Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Review: As Good as It Got and Giveaway

Summary: Ann Redding has taken every lousy thing life has thrown at her and handled it very well, thank you very much. All she wants is to get her life back on track...but that won't happen till she makes her worried family and friends back off by spending two weeks at Camp Kinsonu, a retreat for suddenly single women. Now she's stuck sitting around a campfire, singing "I Am Woman" with a bunch of sandal-clad, makeup-boycotting women. If she doesn't get out of there soon, they'll be sizing her for Birkenstocks.

Kinsonu, an idyllic retreat on the coast of Maine, is supposed to be a place for new hope and new beginnings. But Ann doesn't belong in an estrogen Eden, she belongs in a corporate boardroom. Still, the camp has its compensations—she's grudgingly befriended some other "inmates," including Cindy, who honestly believes she's just killing time till her serial-cheating husband comes crawling back. And Martha, shy, overweight, and mysteriously silent about the man she's there to get over.

Maybe it was fate that brought them together at Camp Kinsonu, maybe just bad luck. But three strangers are about to bond on an adventure they didn't ask for—and discover that lives they thought were as good as it got could suddenly get a lot better. -- Avon A

I received an ARC of AS GOOD AS IT GOT by Isabel Sharpe from the Harper Collins First Look Program. I thought it sounded like a potential book club pick because it told the story of three women who are trying to heal after losing the men in their lives. They travel to a camp in Maine which is designed to help them recover -- of course, none of the women feel as if they "need" to be there. I figured that there would be lots of opportunities for some good soul-searching and discovery for each of the women that would make for a heart-warming read.

I have to admit that this book was just okay for me. I can't say that I didn't enjoy parts of it, but I probably wouldn't select it for a book club pick. This book was much more what I think of as a "beach or vacation book" than a book that my book club would want to talk about. I think if I had started the book with different expectations, I might have enjoyed it more.

One of my main problems with this story was that I couldn't really relate to any of the three women or their situations -- maybe that's why I didn't love it. I felt that the women and their relationships were pretty much stereotypes. Having said that, I bet that many women who have lost their significant others might really see parts of themselves in these characters and find inspiration in this book.

One thing I did like about this book was the humor that the author was able to use with each of the characters. Despite the sad situations that each of the women were dealing with, I found myself laughing at their behavior at Camp Kinsonu. I especially found myself shaking my head at the character of Cindy -- the woman whose husband was a serial cheater. Not only was she in major denial, but her inability to do anything right at the camp was kind of funny to me (although I eventually did feel bad for her.) I also thought it was entertaining when the women got stranded on an island and began sharing their "encounters" with one of the male camp counselors.

Another thing I liked about the book was the message that the reader was left with at the end of the story. It was very interesting for each of these women to see themselves outside of their relationships and discover their own inner strengths. All three women felt like their lives were pretty good prior to the end of their relationships; however, by the end of the camp, they all found that it was possible for their lives to be even better without these men. After I finished the book, I was left with a happy feeling about the resilience of women when faced with sad situations.

AS GOOD AS IT GOT is the second Avon A book that I've read recently with an A+ Author Insights, Extras, & More section in the back -- in this book, there is an interview with the author Isabel Sharpe. She gives a some insight into the setting of the novel as well as some additional information about the characters. I've noticed that a lot of publishers are adding sections like this to their books, and I really enjoy reading them.

If you are looking for an entertaining, quick summer read, you might want to take a look at AS GOOD AS IT GOT. The book will be in stores on June 24th.

I just happen to have an extra ARC copy of AS GOOD AS IT GOT that I'd like to share with one of you. Please leave a comment with your e-mail address if you are interested in winning a copy of this book. If you'd like to double your chances, please mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. The contest will be open until Friday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. EST. Sorry, but the contest is open to US and Canadian citizens only. I will announce the winner on July 5th.

Also reviewed at:
A Book Blogger's Diary


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me; I'm just letting you know I posted this as Win a Book.

Anonymous said...

Please throw my name in the hat for this one!


Jaime said...

I'd be interested in winning it! I grew up in Maine and enjoy reading books set there.


Cheryl said...

Sorry to hear you didn't really like this book. It's a bummer when I get a book that I think is going to be really good and than it turns out ok. Luckily this has not happened often but still

Please don't enter me this time. Let someone else win. Thanks

Ti said...

Count me in for the giveaway please!!


jkluginbill said...

Hmmm...Always a bummer not to love a book! Take some and leave some huh?

I would love to read it as I have a bit of summer *stuff* that requires light reading!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting summer read. Since I won your last giveaway, I won't enter this one. I just wanted to put my two cents in. :o)

Amy said...

I'd enjoy the fluffy read. :)

Tina said...

This one is definitely on my to read list - so please throw my name in the hat!

I am blogging about this on my blog:

Thank you so much!

Shipoke Mom said...

Please add my name to the giveaway.

Cheryl Vanatti said...

Please enter me :-)
I have posted a link to your contest on my site RANDOM WONDER

kamewh said...

Sounds interesting!

Michele said...

Bummer that it wasn't great. But I'm good for a beach read. Thanks for sharing!

misty said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity. I'd love to win this book.

planetmisty at gmail dot com

Anna said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Interesting book.

Single myself. So maybe the book will give me some insight. haha.

Please enter me. Thank you.

Carmen T

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! I would love to win. A great summer read and a nice cover.

Everyone have a Happy 4th.


randio said...

Sounds like a good summer read! Thanks

Theresa N. said...

I'd like to read this book.
Theresa N

Rashmi said...

No need to enter me. Just dropped by to say I blogged it @ A Book Blogger's Diary

And thanks for the linky love!

photoquest said...

I would love to be included in your drawing sounds like a book i would really enjoy. photoquest@bellsouth.net

traveler said...

I am fascinated with this book and the author is wonderful. Setting interests me greatly. Thanks for this great giveaway.

Tisa said...

Please count me in! ~ :) Thanks!


pearl said...

Intriguing book. Love summer reading. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Would welcome this new book which looks wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I would enjoy this book. Sounds appealing and my type of novel. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would really enjoy winning this book and reading it myself. Thanks for the giveaway, it is awesome...


windycindy said...

Happy July Fourth! I enjoy reading books about women and their lives and friendships. Please enter me in your book giveaway drawing. I really appreciate it! Thanks, Cindi