmed as well? I hope so, as I really enjoyed reading it.

And I do highly recommend Rescue Me as well. I wasn't blogging yet at the time that I read it (August 2010), but this is what I put in my journal entry on BookCrossing:
I don't think I've ever read a romance, with star-crossed lovers, where the lovers part ways, and gotten angry about it. You know from reading the first chapter, and yet when it finally happens, I was so disappointed! Fortunately, the ending was still satisfactory.
This is the first book I've read by Grazer, though I have The Starter Wife in my TBR pile somewhere. It started out a little slow at first, but I quickly became very involved and invested in the characters. I definitely want to read everything else Grazer has written now. 

01 May 2012

A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action


I picked this book up at a library book sale because the title and cover caught my attention, proving that sometimes those things really do matter.

Macy works in a beauty salon in a small country town with her best friend, who just got married and is headed off on her honeymoon. Macy has been crushing on Jamie Lee’s brother, Luke, since forever, and during all the wedding planning they’ve been thrown together a bit as maid of honor and best man, making her almost feel like part of a couple. But now that the wedding is over, a feeling of let down settles in.

Luke is a hometown hero, previously as the star of the high school football team, and now as a coach. After getting his heart broken, he’s come back to Hootertown (yes, that really is where they live!), but he’s being courted by some big schools and a new job is just on the horizon, which will take him away again.

While looking through inventory at the beauty shop the day after the wedding, mainly just to be somewhere besides her apartment, Macy is surprised by a country star popping in with a hair emergency. Next thing she knows, she’s on a tour bus headed to Nashville, fixing the star’s hair. And then all sorts of adventures follow as Macy embarks on a new life. Which Taylor, the very down to earth and likable singer, manages to drag Luke into, telling Macy she can thank her later.

This is the kind of book I love. A contemporary romance, with lots of humor and lots of heart. While Luke is your standard hunky cowboy hero, Macy isn’t a stick thin fashionista. She’s curvy and self conscious about her looks, comparing herself to the girls Luke could have if he wanted. She knows he looks at her as a sister, and she debates with herself constantly about whether to pounce on him and make him notice her, or avoid him.

All of the secondary characters, which in addition to the singer include her two backup singers/songwriting partners, her bodyguard, and a television chef, are a little quirky. I laughed out loud more than once. And I’m eager to find the rest of the author’s books and read everything she’s written.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)