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Friday, January 26, 2007

Compromising Positions by Dara Edmondson

Meet Crystal, Patsy and Maureen - three friends in their forties trying to run the obstacle course of mid-life. Crystal thinks she has the perfect marriage until she starts fantasizing about a handsome coworker. But when she suspects her husband is having more than fantasies about another woman, she digs in her heels and fights for what's hers. Patsy discovers her Neanderthal husband Bud having sex with his bowling buddy and wearing women's underwear. When Bud tries to take more than his fair share in the divorce, Patsy sets out to humiliate him into submission. Maureen has enough trouble trying to survive life with her rebellious teenaged daughter Rhianna. When she starts dating the teacher Rhianna has a secret crush on, the fur flies.

Holly Says:

Crystal is your average wife/mother. She's looking for work and raising her family. Her relationship with her husband, Wes, seems just as good as always and other than obsessing about her weight, she's feeling pretty good. She lands her dream job with a local magazine as a food critic and she couldn't be happier. Well, until she meets the sexy photographer assigned to travel with her. Her impure thoughts and silly daydreams seem harmless enough, until she overhears a conversation that makes her suspect her husband is having an affair. Suddenly, her life starts spinning out of control, and having her best friend move in with her unexpectedly is just icing on the cake...and not that non-fat kind, either.

Patsy's been married to Bud for 8 years. She takes a trip to see her brother and decides to drive home early because she's missing her husband. Unfortunately, she walks in at the wrong time. She finds her husband dressed up in her underwear, being pleasured by his best friend...Ralphie. Now she's living with her best friend, trying to figure out how to put her life back together. But then things get worse, because Bud seems to think he's entitled to half of everything, even the stuff she had before she married him. And Ralphie's wife thinks Patsy is having an affair with her husband, which just makes the situation 50 times worse. But she can only take so much, and finally she snaps. Enlisting the help of one of her expert co-workers, Joe, she sets out to get revenge on Bud, and Ralphie.

Maureen, Patsy and Crystal's other best friend, is having issues of her own. Her teenage daughter, Rhianna, has hit the rebellious stage and seems to be fighting Maureen at every turn. They butt heads about everything, from clothes to music to boys. To top it all off, she's lonely as hell. Luck seems to turn for her when she meets Rhianna's English teacher, Ian Fuller, and they hit it off. But what she doesn't know is that Rhianna already has a thing for Mr. Fuller and when she finds out her mother is seeing her teacher, well, all bets are off.

I truly enjoyed watching these three women struggle and grow through everyday life. The characters were believable and winning, and had me rooting for them right from the beginning. When I first started reading, I was dismayed to realize the women were all in their 40's. Not that I have anything against older woman in romance novels, but it's not my preferred reading choice. Before long, however, I was wrapped up in the story and anxious to see how it ended.

Compromising Positions is engaging and heartwarming. I found myself emotionally invested in Crystal's marriage, Patsy's fight for her self-confidence and Maureen's struggle to connect with her daughter. To be honest, I was sorry it ended. I wanted just a bit more from each story, just a bit longer with each character. That doesn't happen often to me these days, so it's something for DE to be proud of.

There was quite a bit of humor wrapped up in the story as well. I found myself laughing out loud more than once. And though I realize it was devastating for Patsy, the image I had in my head of her husband in a peach teddy with his best friend in front of him will have me snickering for a week. Not that it was funny at the time, but looking back on it....you get what I mean.

Though the story itself turned out to be good, and I found myself enjoying it, there were times when I was pulled out of it, because something seemed off. I'm not sure if it was the writing style, or the pacing itself, but I had a hard time focusing on it, especially in the beginning.

There were also a lot of typos and grammatical errors. I need to write up a post about this, because I'm not sure where to assign the blame for this. I know that when writing a blog (which isn't anywhere near the same as writing a book, but I'm working with what I've got here, ok??) I don't notice the typos and such right away. It's not until I go back and re-read my post that I realize how many mistakes I've made. And even after I re-read it several times I still manage to miss a few here and there. But, well, I'm not doing this professionally. And I don't have an editor to read through my stuff before I post it for the public to read, either. I suppose a few don't really bother me (ok, that's a flat out lie, even one bothers me, but I'm anal like that), but this one had more than a few. Not enough that it took me completely out of the story, but enough that I had to re-read several sentences before I understood what was going on. I hate that.

There were a few other things that bothered me, but they're of a more personal nature. For example, the characters had a habit of saying, "Alright? Okay." Who does that? No one says, "Alright? Okay." Without waiting for a response from the other party. Unless their confirming something, which wasn't the case. And Maureen's nickname was Mo, something else I didn't like. But again, these are personal issues and not a reflection of the story. Just my personal pet peeves.

Overall, I enjoyed the characters and storyline very much. I'll definitely be looking for more work from DE in the future.

3.75 out of 5 (mostly for the pacing and typos)

Jazz's Take

Yay! I love doing reviews together, and going second, this way I don't have to do the run down on the book! ha ha, Holly's taken care of that, so now I can jump right in with the juicy stuff. So here it is.

