When Ariel Baxter meets her new neighbor, Justine Miller, she thinks, "I want what she has." Justine's world of clutter-free counters, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques sparks her admiration. But when she hears rumors about Justine's real home life, she wonders . . . is Justine's "perfection" too good to be true?
Average Customer Rating:
(11 Reviews) 11
Rating Snapshot(11 reviews)
10 out of 1191%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
I started out thinking this was going to be a very shallow book. What a wrong impression! It would be a good gift for someone that may be headed for trouble, with fantasy romantic thinking. Seems shallow at first, almost quit reading it, but really tells a great story for today's easy divorce thinking! Well written!
This book was an unexpected WOW! I thought it was going to be "lite chick lit"-- but it went much deeper! For every woman who compares herself to the others around her and finds herself SO inadequate--this message is for you! Each of us should appreciate who God has made us to be and where he has planted us instead of trying to be "perfect" like our neighbor seems to be. Great Read!
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Review 3 for She Makes It Look Easy
Date:November 4, 2011
GOOD BOOK MAKES YOU THINK THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE.
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Review 4 for She Makes It Look Easy
Not the typical Christian novel!
Date:October 3, 2011
Nebraska Family Times
Review by Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher
She Makes it Look Easy is not a typical “everything-works-out-perfectly-in-the-end” Christian novel. The book delves into the lives of three families and the impacts of the choices husbands and wives make. You might find yourself shocked to find that some of the outwardly “perfect” Christian characters make very bad choices…and you might find yourself closely identifying with several of the characters as well.
I was immediately drawn into the lives of the characters in She Makes it Look Easy. The story is told from the alternating views of the central characters, Justine and Ariel. Justine Miller makes it all look “easy” with her perfectly clean home, perfectly groomed children, and perfectly organized life. Under the “perfect,” however, are dark motives and desires.
Ariel Baxter’s family is “moving on up” when they move into Essex Falls, an upscale neighborhood. Justine quickly introduces herself to her new neighbor Ariel and offers to help Ariel organize her life. Soon, however, Ariel suspects that Justine has motives beyond helping a new friend. When she delves deeper into Justine’s actions she discovers a secret that Justine has been keeping.
Justine and Ariel both face difficult choices, and you’ll be wondering until the final chapter if they’ll do the right thing.
She Makes it Look Easy reminded me of several things; first of all, when I find myself too eager to please someone who makes me feel bad about myself, that person is not a friend. Second, I was reminded not to judge people who seem to “have it all together;” they might be hiding a secret, or they might need a friend. And third, no matter how much I want to be a friend, there are times that doing the right thing is more important than a not-so-true friendship.
Even if you usually don’t enjoy fiction, I encourage you to read She Makes it Look Easy.
Ariel Baxter has always dreamed of living in Essex Falls. The suburbian life woos her into thinking she can have the perfect life. The perfect house. The white picket fence. The adoring husband. The well-behaved children. The perfect friends. An organized life is what she desires.
And Justine appears to have it all. But does she?
And will Ariel fall into Justine's trap? Or will she find the courage to stand for what is truly right in life?
Marybeth Whalen has written another incredible novel. I consider it to be a well-written, suspenseful-suburban-women-life read. It touches on a topic that would make most Christian women cringe but is extremely relevant in the lives of many women around us. I applaud her for the honesty of her characters and the fact that she never once sugar-coats or underplays the issue at hand. This book is a bold statement many women should not ignore.
Let me start this review with one word...superb. The writing, the storyline, everything. There's probably no telling how many times this story has played out in it's entirety in real life, which in and of itself, is quite scary among Christian circles. It's a story that will always stick out in mind as a gentle reminder that "the grass is not always greener on the other side."
I couldn't help but think of myself standing in front of a mirror and finding Ariel's reflection looking back at me. There were so many similarities between us that I felt like the only thing different about us was our first name. Like Ariel, I feel like I'm constantly making mental checklists to get things done, and often forgetting about the little things but remembering the important things. And also like Ariel, I've had those thoughts of inadequacy because I don't always have the cleanest house, or I've forgotten to put my makeup on, or I didn't have enough time to make dinner from scratch. In spite of my imperfections, though, I'm thankful that I have a husband who loves me wholly and completely. Ariel's husband did, too...it just seemed to take him a little longer to show it.
And Justine...whew! That girl just needed to slow down! Well, that and a few other things which I won't mention, lest I spoil the story for anyone. I couldn't help but feel pity for her, and wonder how she could possibly be happy with her life. It didn't take me long to realize how truly unhappy she really was. In the end, her Southern Living facade came down quicker than a house of cards, and she had no one to blame but herself.
