Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Thursday, July 03, 2008

Heavenly Love Story As Airy As A Cloud

(Image from Karen Neches' official website)

If you think Heaven is all about angels reclining on clouds plucking harps, you might want to think again. In Earthly Pleasures, novelist Karen Neches (who also writes under the name Karin Gillespie) introduces her less-conventional version of what lies beyond the Pearly Gates. Step into her Heaven and you'll find a glowing metropolis ruled by a female Deity who cracks corny jokes in the voice of Bette Midler. Here, souls teleport between work (as greeters, guardian angels, newscasters, etc.), school (where they can enroll in self [soul?]-improvement courses), and play (including cloud art and night clubs, where alcohol exists, but hangovers don't). It's a place where news reports are always positive, zits are nonexistent, and even rebellious angels can't get into too much trouble.

Skye Sebring loves her celestial life. She's got an exciting job as a greeter, a drop-dead gorgeous boyfriend, and an endless supply of Hershey's Kisses. Unlike many of Heaven's other residents, she has no interest in Earthly goings-on. That is, until Ryan Blaine steps into her cubicle. Ryan, the handsome son of a former U.S. president, sets hearts atwitter on both Heaven and Earth. Skye's determined not to be impressed, but he captures her attention when he exclaims, "I thought I'd never see you again" (58). Before he has time to explain, Ryan is zapped back to Earth. Skye shakes off the experience - she's never stepped on the planet, so obviously she and Ryan have never met - but she can't quite erase him from her thoughts. Suddenly, her interest in Earthly matters skyrocket.

A series of odd dreams unsettles Skye almost as much as her confusing encounter with Ryan. Then, to her shock, she receives an assignment to "return" to Earth. With no memories of a previous life, Skye begins questioning everything she thought she knew about herself. Who is she, really? And why does a mega-celebrity like Ryan Blaine recognize her?

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Ryan grieves for his wife, Susan. A recent brain injury has left her scarred and altered. In fact, Ryan feels as if he's living with a complete stranger - one who acts nothing like her old self. Their once vibrant relationship has become "like a gorgeous Oriental rug spread over a layer of dust and crud" (149). He wants to mend it, but the more he lives with Susan, the more he's convinced that something is seriously wrong. Ryan's not the only one who suspects things are not exactly as they seem. Miles away, Caroline Brodie can't believe her comatose roomie is a former prostitute and drug addict with no hope of recovery. She sets out to prove the doctors wrong, vowing to wake the young woman whose innocent face just can't be that of a lowlife druggie. Up above, guardian angels work overtime to help the Earthlings figure out the puzzle that will piece together Ryan Blaine's broken heart. With a little Divine Intervention, a whole lot of lonely hearts just might be able to find hope and love.

I enjoy the idea of a Heaven/Earth love connection; unfortunately, Earthly Pleasures doesn't quite deliver on its charming premise. I think Neches' idea of Heaven is fun, if simplistic and underdeveloped. It's when the action moves down to Earth that it becomes predictable, even cliche. I wouldn't have minded this, really, because the book is meant to be light and playful, but it gets so contrived I can hardly stand it. Plus, the plot meanders all over the place, introducing all kinds of subplots that are never quite wrapped up. Even the ending only concludes things on one plane, and ambiguously at that. I really wanted a final chapter explaining what happens to Heaven's residents, especially Chelsea, Rhianna, and Brock. Without this, the story ends too abruptly, never quite coming full circle.

If you can overlook these flaws, you'll find that Earthly Pleasures provides a sweet, hopeful story about the power of love. Just don't expect anything too heavy - this one is as light and airy as a cloud.

P.S. Did I mention how much I love the cover of Earthly Pleasures? It really is divine.

Grade: B-


  1. That is an interesting sounding read and one I probably wouldn't have looked at so thanks for the great review, I will try and get a copy.

  2. Great review! I love the cover too - very pretty. The story sounds like it would be a fun one to read, so I will have to keep my eyes out! Thanks!


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive