Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Tour and Review: Commune of Women by Suzan Still

Commune of Women 
Commune of Women by Suzan Still
Publisher: Fiction Studio
Publish Date: July 16, 2011
Paperback, 350 pages 
 ISBN: 978-1936558162

My Review:
My thoughts:  I found Commune of Women to be a fascinating look at what could happen if 5 women were stuck together in a room under harsh circumstances for 4 days.  What would they do?  How would they react?  Could they break through their differences and see each other as equal women?  Ms. Still examines all of these questions and more in Commune of Women.

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish.  Yes there were a few time I felt a little lag, but then the story would pick up again.  I would have to put it down to do something mundane like go to work and I would find myself thinking about one of the women and thinking about what might happen next.  I could find a little of myself in each of the women and I found a little something I didn't like in each of the women.  Too haughty, too fat, too standoffish, that one sleeps on the street.  Ms. Still handles all of this and so much more in interesting ways that captivate you and make you think about how you view the world and how you view other women around you.  At least I did.

You also get the viewpoint of the sole woman of the terrorist group.  I found this view fascinating.  What made her tick.  And it was a look into the group itself.  This added that little something extra to the book that made it that much more to me and kept me reading and reading to find out what would happen to everyone at the end.

I found Commune of Women to be well-written.  I had trouble with Pearl's parts because they are written the way she talks, but once I got into the rhythm of the way she speaks I figured it out (and it makes sense for the author to do it this way to show the differences).  The book held my attention most of the time and I cared about most of the characters and wanted to see what would happen to each of them.  Most of them left an impression on me and to me that is the mark of a good book.

If you enjoy books that take good looks into the characters then this is a book for you, especially if you like to see how women act and react around each other.  Commune of Women is interesting and an eye-opening read.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About Suzan Still

Suzan StillSuzan Still holds a masters in art and writing and a doctorate in depth psychology. A retired university professor, she also taught creative writing in a men’s prison, where she became increasingly concerned with issues of social disenfranchisement. She lives in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband and an assortment of rescued fur children.
You can visit Suzan at http://suzanstillcommune.blogspot.com





About Commune of Women

What happens when ordinary citizens, going about their daily plans, suddenly encounter their worst nightmare? That is a question the women of Commune of Women are about to answer.
Commune of WomenOn an ordinary Los Angeles morning, seven women converge upon LAX for various purposes. Suddenly, in the midst of the crowded terminal, disaster strikes. Each woman spies her only chance at survival and races into the tiny staff room that is to be her home for the next four days. By the first night, they have rudimentary knowledge of one another: Sophia is a powerful, 60-ish woman who is unaccountably adept at the arts of survival; Pearl, an ancient bag lady, part-Black, part-Choctaw, is resourceful and unafraid; Erika , a top executive, has had her business trip cut short by a bullet in the shoulder; Heddi, a Jungian analyst already stressed by marital problems, knows she must use her psychological skills to help the others; Betty, an overweight, histrionic, 50-ish housewife, can’t stand the sight of blood or the thought of how she’s driven her entire family away; and Ondine, a sylph-like, 40ish artist, wealthy, unhappy and neurotic, has inherited a home in France. For four days, united by their common will to survive, the women learn to cooperate and to both entertain and sustain themselves by telling their life stories, which grow darker and more intimate as the days pass.
Meanwhile, Najat, the sole female among her group, the Brothers, has been abandoned by her male companions in a control room with a bank of monitors giving a view of the entire terminal and of televised rescue efforts, where she struggles between her own conscience and the dictates of her group.

Read the Excerpt!

Day Two
Well, Heddi’s quite sure she’s never spent a more miserable night in her entire life. She rubs the bruises from yesterday’s pile-up gingerly. Her watch says its 5:14, but you’d never know if that was morning or afternoon, in here. Isn’t there a law against building rooms without windows? Some fire code, or something?
Pretty soon these women are going to be waking up and Heddi dreads it. She wishes they could all just lie here, absolutely still, until the police come for them. Being caged up with all these women and their anxieties today is going to be like running the group therapy session from hell.
Already, she hears someone moving over by the machines. She opens her eyes just a slit, not letting on she’s awake . . .
Oh, it’s the Bruegel.
Look at that old sneak! She tiptoes over to the table. Takes some coins. Tiptoes back to the machines. Looks around. . . Puts in a coin. The noise of it dropping is like a freight train rolling through. Looks around again . . . No one stirring. Drops in another coin . . . and another, until there’s a soft whack, as a cup drops, and then the sound of coffee squirting into it.
The smell fills the room.
Still no movement from the others. Maybe they’re all dead from shock. Surely, they can’t have slept through that old reprobate’s performance.
There she sits on her blanket, leaning against the machine with her pillow behind her, sipping her coffee like the Queen of Sheba.
What’s she doing now?
Rustle, rustle, rustle.
Enough noise to wake the dead–so Heddi guesses the others aren’t, after all.
Oh! . . . I don’t believe this! A pipe?! The woman smokes a pipe?
Sure enough. The Brueghel’s packing her pipe with . . . what? Marijuana? No. Smells like tobacco. Heddi’s a Virginia girl–she’d know the smell of tobacco, anywhere.
She’s striking the match–that sharp smell of sulfur!
Sulfur, coffee, tobacco smoke. Cheap coffee. Cheap tobacco smoke–the lowest grade. But what smells! Elemental smells of Heddi’s childhood. Those, and horse sweat, oiled leather, hay, kerosene from the stable lanterns. She can almost hear Tobias nickering for his morning apple and Amos, in that baritone that could soothe a skittish horse–or a frightened child–saying, “We-e-e-ll, good mornin’ there, Miss Heddi. You up bright an’ early, dis mornin’.”
And little Heddi, barely up to his kneecaps, smiling at his mock surprise, with one hand on her hip: “Amos, you know I come here this time, every morning!”
And Amos, beaming in feigned confusion: “Is dat so, Miss Heddi? Now, how could I a forgot dat?”
Another elemental: her first flirtation. Those early morning exchanges with Amos filled her empty little heart and set high her expectations for all of male-female love: it would be tender, humorous and gallant. It would always cherish and honor her.
Yes, Amos, wherever you are, I am up bright an’ early dis mornin’. And you would never, ever believe this world I’ve awakened to. Thank God you lived out your life among pitchforks and currycombs! You were made of too fine a stuff for the Age of AK-47s.

FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher through Pump Up Your Book Promotion for an honest review. 

Character This or That: Zander from The Vision by Jen Nadol

Today I am talking with Zander from The Vision by Jen Nadol and he's just answering my This or That pairings.  You can find out more about The Vision after Zander's pairings and my review of The Vision is coming in October.
Mustang or Camaro?  Mustang, I guess.  Both are hot, but sometimes subtlety is more attractive than flashiness.

Pizza or Sushi?  Either.  I’m not picky about food.

Girls with piercings or without?  Ditto.  Just kidding ;)  Girls with piercings are interesting.  So are girls without.  There are so many other things that are more important.

Watch it at home on video or at the movies?
  Depends on the movie.  And who I’m with.

Beach or Mountains?  Beach.  Especially in the Mediterranean.

Wii or Xbox?
  I’m not a gamer

Facebook or Twitter?  Or a networker

Call or Text?  Text

Sweet or Salty?  Salty

Spring or Summer?
  Summer.  Love the sun, the hotter, the better.  I have no idea why my mom has us living in Chicago.

Before a date:  Flowers or Candy?  Whichever she prefers, though my choice would be flowers.

PDA or no PDA?  PDA, but save the heavy stuff for private

The Vision by Jen Nadol
Cassie Renfield knows the mark tells her when someone is going to die and that she can intervene and attempt to change fate. But she still doesn't understand the consequences, especially whether saving one life dooms another. With no family left to offer guidance, Cassie goes in search of others like her. But when she meets Demetria, a troubled girl who seems to have the power of the Fates, Cassie finds the truth isn't at all what she expected. And then there's her heady new romance with bad boy Zander. Dating him has much graver repercussions than she could ever have imagined, forcing Cassie to make choices that cut to the essence of who she is and what she believes.