Monday – What Are You Reading?

Monday What You ReadingIt’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?

If you would like to play along with It’s Monday What Are You Reading… click on the image above and it will bring you to the host blog – Book Journey, where you can find out all the details of how to play!

 

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I’m going to be starting this book today and I can’t wait to get into it!  I am part of the upcoming tour for Mother’s Curse Via Novel Publicity and will be posting my review, May 20th, on Growing Up Little.  There will be lots of great prizes as part of this tour, so keep an eye out for it!  I would love to see one of my readers and/or commenters to WIN one of the big prizes that are available.

I love books about witches, especially when they are at risk of being burnt to death for being one!  It is hard to imagine that witches were burnt at the stake for their ‘evil practices’, so many moons ago.  However, discrimination is still a problem today for many people who choose to follow Wiccan beliefs.  Obviously, we as a society, no longer burn them to death but unfortunately, discrimination against them is still alive and well, even in today’s ‘advanced’ society.

 

About Mother’s Curse…

Tradition holds that a mother who commits a sin against the gods will have a daughter who is born a witch.  Stephenie is just such a curse.  Despised by her mother, she longs to be with her father and older brother, but they are two countries away, fighting a war against invaders from across the sea.  Locked in Antar Castle and cut off from the outside world, the youngest Princess of Cothel must escape and overcome her mother’s plots which threaten to bring down the country as well as end her life.

However, to do so, she might have to rely upon her hidden powers, risking others discovering she is a witch…a risk that would most certainly result in her death by burning.

With the help of a select group of soldiers and an unexpected ally, she just might survive to learn the truth about her magic as she races across the country to save her family and the country she loves.

 

 

 

Four Month Challenge – Part 12

The Four Month Challenge

Part 12

Four Month Challenge 12

My Total Points So Far:  10

5 Point Challenges

Read the second book in a series

Read a book with water on the cover

Read a book with a colour in the title

Read  a book set in the 1900′s

Read a book whose author name begins with M (First or last)

10 Point Challenges

Read a book published during your birth year

Read a book with a door, lock or key on the cover   Completed:  Wicked Intentions by Kevin Flynn

Read a book with a flower/flowers on the cover

Read a book with something ‘hot’ in the title (sun, fire, heat, etc)

Read a book whose author name begins with J (first name only)

15 Point Challenges

Read a book currently on a bestseller list

Read a book that shows a woman from behind

Read a book with a moon or stars on the cover

Read a book with an adjective in the title

Read a book whose author name begins with J (last name only)

20 Point Challenges

Read any book in one weekend (Friday to Sunday)

Read a book with a child on the cover

Read a book with over 400 pages

Read a book with an animal on the cover

Read a book whose author name begins with A (first or last)

Tuesday Intros… The Madman’s Daughter

The Madman’s Daughter

by Megan Shepherd

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The basement hallways in King’s College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.

At night they were like a grave.

Rats crawled through corridors that dripped with cold perspiration.  The chill in the sunken rooms kept the specimens from rotting and numbed my own flesh, too, through the worn layers of my dress.  When I cleaned those rooms, late at night after the medical students had gone home to their warm beds, the sound of my hard-bristle brush echoed in the operating theater, down the twisting halls, into the storage spaces where they kept the things of nightmares.  Other people’s nightmares, that is.  Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn’t bother me.  I was my father’s daughter, after all.  My nightmares were made of darker things.

Would you keep reading?  Let me know in the comments below…

I have just finished reading and reviewing this book.

If anybody wishes to read my review of The Madman’s Daughter, please click here.

Tuesday Intro's

Every Tuesday Bibliophile By the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros… where bloggers can share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book they are reading or thinking about reading soon. Care to join us?

