Psychological Thrilla, Not Plain Vanilla – You Should Read This Book

I just read the review copy I have of How to be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (fairly late, since the book was released in October 2013), and my initial reaction? Wow. A very good wow.

good wifeHow to be a Good Wife is the title of a nonfiction book Marta was gifted by her mother-in-law on her wedding day. She has lived by the directions in this book for years, and knows every word by heart. But lately, Marta’s not as happy in her marriage as she was at the beginning.

Or was she ever happy in her marriage?

You see, Marta’s been seeing things.

Her husband claims she hallucinates without her pills, and she hasn’t been taking her pills. With her son grown, at his own apartment relatively far away, it’s only Marta and her husband Hector in the house now. & Marta is ready to see what happens when she does not take her pills…

This book was great. I devoured it; if I wasn’t so set on actually passing the courses I’m taking this semester, I might not have stopped reading to come up for air. I like books with unreliable narrators. Can I believe what I’m being told? How objective are the other people interacting with the narrator?

I know what my opinion is of the veracity of Marta’s conclusion about her marriage, but one of the best things about this book is that it could be interpreted in many different ways. Or at least, in two.

I don’t want to give too much detail regarding the book, but I will say I really, really enjoyed it. 4.5 out of 5 stars – and the loss of half a star is really simply because I don’t think I will read it again.

Chapman has a spare style of prose, which I found delightful. I like prose that sparkles in its’ simplicity, that feels like stepping on fresh, crisp snow. This book talked about potential insanity in a way that was easily comprehended, which is a very difficult thing to do. This novel is Chapman’s debut, and it was a great first book. I will definitely be on the lookout for any future work of hers that is released.

You should read this book.

Please, recommend a book you have enjoyed in the comments below!

Please, recommend a book you have enjoyed in the comments below!

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New Name, Same Me

So… not sure if anyone cares, but I recently changed my online name, and realized that might cause some confusion.

84kb cropped version

You might be asking why I would do a thing like this. A name, after all, does not always smell as sweet.

Hey bae, I got you this stink flower.

Hey bae, I got you this stink flower.

And “writingmom2013” was truly inspired.

ca_eureka

*sigh* Okay, listen. I can tell you the truth, right? I mean, this is just a conversation between two rational adults, who don’t let illogical emotions rule their actions. Who choose the course of action that is best for everyone, even if it’s not some romantic ideal – right?

I feel like I've heard this before...

I feel like I’ve heard this before…

Just kidding.

phew

The truth is, I was just sick of the number in my name. I mean, who wants to be dated, right?

After all, a lady never reveals her age...

After all, a lady never reveals her age…

And so, to make a long story short:

too late

too late

My handle is now “literatemama.” What do you think? Like? Dislike? Want to comment on something random and completely unrelated?

You know what they say... there is no such thing as a bad comment. #pleasecomment

You know what they say… there is no such thing as a bad comment. #pleasecomment

Winter Poetry

“You don’t really need your toes,

that’s why I froze

them,” says the Snow.

“It is so nice,

to become ice,

and trip you so,”

continues Snow.

“I think that you

look good in hues

of purple and blue.”

You realize

with watering eyes

that Snow was true

when you

remove your gloves.

“Don’t you worry;

you’ll only see

much more of me,”

Snow giggles out.

It is, after all, only January.

Links that I Like, & Think You Might, Too

  • ‘Tis the season for colds and flus! I’m pretty sure I’ve been ill more days than I have been healthy. Ugh. Yet perhaps that is about to change, now that I know about this fun remedy. (It’s worth a try anyway, right?)
  • If you don’t like the Toast, then I’m not sure we can be friends. (In particular, pretty much everything Mallory Ortberg writes makes me chortle.)
  • If Hermione were the main character in “Harry Potter.” (Replete with feminism and gifs, you will not regret reading this article.)
  • What Kristy Thomas (yes, of The Babysitters Club Kristy Thomas) thinks of the Sweet Valley Confidential series.
  • One Dimensional Female Character from a Male-Driven Comedy. (Because sometimes, SNL gets it right.)
  • I’m a sucker for an infograph, and the classics. This link provides both.
  • A guy wrote a mystery novel with teddy bears, and got extremely irritated at what he perceived to be a negative review.
  • Men are from bacon, women are from lemons. Read.

