Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Life Sentences by Laura Lippman (PLUS your chance to win!)

Switch gears with me, will you?  I love sports and I love books about sports but I haven't read any in the recent past.  I have read some non-fiction, but it was about Khost, Afghanistan which is too depressing for Valentine's Day.  I'm currently reading a book with my daughter (as in, we are sharing it, which is complicated so don't ask) but I am not finished yet, so I cannot review it.  So for now, you all are stuck with a fiction review of a book that I didn't really like. Bummer.  But, I'm going to make it up to you.  I promise.

You may remember that I reviewed another Laura Lippman book last May.  If not, you can refamiliarize yourself with it here. In that instance, I sort of stumbled upon the book while looking for a gift.  This time, I went looking for another Lippman novel and chose this on purpose.  The fact that it was based on a true story immediately caught my attention. The jacket description describes a single novelist with diverse middle-class Baltimore upbringing.  Hoping to regain her standing in the non-fiction world, Cassandra Fallows returns to her roots and starts investigating a former classmate that was accused of murdering her young child.  Cassandra is confident that this story will be a best seller and decides to delve into her past and the pasts of those that were closest to her.  Not everyone is thrilled she has started digging though, and she is met with some major challenges. Those challenges make up the meat of the book, so I'll stop right there. 

I really wanted to like this book. Life Sentences has everything I like.  Some mystery.  Some crime.  Some colorful characters.  And it's set in Baltimore...a hop, skip and a jump from where I live.  I should have liked it, but I didn't.  There are a few reasons worth mentioning, so I'll start with the biggest.   My main problem was with Cassandra.  I just DID NOT like her.  And from what I've read in other reviews about this book, most people felt the same way.  Like most other reviewers I felt that Cassandra was a smart girl, but a tad morally corrupt.  For example, she starts an affair with another woman's husband. That husband also happens to be the lawyer who is defending/defended another woman who is accused of murdering her infant son.  Oh, and did I mention that both of those women were her BFF's in high school?  Who does that?  I understand the need for authors to use some elements of betrayal in their story lines, but in this case it drove a rift between me and the main character.  Or maybe I'm just old fashioned.  Either way, I didn't like her which was a major contributing factor to me not liking the book.

Another sticking point for me was that the plot seemed "muddled."  Was Ms. Lippman trying to address race as an issue in this novel or the class system in Baltimore?  Or maybe she meant to explore the world of political corruption?  I couldn't tell and it confused me.  I felt like she was trying to tackle too many things with this book and it got tiresome.  A good effort, but she should have stuck with one main theme and let that be the star of the show.  Instead, she tried too hard and it left me feeling disconnected.

The good thing is that I REALLY liked the first book of hers that I reviewed and there are way more of that genre by Ms. Lippman.  And I really liked the main character in that one too.  Tess Monaghan is a smidge more wholesome and has some more exciting adventures to boot.  I think I'll stick to those.  Or maybe I should try a sports book, instead.  Anyone have one I can borrow?

**And now for the good part.  Remember when I said I would make it up to you?  Well, here it is! It's Valentine's Day and we here at The Family Addiction want to share some love.  Book love, that is.  So in honor of Valentine's Day and February being the 1st anniversary of The Family Addiction we are doing another giveaway!  This time, we're giving away the Hunger Games trilogy to one lucky fan.  That's right...the TRILOGY!  I you haven't read these books, they are fantastic.  Don't believe me?  Read my reviews of them here.  To win, simply leave a comment on this post. You have until Thursday at midnight (EST) to register.  Good luck and happy reading!

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  1. I want to win those! I can let Danica read them!

  2. I'm so disappointed about the Life Sentences review! As for a sports book, have you read "Three Nights in August" by Tony Larussa? I'm a big Cardinals fan so it might not have the same appeal for you, especially if you follow the Orioles. I haven't read the Hunger Games, but I've heard amazing...and disturbing...things about them. :-)

  3. OK. Here is another comment by Aunt Barb under anonymous because I don't seem to do the right thing when trying to use the other profiles. But you know it's me. Guess I won't read this book. I agree with you about the main character. Don't think I would like her either. I have not read the Hunger Games books so would LOVE to win the set. And of course, I have no sports books to lend. You know me. :)

  4. So students just told me that I need to read them. I guess I do.

  5. I have those on my list to read I hope I win :)

  6. As Amy's neighbor, I have heard about how wicked awesome these books are. Looking forward to reading the set.
    Thanks for the Book Love, even if I don't win.:)
    Great job gals.

  7. As always, I trust all of your reviews AND just this morning I decided to read the Hunger Games next - my students put me over the edge. Looking forward to it!

    Kelly Rice :)

  8. I wouldn't have to borrow the books if I won them! :)