Stranger Will – Book Review – Prizes*

Stranger Will

by Caleb J. Ross

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My Rating:  Five Stars *****

My Review

If I could use just a few words to attempt to describe Stranger Will, I would choose:

  • UNIQUE
  • DARK
  • PHILOSOPHICAL
  • A-MUST-READ

Stranger Will was truly one of the best books I have read, in quite some time.  I don’t re-read books very often but this is one book in which I plan to do just that.  Why? Because there are SO many layers contained within this story, so many meanings, and so many things to think more about.  A second read, would be an opportunity to pull back some additional layers… layers you can’t help but to have missed the first read through and even then… I think it is quite likely that you would still not reach the ultimate core of Stranger Will.

The author Caleb J. Ross, is definitely unique with his style, yet at the same time, his writing reminds me of other great authors such as:

  • Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club, Survivor, and Choke)
  • Augusten Burroughs (author of Running With Scissors, Possible Side Effects, and Magical Thinking)
  • George Orwell (author of Animal Farm and 1984)

Caleb J. Ross has a way of telling an edgy, odd story, with a serious dark side.  He creates and brings to life, characters who you’d be afraid to know.

Stranger Will makes you think about those frustrating types of questions, those questions that don’t seem to have the black and white answers you so desperately crave for them to have.

The main character William, is an insecure, depressed and cynical character, whose job as a human remains removal specialist has contributed to his lack of enthusiasm he is exhibiting for his unborn child.  According to William…

He cleans the dead from the world and what’s one more child?  Just another body that someone will one day have to clean from the road.

and

“Just a parasite, Julie,” he takes a sip of coffee, cold but he keeps his face straight.  “Tapeworms, children, we could all use fewer of them.”

His fiancée Julie, seems to deal with William’s resistance to their fetus, which is already very well-established within her, by continuing to cross-stitch, shop for baby clothes, pick out names (one for a boy, one for a girl), sing lullabies and stay calm.  Julie clearly feels she is already a mother.  William on the other hand, continues to search for any solution in which they will not be the ones expected to give this child what little he believes that they can offer it.  Those that feel desperate for solutions, often come to their solutions in dangerous and immoral ways.

There were so many things that intrigued me about this novel, including…

  • William’s employment as a human remains removal specialist.  His job is to remove the ‘stains’ that human lives leave behind.
  • The personality contrast between William and his co-worker, Philip.   “Philip believes people deserve chances.  William believes that people are the exact reason chances don’t work.”  The dynamic between the two is riveting.
  • Mrs. Rose, the elementary school principal and the bizarre lessons she is teaching to not only her students but to many adults as well, including William.  Even more astounding, is her philosophy behind these lessons.  “Mrs. Rose has taught William many things, one of which is that the world is not worth fighting against.  The world knows what it is doing.”   and  “Mrs. Rose taught William that children are a second chance and that second chances are exactly what keep us from believing that we need only one.” 
  • Messenger pigeons and messages that are intercepted and how they can form their own story.
  • The different meaning, purpose and value that the individual characters have for life and where that ultimately brings each of them in the end.
  • The ability and need that some have to control and what that means.  How is that accomplished?  What is lost by those who are controlled?  What may be gained and what may be lost by a group that is under a method of organized control?  What is lost be the one doing the controlling?

If you are one who likes to ponder the meaning behind things – you will enjoy this book.

If you like dark, twisted, bizarre and sick characters – you will enjoy this book.

If you enjoy the writing style of Chuck Palahniuk, Augusten Burroughs or George Orwell – you will enjoy this book.

If you like a book that makes you think and then makes you think again – you will love this book.

I highly recommend Stranger Will to all adult readers.

I am very much looking forward to following Caleb  J. Ross’s writing career, for he is a noteworthy, significant and truly brilliant writer of our times. 

 

Some of My Favourite Quotes

William admires her will power, though he could do without her drive to use it against him.

When two strangers meet in the woods, they don’t pass by with a nod.  They don’t pretend something greater lies just ahead.  They smile at company and make room for a few words.

A body, a simple lump of blue skin, black hair, and features, sits molded to the corner.  Not a stain, not a mess, but a real human being.  Her eyes roll toward the light.  In a final stretch for good news, William turns to Philip and shrugs.  “At least most of her blood is still in her body.”

