The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon | Book Review

After reading my friend Stacy’s review on this book, I immediately added it to my Goodreads list. Political scandal, mystery, the 1930s and based off a real life event? You know I’m in! So when my book club was picking our next book club book, I threw this one out and my friends thought it sounded just as intriguing as I did.

They say behind every great man, there’s a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge’s wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge’s bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband’s recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city’s most notorious gangster, Owney “The Killer” Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge’s involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge’s favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks—one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale—of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages.

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Here’s the thing you need to know. Once you finish this book you may or may not spend a significant amount of time going on an internet research spree. Because OF COURSE I need to know about the real case and all it entailed. Shady McShady. Just say no to the mob internet.

Sneaky Mrs. Lawhon. Sneaky! With engaging writing, twisting plots and SAY WHA? type moments, this book will keep you hooked from the first page and guessing until the last. Not only are there fantastic descriptions of the time period (think corruption, politics, Broadway and jazz clubs), Lawhon creates layered characters who keep you guessing, and whether or not you like them, you’re intrigued by them. I thought what Lawhon did with each woman (their stories and descriptions) was creative and so good!

Starting in 1969 and then flashing back to the time of the disappearance, the flashbacks and flashforwards work for this novel and add to the intrigue and surprises. I really enjoyed this one! It’s not the happiest of all stories, but history doesn’t always end up that way. It’s a time period I’m fascinated with and who isn’t intrigued by the power the mob had, along with the police and political corruption? There’s a quote I really REALLY want to share, but that would give it all away, so if you’ve read it, then we can chat and I’ll tell you my favorite quote :).

Did you know of the famous Joseph Crater’s disappearance? What are some of your favorite mob or political novels?

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

11 Things You Need to Know if You Decide to Start Watching The Walking Dead

Y’all. There are approximately 74 days until the start of Season 5 of The Walking Dead. Much too long if you ask me, but since this show gives us ample time to sit and bemoan the waiting period, this also presents the opportunity to catch up on the previous seasons. See that? Silver lining everywhere! So if you don’t watch the show, guess what? GET ON IT. But I should warn you, there are things you need to know before you commit yourself.

I just want you to be prepared because that’s the kind of person I am. Also, you’re welcome. So here’s 11 helpful pieces of insight.

1. You’ll spend hours M-F discussing theories to only have them completely destroyed on Sunday evening.
2. You’ll want to take crossbow training.
3. You’ll discuss what your plan would be if the zombie apocalypse happened, you know, because that’s totally possible.
4. You’ll find yourself at Comic Con for the first time in your life because you have a chance to meet the actors (and by actors, I mean Norman Reedus).
5. You’ll become part of this secret clan who can say things like “Look at the flowers” and “Claimed!” and you’ll know exactly what these things mean. It’s like a secret language.

Free tip: If someone tells you to look at the flowers, RUN.

6. Your heart will occasionally explode.
7. You may or may not research the benefits of various weapons that are on the show.
8. Not matter if you’re introvert or extrovert, if you’re in a room of strangers and someone mentions The Walking Dead, suddenly you’ll enter the conversation uninvited. It happens.
9. Sunday nights will no longer be dreaded. How can they be when The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead await?
10. Don’t start the show without tissue. Don’t think you’ll cry in a zombie apocalypse show? FALSE. You can and you will.
11. And since you’ll have all episodes at your disposal, don’t expect to only watch one. Nope….you’ll get through season 1 in one sitting (it’s only 6 episodes).

And you know what? Even with all the crazy that comes with watching this show: It’s worth every second!

Did I miss anything fellow fans? Also, thanks to my friend Emily, we can now have rock solid abs and be fit as a fiddle by watching The Walking Dead. Who is with me?! ;)

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The Inkling Series Badges!!

I’ve gushed about The Sketch Effect before (my blog banner :) :)) and now it’s time to throw my hands up in the air and wave ‘um like I just don’t care because look at these!!! Eeeee!!!! I love love love them and thank you so much Sketch Effect! I’m excited to use these for the announcement and discussion posts!

If you want to use them for your blog, please do!! I’ve included the codes to copy and paste for you!

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<a href=”http://booksandbeverages.org/about/inklings-series/”><img class=”aligncenter size-medium wp-image-4835″ src=”http://booksandbeverages.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Inklings_SketchA-300×300.jpg” alt=”Inklings_Sketch(A)” width=”300″ height=”300″ /></a>

Inklings_Sketch(b)

<a href=”http://booksandbeverages.org/about/inklings-series/”><img class=”aligncenter size-medium wp-image-4836″ src=”http://booksandbeverages.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Inklings_Sketchb-300×300.jpg” alt=”Inklings_Sketch(b)” width=”300″ height=”300″ /></a>

A Birthday Bash & A Break!

Happy Monday internet!! So today is officially my birthday :) and to celebrate turning 30 + some, I thought it would be fun to give away a set of books!

