Monday, March 28, 2011

SO MUCH PRETTY: REVIEW AND BONUS ENTRIES!

 GIVEAWAY ENDED
SO MUCH PRETTY
BY CARA HOFFMAN

REMINDER ABOUT THE BOOK:
Stacy Flynn is a reporter looking for her big break. She moved from Cleveland to Haeden, a rural, upstate New York that counts a dairy farm as its main employer and is home to families who’ve set down roots and never left—people who don’t take kindly to outsiders.  Five months after a local girl disappears, her body is found in a ditch just off one of Haeden’s main roads. Suddenly, Flynn has a big story, but no one wants to talk to her. No one seems to think the killer could still be among them. Alice Piper is a precocious, confident 15-year-old with a genius IQ and strong ideals. 

When Alice reads Flynn’s passionate article in the paper about violence against women—about the staggering number of women who are killed each day by people they know—she begins to connect the dots of Wendy’s disappearance and death, leading her to make a choice: join the rest in turning a blind eye, or risk getting involved. As Flynn and Alice separately observe the locals’ failure to acknowledge a murderer in their midst, Alice’s fate is forever entwined with the victim’s when a second crime rocks the town to its core.  

If you missed my first post about this amazing book, please go HERE to enter for the first part of the entries and entries on this post will be BONUS entries giving you more chances to win!

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT CARA HOFFMAN:
CARA HOFFMAN has won a New York State Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for her work on violence and adolescents and has worked as an investigative reporter covering New York State's rural and Rust Belt communities, where she reported on environmental politics and crime. This is her first novel.
Here is a little more about Cara's views on books and writing:

Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Paul Bowles, Louis Ferdinand Celine, David Wojnarowicz, Zora Neale Hurston, George Orwell, Joan Didion, Simone DeBeauvoir, Hannah Arendt
 
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Close to the Knives, Journey to the End of the Night, Slouching Toward Bethleham, Mules and Men, The Second Sex, Orwell's Essays
 
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Close to the Knives
To read more questions and see Cara's answers, visit "Author Revealed" at Simon & Schuster HERE

MY REVIEW:
Cara Hoffman’s debut novel, SO MUCH PRETTY, is a captivating thriller that is sure to win her many fans. This story will grab your attention as it is disturbing and also might make you angry when the town’s residents ignore a recent murder rather than admit that anything could be wrong in their perfect and peaceful village. The little town is known as Haeden, New York, where the story starts out with young Wendy White happily out on her own for the first time with a job and a boyfriend. Life is good. Good until one day Wendy comes up missing and although her parents are frantic and police investigate, Wendy is nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, Stacy Flynn, a reporter from Cleveland, has come to Haeden to write an investigative piece on the environmental impact of the town’s number one employer, a dairy. The runoff from its farm is quite possibly detrimental, and poisoning animals as well as people who live near the outskirts of Haeden. With the dairy having such a strong presence in the town, this is the last thing that the residents want someone causing trouble about. While Stacy is there, five months after the disappearance, Wendy White’s body is found in a ditch near Haeden. Realizing this may be a bigger story, Stacy gets right on it but gets no cooperation from anybody in town. She can’t understand why they would ignore something like this. Stacy begins to have suspicions about the whole town and everyone in it. They all are just sure it was the deed of a long gone stranger and that’s that!

Meanwhile, the second most important character is that of fifteen-year-old Alice Piper who has moved with her parents, who are both doctors, from New York to what they thought would be a better place to raise their family. Alice is literally a genius and some people think she is too “big city” and has an attitude. Alice is also an accomplished swimmer and remembers Wendy White from the swim team at school. She also doesn’t think things add up in Wendy’s murder.  After reading some of Stacy’s press about how violence against women is often treated differently, Alice has to agree and when another terrible crime happens, she and Stacy are somewhat thrown together. The rest of the town, of course, again assumes it was a stranger and not one of their own.

Will Stacy and Alice be proved right or will they get in so deep that they also are in danger? The narrative takes off on a cunningly dangerous and emotional direction with Cara Hoffman’s very well-controlled writing which includes her narrative using both first and third person point of view. This allows readers to see into all the well drawn characters.  While she keeps readers turning the pages with this fast paced thriller, she also makes a statement on how some political machines can run a town of any size and how environmental issues are always pushing people’s buttons. I think Hoffman did a wonderful job and I eagerly will look forward to her next novel!


GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO KELLY AND MY FRIENDS AT
SIMON & SCHUSTER, I HAVE THREE COPIES
OF THIS SUSPENSEFUL NOVEL TO GIVE AWAY
 
--U.S. AND CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:
BONUS ENTRIES

+1 ENTRY:
COMMENT ON WHAT YOU READ ABOVE INCLUDING MY REVIEW AND TELL ME WHAT IT IS ABOUT THIS BOOK THAT YOU THINK MAKES IT SO DESIRABLE TO READ

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE WAY YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG

+1 MORE ENTRY: CARA HOFFMAN'S FIRST NOVEL, SO MUCH PRETTY, WOULD MAKE A GREAT BOOK CLUB CHOICE. VISIT SIMON & SCHUSTER HERE TO SEE THE READING GROUP GUIDE TO DECIDE IF YOU THINK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AS A BOOK CLUB CHOICE. SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU DON'T WANT TO FIND OUT TOO MUCH DETAIL ON THE STORY, I SUGGEST YOU ONLY READ THE "INTRODUCTION" AND NOT THE "DISCUSSION QUESTIONS"

+1 MORE ENTRY: "FOLLOW" CARA HOFFMAN ON TWITTER HERE AND LEAVE A TWEET ABOUT THIS POST/GIVEAWAY THERE AND PROVIDE A LINK THAT I CAN FOLLOW
 

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, APRIL 3!
 GOOD LUCK!

90 comments:

leanne_mac said...

I love a good thriller that keeps me up all night because I can't put it down and this sounds like that type of book. I also like that the 15 yr old genius is working to solve the crime
leannemacg at gmail.com

leanne_mac said...

I follow you on gfc
leannemacg at gmail.com

leanne_mac said...

http://twitter.com/leanne_mac/status/52225060341166082

leannemacg at gmail.com

leanne_mac said...

I would totally recommend this book to the reading club

leannemacg at gmail.com

Jessica said...

Sounds like a great mystery thriller.

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica said...

I follow you GFC

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Enamored Soul said...

First of all, Karen, thank you at allowing us more chances to win this amazing mystery novel! Thank you for all the opportunities you provide for your readers! :)

Oh, and it's lovely to see yet another author who loves other authors that I love. For example, author Hoffman likes Zora Neale Hurston and George Orwell, those two are also my favorite authors. In addition to this, I find it interesting that sometimes (not always) politics and political agencies make it far more difficult to acquire justice than making it easier, as they should. And that sometimes (again, not always) the truth of the matter is cloaked beneath layers and layers of denial, political propaganda and meaningless rhetoric. All of these elements seem to come to play in this book, which makes me want to read it, and uncover the truth that much more! :) Plus, I also like how the author uses both first-person AND third-person point of view, I think that ought to make the novel more interesting, and multi-faceted.

Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

Enamored Soul said...

I'm a confirmed email subscriber (and GFC Follower): Enamored Soul

Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

Enamored Soul said...

As I read the Introduction from the Reading Group Guide, I almost could not help reading the questions - and I peeked at a few. I would most definitely recommend this novel to a book club.

As a matter of fact, I am part of a book club, an informal sort of book club (since 5/8ths of the club happens to comprise of me and other family members) - and we all read books at the same time, and then call each other to discuss it, or discuss it when we get together for our meets (we sneak in any chance we can to discuss it in between, such as family gatherings and what not!). Since I usually pick the books - I know, for a fact, that this mystery novel would make for a great book club discussion! :)

Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

Enamored Soul said...

I am now following @Carahoffman & tweeted the following:

http://twitter.com/#!/inluvwithbookz/status/52298928426725376

Thanks, again, for hosting this amazing giveaway! :)

Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

debbie said...

I really like the small town that won't admit it is perfect. It then takes an outsider to investigate.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I am a email subscriber.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

bermudaonion said...

I'd like to read this one because you've made it sound like a heart-stopping page turner. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I subscribe via RSS feed in Google Reader. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I would recommend this to my book club, even though there are one or two members who might not enjoy the grittiness of the story. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Tore said...

I love a good thriller also. The book sounds really good. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Pamela Keener said...

I also love a good thriller and I loved your review it makes me want to get that book and read it now.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

I am an e-mail subscriber to your blog.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Colleen Turner said...