I’ve seen the desert our world has become, shredded with bullet holes in apartment buildings where nothing but filth exists.  I’ve cleaned it from walls with a toothbrush stolen from the deceased’s bathroom.  I’ve believed in a world with good intentions for too long.

“She also told William that people who use the word fascinating, usually aren’t.”

“Keep an animal locked up with nothing to do and eventually it will realize it is imprisoned.”

Though he’s known for days that these games teach survival, he sees now that these skills are not the school’s primary motive.  Where once he saw a small tiff, children being as children will be, he sees now a gang initiation, or extermination of the weak, not for survival but to prove dedication.  Where once a group of children might play rhyming games, clapping hands, smiles and chants, they now share blood via severed fingers and cut palms.

“What, I ask you, is less pleasurable to endure than permanence?”

“It might be years from now that these kids look back and realize that they’ve been controlled their entire lives, but it will happen.  They might hate me, you, and all the others, but they will understand control — they will realize their life.  It might take therapy, it might happen behind a giant oak desk in a corner office, but it will hit them, and they will have an entire childhood of proof.”

We live above defeated generations and search for all the ideas they must have missed.

William looks again, before the sun disappears, across his home, his life with Julie, and fits everything into graves.

She had been enduring his rants for months, staying strong to her familial ideal, and here was the end to what he had wanted all along:  his weak fiancée fighting up hills of dirt dug in search of her child.

…he has the power to steer outcome.  The trick is to keep anyone else from believing it.

***********************************************************************************************

Please note:  I received a review copy of Stranger Will courtesy of Novel Publicity, in exchange for a written review with my honest thoughts, comments and opinions regarding this book.

 

IN ORDER TO ENTER A CONTEST IN RELATION TO THIS REVIEW PLEASE CHECK OUT MY ORIGINAL POST AT:

http://growinguplittle.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/stranger-will-book-review-contest-win-prizes/

Thanks!

 

Musing Monday – The Visible Man

 

Musing Mondays – April 1st (no joke)

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Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits. • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s). • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it. • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us! • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!    Hosted By:  Should Be Reading

 

I have chosen to muse about: 

Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it so far; why you chose it; what you are (or aren’t) enjoying about it.

VisibbleMan-388x500

I have almost finished reading The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman.

It has been an interesting read but as I am nearing the end, so very close to the very end… I am worried that I will ultimately be disappointed by it.  I am hopeful that the ending will ‘save’ this book for me and the next eleven pages will be the deciding factor!

I purchased this book from Chapters.  It was from their ‘bargain books’ section, I think I paid $7.99 (the original price, $28.99).  What sold me on it originally was the synopsis…

Austin, Texas, therapist Victoria Vick is contacted by a cryptic, unlikable man who insists his situation is unique and unfathomable.  As he slowly reveals himself, Vick becomes convinced that he suffers from a complex set of delusions:  Y___, as she refers to him, claims to be a scientist who has stolen cloaking technology from an aborted government project in order to render himself nearly invisible.  He says he uses this ability to observe random individuals within their daily lives, usually when they are alone and vulnerable.  Unsure of his motives or honesty, Vick becomes obsessed with her patient and the disclosure of his increasingly bizarre and disturbing tales.  Over time, it threatens her career, her marriage, and her own identity.

Interspersed with notes, correspondence, and transcriptions that catalog a relationship based on curiosity and fear, The Visible Man touches on all of Chuck Klosterman’s favorite themes–the consequence of culture, the influence of media, the complexity of voyeurism, and the existential contradiction of normalcy.  Is this comedy, criticism, or horror?  Not even Y___ seems to know for sure.

For me… the fact that there was a therapist as a main character, who was treating a patient for delusions and the fact that his delusions involved him being able to observe people in their daily lives, essentially being a voyeur, was enough for me to risk spending the $7.99.

I have always been fascinated about what it might be like, to have the ability to be invisible.  Imagine being able to watch and view human behaviour in its purest form.  It would be interesting to see the contrast between how a person behaves and presents oneself in public or even with one person in private and how that person actually is when they believe nobody is observing them and they are completely alone.

