Friday, January 27, 2012

Honeymoon Heist Review

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Honeymoon Heist. I am a true blue romantic who devours romance novels by the gallon. There is something about the road towards ultimate love that has me captivated—whether it’s tumultuous and full of battles or a sweet romance that builds with tenderness. When I read the back cover to find the couple already married I was slightly reluctant. “They already had their blossoming courtship,” I sighed. But I indulged myself and figured as a married woman there has to be love after the whirlwind romance?

Anna Jones Buttimore has done what few have accomplished in my opinion. She flipped the situation around by giving the characters a brief courtship and then a honeymoon with more twists than Lombard Road in San Francisco. The honeymoon becomes the romance on a real stage—reality. Too many times we are susceptible to Hollywood’s portrayal of romance, yet there is so much more. Life happens after marriage as the real discovery of who you married begins. Rodney and Clair Hewlett are on the epitome of self discovery in marriage.

I loved how their romance wasn’t perfect. He’s too plain, she too beautiful and of course her past with it ex-husband. They still dwell on the others imperfections, but their admiration for each other grows by leaps and bounds. Rodney makes mental notes of what Claire likes and dislikes and guides his future actions by those observations. Claire moves beyond seeing Rodney’s ordinary appearance to perceiving a capable man who achieves more than her handsome ex even could. They are true to life characters who fight as all couples do, but the endearing part is how much they adore each other afterwards. Their trials during this crazy adventure suit them perfectly. It pulls Rodney out of his shell into a less precise man and makes Claire rely on him more and recognize his worth.

My favorite scene is when Claire describes how holding hands during their courtship spoke volumes about each other. “As though they were desperate to touch each other as much as possible, they had held hands almost constantly. Claire found it amusing that they could almost communicate through their intertwined fingers. A squeeze could mean anything from ‘I found that funny’ to ‘I love you’ or even ‘I’m scared’.” Even a slight movement of their clasped hands could direct the other around.

I would highly recommend Honeymoon heist for two reasons. The heist, which takes you from underground caves to hiding away in cars in such a delightful and amusing way filled with comedy and action. But most importantly, to witness the growth of affection between to polar opposites creating a stable relationship in place of failed expectations. Note: This is an LDS novel, but the only religious references are to marriage lasting for eternity. Who wouldn't want that?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rearview Mirror Review

I have always read Stephanie Black’s novels with some hesitation. Perhaps it’s how well she writes her thrillers—compacted with such description to make you believe you are there in the room watching things unfold. Yet determined as ever to put my fears aside I curled up with her latest Rearview Mirror.

What a delight. Fear lurked in every corner, but instead of pulling the covers over my head I was presented with a gift. Stephanie distracted me with her whose-done-it scenario. I felt as if I was playing the game Clue, crossing off possible suspects only to add a new one to my list. Although I still winced at the gory scenes, jumped at the unexpected turns, I was captivated by my role to help solve the mystery.

In perfect fashion the story captivated you until the very end. Bravo, Ms. Black for trilling us readers with the best mystery I’ve ever read. I would highly recommend Rearview Mirror to all—squeamish or not.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Mother with Multiple Hats

As a survived another frantic morning before school began I found my mind counting up the number of hats I’ve worn within a ninety minute timeframe.  After dragging myself out of bed and rushing through my own preparations, my time had to be put to the side in favor of my children. First I put on the helmet of a drill sergeant and entered our three daughters share bedroom blaring the mommy alarm—loud singing, stripping of blankets, tickling toes and tummies, turning on the radio to an obscene level of annoying music and last but not least flipping on the lights.

After instituting the wake up call, I replaced the helmet for a floppy chef’s hat.  Orders were flying as quickly as minds became alert. Scrambled eggs and toast was the standard issue today, but in typical fashion I ended up with three different orders—“hold the cheese”, “no toast, please” and “can I have something more?” Deftly doling out the meals as the kids dragged in, I put my helmet back on and stated dishing out orders. They were the standard ones—pack your bag, brush your teeth, comb your hair and make your bed—but either they lacked the ability to be fully aware in the morning or they mentally preferred being barked at. One girl is spot on, another marches to her own tune and one plays deaf.

As the troops march about, sometimes to the tune of “about face” to keep them in the right direction, I shift my role to running a beauty salon. This is why I get up earlier than my kids—every hairdresser I’ve met looks glamorous instilling in their patrons a desire to look only half as good. Pulling out my weapons of choice—hairdryer, detangler spray and brush—I am ready to get to work. Kids line up in stations (my drill techniques still in place). First it’s washing hair at the sink, followed by hair drying and some semblance of styling. That too depends on the child—the typical headband, a strange position for a ponytail and whatever mom chooses.

While we are playing salon, I shift to being resident dentist placing my mask over my face and reminding them to brush back and front as well as the choppers. Then its pins in my mouth as I play the local seamstress and pin up this or that. Oh…the cafeteria needs to be opened again, lunches have to be made. Placing the rumpled chef’s hat back on my head I take orders for lunch. Its tuna fish, but like breakfast it comes with different specifications—“pickles”, “no pickles” and “can I have my in a container since I don’t like bread?”

By the time we have marched to our rooms, made our beds and put away our PJ’s I feel as if I’ve run a marathon. Kids are ushered out of the house, dressed in warm clothes despite the whines and I finally get to shift to being just a mother. With a kiss on each forehead I sigh as my grown up kids head off to be instructed and drilled by another.

But my duties are done yet, I still have to pull out my calculator and be the family accountant. I’ll bite my nails as I balance the check register and wonder for the third time why I bought that item. Success and relief are not always the result of this task, but I move on for my day is yet to begin. I’m a garbage woman, the maid, sometimes the sous chef making dinner preparations or the tireless gofer running endless errands. At other times I’m the resident nurse and always a guidance counselor.

I know I’m not alone out there. Many of you, mothers, grandmothers or sweet singles all wear multiple hats. As I’ve dwelled on this fact two things came to mind.  I hope I am appreciated for my duties and thank goodness women were blessed with boundless drive. So tell me, what are your hats?