Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Gone by Cathi Hanauer

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451626414
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Pages: 368

Meet the Author

Cathi Hanauer
Cathi Hanauer is the author of the novels My Sister's Bones and Sweet Ruin and the editor of the New York Times bestselling essay anthology The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage. Her articles, essays, and/or criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Elle, O, Glamour, Self, Parenting, Whole Living, and other magazines. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts. Visit her website at


For the past fourteen years, Eve Adams has worked part-time while raising her two children and emotionally supporting her sculptor husband, Eric, through his early fame and success. Now, at forty-two, she suddenly finds herself with a growing career of her own—a private nutritionist practice and a book deal—even as Eric’s career sinks deeper into the slump it slipped into a few years ago.
After a dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate Eve’s success, Eric drives the babysitter home and, simply, doesn’t come back. Eve must now shift the family in possibly irreparable ways, forcing her to realize that competence in one area of life doesn’t always keep things from unraveling in another.
Gone is an outstanding novel about change and about redefining, in middle age, everything from one’s marriage to one’s career to one’s role as a best friend, parent, and spouse. It is a novel about passion and forgiveness and knowing when to let something go and when to fight to hold on to it, about learning to say goodbye—but, if you’re lucky, not forever.


 While the story plot is not all that unusual; a husband running away from his family; the reactions of the family members in this story are different than one would expect. Eve seems to move through the desertion as if she is not really connected to the events. This at first glance can seem quite unbelievable but then again how can we be sure how we would react to the situation. At times I kept wanting to push her into action, to express more emotion, to react in a more expected manner. She seemed much too passive under the circumstances:
a missing husband, the bank account growing smaller, a fourteen year old daughter who is difficult, and a young son who is struggling to understand what is happening. Eve is a likeable person but seems to be the type of person who needs to control her actions and emotions, she finds it difficult to express her own anger and sorrow.
The father, Eric, was surprisingly likeable. The story of his flight from home, his struggle to understand himself what was going on and why he needed to be away from his family was moving. Sympathy for the person responsible for the agony of this family was quite unexpected. 
The story is well written and takes a different path to explore an all too typical event in this day and age. Hanauer dares to examine atypical reactions and emotions in a very dynamic situation. The book was enjoyable, unusual, and lends itself well to group discussions.
I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to book clubs as it has the possibility to stimulate discussion.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: Sequela by MP Kollman

Product Details
·  Paperback: 306 pages
·  Publisher: Outskirts Press (May 8, 2012)
·  Language: English
·  ISBN-10: 1432791737
·  ISBN-13: 978-1432791735

Jerome Grayson is dead; Wade Addams arrested; Jane Doe identified; Jackson Nolan committed suicide, evidently to avoid the humiliation of a trial. The entire case has been neatly wrapped up. Or so it would seem. That case also brought Grayson back to a house he felt certain he would never be welcome in again. He had been banished from this home ten years ago for being silently complicit in the drug use of his brother, Jerome; and now, for being the instrument of Jerome's death. But understanding Jerome had chosen his own fate, his parents welcomed him back. And so, Destiny has brought him together with Samantha Greene, but will she now rip them apart as seemingly unrelated events occur to the residents of Jaspar? For Steven Nolan has also come to Jaspar: His father's suicide, Jerome's death and the similarities to his own brother's suicide twelve years earlier, drive him to take up arms against Jaspar.

Video Link:

About the author:
For MP Kollman, pages are like a blank canvas on which to wield an artistic brush and enrapture the mind with the written craft. The author's talent has been heralded by many and is matched only by an imagination that rises to the task at hand. Sequela is the second in a series of recent pursuits and work is progressing quickly on a follow-up.

Sequela is the second book in a series so you come into the story in media res. You can read it as a stand-alone book but there is a twist at the end that is meant to draw you to the next book. The characters are likeable if a little archetypical.  Sandy Grayson is pitted against Steven Nolan. Both are one part of a pair of twin brothers in which the other twin has died. Jerome Grayson had died recently while Alan Nolan had died about 12 years in the past. Both men come from well to do families who have strong father figures. Both Emery Grayson and Jackson Nolan care about their sons but the similarity ends there.  While Sandy Grayson is restoring the lost relationship with his father, Steven is mourning the loss of his. The question is will both young men survive the fallout? Then of course there is Samantha Greene a young woman caught in the middle, both men have plans for her. She is recovering from trauma herself. She now stands in between Sandy and Steven. 

 Sequela has the typical elements of mysteries regarding plot but with a new twist. Two sets of twins with remarkably similar relationships but very different families. The parallels and disparities in these two men and their families is an interesting perspective. And of course there is the idea behind the title: sequela meaning a morbid condition following or occurring as a consequence of another condition or event. Obviously the events in this book are simulated by prior events. Will the next book follow suit?

The shortcomings of the novel are always the most difficult to comment upon. In the beginning I found the story a little difficult to get into due to the choppiness of the sifting time periods. This caused me to keep pushing reading the book back a little. To be fair I was in the midst of planning a trip to Greenville, SC for a book sale thus the delay was not necessarily the fault of the book itself. 

There were a few grammatical or typo errors that always cause me to stumble but surprisingly this book was not replete with them. I absolutely will put down a book that is so obfuscated with grammatical errors and typos that it is distracting. There was a sentence later in the story which had to be a typo because it made absolutely no sense. “My car is strange. Sam’s still alive…..” pg. 217. But that was the only completely disrupting sentence in the book. 

 The author has a very creative mind which is both a plus and a minus. The plus side is that you have some interesting new takes in the plot. The minus side means that a couple of times during the reading I got a little lost because there seemed to be a jump that I missed. I was able to figure it out and move on with only a small delay. While this did detract from the smoothness of the reading it did not make me want to put the book away completely. Also, I thought that at least one of the subplots-Sandy’s business in San Francisco was wrapped up to quickly without satisfactory detail. That having been said overall I enjoyed the book. MP Kollman is talented and has potential.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Coming Soon

Now that I am settling in from this last move it is time to get back and get active. My apologies to my followers.

Coming soon will be reviews on the new batch received this month. My weekend should be busy. While I have been in the process of a second month in two years I have not completely abandoned reading. That would never happen.

With this move I finally got to locate my boxes of books and begin unpacking them. Coming across my copy of The Passage by Justin Cronin I decided it was time to dive in. The sequel The Twelve will be coming out next month. I was not disappointed. I will post a full review closer to the release date of the second book in the trilogy.

Also, I attended "The Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale" in Greenville, South Carolina. My sister has been trying to get me there for years. Now that I am down South again I made sure that was scheduled. Had a great time and got some great books. I will post a picture and list later on.

Last year I attended the Baltimore Book Festival and had a great time. I met Laura Lippman and got some great pics. I will share some a little later this week. I am really sorry I will be missing it this year. If you are in the area please check it out-

This past February I got down to the Savannah Book Festival for one of the evenings. I plan to get there earlier this next February and really get the feel for it. February in Savannah this year was nice and warm. The squares are lovely places to hold events.

I have been reading Devices and Desires by P.D. James. Nothing like sitting on the porch with a cup of English Breakfast Tea and a good book.

It is so nice to have a porch again complete with old wicker rocking chairs, and a great view, screened in as well. This week we have been blessed with lower humidity so porch sitting has been great.

I hope everyone enjoys the weekend. I will be back with a post soon.