Suffice it to say that Marybeth Whalen's books will always be on my radar! I can't believe this book has been under my nose for weeks now, and it took me *that* long to pick it up and read it. And trust me when I say...this is one of those books that will have you saying "just one more chapter and then, I'll go to sleep." Yeah, right. :o)
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Review 7 for She Makes It Look Easy
Beautiful Cautionary Tale
Date:August 23, 2011
I devoured this book, though it haunted me. Whalen has an uncanny ability to capture the mind of a woman and reveal how thoughts can become devastating actions. Her characters are spot-on real, so much so I wanted to yell at them! I loved that this story moved in the direction it did, as it served as a beautiful cautionary tale. Excellent writing, page turning story.
Justine, mom to 2 young girls whose best friend has moved away from the house behind her finds that her life lacks pizzazz. Most people around her seem to think she has it all together but there are those who truly know her best. Ariel, mom to 3 young boys moves into the house vacated by Justines best friend could use some advice when it comes to being organized and finds the new neighbor has just the plan. The 2 become friends finding themselves not just talking across the fence but discovering there is more than being "just neighbors". This book will tickle your funny bone(especially Ariel's boys) but at the same time it will tear at your heartstrings. The author tackles sensitive issues while creating well developed characters. Book flowed well and quickly became hard to put down. Spend some time getting to know these two women, their families, friends and other neighbors! Highly recommended!
The grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence doesn't it? We see someone with a smile and think their life is downright near perfection. As women it's a trap we fall into. We tend to gaze across the fence row trying to catch a glimpse of perfection, instead of looking into our own window of imperfection.
"She Makes It Look Easy" is a book all women will be able to relate to. Ariel Baxter is new to the neighborhood. She is moving into her dream home. The home she has been pestering her husband about for a while now. Ariel, is a wife and a mother of three boys. She feels like we all feel at one time or another. There has to be more. She looks across the back yard and sees the home of her new friend, Justine Miller, who smiles everywhere she goes. You know these women. They look as if they have it all together. They seem to know how to do everything. Her home is not only spotless, but she can cook too! Justine seems to have a clutter-free life, but as Ariel befriends her, she soon finds out there might be a few weeds in that perfectly manicured lawn.
MaryBeth Whalen brings us her second novel. This one is much different than, "The Mailbox". Both are beautifully written, but "She Makes It Look Easy", is written on a deeper level. Whalen, dives into the subjects of betrayal and adultery, which come in many different forms. I loved this book. Ariel, is a great character. There is a little, Ariel, in all of us. She is knee deep in chores and is desperately looking to move forward. She is deeply looking for friendship and belonging. She finds friendship with, Justine, but is it really what she is looking for? These two characters seem so different on the outside, but on the inside, they both are searching for the same things. Love and acceptance.
Justine, who appears to have it all together, befriends everyone new to the area. Justine is trying to show others how to be organized, how to be the perfect wife and mother, but she is helpless in finding peace in her own life. She is striving for perfection, but everything seems to be falling apart. Instead of being honest, she puts on the face. I am guilty of this too! Which brings us to ask ourselves, "Can we be content?"
Throughout these pages we see how women can be caddy. We see how we can be blinded by envy.We too see what happens as we fall into gossip and judge the newbies in our area without first knowing them. We see friendship at it's finest and it's worst. This is a book about real life. Real struggles. What we face day to day and just how easy it is to fall into the traps that Satan sets for us. This is one of those great reads that will make you take a look into your own life and help you to realize what is really important.
This book was a gift from David C. Cook Publishing for it's review.
This is a fascinating storyline that gives you one story from multiple angles. It took me a moment to get used to the story going back and forth between the perspectives of the two main characters, but after the first few chapters I really enjoyed it. This back-and-forth format brought to life the depth of each character in a way that was so easy to relate to and I found myself sympathizing with various emotions from each person. She Makes It Look Easy expertly uncovers and opens for all to see that someone's life as we see it may not be at all what it appears to be.
While I really enjoyed the way this book approached an all too common occurrence in our world today, I also walked away feeling quite unsettled. Such a raw and close up look at the slow fade to adultery was border-line scary. I do believe that there can be a healthy fear that leads to better self - and in this case marital - examination, but I am just not sure that this book is the proper tool use. The lack of hope through the daily impact of the gospel made me set the book down feeling like I had been standing just a little too close to a fire and was now left with singed hair. There were multiple lessons to be learned from this book but they were not drawn out to the depth that not only should have been done, but needed to be done, nor were they attached to the hope we have in Christ.
Marybeth is an excellent writer, but I highly recommend discernment in making the choice to read this book.
* * * * * This review copy was provided by CFBA but the opinion expressed is my own.
Deceptively light, this story delivers surprising truths about friendship and temptation. I fell in love with Ariel and her delightful brood of little boys, who did what little boys do. They made me laugh out loud. I've known women like Justine and Whalen captured her perfectly. She Makes It Look Easy is a perfect summer read. Novel Journey and I give it a high recommendation.