Chewing Gumm You Don’t Need to Spit Out

Although you won’t necessarily remember it, either.

#memorable?

#memorable?

Daisy Gumm (whose real last name is Majesty, but there’s a pretty strong indication that she thinks as favorably of her married name as she does of the paralyzed veteran who can’t give her children that comprises her husband) is a psychic.

ouija

And by psychic, I mean con artist, who will take your money and move the planchette on a ouija board or favorably read you tarot cards if you’re a gullible person with too much money and too little sense.

money

You know who I’m talking about.

Unfortunately for Daisy, who works hard but really wants to just stay at home and be a housewife to the perpetually cranky man she vaguely remembers having loved before he became wheelchair-bound, there is mischief afoot at the house of one of her more prominent clients, the Kincaids.

#mischief

#mischief

What happened to Mr. Kincaid, the lecherous man who traps housemaids with his wheelchair (yes, there are two wheelchair bound men in this novel)? Is he dead? Did he steal money from the family business and disappear?

There is an answer, although the point of Strong Spirits is really more about evoking the period style of the twenties.

Oh yeah, I've been talking about this book the entire time.

Oh yeah, I’ve been talking about this book the entire time.

Strong Spirits kept my attention. Daisy is a spunky character who doesn’t know her own mind, and a discerning reader will likely see where this story is heading, but the book is worth a read. The book feels a bit frivolous. Daisy is meant to be characteristic of her time period, and therefore, is fairly judgey. And this is not a mystery.

I know, Sherlock. I was disappointed, too.

I know, Sherlock. I was disappointed, too.

However, if you’re looking for an enjoyable read that doesn’t require much mental capacity, and which you will likely forget soon after reading, Strong Spirits is for you.

What is this thing you call "memory?"

What is this thing you call “memory?”

On my indeterminate scale of book scores, Strong Spirits rates 2 out of 13 ghosts.

Cute ghosts, at that.

Cute ghosts, at that.

Signed Copy. Holly Black. Need I say more?

I should probably make this post full of salacious links or something, but let’s face it, I’m too lazy for that.

idol

I do, however, provide linkage to the giveaway of a signed copy of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest.

For those who don’t know who Holly Black is (and if so, why ever not?), she’s a pretty good writer. I was lucky enough to be tempted by a copy of Tithe, which I believe is her first novel, shortly after it was first published, and have been in love with her work ever since.

So, um, yeah. You should probably enter the giveaway (and if you do, can you use this link (same as the one above), because then I get more entries).

And unlike babysitting this guy, it really will be fun.

And unlike babysitting this guy, it really will be fun.

Elephants, meet Nessie

I recently received and read a copy of Sara Gruen’s At the Water’s Edge. Here’s the pretty cover:

waters edge

Gruen is the author of Water for Elephants, a book I haven’t read, but inspired a movie with one of the most terrible lines I’ve ever heard:

"You're a beautiful woman; you deserve a beautiful life." #whataboutthenormalsandtheuglies

“You’re a beautiful woman; you deserve a beautiful life.” #whataboutthenormalsandtheuglies

I read At the Water’s Edge immediately after my finals ended, and it was the perfect book at that time. I think, in general, the book is fairly enjoyable. But it was particularly nice to read a novel that didn’t make me think too much, but that wasn’t completely stupid or ill written, either. I would recommend it as a beach read.

The novel revolves around the character Maddie, the wife of socialite Ellis who gets dragged to Scotland with her husband and his friend Hank during WWII. Ellis and Hank can’t fight in WWII, because the former is color blind, and the latter is flat footed; looking fairly physically capable, however, the two are often subjected to derision, which they generally handle via getting drunk, until they decide to handle it via traveling to Scotland and finding proof that the Loch Ness monster exists.

#logic

#logic

In Scotland, Maddie discovers herself, faces the reality of the man she married, falls in love, and becomes immersed in Scottish supernatural lore.

A fairly good read, and one that I would recommend to most people. On my completely biased scale for books, At the Water’s Edge rates one ghostly castle on the Scottish highlands.

#readit

#readit