While the book did describe Y___’s experiences with viewing individuals without their knowledge, I still craved more.  He would sneak in to the person’s home, position himself where it would be unlikely he would be bumped into by the person he was observing (after all, he was invisible but still physically there) and he would simply watch, for varying amounts of time.  He would then, report these observations to his therapist, Vicky.  Vicky of course, does not believe he is actually making himself invisible and entering strangers homes, she believes it is a delusion, one she can of course help him with and treat.  Although, very strangely, Vicky allows Y___ to dictate the rules and boundaries of therapy in an unprofessional and ultimately unhealthy way.

I am very curious to see how this novel concludes.  It is quite possible, once I do, I will end up doing a review of the book, so be sure to check back later if you’re interested.  These last eleven pages will truly make or break this novel for me.  Time will tell!

Author:  Chuck Klosterman

Author: Chuck Klosterman

The Persnickety Princess – Book Review – WIN PRIZES!

The Persnickety Princess

by Falcon Storm

Persnickety

My Rating: 4 Stars ****

My Review

Please Note: I received a copy of The Persnickety Princess – courtesy of Novel Publicity for the purposes of this review but all opinions are my own.

The first thing that I adored about this book… was the narrator named, Upon A. Time. He is a heroic traveler who is arrested by two city guards (neither who seem very bright), for having been found dressed in the sheriff’s clothes, riding on the back of a pig and shouting out a limerick (which shouldn’t be repeated). The opening scene, sets the stage for the humour and originality that soon follows. As Upon A. Time begins telling the guards the story of the Persnickety Princess, the reader becomes quickly absorbed in the tale.

Although, The Persnickety Princess was intended for children aged 6-9 years old, I am sure many adults will get just as much enjoyment (perhaps even more) due to the humour, as well as the life lessons contained within the story line. This is the type of book, you originally buy for your child but that you end up loving just as much as they do! It’s for sure one of those win-win situations!

Princess Lavender (aka the Persnickety Princess) has waited unhappily in her self-designed castle for many, many years for that perfect, heroic Prince to come along and rescue her, the beautiful damsel-in-distress. The Princess knows what type of Prince she wants – she very specifically knows what type of Prince she wants. She is specific in the Prince she is waiting for, even down to the exact height he should be – five foot eight and three-quarter inches tall – and nobody else will do. Several Princes have tried but all have failed. So there she remains, in her perfectly painted castle, discontent, irritable and confused about why her Prince, the right Prince, has not arrived to rescue her from her self-imposed prison. How many single Princesses are sitting, waiting for that very specific type of Prince to come into their own lives, to save them? Discontent, irritable, unhappy, yet there they sit waiting, in their own castles, dissatisfied and confused about how long it is taking for him to finally arrive!

The Persnickety Princess looks down upon her sister Petunia, who takes a very different view of how life should be lived and what having fun is all about. Petunia is adventurous and certainly isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in the process. Princess Petunia isn’t sitting around waiting for some Prince to arrive and rescue her! After all, she considers herself to be a self-rescuing Princess. I think a lot of us can learn from Princess Petunia! Self-rescuing Princess indeed!

Prince Hugo arrives at the castle, just as Princess Petunia is snatched up by a dragon. Princess Lavender can not understand that Prince Hugo is not there to rescue her. So while Hugo rushes off in pursuit of rescuing Petunia, Lavender finally decides she is tired of waiting within her castle and she is going to have to venture out and put herself in some serious danger, in order to be saved by her tardy Prince. Of course, the underlying message for insightful adults is… many Princesses feel the need to be rescued by a handsome Prince, even though they may not be in any real danger at all or if they are, those same Princesses are fully capable of rescuing themselves!

