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The Art of Crash Landing

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From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother’s hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever. Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she’s got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother’s hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever. Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she’s got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn’t make. When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she’s never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother’s birthplace—the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery—a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here. The harder Mattie digs for answers, the more obstacles she encounters. Giving up, however, isn’t an option. Uncovering what started her mother’s downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own. Hilarious, gripping, and unexpectedly wise, The Art of Crash Landing is a poignant novel from an assured new voice.


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From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother’s hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever. Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she’s got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother’s hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever. Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she’s got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn’t make. When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she’s never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother’s birthplace—the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery—a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here. The harder Mattie digs for answers, the more obstacles she encounters. Giving up, however, isn’t an option. Uncovering what started her mother’s downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own. Hilarious, gripping, and unexpectedly wise, The Art of Crash Landing is a poignant novel from an assured new voice.

30 review for The Art of Crash Landing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 3.5 Stars “We’re all more than the worst thing we’ve done.” Dear Mattie Wallace, I mean to tell you, this girl has zero of her s*&^ together. She’s broke, jobless, homeless, and she just discovered that if you forget to refill your birth control prescription and fail to take the first six pills of the month, something kinda turrrrrrible might be the outcome . . . When Mattie gets word that a grandmother she’s never known crossed Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 3.5 Stars “We’re all more than the worst thing we’ve done.” Dear Mattie Wallace, I mean to tell you, this girl has zero of her s*&^ together. She’s broke, jobless, homeless, and she just discovered that if you forget to refill your birth control prescription and fail to take the first six pills of the month, something kinda turrrrrrible might be the outcome . . . When Mattie gets word that a grandmother she’s never known crossed over to the big ol’ malt shop in the sky leaving her with the entire inheritance she thinks her luck might be turning around. In hopes of landing a big pay day, Mattie packs up her deceased mother’s 1978 Malibu and gets to road trippin’ – only to have the car completely blow its tranny upon reaching her destination. It’s there she finds out that granny’s estate will take months to settle and she might end up with squat when it does leaving Mattie with no choice but to seek help from wherever and whoever she can get it. While stranded with the local Okies, Mattie beings to learn that there was more to her mother’s life than being a total boozer and that nearly everyone in town seems to have some sort of connection to her. She also learns that some weird stuff is going down at the local library . . . And that while she hasn’t quite yet inherited a house, she has inherited “the Winstons” . . . (Don’t let the cuteness fool you, they can fart everyone out of a room in 3.7 seconds flat.) While this one wasn’t perfect for me, I still thought it was better than average. I think it was more my fault due to a combo of me breaking my usual routine of only reading one book at a time in order to do a Stabtober buddy read, and also because I was hoping for a “This Is Where I Leave You” type of fix. I’ll give kudos to Melissa DeCarlo – she did a pretty damn good job of writing the female counterpart to Tropper’s loser MCs. She just went about 50 pages too long in the tooth, spent too much time with the “mystery” of the dead mother, and kind of squicked me out a bit when all was said and done. However, the book was humorous and I appreciated that there was no magic cure for Mattie’s idiocy. The redemption arc was minor, as it generally is in real life. 3.5 Stars from me, but rounded up because of this quote . . . “‘Blackbird.’ ‘I love this song.’ Of course we love it. My mother loved it, too. It’s the theme song of broken things.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Mattie Wallace is perfectly imperfect. She's a pregnant, homeless, and emotionally immature 30-year old living in Florida. "The Art of Crash Landing" by Melissa DeCarlo (her debut novel) has some really funny and heartwarming moments, as well as awkward and icky moments. I thought the writing was solid, and I liked Mattie's ex-step-dad, Herman, whom she affectionately refers to as, "Queeg". (such a sweet and gentle soul). As for Mattie, I really liked her in the beginning, but halfway through, Mattie Wallace is perfectly imperfect. She's a pregnant, homeless, and emotionally immature 30-year old living in Florida. "The Art of Crash Landing" by Melissa DeCarlo (her debut novel) has some really funny and heartwarming moments, as well as awkward and icky moments. I thought the writing was solid, and I liked Mattie's ex-step-dad, Herman, whom she affectionately refers to as, "Queeg". (such a sweet and gentle soul). As for Mattie, I really liked her in the beginning, but halfway through, you witness firsthand how obnoxious and irresponsible she really is. Mattie slowly begins to redeem herself towards the end but I found it slightly difficult to feel sympathy for her. She's such a mess. Of course, there's a reason why Mattie behaves the way she does (she had a traumatic childhood, she survived a near-drowning incident, and her mom was an alcoholic) but overall, I pretty much enjoyed this story about family secrets, and learning to become your own person in the face of hopelessness and despair. Every one deserves a second chance at happiness, even for a "stupid girl" like Mattie. Enjoy!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The Art of Crash Landing is a standalone, women's fiction novel written by Melissa DeCarlo. Let me tell you point blank: I hated the main character Mattie Wallace. She has a family history of crash landing big time and she succeeds in continuing the cycle. Mattie is your stereotypical moocher - a selfish, white-trash loser. Is that harsh? Yes. You know why? Because the characteristics we tend to hate in others are usually some of the same one's we are in denial about within ourselves. Is this The Art of Crash Landing is a standalone, women's fiction novel written by Melissa DeCarlo. Let me tell you point blank: I hated the main character Mattie Wallace. She has a family history of crash landing big time and she succeeds in continuing the cycle. Mattie is your stereotypical moocher - a selfish, white-trash loser. Is that harsh? Yes. You know why? Because the characteristics we tend to hate in others are usually some of the same one's we are in denial about within ourselves. Is this always the case? No, but witnessing Ms. DeCarlo unapologetically develop such a flawed character tested me to no end. It tested my patience for Mattie and ultimately tested my patience for myself because like the quote below suggests - being human equals being a mistake-maker...even if some of us seem to repeat our mistakes more often than others. My favorite quote: "My mother loved me, and I loved her, and she loved her mother, who loved her in return, and in the end we all f*cked everything up. And it wasn’t because we’re bad people. We did it because we’re only people, and sometimes that’s what people do."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to HarperCollins Publishers for making it available! "Most people would probably have a hard time totally f--king up their life in under an hour. But then again, I'm not most people. I'm amazing. I'm like some kind of f--kup savant." This may be it. This may be the point at which Mattie Wallace hits rock bottom. Fleeing her boyfriend (whom she affectionately refers to as Nick Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to HarperCollins Publishers for making it available! "Most people would probably have a hard time totally f--king up their life in under an hour. But then again, I'm not most people. I'm amazing. I'm like some kind of f--kup savant." This may be it. This may be the point at which Mattie Wallace hits rock bottom. Fleeing her boyfriend (whom she affectionately refers to as Nick the Asshole), Mattie is broke, pregnant, and unsure of what her next move will be—and she has all of her worldly belongings in six large trash bags. She is worried she's turning into her late mother, an alcoholic who seemed to sabotage her own life at every turn, and Mattie has no end of regrets about their relationship. When she finds out that she might inherit something from her late grandmother, a woman she never met, she makes the split-second decision to drive more than 800 miles to Gandy, Oklahoma, where her grandmother and mother once lived. She quickly discovers that her mother had a tremendous amount of potential but her life was derailed by several incidents in her teenage years, which led to the disappointments of her adult life. But as Mattie tries to figure out exactly what caused her mother to abandon the possibilities which lay in store for her, she finds a lot more questions, secrets, and more than a few angry people. Can we overcome our regrets and our mistakes and start a new course for our lives, or are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again? Why are we so determined to push those who care about us away, and not tell them the things we should? From the very first sentences of The Art of Crash Landing I was utterly hooked, and this book didn't let me go until it ended. It's not that there was necessarily anything earth-shattering about the plot, but Melissa DeCarlo did such a great job unfolding the story, and creating so many fascinating characters. This book is just over 400 pages, and I read the entire thing in less than a day—and I didn't sit around all day reading, either! I was just completely drawn in by the plot and just couldn't stop reading, because I really enjoyed Mattie's story, as dysfunctional as it was. I love books that give you so much more than you expect. For an author writing her debut novel, Melissa DeCarlo has talent in abundance, and knows how to tell a story. The Art of Crash Landing is moving, funny, and compelling. You can't ask for much more than that when you pick up a book. See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  5. 5 out of 5