Also, last week I had an epiphany. While I was stressed out about being behind on blogging (I blame Delta and American, red eye flights that weren’t supposed to happen and starting the week off in Memphis when Memphis was never in the travel plans ;), I decided I’d take my birthday week off from blogging (minus this fun giveaway of course!) and then thought it might be something nice to do annually. So there you have it, my first annual week break. I know…I made it sound so dramatic, but since I never break unless I’m out of the country, I thought I’d take my own advice. :)

Alright, here’s the birthday stash and thanks for stopping by!

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Any guesses why 5 books? I’ll give you a hint – it’s something to do with my age :)

P.S. The newsletter will be out this week, so sign up if you haven’t! I’m all about subscriber only giveaways.

P.P.S. If you missed it, check out what’s up next for the Inklings Series. Woot!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll still be around checking blogs, twitter and such, but I’ll see y’all back on the blog in a week!

The Study Bible for Women | Book Review

There’s not too much to introduce when reviewing a bible right? If you love Jesus, then I’m thinking you love this book too, so let’s get right to it with this women’s study bible!

The Study Bible for Women will equip you to reach deep into God’s Word. Perhaps the single most powerful aspect of this Bible are the “threads” of specialized study thoughtfully woven throughout, pointing you to God’s larger story and allowing the Holy Spirit to write His revealed truths on your heart.

In The Study Bible for Women, you’ll join a host of other women, all academically trained in the original languages of the Bible and passionate about God’s Word, for an intimately deep dive into Scripture that will equip you to unlock the riches and majesty of His Word, and ignite a passion to mentor others in your life to do the same. The Study Bible for Women includes the full text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a clear, contemporary English translation that’s faithful to the original languages of the Bible.

Features include extensive commentary notes, word studies, answers to hard questions, doctrinal notes, Biblical womanhood articles, character profiles, Written on My Heart applications, extensive book introductions, presentation pages, in-text maps, charts & timelines, full-color maps section and concordance.

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Let’s Talk Aesthetics

Labeled as the Teal and Sage LeatherTouch, it’s so pretty! It’s quality and long lasting, so this one will be able to weather the storms of life. There’s also a few glossy pages in the beginning to record important moments in history (whether a wedding, a family event or your family tree).

THE MAPS ARE IN COLOR. And vibrant color too! There’s maps throughout the pages, but the end ones are really pretty! It might seem like a random fact to point out, but I really like them.

As you can tell from the images, the pages are also pretty – with a teal vignette, highlighted features and clear notes/commentary.

Holman Christian Standard Bible

Confession. I’ve never heard of this translation before and its roots go back to 1984 and Holman Bible Publishers are the oldest Bible Publishers in America. Oops. But good news, nothing heretical here folks! Not that I thought it would be ;), but just letting the World Wide Web know. They explain the purpose behind their translation well in the helpful introductions:

“The name, Holman Christian Standard Bible, captures theses goals: Holman Bible Publishers presents a Bible translation, for Christian and English-speaking communities, which will be a standard in Bible translations for years to come.”

They also have a bit different formatting than what I’m used too (mainly NIV or NASB), but they explain what and why, so you know what bullet points, specific typesetting, italics and other such things mean. They do an excellent job of explaining the translation.

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The Spiritual Stuff

I’m a real fan of the extras this bible has. It’s what really makes this study bible stand out. Here’s a look at some of them:

Answers to Hard Questions: Throughout the Bible, hard questions are brought up, to wrestle though, think through and read scripture about. Questions like: Did Paul hate women? Does God care about victims of rape? What to do with temptation? How could a good God allow evil to commit atrocities? Why is the Bible considered different from other books? Backed by scripture, the variety of questions will help you learn, but also better equip you.

Biblical Womanhood Articles: Another fabulous aspect of this study bible are these articles which share insight on various topics and issues we women think about. Articles like “Inner Beauty,” “A Woman Who Fears the Lord,” “Antidote for Worry,” “Sexual Integrity,” “Submission in Marriage,” & “Sisters in Christ.” Of course there are several other topics, but they are really helpful and insightful!

Character Profiles: These were fabulous as well. Each provides a quick snapshot of the woman’s background, her story and life lessons. There’s so much to learn from the incredible women in the bible (and the not so incredible ones), I found these profiles valuable.

Written on My Heart Applications: These short and sweet paragraphs are sprinkled throughout, encouraging women in ways to grow in faith. I know I can always use encouragement.

Book Introductions: These are some of the best introductions. Not only to they offer a timeline, the basic who/what/when/where, but also why women should read it. There’s also helpful outlines for my fellow planners.

I love this bible! It’s worth every penny. I most definitely will be using for my quiet times. I also think it would make a beautiful gift for those looking for something extra special. What about you? Do you have a favorite bible version?

(Thank you B&H Publishing for the copy in exchange for my honest review)

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Books