Thanks for the review and the extra chances to win! I think I would enjoy this thriller because it seems to highlight how close knit a small town can be and how difficult investigating into a murder can be when noone around you will assist you with any information. I also like that the author is highlighting environmental issues.
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I think this would make a great book for a bookclub. I only read the introduction as I don't want any spoilers :), but it seems like there is just so much to discuss: who murdered the girl, how much outsider involvement should a reporter have in your town, how far should corporations and businesses be allowed to stretch their hands, etc.
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
candc320@gmail.com

PoCoKat said...

Sounds like a great thriller!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

I follow on GFC

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

Yes I would recommend it to a book club.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Misusedinnocence said...

I am so excited to read this book because of the writing style and the content! I read the beginning on teh website and am seriously so excited for it. The writing is brilliant. Reminds me of my first time reading Tori Morrison.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I follow on gfc.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I would totally recommend this to a book club if the rest of the book is as good as the beginning, and it sounds like it only gets better.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

catherine said...

i am up for a good mystery...great summer read.
charlcr(at)aol.com

catherine said...

i have your site in my bookmarks bar so as soon as i go online it pops up. i try to check it everyday. i am not very tech savvy, so this works for me.
charlcr(at)aol.com

traveler said...

This mystery is so appealing and grips me. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I am an e-mail subscriber. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

Great book for a book club. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

Thrillers interest me greatly. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I am a follower. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I would recommend this to a reading club. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I was interested in this book because of it's small town "see no evil" frame of mind---and then I got even more interested when at the very end of your review you mentioned how a political machine can control a town.

suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

Sue Farrell said...

I follow your blog via email

suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

Sue Farrell said...

I think this would be a good book for our local book club because we are a small town---but almost everyone is retired from the big city--so we like to think that everythink is perfect here.

suerfarrell.farrell@gmail.com

Carol N Wong said...

This book sounds like one that you stay up all night to finish it. The small town part of resonates with me. I could easily picture this story happening in another small town that I have been in. My first husband was working as a law clerk there and he introduced me to the people in the firm. Well, we stopped at a little grocery before heading back home and I had this very weird and uncomfortable feeling. People Were staring at us hard like "You don't belong here". The women dressed like in time warp of about twenty years before. Later on, we moved to California and I looked town up on the Internet. I read more about the town's history. It is mysterious and scary at the same time!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

I follow your blog with Goggle Friends Connect.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

This book would great for a book club. I read that the town in the author's book is based on a real town in upstate New York and also a real case.

The book suggestions said that you can ask people to write a short story about someone in the book or about people where you live. I could certainly write about the people in the small town in comment #1!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)

Carol N Wong said...

This book would great for a book club. I read that the town in the author's book is based on a real town in upstate New York and also a real case.

The book suggestions said that you can ask people to write a short story about someone in the book or about people where you live. I could certainly write about the people in the small town in comment #1!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)

Carol N Wong said...

I follow Cara Hoffman on Twitter.

I tweeted:
http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/2011/03/so-much-pretty-review-and-bonus-entries.html Giveaway of 'So Much Pretty'

My Twitter name is Carolee888.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Steve Capell said...

Cara Hoffman’s book looks like a thriller that I would interested in reading. If this is a mixture between The Lovely Bones and The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo I am hooked for sure.

I have so many things to comment about this post. I found it interesting that she wrote her fist draft with her older child punk band practicing in attic of her apartment … talk about distractions.

I also found her list of favorite books to be interesting even though I haven’t read any of them. Her book Journey to the End of the Night by: Celine sounds like an interesting read. This book is from a French author. I have started to enjoy some foreign novels. Stieg Larrson is one that comes to mind at the moment. I may have to read this Celine book.


BTW – Tell your Book Buddy that I am looking forward to reading the post about the audio book coming this week. I went to the Sweet Valley web site as I have never read any of these novels. I really like design of the web site a little different than most authors’ sites … and I LIKE IT!

Connie said...

Hi! I like the fact that the story line is intriguing to me. I know I would spend many hours reading this book. Also, the setting of the book to me is very unique.

Thanks again! :)

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

Connie said...

I am a loyal GFC follower as well.
:)

Have a great day!

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

Margie said...

The small town's reaction to the murder sounds interesting. Sounds like an exciting book, hard to put down. Love those!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

email subscriber
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

I think it would be interesting to discuss how all the pieces of the story fit together to eventually get to the truth, and how they are sometimes taken down the wrong path.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Karen B said...

