Armchair Squid, this illustrious gathering provides the opportunity for participants to talk books. If you're interested in talking about what you've been reading lately, or finding out what everybody else has been reading, pop on over to the Squid's blog and check out the link you'll find there. Oh yeah... didja notice that new badge in my sidebar for the Songs of Summer bloghop coming up on July 11th? You can check that out over at Squid's blog, too... and maybe even sign up. (Or just click on the badge.) In brief, participants name five summer songs with special meaning to them. Could be from long ago, or as recent as this week. Maybe provide the link to them. (I'm including videos for all my picks.) Come on, don't let me be the only oldster talking about songs few people remember... (Because they weren't BORN yet. HA!)
As always, I'll review one of my recent reads at the end of this post. That way, if you don't give a good diddle about my reading addiction, you can just pay attention to the beginning of this post, and ignore the rest. Fair enough?
Let me tell you about one big brother, an amazing young man, just fourteen years old. This young man from Michigan, Hunter Gandee, has a seven-year-old brother with cerebral palsy, a brother he happens to love very much. Hunter came up with a way to help raise awareness of the muscular disorder afflicting his little brother, something he called Cerebral Palsy Swagger. To help put a face on cerebral palsy, the 155-pound Hunter carried his 50-pound brother Braden on his back... for forty miles. Over a two-day period, he trudged through the heat, walked steadily through the rain, and kept moving, in spite of his intense fatigue and aching muscles. Accompanying them on their walk were his parents, two other siblings, and numerous other supporters, some on foot, and others from within a caravan of cars. But it was Hunter who bore the weight for all those miles; it was Hunter who carried his brother every step of the way. Without a doubt, Hunter is a shining example of a sheltering tree, and I predict he will go far in this world... while continuing to look after his kid brother. This song could have been written about him:
Which brings me to (ta DA!) this month's book review.
Intriguing title, isn't it?
The book lives up to it. too. You know the rest of that saying, don't you? Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
The real difficulties arise when you can't tell them apart.
Let me tell you about it...
After sixteen years of marriage, Natty and Sean have an unbreakable bond. That's what Natty thinks, anyway. But she's wrong. She also thinks her old college pal Eve is a true blue friend who would never ever hurt her. Wrong again. When Eve shows her true colors, she turns out to be more psychotic than psychoanalyst, and Natty's dream life quickly unravels and turns into a nightmare.
When their younger daughter gets critically ill while on a school trip to France, Natty hops on a plane to be with her in the hospital. Eve happens to be visiting at the time, and "selflessly" offers to stay, so she can help look after their other daughter... and Sean, of course. (What a gal, huh?) It's almost too easy for Eve to worm her way into Sean's heart. She knows all the right moves, knows exactly what to say and when to say it, and knows where all his buttons are and how to push them. But it's no wonder. She's done this sort of thing before. More than once. By the time Natty and her daughter return ten days later, Sean's in love with Eve and ready to end the marriage.
The ten-day time frame is the only part of the story that doesn't ring true to me. Thus far, Sean has been a devoted husband --- even though Natty has been investing most of her time and energy into their successful hotel business. (Let's just say she's had a "headache" for entirely too long, if you know what I mean.) Plus, his daughter... his princess... is in critical condition. I can't imagine that under those circumstances, he'd allow himself to be so utterly distracted by flattery, cheap pandering, thong underwear and dirty sex. Eventually, maybe. Maybe even probably. But in ten days? With one daughter in the hospital and another in the house with them? I dunno. Because the rest of the book is so good, I'm willing to overlook that ten-day capitulation.
Yes, it's good. It's a well-written, tension-filled tale, and a fast read. Eve's clever cold-blooded campaign threatens Natty's sanity, and almost sends her to prison. Then Natty unearths some unsettling secrets about Eve's past, secrets that put her life in danger. Lies, secrets, a death, and revenge all come together to create any woman's worst nightmare --- and a darned good book.
Oh, one thing. The copy I read is a straight-from-the-publisher uncorrected proof. The book isn't due to be released until September. (Sorrrrry.) But you can pre-order it on Amazon, if you'd like.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.