Princess Lavender repeatedly puts herself in increasing amounts of danger, in the hopes of being rescued by Hugo, however, Dave keeps saving her from each dangerous situation! How frustrating and inconvenient that is! Dave is just a lowly squire, assumes Lavender, not the one destined to be with her at all! Of course, the underlying message in this is, sometimes the person who is right for you, has been there all along but may not be the one you have your sights narrowed in on. Princess Lavender can’t seem to see the forest for the trees! How many of us, do the very same thing?

During her last and most dangerous rescue, Dave again saves her. It is then revealed by Hugo that Dave is actually Prince Dave and that while he is shy and doesn’t talk much, he does believe that Princess Lavender is pretty. It is then that Princess Lavender realizes all the time she has wasted waiting in her tower. After asking Prince Dave his height, which is five foot eight and one-fourth inches, she claims that is close enough, she’s not picky. Of course, as all true fairy tales end… Prince Dave and Princess Lavender end up marrying and living happily ever after. Needless to say, in real life… that’s not usually how things end up but after all, this is a fairy tale and we all could do with a little dreaming and happy imagination at times!

The Epilogue explains what happens to the various characters afterwards, except for one, which leaves the opening for Book Two from Tales Upon A. Time. Brilliant. The concept of having Upon A. Time continue in Book Two, to tell the tale involving this character that needed a story of her own, is effective. Due to the quality of The Persnickety Princess and the interest it created for me with its characters – I would purchase Book Two in the series which is due for release September 24th, 2013.

I rated this book a solid four stars. I like the moral of this story, the underlying humour running through out it and the well-developed characters that were so easy for me to picture in my imagination. I will love reading The Persnickety Princess to my niece. Little girls need more stories where the Princess learns NOT to wait around for some Prince. Our little girls need more fairy tales, just like this one.

Some of my Favourite Quotes From the Book

Petunia laughed so hard, she snorted. “You poor prince, I’m a self-rescuing princess. Didn’t I mention that? In fact, it looks like I just saved your bacon.”

Hugo stepped back and almost stumbled as he nervously kept an eye on the dragon. “Is it safe?” Petunia shrugged as she finished saddling the dragon. “Is anything ever really safe?”

You’re a terribly accident-prone princess. Seems you might need someone around to rescue you with fair regularity.

Lavender smiled and reflected on all the years she had wasted waiting in her tower. Only when she finally left had she had found herself a worthy prince.

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the book: High up in the tallest tower of the purplest castle in the Kingdom by the Sea, Princess Lavender awaits rescue. Desperate as she may be, only the most dashing, well dressed, properly mannered prince will do. Oh, and he must stand exactly four and three-quarters inches taller than her. A princess has got to have standards, after all.

When, finally, one such prince comes to her castle—not to rescue her, but her younger sister—Lavender refuses to be ignored. Instead of waiting for the next suitor to come along, she devises a plan to put herself in danger, thus forcing the upstart prince to forget her sister and rescue her instead.

Well accustomed to getting her way, there is only one thing, unfortunately, that this princess can’t control—her luck. When her plans go awry, putting her in very real danger, will she allow the prince to rescue her as he sees fit? Will he even want to try?

And will anyone be able to find a way to rescue Lavender from her persnickety ways once and for all? Find out in this comedic tale of princes, dragons, and dreams that just may come true.

The Persnickety Princess is a lower grade chapter book intended for kids 6 to 9 years old (although kids of all ages are sure to enjoy it! Pick up your copy through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or Kobo Books.

About the author:

The Author

The Author – Falcon Storm

I was born in the frozen wasteland of Alaska with the unfortunate stigma of being both a daydreamer and left-handed. Starting from an early age, I’ve filled my life with stories of every sort from my father’s hunting trips to the Holy Trilogy (read: Star Wars). In the fourth grade, I became more interested in telling stories of my own than listening to those of others. Doctors—being doctors—attempted to medicate them out of me, but the best cure has always been a pen, a notebook, and my crazy, unrestrained imagination. I continue to whittle away at these stories in my endless search for the one that will finally bring me back to reality. All the while, I secretly hope such a story will never come along. I hear “reality” is far too boring. Connect with Falcon on his website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win (1) a $25 Amazon gift card, (2) a $50 Amazon gift card, or (3) a Princess Prize Pack, which includes a plush purple dragon, necklace with lavender pendant, The Fairy Godmother’s Guide to Being a Princess, tiara and wand party set, and a DVD of The Princess Bride.

Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the $50 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes (including the awesome Princess Prize Pack) will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form on the official Persnickety Princess tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

From A to X, A Story in Letters

From A to X

A Story in Letters

by John Berger

 

From a to x

 

My Rating:  ** 2 Stars

Now consider human lives, their every-minute, everyday lives!  Their lives depend upon an agreed regularity to which each contributes.  Maintaining this regularity is the forgotten practice I’m talking about.

It explains the arrival of the fruit in the market each day, the lights in the street at night, the letters slipped under the front door, the matches in a match box all pointing in the same direction, music heard on the radio, smiles exchanged between strangers.  The regularity has a beat, very distant, often inaudible, and at the same time similar to a heartbeat.

No place for illusions here.  The beat doesn’t stop solitude, it doesn’t cure pain, you can’t telephone it – it’s simply a reminder that you belong to a shared story. 

Overall – I was quite disappointed with this book.  The premise was good… but it just didn’t deliver.

 

 

What’s In A Name – Reading Challenge

What’s In A Name

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Challenge Hosted By:  Beth Fish Reads

Here’s How It Works
Between January 1 and December 31, 2013, read one book in each of the following categories:

  1. A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title: Deep down True, The Girl Below, The Diva Digs up the Dirt     COMPLETED:  The Cradle Will Fall (click link for book review)
  2. A book with something you’d find in your kitchen in the title: Loose Lips Sink Ships, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Breadcrumbs
  3. A book with a party or celebration in the title: A Feast for Crows, A Wedding in Haiti, Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness
  4. A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title: Burning for Revenge, Fireworks over Toccoa, Catching Fire
  5. A book with an emotion in the title: Baltimore Blues, Say You’re Sorry, Dreams of Joy  COMPLETED:  Far From The Madding Crowd (click link for book review)
  6. A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title: The Book of Lost Fragrances, The World We Found, A Discovery of Witches  COMPLETED:  Never See Them Again (by M. William Phelps)

The book titles are just suggestions, you can read whatever book you want to fit the category. Other Things to Know

  • Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
  • Books may overlap other challenges.
  • Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.
  • Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed but encouraged.
  • You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
  • You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order.

The Cradle Will Fall

The Cradle Will Fall

 by Carl S. Burak, M.D., J.D. & Michele G. Remington

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My Rating:  3+ stars

True story of a woman who suffered postpartum depression and shot both herself and her infant son.  She lived, her son did not.

This book was interesting to read, especially because I suffered postpartum depression after my daughter was born.  Luckily I got help.  It is heartaching to see the opportunities for help that were missed for Michele and the thought that her son could have been alive and well today, if someone would have recognized how severe her depression had gotten and obtained the proper help for her at that time.

Postpartum depression is quite common.  More people need to be aware of it, know the signs and how to help if they identify the signs in a new mother.  Tragedy such as the one described in this book can be averted with knowledge.

How To Successfully Date A Married Man

REVIEW

how-to-successfully-date-a-married-man-understanding-and-abiding-by-the-rules

How To Successfully Date A Married Man

By Gloria Bonds

My Rating:  3 stars ***

First of all – the title is pretty misleading.  The author, Gloria Bonds is very one-sided and closed-minded with her opinion regarding the morality of dating a married man… AND it is not the side you would assume it to be from the title. 

This book would be fantastic for someone who wants to reinforce their reasons for staying away from married men… or for a woman who has recently left a married man (after having had an affair with him) and is looking to bolster her decision for having done so. 

It seems to me that the author likes to paint everyone – married men, the ‘other woman’ and wives – all with the same brush.  She leaves little acknowledgment for the fact that situations CAN be different and not ALL people are the same.