Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review: A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY and a True Story Tuesday

Disclaimer: Other than receiving a really cool hardback book, I've received no compensation for this review.  Also, my TST, as it ties in with the book, is found at the end of the review.

In May, Tony from Minotaur Books offered me the chance to review Sophie Littlefield's new book, A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY.  This is the second in a series of crime novels featuring Stella Hardesty, a sewing shop owner who has an interesting side job "rehabitilitating" men who don't treat their women so nice.

Tony had advised me that it was a quick read that wouldn't interrupt my reading schedule too much and he didn't lie.  I finished this book in a mere 2 1/2 hours and loved it!  Usually when I burn through a book that quickly, I have to go back and re-read it for all of the little things I missed, because I always miss something.  Unfortunately, that re-read will have to wait, as Ashinator has taken the book with her on her trip to see her dad in Arizona.

I truly enjoyed this book, but I can't decide which I enjoyed more: the fact that Stella is a "real" woman badass with real body flaws and insecurities or the dialogue. 

I love that Stella is not a young woman, she's got some years behind her, which equates to experience.  You know the saying, "Old age and treachery will always trump youth and skill"?  Stella exemplefies the saying.  I also love that she's not a perfect size zero and that she has aches and pains like the rest of us, but works through them.

As for the dialogue, it took me back to when my great-grandma was alive.  Grandma Wheeler talked just like the characters in the book do, so it was very comforting for me to read and just the dialogue alone brought back some warm childhood memories.

I also enjoyed the little bit of sizzle between Stella and the Sheriff, who may professionally at odds, but are otherwise pretty darn compatible.  Stella's side-kick, Chrissy, is a little spit-fire who makes no apologies for who she is and knows how to work the boys to get her way.

There are a couple of things that I would have liked such as a little more backstory on why the Sheriff calls Stella "Dusty" and how it is that Stella and Chrissy became so close.  Both of those questions were answered when I read the first book of the series, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY.

I've been playing around with a ranking system for when I get to do reviews, you know something gun related, like a 21-gun salute, but I haven't figured it out yet, so I'll go with the standard 5-star thingie. 

I'd give A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY four out of five stars.  It's a great sit by the pool and have an umbrella drink afternoon read.

Sophie was kind enough to indulge in a little Q & A, which I'll post tomorrow.

In the same vein as Stella's character and on behalf of my grandma's 90th birthday, I've got a great TST.
Jump on over to Once Upon A Miracle to join up or find more hilarious, tell-on-ourselves stories.

Grandma Mary grew up the oldest of nine living siblings (three died in infancy and one died before his fifth birthday) and just celebrated her 90th birthday.  They were raised on a farm and were so dirt poor, they didn't even realize the Great Depression was going on when they moved to "town".  They'd grown up picking beans and potatoes for the farmer.  Everyone worked, even the youngest children.  As a result, Grandma had what she describes as "man" arms.  Being the oldest child, and a female, not only did Grandma have to work the fields, but she had to corral the younger children and keep them working.  On top of all of that, she had to help her mom, my Little Lita, with the cooking and cleaning.  To say that my Grandma was a tough cookie would be an understatement.

Grandma was "old" when she and Grandpa got married; she was 25 and Grandpa was in his thirties.  Getting married didn't mean any less work for Grandma.  Not only did she have her own household to run, she continued to help run Little Lita's household until the day Little Lita died.

One night, as the story goes, Grandpa had had a nip or two too many of his drink of choice.  Grandma called him on it and an argument ensued.  Being the man, he thought that maybe a little slap would end the argument.  After all, during that time, it was considered okay to discipline one's wife.

Somebody forgot to tell Grandma that.  Grandpa slapped her and she picked up a cast iron skillet and performed some "rehabilitation" of his attitude (and his nose).  When he asked her why she did that she told him that her father never once raised a hand to her and her husband wasn't going to either.

From that point on, when they'd have an argument and he'd say, "Maria, you make me so mad I just want to hit you!"

And she'd just smile and look at the skillet.


Mad Woman said...

I think your Grandma and I would have got along quite nicely. She sounds like a real fireball, that one.

I'm gonna see if I can find that book here. Or at least the first one. I think I like the way it sounds.

Candance said...

Love the story about your grandma! My great-aunt took abuse for years from her bastard of a husband and one day, when they were both already getting pretty advanced in their ages, he popped her for something and she waited until he went and sat down in his chair, and took that cast iron skillet and hit him upside the head with it. She told him that was a warning. If he hit her again, she'd beat him to death with it. He never touched her again.

Quixotic said...

Both books sound great - A Bad Day for Pretty has me just with the title!!!

Your Grandma sounds a lot like my Nan, I think they could've raised a little hell together!! :o)

Aunt Crazy said...

Well all these years I've been afraid of cast iron cuz I just knew I'd screw it up if I tried to cook with it, but who the hell knew it was a weapon, I'll be getting me one ASAP...LOVE THE STORY!!!

GunDiva said...

Mad Woman - good luck finding it. Amazon has it :)

Candance - that's exactly what Stella did in the first book, only she used a wrench and didn't stop.

Quixy - I totally judge books by their covers and this one had me!

Aunt Crazy - who knew? Maybe my next blog should be "Girls with Cast Iron Skillets" instead of "Girls With Guns" :) You'll love the book.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Definitely going to have to look for that series at my library! Sounds like my kind of read! :)

Your grandma story was awesome! My Nana was a strong woman too! :)

Tiffany said...

Love it! Your grandma sounds a lot like mine - I think they just made them ornerier back then!

Mr. Daddy said...

"O" my, would it be to much to just ask for a loving relationship????

although, sometimes a little love tap upside the head does get ones attention.....ROFL

Rachel said...

Ohmygosh - everyone had a "Don't Mess With Grandma Mary" in their family! I love the little "Girls With Cast Iron Skillets" idea, you are hilarious.

Love this TST - I can see where you got your strong streak :)