Sunday, June 5, 2011
Best Staged Plans ~ Book Review
So I am truly lucky to get another of Claire Cook's wonderful books to review again this summer (okay, so it's not yet summer, but this is totally a summer read - trust me!). I was really excited about the opportunity and thrilled to sink my teeth into her latest release.
Best Staged Plans is the perfect length, despite my wanting more once it ended. But isn't that a sign of a great read? Finding yourself not ready to say goodbye? Turning that last page and thinking, I wonder what else can happen to these characters?
Lately I've been bogged down with 400-500+ page books, and I just can't seem to flow through them the way I want to with a summer read. Summer reads should be non-committal. They should be light with a serious enough storyline that lets you truly connect with the characters without having to put your life on hold to figure them out. Best Staged Plans is a great combination of all of those things. It's a perfect escape from the every day.
Sandy Sullivan is that kind of character. She's spunky and strong, and we learn to enjoy her as she makes a choice and sticks to it. She's emotional, but not too much so. She's funny, but not annoying. And she's got great values, great friends and some interesting family members.
Early on we learn about Sandy and her readers. Which are her adorable eyeglasses. She thinks she sent her favorite pair to her daughter by mistake. Then she thinks the ponytail dude at the post office stole them. So she goes on a mission to get them back. The hilarity involved in this part of the story goes beyond what I can share here, so as not to give too much away!
She also has a flair for style, and the decor she's got going at the newly acquired run-down hotel owned by her best friend's untrustworthy boyfriend sounds incredible. And if that sentence hasn't drawn you in, I don't know what will!
If anything I really wanted the book to go on so I could see the completed project. It's seriously the kind of place you want to escape to with your girlfriends and feel like you've jet-setted somewhere important. Or that you are someONE important. And that sounds like a place to be to me.
And Sandy and her best friend Denise have the kind of relationship I want to have with a friend when my daughter is grown and I need someone to rely on, connect with and stand beside. I think we all need that kind of forever friend, but I imagine that at the "empty nest" stage of life a woman looks for them and needs them even more.
I also took in how her relationship with her daughter was a light-hearted and yet powerful one. And I felt like I could get that. I could see myself and my own mother, hope for that for me and my daughter, and see them all as real people. Again, something important in the books I choose to read.
Most importantly, I have grown to really like Claire Cook. Just by communicating with her on Twitter alone has shown me that she really appreciates her readers, and she really considers what they have to say, what they offer up and what she means to them - and they mean to her. And for that, I'm really thrilled to say that not only is she a great writer with truly enjoyable books, but she's a nice person. And that - to me - is the coolest thing of all.
So go pick up a copy of Best Staged Plans for your next trip to the beach. Or the next time you're hiding out in your favorite coffeehouse or bookstore. You'll be glad you did!
Oh, and don't forget your readers ...
For more information on Readers for Readers, please check out Claire's website here.
**I was not compensated for this review in any way, but I was provided with a copy of this book to facilitate my review. **