Sunday, September 14, 2008

Did I Expect Angels? by Kathryn Maughan plus Weekly Geeks #17 and misc.

Did I Expect Angels? by Kathryn Maughan
Copyright 2007
iUniverse Fiction
172 pages
Author's website
Guest blog at Booking Mama's site by the author, a must read

What led you to pick up this book? Did I Expect Angels? was already on my wish list, thanks to some very positive blog reviews, when I was contacted about reading it for a book tour. Well, of course I jumped all over that offer.

Summarize the plot without giving away the ending. Jennifer Huffaker, a suicidally depressed widow and mother of one, is on the verge of ending her life when a friend shares his own story of grief and becomes, in the process, her angel.

What did you like most about the book? Kathryn Maughan really understands grief and depression. While it was hard reading because it's so emotional, the pages absolutely flew. I could easily imagine a real-life Jennifer and I was rooting for her.

What did you think of the characters? They're a nice, believable mixed bag. Jennifer was actually my least favorite character because, even at her best, she was a little bit odd and not very likable. And, yet, I cared about her in spite of her flaws, probably because the challenges she wrestles with are similar to many of my own or those of people I've been close to. Henry, the friend who shares his story with Jennifer, is both compelling and easy to love. Jennifer's mother-in-law is a woman of amazing strength and compassion.

Recommended? Definitely. I would particularly recommend this book to people who have experienced loss or grief and want to read a book about finding hope. But, it's just an all-around good read. Not for when you're in a fluff mood; it's quite emotional.

Cover thoughts: I'm not sure I quite understand the purpose of a scratched-out cherub statue, but at the same time I love this cover. From the first time I saw it I thought it might, in some way, represent frustration, depression or grief. It's an unusual, eye-catching image and I think it's representative of the emotions in this book. Definitely a winner.

Coming up:

Reviews of High Altitude Leadership, Eleanor Rigby and Chameleon, Butterfly, Dragonfly

Now waffling:

Can't seem to decide what to read next, although I've started several. Nothing is grabbing me. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Weekly Geeks #17
looks too fun to pass up. And, Dewey, the sign means "Live long and prosper."

This week's activity is a quote a day. No stealing is allowed, but that's from other blogs. I assume I can steal from a good book. This quote was taken from the pages of Chameleon, Butterfly, Dragonfly by Cindy Silbert:

The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.

--Oprah Winfrey

Of course, this shatters my belief that the meaning of life is 42.

Husband is off to Hawaii, without me, and his alarm didn't go off -- neither one of us heard it, at any rate. So, I was rudely awakened by a spouse-in-a-hurry at about 5:15 a.m. I'm going back to bed. When I wake up, I'll ponder what to read.

Happy Sunday!


  1. I've been lusting after this cover all over the blogosphere! I'm glad to hear it lived up to the cover even if the content is slightly unrelated.

    And boooo to the hubs! I hope he has a great time, but it's one of life's great screw ups that you didn't get to go with him!

  2. Nancy
    I have the opposite problem right now. I have so many books calling my name I almost can't stand being in my room. ;) I am semi-behind on getting some nonfiction books read to post for tours because I just received about ten fiction books I am dying to read. Also the library is part of the culprit for me getting behind because In the past month I have read all the Hannah Swenson mysteries and I am reading all the books by Helene Hanff that they have. She writes nonfiction. :) So today I have to focus on nonfiction more than ficton. :)

  3. "Of course, this shatters my belief that the meaning of life is 42."...hmmm, you're not the only one feeling a little disillusioned.

    The book does sound like a good one! One I'd definitely have to be in the right mood for though.

  4. Wow! This book sounds really interesting. Thanks for the review!

  5. Andi,

    I think it's an excellent story. Funny about the lusting. Me, too. I've had Did I Expect Angels? on my wish list since the first review I read. It's very emotional reading, but I really enjoyed it and had trouble putting it down.

    Oh, that husband -- he's always going nice places without me. I get so sick of being left behind. Some day I'm just going to go somewhere fabulous without him.


    That's part of my problem, actually. I have so many books calling me that I can't decide. But, I also have a log and try to read them as close to the order they arrive as I can. Sometimes you just don't feel like reading any of the books on your ARC stacks, you know? I have a pile of library books I need to dig into -- maybe that will help. I have made it my policy that I will read books for blog tours by the stated date, but if I feel like reading books off my own shelf or from the library, I'm going to inject them into the reading, period. I refuse to be completely scheduled in my reading.

    I have to go make sure I put 84 Charing Cross Road on my wish list. I keep forgetting about that. Thanks for mentioning Hanff!

  6. Debi,

    Disillusioned, definitely. I lean on the number 42. It gives me purpose.

    I think you do have to be in the right mood to read this book because it's about grief and severe depression, but at the same time . . . very uplifting ending. So, you can go into it knowing it ends well.


    You're welcome! If you read the book, please come back and tell me. I'd love to read your thoughts. :)

  7. --> Of course, this shatters my belief that the meaning of life is 42.

    I just can't stop laughing at that :D

  8. Ooh, a reference I DO get! I know about 42. ;)

  9. Lightheaded,

    Stop that laughing! 42 is serious business. ;)


    Methinks Mr. Adams' influence has reached far and wide. But farther than Spock? I'm shocked! :)

  10. I laughed for a good minute at the 42 too :D

    Can't wait to see what you thought of Eleanor Rigby. It's one of my favourite books.

  11. Sounds like an emotionally charged book--I can only handle those every so often as I tend to be a very emotionally charged person anyway. I've been seeing it around though, and the cover is indeed intruging.

    Man, your husband is all over the place!! At times I think I'd like to have a job like that, but I think it would also get exhausting. Never been to Hawaii--Wendy's recent posts about her trip have really made me want to go, though.

  12. Nymeth,

    I think it's great how many of you guys understand the 42 comment! Forget Oprah. Doug was my hero. :)

    I'll try to get to Eleanor Rigby soon, but I can tell you I adored the ending. Coupland (another Doug!) has a unique way of infusing his books with spirituality and hope. I say that having read only two, but so far that's what I'm seeing in his books.


    Yep, definitely. I have trouble with that, too, so you may occasionally notice my comments about how I love "sweetness and light". Yet, I often end up reading books that are extremely emotional. I guess I like a book that's emotionally engaging, but I get upset if a story is completely depressing and there's no light at the end of the tunnel. "Hope" is an important word to me (I need all of it I can get).

    Hubby is a million-miler so, yeah, he's all over the place. I got to tag along to Hawaii in December of 2007, but this is his third trip there. Unfair!!!

  13. Anonymous10:01 PM

    Sheesh. HI?

    I'm too busy Not Knitting to read anything but blogs (until I get a package in the mail).

    Adrienne might really like that book.

  14. Carrie,

    It's okay, you're allowed a day or two of forgetting everyone else exists and just knitting like a crazy woman. You might not want to hold your breath, though. Postal workers can be soooo slow.

    I think you might be right. It sounds like an Adrienne book, just from what little I remember of what you've said. Which isn't much. Okay, just ignore this paragraph.


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