Tag Archives: Jennie Shortridge

Review, Book Tour & GIVEAWAY: When She Flew

When She Flew
By Jennie Shortridge
Penguin Group (USA)
November 2009
352pp

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing. But now, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone, and unhappy. And she’s wondering if she ever made a right choice in her life.

But then Jess discovers a girl and her father living off the radar in the Oregon woods, avoiding the comforts-and curses-of modern life. Her colleagues on the force are determined to uproot and separate them, but Jess knows the damage of losing those you love. She recognizes her chance to make a difference by doing something she’s never dared. Because even though she’s used to playing by the rules, there are times when they need to be broken…

The Short of It:

When She Flew is a gem of a little book. This story gently unfolds into a beautiful thing.

The Rest of It:

This is one of those stories that flows effortlessly. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it was going to be one of those books. As I was reading about Jessica and her relationship with her own daughter, I was struck with how realistically her life was drawn. The life of a cop, a female cop no less…the need to maintain a game face at all times, the pressure to hold it all together, it all rings true. Women struggle to be everything, to everyone and sometimes fail in the process. Jess isn’t perfect, and we see her flaws but she is an easy character to relate to. I appreciated the fact that Jess was strong, but flawed. It made her more human.

As she deals with Ray and Lindy, the ‘forest people’ trying desperately to make a life of their own on what little they have, we see what happens when oil and water meet. Jess has ideas of what a good parent is and she berates herself daily, over the mistakes she has made with her own daughter. However, when she sees the fierce love that Ray has for Lindy, she begins to realize that there may be more than one way to be a good parent. That providing the basics such as food and shelter is just a part of what being a parent is.

The story is told with alternating points of view, one of which being Lindy’s. Lindy is a delicate bird. At the age of thirteen, she is becoming a young lady and has learned to appreciate all she has. Taken from an abusive mother, her father sheltered her from society, yet raised her to be self-sufficient, to live off the land. She is educated and wiser than her years but she is anything but fragile. Like a bird, she is ready to take flight but possesses a sensibility that most young girls do not possess at this age.

Ray, Lindy’s father, is an Iraq war vet battling post-traumatic stress. He lives on a very small income and creates  a sanctuary for Lindy out in the middle of the forest. Shortridge takes great care with Ray. As a reader, you cannot judge Ray. He’s troubled but makes the best decisions he can for the sake of his daughter. I was touched by his tenderness.

While I was reading the book, there was a small part of me expecting a very pat ending. I am happy to report that this is not the case. Shortridge crafts a beautiful story with well-developed characters. When I finished reading it, I felt the weight of it, and lingered in its warmth for a bit.

If you’d like to read more about Jennie Shortridge, click here to visit her website, and click here for an interview and some discussion questions.

To purchase the book, visit Amazon or an independent bookseller of your choice.

Check out the rest of Jennie’s tour stops here.

Source: A big ‘thank you’ to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be a part of this tour and for providing me with a review copy of the book.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Jennie Shortridge has provided me with one SIGNED copy to give away to a lucky reader. This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada. There are two ways to enter. Please follow the instructions carefully because I want every entry to count!

1. Comment on this review for ONE entry. Include an email address so that I have a way to contact you.

2. For another entry, Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @TiBookChatter. After you Tweet, post a separate comment here telling me you did so. If you do not post a second comment, then it won’t count. Sorry!

This giveaway will run through Sunday, January 3, 2010 (8pm Pacific). The winner will be selected randomly and announced on Wednesday, January 6, 2010. I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address so be sure to include a way for me to contact you.

Good luck!

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Review: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe
By Jennie Shortridge
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: May 2008
ISBN-13: 9780451223883
400pp

Here’s the blurb from Barnes & Noble:

When she learns that her college sweetheart husband has been seeing another woman, Mira Serafino’s perfect world is shattered and she wants no one, least of all her big Italian family, to know. She heads north-with no destination and little money- stopping only when her car breaks down in Seattle. She takes a job at the offbeat Coffee Shop at the Center of the Universe, where she’ll experience a terrifying but invigorating freedom, and meet someone she’ll come to love: the new Mira.

The Short of It:

Shortridge paints a realistic picture of what happens when a marriage slows to a crawl, sputters and then comes to a complete stop. These are flawed characters at their best.

My Thoughts:

Marriage is tough. For those that are not married, don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not. A marriage, or any relationship for that matter takes a lot of work so imagine what happens when your perfect relationship is suddenly not so perfect. What would your initial reaction be? For Mira, it’s denial.

She doesn’t know what to think when Parker alludes to another woman. He tells her that he isn’t happy but Mira is so blinded by the pain of what she is hearing, that she isn’t ready to delve into the “whys.” Instead, she takes her little dog and a few personal possessions and flees town leaving her husband and twenty-something daughter behind.

While reading this book, I found myself identifying with several of the characters at different points of the story. Sure, they’re flawed and make mistakes but don’t we all? Shortridge does an excellent job of creating characters that are a bit rough around the edges yet still likable. The word “raw” comes to mind but along with all of their weaknesses we also see hope.

If you like a story with a lot of inner conflict, this would be a good one for you. Mira made some questionable choices (as did Parker) and their actions stayed with me for awhile. I finished the book a few days ago and I am still thinking about Mira and her growth within the story.

Thank you Jennie Shortridge for providing me with a signed copy for review! If you’d like to read more about Jennie, click here to visit her website.

Hint: If this book looks good to you, you might want to stop by for a visit tomorrow 🙂