Tag Archives: Boston

Milkshake by Joanna Weiss


Milkshake by Joanna WeissGlamorous Candace Calloway is running for governor of Massachusetts, and while men love her — in every way –she can’t seem to win over women voters. Then her campaign manager spots a news story about Lauren Bruce, who had a wardrobe malfunction while nursing her baby in public. Now, Candace is championing Lauren’s cause, helped by the breastfeeding activists who call themselves the BOOBs. Her opponent has aligned with the newly formed Mothers on Modesty (MOMs). And Lauren is caught in the middle, trying to navigate the world of campaigns as she also deals with breast pumps, talk show hosts, perfect-mommy friends, and post-baby sex. MILKSHAKE is a satiric novel about the absurdities of motherhood, breastfeeding, and politics.

I think I might have picked up Milkshake as a free book on Amazon, after I heard about it from Linda Gillard, via her Facebook page, where she sometimes tells people about the other authors in the League of Extraordinary Authors. Anyway, how I found the books isn’t really relevant, but what I thought of the book when I got around to reading it is.

I mostly read on the bus to & from work & this book was another example of me sitting there chuckling to myself, while I am sure my fellow passengers were wondering what was so funny.

Milkshake is about Lauren Bruce, a new mom who is kind of lost. Lost in her new role, feeling like she has lost herself, her identity & is not entirely sure she’s up to the task of being a mom & making all of the right decisions for her baby. Then Lauren heads to the museum with her friend Mia, who is a bit of a militant on all things “Mom” & “Baby” – Mia has all the right answers, or so it seems to Lauren. While at the museum Lauren sits down (at Mia’s instance), in the middle of one of the exhibits & starts to breastfeed her daughter. Then everything goes very wrong & before she knows it, Lauren is the latest  cause célèbre & involved in a tug-of-war between the pro breastfeeding (The BOOBS) camp & the pro-choice/pro-bottle (The MOMS) camp,  a pawn stuck in the middle in the Gubernatorial race.

Milkshake is a funny look at what is a very emotive issue – a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby in public, without having to worry about being hassled by the “decency” police, but it is also a look at a woman’s right to make a choice – the best choice for her & for her baby – and not be vilified by the other camp for the choice she has made, or has had to make.

I am not a mother myself, so have never had to make these kinds of choices, but Milkshake still really appealed to me. I loved the characters, Lauren, Mia, the Senator & the Senator’s campagne manager were all likeable &  funny in equal measures. Lauren manages to get herself into some very funny & tricky situations (love the breast pump!) & just when things are spiraling out of control Lauren manages to redeem herself & her dignity.

From what I have read Milkshake was the debut novel for Ms Weiss – and a very good one it is!

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At Risk by Patricia Cornwell

It could be said that I am was an avid fan of Ms. Cornwell’s writing, with her Kay Scarpetta series being a must read for fans of the murder mystery genre. But, like so may series’, the Scarpetta one got stale & unbelievable. After reading The Book of the Dead I decided that I was not  going to waste my time with any more books from the Scarpetta series, which means that there are 3 Scarpetta books I haven’t read (& am very reluctant to read).

At Risk is the first in a new series of books by Patricia Cornwell, featuring Win (Winston) Garano.  I was really hoping that this was going to be a brilliant series, like the early Scarpetta books were, but it wasn’t. At risk is little better than 200 pages in length – definitely not long enough to develop a plot in a murder mystery or have any kind of character development, which is such a shame because this does have the bone of a fantastic book. Instead, it ends up feeling like something that was hastily thrown together – either that or a poor attempt at a first novel by an as-yet unpublished author.

The story itself sees Win return from Knoxville Tennessee, to Massachusetts (Boston, I think), at the behest of his boss, Monique Lamont. Lamont, who is looking to run for Governor, dreams up an idea to solve cold cases in other states using new cutting edge DNA techniques. Lamont calls the scheme At Risk, with the slogan “Any crime, any time” & chooses a cold case (ironically) from Knoxville as the fist case of the scheme. Garano has the potential to be an excellent lead character, as long as any future books are developed a la Scarpetta, which I understand has not happened.

I appreciate that this was originally published as a serial for The New York Times, but one would have thought that if Cornwell had intended to then publish this as a novel, that she would have fleshed it out & developed the plot, using the serial as the basis for the book, not just shoving it between to hard covers & calling it a book! That didn’t happen, which means that this book left a very sour taste in my mouth & has left me even more reluctant to read any of her future books.

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