When I first started the book I had a huge "OH PLEASE NO!" moment, lol, but as it turned out it was really okay and I loved the way Dara opened up her story. You were hooked right away.

I enjoyed the dynamics between the girlfriends a lot. I always love close friendships in stories because we get to see and hear what is going on with them and their love life from a different angle. There are the thoughts in their heads, and what they share with their significant other, but what they share with girlfriends? That's always a hoot.

So let me tell you what I thought of each of the girls and their stories.

I never really clicked with Patsy. It's not that I didn't like her, but that she annoyed me. I mean yeah, I felt bad for her situation, even though it was kinda funny, but the way she dealt with it made me mad. She kinda just rolled over at first, doing nothing. I'm sorry but if that was me I would have done SOMETHING to get revenge right off the bat. But hey maybe I'm just spiteful like that. lol.

She moved in Crystal and her family, so you know there is going to be some boundary issues. I know these women are really close and all, but if they were that close wouldn't Patsy have known certain things? Like the fact that Chrystal had just lost a ton of weight and still struggles to keep it off? So why would she then go and purposely make all these fatty foods when Crystal even points out that she has been trying to go the healthy road with her family? It's like she was oblivious to the most obvious things.

And I don't want to sound snobby or anything but unless I was off on what I read, Patsy was in her early 50's. I swear it said she was married to Bud for 10 years and she got married when she was 42, correct me if I'm wrong. And she seemed so loud and obnoxious, and big. I by no means am a small woman. I actually struggle quite a bit with my weight but I just don't like reading about big women that don't care that they are big. I don't know, guess it's just one of my weird quirks. I mean age is always an issue with me and my books and it's not an authors fault by any means. Roz in Black Rose by Nora Roberts was the first older heroine I ever liked. And size goes the same way. I mean look at Night Play, one of Holly's favorite SK books, I could not get over Bride's size! But hey we all have our quirks.

So it was just little things like that bothered me. I also didn't like how uneducated Patsy sounded all the time. I know, I know she wasn't dumb, she had a degree. But she sounded that way! She was always talking with this "I'm so dumb accent". Actually that's a bad way to say it, cause I don't care that she had an accent (although I prefer if an author just says what kind of accent they have instead of writing with the accent. But again a personal preference), it was more just her way of talking or the words she used. Like always using ain't, stuff like that. I don't know. Guess I just wasn't really keen on Patsy and her part of the story.

I loved Maureen (I just hated the nickname Mo, YUCK!)! But I'll tell you now if I were her I would have smacked my daughter upside the head! And Holly I soooo know what your ewww moments were! Don't worry everyone, they ended up fine, but I can't tell you or it will ruin the book. lol. But Maureen was great, her personality and her issues with who she was attracted to had me laughing.

Rhianna, Maureen's daughter, annoyed me a lot. But I think she was supposed to. However I don't think the way her character just changed overnight was believable. And I think she acted a lot younger than her age. I don't really see a 17 year old doing the things she did. Well not all of it.

The only thing with Maureen's story was, I kinda felt it was left undone with one part. There is a major thing that is going on with Maureen in the book and when it comes full circle you're so happy for her. But then it's just done. Nothing else. I would have thought we would have seen more on that part, especially with her new friend, Hema, involved. But whatever I still liked Maureen the most.

Crystal was my favorite. That was until I found something out about her toward the end of the book that made me really cringe. I won't say what it is. But it is something that I am very, very against so it made her really unlikable for me. But I know everyone doesn't have the same beliefs as me so it may not be an issue for everyone.

Crystal and Wes were so great together and the issues she started to have were very believable. I loved watching her struggle with her weight and attraction to a different man, and her fight for a job she wanted and her husband. She was very real, and her feelings toward Patsy staying with her were very realistic. I liked that a lot.

All together? The book was good. I think what I was missing was an emotional attachment. I wasn't very emotionally involved, and I like to cry when characters cry.

I will definitely look forward to more of DE's work in the future. I'll just be looking for more emotion, or a better way of sharing the feelings, because I KNEW how the characters were feeling I just didn't feel it myself.

Grade C+

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Blogger Chantal said...

I love the joint reviews.

Holly, I feel the same way about spelling and grammar in books. I notice that Ellora's Cave print editions are really bad for it.

I should talk though, I can't spell to save my life. I can get away with it I hope, because english is not my first language. I try though. Google spell check is my friend. I just have to remember to use it.

January 26, 2007 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Charm School Reject said...

Ugh! I hate spelling errors and type-o's in books! Another thing to make you feel better, Holly, is you don't get paid to write your stuff....they do!

This book sounds really good but I'm not sure how I will like reading the three stories at once thing.

Jazz....I hate when they write with the person's accent too....especially a Southern one because they always make the person seem so unintelligent!

January 29, 2007 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Dylan aka Rowena said...

I'm going to try to finish this book later today or tomorrow and I'll get my review up soon too.

So I didn't read all of your review because I don't want to ruin anything for myself.

January 31, 2007 at 9:05 AM  

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