Small towns seem to hide so many secrets while everyone knows everyone elses business!
kpbarnett1941[at]aol[dot]com

Karen B said...

GFC follower.
kpbarnett1941[at]aol[dot]com

Karen B said...

I would recommend for a book club but I agree with burmudaonion that it might be too much for some members.
kpbarnett1941[at]aol[dot]com

Karen B said...

+5 March bonus for FB fans.
kpbarnett1941[at]aol[dot]com

clenna said...

I think the story with the 15 year old and the reporter is very intriguing. I think they are an unlikely pair , which makes this even better to read.

clenna at aol dot com

clenna said...

I Subscribe to your email.

clenna at aol dot com

clenna said...

I would definitely recommend this book as a Book Club Choice. I love the question, but only read the first few so I wouldn't ruin the story for me.

clenna at aol dot com

bison61 said...

love a good thriller book, interesting with the fifteen-year-old Alice Piper

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Amy said...

Thrillers are very popular and it sounds like Cara Hoffman has written a thriller that is not only a riveting page-turner but is also relevant in our society today with environmental problems cropping up everywhere. Additionally, the small town setting shows us that whether small town or big city, rural oasis or an urban center of steel and concrete, you find all different kinds of people with good and bad intenstions and eventually the truth will come out. There's no place to truly hide.
I for one cnnot pass up a book such as this!

Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

Amy said...

I'm a GFC follower of your blog!

Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

Amy said...

This book would make a wonderful Book Club Choice. Although I tried not to read the questions at Simon & Schuster's sight for Car Hoffman, I couldn't help but see a few and what a discussion this book would engender after the members of the Book Club read it!

Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

Amy said...

I follow Cara Hoffman on Twitter and tweeted this giveaway:
http://twitter.com/#!/Amestir/status/53116010366124032

Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/53190640934203392

(\___/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

mamabunny13 said...

What made me want to read this book is the first paragraph of your review.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I follow your blog via gfc
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I would recommend this book as a book club choice.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I follow Cara Hoffman on twitter @mamabunny13
tweet http://twitter.com/#!/mamabunny13/status/53301564198223872
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Laura said...

This sounds great. I am a follower.
Laura
laura.leahj@gmail dot com

dag888888 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dag888888 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PoCoKat said...

April Fool's Day bonus entry

pocokat AT gmail DoT com

PoCoKat said...

I like Bingo on FB

pocokat AT gmail DOT com

Carol N Wong said...

April Fools!


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Mona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mona said...

I enjoy books with varying points of view b/c it really helps to get a sense of the characters. Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, writes alternating chapters from her different characters' perspectives.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Mona said...

I'm an email subscriber.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Mona said...

I would definitely recommend this as a book club choice b/c there are numerous issues the novel brings up. There is sure to be a lively discussion.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Mona said...

Followed Cara on Twitter(@Kulmona) and tweeted.

http://twitter.com/#!/Kulmona/status/54507414090813440

Mo Agartala@yahoo.com

Laura H. said...

I think what sealed it for me is your description of this book as a page turner thriller and the messages conveyed of controlled political systems and environmental controversy -- issues taken right out of today's headlines.

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

Old GFC follower (Bornajhawk).

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

Oh, this would definitely be a good book for any book club. Just from the synopsis, your review and the "introduction" from the website (didn't read any further because of your spoiler alert warning) I can tell there are multiple issues and topics for some possible "heated" discussions.

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

Follow Cara on Twitter and tweeted giveaway: http://twitter.com/#!/MamaHendo3/status/54598623610142720

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

+1 March FB fan bonus entry (Laura G. Henderson).

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

+2 March FB fan bonus entry (Laura G. Henderson).

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

+3 March FB fan bonus entry (Laura G. Henderson).

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

+4 March FB fan bonus entry (Laura G. Henderson).

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Laura H. said...

+5 March FB fan bonus entry (Laura G. Henderson).

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Sarah E said...

Great review! This book sounds desireable to read because it is suspenseful yet also deals with morals.

bookloversarah at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

Follow via GFC.

bookloversarah at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

I would definitely recommend this book as a book club choice.

bookloversarah at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

Follow the author on Twitter and tweeted:

http://twitter.com/BookLoverSarah/status/54664251452821504

bookloversarah at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

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