    ♛Tash

    October 6, 2015 “I have ninja skills when it comes to screwing things up. It’s like a superpower only lamer.” That’s according to Mattie Wallace, our narrator and main character in Melissa DeCarlo’s debut novel The Art of Crash Landing. Mattie is pregnant and penniless, with her whole life crammed into six giant trash bags, so when she unexpectedly receives a call informing her of her inheritance from a grandmother she’s never met, Mattie risks driving her beat-up 1978 Chevy Malibu from October 6, 2015 “I have ninja skills when it comes to screwing things up. It’s like a superpower only lamer.” That’s according to Mattie Wallace, our narrator and main character in Melissa DeCarlo’s debut novel The Art of Crash Landing. Mattie is pregnant and penniless, with her whole life crammed into six giant trash bags, so when she unexpectedly receives a call informing her of her inheritance from a grandmother she’s never met, Mattie risks driving her beat-up 1978 Chevy Malibu from Florida to Oklahoma. As soon as she arrives to town, her 1978 Chevy Malibu gives out, and she finds out that the clearance period of her grandmother’s property will take months, Mattie finds herself stranded in Gandy. With only her grandmother’s name and street smarts to rely on, Mattie needs to survive Gandy, Oklahoma. In her time in Gandy, she seeks the answers to the mystery surrounding her mother’s past and, in the process, to her own future. The primary strength of The Art of Crash Landing is in its characterization of Mattie. She is snarky, irreverent and unapologetic, and oh so relatable.The girl keeps it real, and being in her head made me laugh and cringe at the same with her audacious user and slacker antics. “This man is beautiful and clever. He’s the prefect blend of completely out of my league combined with entirely unavailable, that in my experience, guarantees a broken heart. In other words: exactly my type.” Mattie’s character development was subtly carried-out, which it makes it quite remarkable. It was done through Mattie’s poignant realizations and deeds she won’t even acknowledge as such. “…She hasn’t lived long enough to understand the downhill of a disturbed stone, how each mistake leads inexorably to the next. She still thinks the choices she makes are her own.” I had a lot of fun reading The Art of Crash Landing, I found the main and supporting characters quite engaging. From the aphorism-spouting step dad to the pierced law-breaking teen-aged librarian, Melissa DeCarlo can really write characters that feel real. Unfortunately, the wonderful writing and humor of the book, could not really mask the fact that plot-wise there wasn’t much going on. There was a mystery that was sufficiently ,erm, mysterious, but the big reveal was somewhat underwhelming and one that’s worn-out. I would have rated this higher if this is not the third novel I’ve read this year with the same twist. The Art of Crash Landing is a hilarious and surprisingly touching tale about regrets, secrets and redemption. This will appeal to readers whom at some point in their lives felt that they are way in over their heads with being an adult. Gosh, I know I have. 3.5 stars. -------------------------------------------- September 28, 2015 When you're ass deep in lemons, you start looking for a shovel, not a pitcher and a cup of sugar. FRTC

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    In this gem of a novel, we meet Mattie, short for Matilda, a young woman who is running away from her boyfriend who just got her pregnant. She travels to the town where her deceased mother was born and decides to look into the woman who she thought she knew. The book is filled with wonderful written and memorable characters, such as Tawny, Fritter and the many others. One major thing I enjoyed about this book was the fact that there weren't too many characters. In this type of novel, especially In this gem of a novel, we meet Mattie, short for Matilda, a young woman who is running away from her boyfriend who just got her pregnant. She travels to the town where her deceased mother was born and decides to look into the woman who she thought she knew. The book is filled with wonderful written and memorable characters, such as Tawny, Fritter and the many others. One major thing I enjoyed about this book was the fact that there weren't too many characters. In this type of novel, especially ones focusing on a small town, the author can fall victim to having too many side characters. This book instead focuses on a select few and makes them very engrossing and likable. The book does well at pacing and kept me engrossed throughout the 400 pages. Overall, this book was a shining moment in my year of books and I cant' wait to see what this author brings to the table in terms of future novels.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    "When you're ass deep in lemons, you start looking for a shovel, not a pitcher and a cup of sugar." Thirty year old Mattie Wallace is homeless, jobless and pregnant, so an inheritance from the grandmother she never met is an unexpected life line. With her worldly belongings crammed into six plastic trash bags, Mattie drives from the Florida panhandle where she grew up with her alcoholic single mother, to small town Gandy, Oklahoma. Stranded in town when her 1978 Chevy Malibu gives out, Mattie "When you're ass deep in lemons, you start looking for a shovel, not a pitcher and a cup of sugar." Thirty year old Mattie Wallace is homeless, jobless and pregnant, so an inheritance from the grandmother she never met is an unexpected life line. With her worldly belongings crammed into six plastic trash bags, Mattie drives from the Florida panhandle where she grew up with her alcoholic single mother, to small town Gandy, Oklahoma. Stranded in town when her 1978 Chevy Malibu gives out, Mattie settles into her grandmothers house while waiting for probate to clear, and curious, begins to ask questions about her mother the locals are reluctant to answer. Determined to learn why her mother fled her comfortable life, Mattie sets out to solve the mystery of her mother's past, and perhaps forge a new path for herself. The Art of Crash Landing by debut author Melissa DeCarlo is a hilarious, audacious and surprisingly poignant story about loss, regret, secrets and forgiveness. "I have ninja skills when it comes to screwing things up. It's like a superpower only lamer." Mattie is a bold character; snarky, foul mouthed and irresponsible, her former stepfather, whom she affectionately calls Queeg (as in Captain Queeg from The Caine Mutiny), compares her to a natural disaster. She has a history of dating deadbeats, drinking too much, and doing the wrong thing. Damaged by her difficult childhood, Mattie knows she is a mess, but feels destined to repeat her mother's mistakes. I loved her irreverent attitude, and snarky wit, she is smarter than she gives herself credit for, and I really enjoyed the growth of character over the course of the novel. Solving the mystery of her mothers childhood is what lets Mattie reconcile with her past and begin to change the course of her future. "I don't know what she's thinking, but I'm thinking about how fluid the border is between crazy and interesting, and hard it is to decide who belongs where." Mattie is both helped, and hindered, by a cast of several quirky characters. Queeg, Mattie's stepfather who remains in Florida, is the most endearing. Then there is Luke, the paraplegic lawyer; Tawny, the teenage wannabe bad ass; Mattie's mothers former best friend Karleen, librarian 'Aunt' Fritter, JJ and the doggie Winstons. "We are all more than the worst thing we have done" I laughed often, entertained by the witty banter, eccentric characters and occasionally absurd situations in The Art of Crash Landing, but I was also intrigued by the mystery surrounding Mattie's mother's past, and touched by Mattie's struggle to escape her mother's shadow. "Sometimes well begun never has a chance to finish, and every once in a while, a bad beginning turns out okay." DeCarlo's style is similar to that of Cathy Lamb, an author I adore, and I'm looking forward to more from her. The Art of Crash Landing is a great read I'm happy to recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    I received this book from Goodread's First Reads. All I have to say is....A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! IT WAS SO GOOD! I loved the humor and I was endlessly turning the pages trying to figure out the big secret. (which only took me 2 days because I refused to put the book down) I WAS HONESTLY SO SHOCKED! I literally screamed and started freaking out. (I will not share the secret, you must read it to find out) I really felt connected with Mattie, not in the pregnant, homeless way, but her sense of humor and I received this book from Goodread's First Reads. All I have to say is....A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! IT WAS SO GOOD! I loved the humor and I was endlessly turning the pages trying to figure out the big secret. (which only took me 2 days because I refused to put the book down) I WAS HONESTLY SO SHOCKED! I literally screamed and started freaking out. (I will not share the secret, you must read it to find out) I really felt connected with Mattie, not in the pregnant, homeless way, but her sense of humor and reaction to things. I LOVED THIS BOOK! Its definetly one i will be reading again! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read it. I am so very glad i did! Yes, there was foul language, but honestly it added a real life perspective. There is not one thirty year old person I know who doesnt swear, at least from time to time. I very much enjoyed the way the chapters began, starting with a day and a quote. Also, the quotes Queeg used constantly throughout the book. I am a sucker when it comes to quotes and sayings. I love them! Every single one fit so well with the story. I seriously love this book. I plan to get my friends to read it too. Melissa DeCarlo, you are a very good author and I look forward to reading more of your work!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alena

    An easy and likable read. I love an unstable protagonist bringing on her own trouble especially when she's smart and smart mouthed. My disappointment came in the story itself which was unnecessarily convoluted. The early promise of this debut novel wasn't quite fulfilled, but I'd watch for more from this author.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    (I received an ARC of The Art of Crash Landing via a goodreads giveaway. The book is scheduled for release in September 2015.) The Art of Crashing is a mixture of drama, comedy, romance, personal struggle, hope and understanding. My favorite line from the book sums it up best: "...I'm thinking about how fluid the border is between crazy and interesting, and how hard it is to decide who belongs where." (p. 136) Definitely worth the read. :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Three and a half stars: A funny and sage tale about a woman, whose life is a mess, who seeks the truth about her mother's past. Matty jumps the fence and lands on her feet. That is cool, right? One positive thing for her since she threw everything she owns into six garbage bags after another fight with her boyfriend. Now she is seeking refuge with her stepfather. Queeg graciously takes her in, again, but Matty soon realizes that she has worn out her welcome. At thirty, Matty's life is a train Three and a half stars: A funny and sage tale about a woman, whose life is a mess, who seeks the truth about her mother's past. Matty jumps the fence and lands on her feet. That is cool, right? One positive thing for her since she threw everything she owns into six garbage bags after another fight with her boyfriend. Now she is seeking refuge with her stepfather. Queeg graciously takes her in, again, but Matty soon realizes that she has worn out her welcome. At thirty, Matty's life is a train wreck. She can't hold down a job, she has had her struggles with alcohol and a string of bad boyfriends, and now she is knocked up and down and out. Queeg tells Matty that lawyers have been looking for her. It turns out, Matty's grandma, whom she never met, recently passed away, leaving her house to Matty. Matty makes a spur of the moment decision to drive from the Florida Panhandle to Oklahoma. Once in Oklahoma, Matty is confronted with her mother's mysterious past. What happened to her mother? What changed a bright and happy teenager to a broken and down woman? What I Liked: *The Art of Crash Landing isn't normally the type of book I reach for, yet once I started reading this one, I couldn't put it down. Matty's life is an absolute mess, and in all honesty, I struggled to relate to her as she makes one bad decision after another, and she always shoots her mouth off. Yet, the more I read, the more I liked Matty. She may have been a walking disaster, but she had a lot of spunk and she was hilarious. In the end, I was pleased with her growth. If you like realistic and funny contemporary literature, this is one to try. This book is also a tale of loss, and it features an interesting mystery. *What made this book shine for me was the humor. Matty certainly has a unique sense of humor, and she constantly made me laugh. Her snark was terrific. I also liked the antics and humor of Tawny, the goth teenager. Tawny pulls some interesting pranks, and she has some colorful names that I won't soon forget. I found myself smiling and snickering out loud at the humor in this book. Definitely worth reading for the snark and sass. *As I mentioned, Matty isn't the easiest character to like. I found her hard to connect with since she is extremely irresponsible. She arrives in Oklahoma practically penniless with a broken down car. She is also pregnant. So you can see she is a walking disaster. Even when kind strangers reached out and helped her, she manages to screw it up with her antics and smart mouth. However, she did grow on me and she does redeem herself. What keep me engaged with her was her humor. She delivers some laugh out loud one liners. As she works to unravel the mystery of her mother's past, Matty starts to grow up a bit. By the end, she is in a better place. She still makes mistakes, but I have hope for her. Even though I would have liked to see more transformation, I appreciated that the author kept it real. Baby steps..... I had hope that Matty would finally get it right. *The cast of secondary characters is strong and engaging. Matty's stepfather, Queeg, is a gem. He is a kind hearted, giving and generous guy that you can't help but love. The folk in Gandy, are quite the blend. There is Fritter, the officious and efficient, elderly librarian who has been battling the arrival of mysterious poo in the library. Howdy as Matty calls him, is Matty's lawyer. He is in a wheel chair, working to overcome the mistakes of his past. He is big hearted and an all around nice guy. JJ's Matty's next door neighbor is an enigma. Sometimes he is charming, and other times a pain in the ass. Tawny, the rebellious, goth teen, was the perfect sidekick for Matty. She made me laugh. I loved this eclectic cast of characters, and I liked that I never knew what was coming next from them. *There is an interesting mystery that surrounds Matty's mother. She was a lovely, happy teenager, who had a bright and wonderful future, and then she mysteriously vanished from town, never to return. No one in town knew why she left, and Matty herself has no idea what happened to change her mother from the happy teenager, into a depressed and broken woman. Matty begins to dig for answers, and the more she digs, the more she faces a dead end. I was intrigued by the mystery of Matty's mother, and I was surprised when the truth was revealed. I didn't see that coming. *The ending closes out Matty's story a few months down the line with a nice Epilogue. I appreciated seeing how far she had come, and I liked that I wasn't left with a bunch of questions. And The Not So Much: *What held this one back a bit for me was I struggled so hard with Matty. She isn't easy to like. She runs from the problems in her life, and I didn't like the way she treated those who reached out to help her. Matty is a taker and a user. She is a train wreck and her life is a disaster zone. She makes it hard to like her with her constant bad behavior and poor decisions. *The other thing that made this book falter for me was that it was depressing. The reader spends a lot of time dealing with Matty's mess of a life, and then you are given flashbacks into Matty's past, where you learn about her mother's illness and death. Thankfully, there is a lot of humor, that made it bearable, but this is certainly a book for those who like watching characters overcome challenging and depressing pasts. *I was left wanting to still know more about Matty's mother. I understood why she ran away, but I was left wondering if she ever spoke to her own mother again? I also wanted to know way more about the grandmother. I still felt like there was more to the story that wasn't told. The Art of Crash Landing isn't a book I normally pick up, but I am certainly glad I took a chance on this one. Even though the overall story is sad and Matty is a hard character to like, I appreciated the story, the character growth and most of all the humor. This is Ms. DeCarlo's first book, and I can say that she is a talented, new voice, and I would be open to reading her future works. If you want a contemporary story about loss, growth and new beginnings, try this book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review . [email protected] Day Ramblings.

  12. 5 out of 5

    DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quotes: “Queeg has a simple classification system when it comes to the men I date. They’re all idiots. I like to think it has something to do with them not being good enough for me, but I suspect it has more to do with them being stupid enough to date me.” “One is a little larger than the other, but overall the Winstons look alike – tan fur, short legs, stubby bodies, bat like ears. They snort and trot around like little pigs, and already there has been significant fartage… JJ informed Favorite Quotes: “Queeg has a simple classification system when it comes to the men I date. They’re all idiots. I like to think it has something to do with them not being good enough for me, but I suspect it has more to do with them being stupid enough to date me.” “One is a little larger than the other, but overall the Winstons look alike – tan fur, short legs, stubby bodies, bat like ears. They snort and trot around like little pigs, and already there has been significant fartage… JJ informed me, when he dropped them off, that they were French bulldogs, which has led me to reassess my opinion of the French. They may know a lot about making wine and fries, but they don’t know jacques-merde about making dogs.” “Although my mother had a long track record as a serial dater-of-losers, I really think she tried to avoid the dangerous ones. She wasn’t always successful. She shielded me from as much of the actual violence as she could, but it was harder to hide the results. You win some, you lose some, she’d say as she iced a twisted wrist, or blotted blood from a split lip. Love was a game for my mother. Sometimes it was a contact sport.” “Queeg always said that normal people are just people you don’t know very well, and as far as I can tell, he was right on the money with that one.” My Review: I knew I was in for a ride when the first paragraph already had me smirking and barking a laugh. And then it was on! I am astounded to learn this highly amusing and stunningly well-written story was penned by a first time author. The narrative is well-paced, the story is artfully crafted, and the writing is simply stellar! But I seriously didn’t know if I was going to be able to care for the main character of Mattie, as she is immature, irresponsible, and selfishly cruel. She is also 30 years old, broke, homeless, unemployed, and knocked-up by her latest loser ex… yikes. Not a likely heroine. I found her to be grossly undependable, and just an awful and lackluster human being as well as a major disappointment to those few who tried to help or be nice to her. She took advantage of others and generally made herself scarce or took the easy way out when others wanted to rely on her. To her credit, Mattie had survived an awful childhood as a bastard child of an alcoholic mother. She is clever and witty, and does have keen observational skills and considerable insight into herself. She makes painfully honest, and humorously snarky self-revelations and observations about her failings; she knows when she is being an ass, but doesn’t do anything to stop herself. Yet she also has a knack for carrying and wearing her personal pain and harbors considerable guilt and anguish. She loved/hated her mother, she loves/hates herself. She loves her ex-step-father (whom she has nicknamed Queeg) but never tells him and continually takes advantage of him. While reading the often cringe-worthy recollections of her life with her mother and her current concerns and behaviors, I frequently laughed aloud to the point of cackling. Her irreverent and cheeky accounting of her life as well as her acerbic observations of others is highly entertaining and totally engrossing. The conversation she had with a swearing seven-year old mortician’s daughter had me howling, and still brings up a smirk and a chuckle even now. And just as quickly, she has squeezed my cold heart to the point of blurred vision and a tight chest, during her brutally painful reflections of her less than stellar behaviors toward her alcoholic mother and her kind and long-suffering step-father in their times of need. Nearing the conclusion, as Mattie had uncovered and solved a puzzling mystery about her mother and family, and having achieved some inner peace – she turned a significant corner. The emotional impact of this brought me to my knees and was deeply felt. I found myself so moved that I had to stop and fight back actual sobs to continue reading. Regardless of whether she is a new author or a seasoned pro – Ms. DeCarlo is a talented wordsmith and has mad skills. I hope to see much more from her in the future.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Raven Haired Girl

    I gotta say I struggled with this book, I couldn't stand Mattie at all, could not relate to her in any way, I found myself shaking my head in utter frustration. DeCarlo spins a yarn most will find appealing but Mattie's self loathing attitude and reckless choices left a bad taste in my mouth. She's got to be the most immature thirty year old woman I have encountered in a long time. I understand Mattie's behavior stems from her childhood and her lukewarm relationship with her deceased mother. I'm I gotta say I struggled with this book, I couldn't stand Mattie at all, could not relate to her in any way, I found myself shaking my head in utter frustration. DeCarlo spins a yarn most will find appealing but Mattie's self loathing attitude and reckless choices left a bad taste in my mouth. She's got to be the most immature thirty year old woman I have encountered in a long time. I understand Mattie's behavior stems from her childhood and her lukewarm relationship with her deceased mother. I'm also aware grief is weighing heavily on this messed up woman. There comes a point when you have to pull yourself up and deal with your past and move on. Mattie wallows, fully aware she has issues but is fine carrying on in her 'user' going nowhere manner. Gotta help yourself Mattie, demonstrate strength instead of weakness, many more out there in worse predicaments and circumstances. Her relationship with Queeg keeps her afloat. I only wish he would confront her and stop enabling or turning a blind eye to her ongoing ways. Be supportive but corrective. Perhaps digging into her mother's life and family will point her in the right direction, let's hope it at least provides closure of sorts. Between the ridiculous behavior, the snarky attitude and the foul language not to mention the questionable ending I wonder what will become of this woman. Mattie strikes me as a woman always finding an excuse, one claiming it's them not me, certainly hope I'm wrong. Shame a child was dragged into her chaotic life due to sheer laziness, stupidity and disregard. Way to go thirty year old Mattie, please learn from your actions and change, you are no way an example of the average woman in denial over issues easily dealt with, with the ability to overcome. Despite my dislike of Mattie, I would definitely give DeCarlo another go, only this time I hope she produces a kick ass, fierce, strong female protagonist. Visit Raven Haired Girl for more reviews & giveaways

  14. 5 out of 5

    Trish Terrell

    Mattie is a mess. Pregnant, broke, only-sort-of employed, and pretty much alone in the world except for her ex-stepdad, she's also her own worst enemy, the kind of woman who makes poor decisions impulsively and then seems somewhat surprised when nothing works out. So when she finds out there's an inheritance waiting for her in Oklahoma from the grandmother she never met, in the town her mother escaped years ago, well, of course she decides to drive there immediately from Florida in her Mattie is a mess. Pregnant, broke, only-sort-of employed, and pretty much alone in the world except for her ex-stepdad, she's also her own worst enemy, the kind of woman who makes poor decisions impulsively and then seems somewhat surprised when nothing works out. So when she finds out there's an inheritance waiting for her in Oklahoma from the grandmother she never met, in the town her mother escaped years ago, well, of course she decides to drive there immediately from Florida in her broke-down car, no questions asked, without knowing exactly what she'll find. One of the real beauties of this novel is that Melissa DeCarlo manages to make you root for Mattie nonetheless. She's real and funny and relatable in all her flaws and tics, just like the other oddball characters Mattie encounters as she tries to unravel her late mother's Oklahoma secrets. Smart, original, and absolutely laugh-out-loud funny (I filed away the pejorative that includes the word "waffle" for future use), this was a novel that highly entertained me, but also made me think more deeply about family, secrets and the way one's life can change in an instant.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Debuts like this make me wonder...what has Melissa DeCarlo been doing her whole life? Well apparently she was a computer science major who has worked in tech, grant writing and graphic design - but she was obviously made for this. The Art of Crash Landing is probably my favorite book so far this year. The protagonist is a hot mess, the dialogue is impeccable (and hilarious), and the pacing is perfect. It was one of those stories you can hardly put down, but you really don't want to Debuts like this make me wonder...what has Melissa DeCarlo been doing her whole life? Well apparently she was a computer science major who has worked in tech, grant writing and graphic design - but she was obviously made for this. The Art of Crash Landing is probably my favorite book so far this year. The protagonist is a hot mess, the dialogue is impeccable (and hilarious), and the pacing is perfect. It was one of those stories you can hardly put down, but you really don't want to finish...because when you finish, it's over! DeCarlo writes characters and connects them a-la one of my other favorites in Women's fiction, Liane Moriarty, but she does it with such a refreshing tone - snarky, irreverent, uncensored and funny. The choice of format - first person storytelling alternating between present and past - worked perfectly here, and the mystery was surprisingly unpredictable. For such a fun read, it was also pretty poignant. It was one of those reminders that we're all human and we all make mistakes. And that relationships between people are nothing if not complicated - because we're complex beings. Mattie's story (and her mother's) is both enjoyable and moving. Can't wait to read DeCarlo's next novel. Here's hoping it happens soon.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    With so much out there competing for our ever-dwindling attention span, a great first sentence is the key to grabbing the reader's eye. Melissa DeCarlo's debut novel The Art of Crash Landing has a doozy: "Twenty-seven minutes is, if anyone ever asks, exactly how long it takes to cram everything I own into six giant trash bags." I ask you, how can you not want to read the rest of this book? Mattie Wallace is thirty years old, pregnant, underemployed, drinks too much and now she is moving out of her With so much out there competing for our ever-dwindling attention span, a great first sentence is the key to grabbing the reader's eye. Melissa DeCarlo's debut novel The Art of Crash Landing has a doozy: "Twenty-seven minutes is, if anyone ever asks, exactly how long it takes to cram everything I own into six giant trash bags." I ask you, how can you not want to read the rest of this book? Mattie Wallace is thirty years old, pregnant, underemployed, drinks too much and now she is moving out of her soon-to-ex-boyfriend's home. She goes to her deceased mother's former boyfriend, a man she calls Queeg, for help. I loved the relationship between Queeg and Mattie. Mattie had a tough childhood, her mother was an alcoholic who moved around a lot and dated many men. They moved in with Queeg and although Mattie had her issues with him, he cares a great deal for her and she loves him too. He is the only solid thing in her life. Mattie discovers that her mother's mother has died and with nowhere else to go, Mattie takes off for Grandy, Oklahoma, where her mother grew up. Her grandmother has just passed away, and Mattie received a letter from a lawyer stating that she may have an inheritance. The tiny town of Grandy has an entire cast of interesting people, and the small-town feel shines through in this story. Mattie's car breaks down and she manages to find JJ, the town's mechanic who tells her it's going to be awhile and expensive to fix the car. He and Mattie clash right away. Next up is a visit to the lawyer's office where she meets Luke, a paralegal, who tells Mattie that settling the estate may take awhile. While she waits, she stays in her grandmother's home. She has no cash and no job, so Luke takes pity on her and convinces his aunt, the town librarian, to give Mattie a job. Mattie wants to find out why her mother just up and left her hometown when she was seventeen and never looked back. The woman people in town describe as her mother doesn't sound like the alcoholic, broken-down mother she knew. What happened in her past to make her this way? The Art of Crash Landing has terrific characters in a wonderfully real setting, DeCarlo has some great lines in the book, like Mattie saying that "Sometimes my entire life has felt like one long exercise in lowering expectations." And Luke tells her that "needing to change your life isn't enough. You have to want it too." Any book partially set in a library is sure to make me smile, and I laughed as Mattie goes to work on her first day "managing to achieve a reasonably arresting librarian--on-the-skids look" in her grandma's borrowed clothes. And her description of the group of middle-aged men who hang out at the library as "Grandy's intelligentsia" had me in stitches. The Art of Crash Landing reminded me of Joshilyn Jackson's Someone Else's Love Story (they even have similar covers) in its tone, humor and sassy protagonist. I highly recommend The Art of Crash Landing and I'd love to return to Grandy in the future to see how Mattie and company is doing. (Sequel please!)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    Oh, do you ever get that delicious little frisson of excitement when you read the first few chapters of a book and realize you've stumbled across what is going to be a really, really good read? Melissa DeCarlo's debut novel, The Art of Crash Landing is one of those books - I absolutely loved it! Mattie Wallace is 30 years old. And pregnant. And homeless. And broke. Screwing up her life is nothing new for Mattie. She's a bit (well maybe a bit more than a bit) of a train wreck. When she finds out Oh, do you ever get that delicious little frisson of excitement when you read the first few chapters of a book and realize you've stumbled across what is going to be a really, really good read? Melissa DeCarlo's debut novel, The Art of Crash Landing is one of those books - I absolutely loved it! Mattie Wallace is 30 years old. And pregnant. And homeless. And broke. Screwing up her life is nothing new for Mattie. She's a bit (well maybe a bit more than a bit) of a train wreck. When she finds out that she has inherited her grandmother's house in Gandy, Oklahoma it's a bit of a surprise - Mattie had no idea she had a grandmother. Her alcoholic mother never mentioned where she grew up or that her own mother was alive. With nowhere else to go, Gandy is the the direction she steers her mother's old Malibu. "There was a time when I believed my whole life stretched before me, rich with promise. Now? Not so much. But when she arrives in Gandy, no one really wants to talk about her mother. And the ones that do paint a very different picture from the mother Mattie grew up with. Where to start. First off, I really didn't like Mattie at all in the first few chapters. She's abrasive, manipulative and self serving. Or is that just a way to protect herself from hurt and disappointment? As the book progresses, there are glimpses into the Mattie beneath that exterior. And I found myself soundly in Mattie's corner, hoping she can find the promise in life again. "Sometimes my entire life has felt like one long exercise in lowering my expectations." Gandy is populated by a varied and eclectic cast of characters, many who are just as prickly as Mattie, yet oddly compelling. So many of them appealed to me - one was Fritter the librarian. (And as someone who works in a library, I found myself laughing out loud at some library scenes that were spot on) But I think that Queeg, Mattie's stepfather, is my favourite. His quiet, understated, unfaltering love for Mattie is moving. As Mattie continues to ask questions around town about her mother, the mystery deepens. What happened thirty five years ago to her mother? From the girl Gandy knew to the single woman who gave birth to Mattie? And as Mattie pursues answers, she also remembers her Mom - and the reader learns more about both women. DeCarlo kept me completely off balance as I read - I had no idea where the story was going to go and many of the character's revelations were so unexpected. Her plotting is fresh, original and just so darn good. The Art of Crash Landing is absolutely one of my favourite reads for 2015.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ayla

    Surprising twist in the story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Bunnell

    The Art of Crash Landing is a strong debut novel from Melissa DeCarlo, with interesting characters, and a compelling plot. We follow our protagonist, Mattie (short for Mathilda) Wallace, as she ditches her loser musician boyfriend, broke and pregnant, as she seeks the path of least resistance - avoiding at all costs gainful employment or acts of responsibility on this journey. She isn’t the most likeable protagonist, as I found it hard to relate to her rampant immaturity as a 30 year old woman The Art of Crash Landing is a strong debut novel from Melissa DeCarlo, with interesting characters, and a compelling plot. We follow our protagonist, Mattie (short for Mathilda) Wallace, as she ditches her loser musician boyfriend, broke and pregnant, as she seeks the path of least resistance - avoiding at all costs gainful employment or acts of responsibility on this journey. She isn’t the most likeable protagonist, as I found it hard to relate to her rampant immaturity as a 30 year old woman in arrested development, but she is interesting and somewhat funny, as are many of the supporting characters. Mattie has a sweet relationship with her former step-dad (Herman, whom she calls Queeg), who is really the only constant in her life since her mother’s death 5 years ago. Mattie spends most of her time either remembering or wondering about her mother. There are several “mysteries” for the reader (one of which isn’t a mystery to Mattie, but they drag it out in many flashbacks for the reader): 1. How / why had her mother died? 2. Why did her mother leave her home town, and then never return, 35 years ago? 3. Also, what was going on with this grandmother Mathilda that she’d never met? Mattie travels from the Florida panhandle to Oklahoma, not because she’s a huge fan of states with panhandles, but because she finds out that her grandmother (whom she had never met, but for whom she was named) has died, and that she may have an inheritance. Her mother’s cool but old car barely survives the journey (but somehow gets her to the exact location she needed), so she’s stranded in a town with no money, knows no-one, with a car in need of a transmission that she can’t afford. So what is the first thing she does? Look for a job? Why of course not. She starts questioning random residents of the town. And shockingly, both Mattie’s mother (Jeannie) and her grandmother (Tilda) had best friends who are still 1.) alive, 2.) in this small town, and 3.) someone she encounters in her first couple days in town and she interacts with somehow enough to realize this connection. She learns about both Jeannie and Tilda’s pasts, and the investigation and people she encounters along the way are compelling enough to mostly make up for her ham-handed attempts at romancing local dudes just for a free meal – which is just off-putting and weird. I preferred her relationship with a teenage juvenile delinquent who at least has her age as an excuse for her immaturity, to these awkward attempts to inject romance (unnecessarily) into the story. Does Mattie learn, grow, and let her past go (and consider actually working a job rather than just sponging off people) so she doesn’t need to repeat her mother’s mistakes? Let’s hope so, but the epilogue was a little sketchy. One thing that was also quite sketchy – her mom’s photography business aimed at funeral photography. Really, funeral photography? With detailed descriptions of families posing both with and without the deceased. A day to remember forever in film? This whole tangent reminded me of the plotline in “The Wedding Crashers” where the washed up former wedding crasher (played by Will Ferrell) has taken to picking up girls at funerals. So on that off-putting note, I’ll end by saying this gets 4 stars as it’s a strong book and an easy and enjoyable read, but it does hit a couple sour notes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Goodreads recommended this book to me and I’m so glad they did. I really enjoyed it and found myself cheering for Mattie to succeed. She’s a wreck but so likable. I wish this author would write another book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    dluvsbooks

    This is great!!! "As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of people in this world: people like Queeg who, when life gives them lemons make lemonade, and everybody else. And although those smug, cheerful lemonade-makers think the rest of us just sit around all day bitching about not getting oranges, they're wrong. It's all about volume. When you're ass-deep in lemons, you start looking for a shovel, not a pitcher and a cup of sugar."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    The mystery was actually a mystery! One that had me flipping furiously through the last 100 pages, and one that was satisfyingly solved. (I read a lot of mysteries. This doesn't always happen. I congratulate Melissa DeCarlo and her brilliant, savvy editor.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Marshall

    This book caught my attention fast and moved along fast. I was intrigued enough to continue reading, I liked Mattie’s story line and what she discovers about her past etc. I would recommend it to others for An easy read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Baylee Klingler

    This is one of my new favorite books. I honestly just want to be her friend. She’s a mess, she’s sarcastic, she’s hilarious, and everything in between. She really needs to write another book soon!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss (book blog)

    Twenty-seven minutes is, if anyone ever asks, exactly how long it takes to cram everything I own into six giant trash bags...Most people would probably have a hard time totally fucking up their life in under an hour. But then again, I'm not most people. I'm amazing. I'm like some kind of fuckup savant. The opening lines of Melissa DeCarlo's THE ART OF CRASH LANDING tells you a lot about the quirky screwup protagonist, Mattie Wallace. At thirty, she's learned to fail and keep on going, but this Twenty-seven minutes is, if anyone ever asks, exactly how long it takes to cram everything I own into six giant trash bags...Most people would probably have a hard time totally fucking up their life in under an hour. But then again, I'm not most people. I'm amazing. I'm like some kind of fuckup savant. The opening lines of Melissa DeCarlo's THE ART OF CRASH LANDING tells you a lot about the quirky screwup protagonist, Mattie Wallace. At thirty, she's learned to fail and keep on going, but this time she may have just hit the bottom. She gets with the wrong guys, used to smoke and drink too much, has no money to her name, and will soon be a mother. Upon finding that she may be the beneficiary of her grandmother's estate, she picks up and heads to Gandy, Oklahoma, where her late mother grew up and her estranged grandmother lived until she passed away. Bad karma follows her there when her car breaks down, she meets a prickly mechanic, and finds out that her grandmother has a long list of creditors waiting to get a piece of the estate. The good news? She's allowed to stay in her grandmother's house while the estate is settled, thanks to the cute paralegal she meets when coming into town who also hooks her up with a job. The cast of characters Mattie meets while in Gandy is one of my favorite parts of the novel. Everyone has their own part in a past Mattie knows very little about—her mother's. About to be a mother herself, Mattie reflects on her own experiences with her alcoholic mother who passed away suddenly. She worries that she will screw up her unborn child's life like her mother did hers. Despite being a frustrating and sometimes selfish character, I really liked Mattie. Her narrative was peppered with a heavy dose of humor and introspection. In a lot of women's fiction novels, the female character is totally aware of her own journey; it's often intentional. But Mattie sort of falls into her own metamorphosis. As a reader, it made seeing her growth that much more entertaining. This book explores the idea of growing out of your mistakes, learning from them, and trying to avoid making the same ones again. It's so fun to read books with such charismatic side characters and this one did not disappoint in that area. This was Melissa DeCarlo's debut novel and I can't wait to see what's next for her. *** LINKS ABOVE CONTAIN AFFILIATES *** AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: This means that if you make a purchase through one of the links I may receive a small commission. Read this Review • My Website • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest • Instagram • Subscribe by Email **************** ★★UPCOMING BOOK RELEASES★★ ****************

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth (fuelled by fiction)

    I was immediately intrigued by this book because the synopsis included some things that get me going right away: family, small towns, mysteries, and family secrets. So basically, I was in from the get-go. The story starts off with a bang: Twenty-seven minutes is, if anyone ever asks, exactly how long it takes to cram everything I own into six giant trash bags. Maddie Wallace is quite the character. She’s incredibly sassy, and has gotten herself into a pile of trouble. She’s pregnant, broke, and I was immediately intrigued by this book because the synopsis included some things that get me going right away: family, small towns, mysteries, and family secrets. So basically, I was in from the get-go. The story starts off with a bang: Twenty-seven minutes is, if anyone ever asks, exactly how long it takes to cram everything I own into six giant trash bags. Maddie Wallace is quite the character. She’s incredibly sassy, and has gotten herself into a pile of trouble. She’s pregnant, broke, and running away from her jerk of an ex. The first place she heads to is the home of Queeg, the man who was at one time her step-father. Here she does her best to avoid talking about her mother. Mattie has no interest in reminiscing about Genie the alcoholic. Something on this topic, however, sparks her interest. There has been a lawyer trying to get in contact with her. Because she has not been answering the calls, Queeg was contacted. It turns out Mattie’s maternal Grandmother, Tilda, passed away. Mattie has never met her. However, because Genie is dead, any inheritance is being passed on to Mattie. With the prospect of any sort of inheritance, Mattie jumps into her ’78 Malibu and makes the long drive to Gandy, Oklahoma—her mother’s hometown. Here Mattie meets a quirky cast of characters as she tries to stay afloat long enough for her inheritance to come through (or at least long enough to get her car fixed). Along the way, Mattie learns more about her mother and the life that she lead before Mattie came along. It turns out that Genie is a local mystery to those in Gandy. She just disappeared one day and never came back. Mattie decides to find out why. What sent Genie the sweet college girl off the rails? How can Mattie stop herself from falling any further? I really enjoyed joining Mattie on her journey to making peace with her mother’s memory and learning to let go and move on. Right from the beginning Mattie draws you into her story through her sass and chutzpah— it’s immediately endearing yet alienating (and frustrating), but you’ve just got to find out what happens to her. She isn’t exactly the underdog that everyone is rooting for, but she’s a bitter and forlorn underdog that will still hopefully get a second chance nonetheless. I loved seeing Mattie in the setting of a close-knit small town. Here everyone knows everyone’s business and everyone seems to have a hey-there-how-do-you-do attitude. Mattie, on the other hand, is quite private and standoffish. That being said, she’ll never miss the opportunity to take advance of them and their kindness. But Mattie meets her match in the moody teenager Tawny that’s working with her at the library. I love their interactions and the sheer load of sass that goes on when they’re together. This book is a moving, hilarious, atmospheric, tale of family, friendship, secrets, and redemption. DeCarlo’s writing is funny, smooth, and engaging. If that sounds appealing to you (and it should!), I’d highly recommend The Art of Crash Landing. Note: There is a bit of swearing in this book. Note #2: I reviewed this book as part of the TLC book tour. Therefore, the publisher provided me with a copy for my honest review. Originally featured on Fuelled by Fiction.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    This book has an interesting premise, but it was almost too hard to care enough about the protagonist to want to finish. Mattie is a grown woman. Her gift seems to be making poor choices and she does it over and over. She is pregnant and penniless. She knows that her live-in boy friend Nick does not want children, but she has not been responsible enough to keep up with the birth control. She goes to her stepfather Queeg in desperation when her car is breaking down and she has no money to pay her This book has an interesting premise, but it was almost too hard to care enough about the protagonist to want to finish. Mattie is a grown woman. Her gift seems to be making poor choices and she does it over and over. She is pregnant and penniless. She knows that her live-in boy friend Nick does not want children, but she has not been responsible enough to keep up with the birth control. She goes to her stepfather Queeg in desperation when her car is breaking down and she has no money to pay her half of the rent. She does have a soft spot in her heart for Queeg, but is too wrapped up in herself to notice that he has some pretty serious health issues himself. Mattie's mom has passed away, but she and Queeg were divorced before that. Mom had a dependence on alcohol that sometimes got away from her, so although he was only officially a step dad for 4 years, he may have been the most responsible parent she ever had. He tells her that the lawyer who has been calling her (of course she never answered) has news about her grandmother's will. Against everybody's advice she heads out from Pensacola headed for the small town in Oklahoma where her mother grew up, knowing she has no money for gas, food or a room, but wanting to be gone from step dad's trailer park before her boy friend (probably ex bf...) gets there to "talk." She hasn't mentioned to step dad that she stole some valuables from the boyfriend before she left. She finally makes it to Gandy, Oklahoma in spite of the fact that the car has lost the high gear, she is tired, dirty and looks homeless, a little queasy from pregnancy and hunger, but she still has her antenna up when she sees the handsome priest in the church building across the street from the lawyer's office. Of course she learns that the lawyer is out of town but she is talking herself into a crush on the priest. Her first thought with anyone she meets seems to be, "How can I use this person to my advantage?" and that is consistent as she meets one after another, many who are trying to help. Eventually she realizes that the girl these people remember is nothing like the mother she knew at all. She begins to search out the truth about her mother and grandmother, and there are lots of secrets and surprises there. The paralegal lets her move into her grandmother's house at first, since they cannot just give her the money immediately, which is what she had hoped. And when a real lawyer gets back to town, the news is she has to get out of the house as well. Her time in Gandy helps her to mature a little, but she still has a way to go, in my humble opinion. Adult readers may enjoy the crude language and humor...there is plenty of humor, wit, and interesting characters, but role models for young people are few and far between, unless you are looking for negative examples.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Fantastic cover and title. Promising premise: 30-year-old Mattie Wallace fears that since she’s broke and pregnant she may become just like her alcoholic mother. Her only possessions she keeps in several garbage bags. When her grandmother dies, Mattie travels from Florida to a small town in Oklahoma to retrieve her inheritance. The introduction to Mattie: “I fire up the Malibu, put in a Black Keys CD, and light a cigarette with shaking hands. Three drags later I remember why I quit smoking. Fantastic cover and title. Promising premise: 30-year-old Mattie Wallace fears that since she’s broke and pregnant she may become just like her alcoholic mother. Her only possessions she keeps in several garbage bags. When her grandmother dies, Mattie travels from Florida to a small town in Oklahoma to retrieve her inheritance. The introduction to Mattie: “I fire up the Malibu, put in a Black Keys CD, and light a cigarette with shaking hands. Three drags later I remember why I quit smoking. Slamming on the brakes, I open the car door and lean out to retch, depositing my half a Slim Jim and an earlier glass of orange juice in the middle of an oily puddle.” Pregnant, malnourished and brazen, she’s quite the scrappy fighter. Mattie’s perception of small town Gandy: “I wake, sweating, the sun shining straight on my face. I check the time; it’s almost eight. Grabbing the pillowcase that holds my toiletries, I climb out of the car and look around. I’m on what seems to be the outer edge of one of those quaint, redbrick downtowns. The kind where it looks like you’re in a Leave It to Beaver episode until you notice that all the shop windows are covered in paper, and the only thriving businesses are attorneys, bail bondsmen, pawnshops, and payday loans places.” While there she meets various people who may or may not figure into her mom’s and grandmother’s lives. Apparently Mattie’s mom hastily left the small town under mysterious circumstances. There’s the genuine paraplegic attorney, a librarian named Fritter, her grandmother’s abrasive neighbor JJ and the handsome alcoholic Father Barnes. Mattie begins to unravel details about her mother’s past and reasons for fleeing her small town and attempting to erase her poor decisions through excessive drinking. It’s a rocky debut novel about a rocky life. Started slow, picked up and slowed again. Author DeCarlo moves into the past to explain Mattie’s experiences with her mother. The novel requires more editing as it’s too long at 400 pages. I thought I’d relate to straightening oneself out after poor decisions and misfortunes. I skimmed it at parts but wanted to find out the facts. Unless you planned some serious career at age 12 most people face challenges in their past. Single moms and divorced parents aren’t that unusual anymore. It’s not all negative. Despite rocky connections, Mattie maintains an endearing relationship to her former stepfather Queeg. While rough around the edges and uneducated, Mattie’s as savvy as anyone from Florida, land of criminals and slackers, can be. She seems rather earnest in uncovering details about her mom’s life in Gandy. --review by Amy Steele/published at Entertainment Realm: http://entertainmentrealm.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle

    I loved this book. The recipe for this book: 1) White trash, alcoholic, emotionally unavailable woman inherits from her unknown grandmother after her alcoholic, fiscally and sexually irresponsible mother dies of cancer, 2) said woman abandons the one man (ex-alcoholic) who ever made a contribution to her life, 3) sets off in a unreliable heap on a cross country trek to solve the mystery of her mother's life, 4) meets a) an attractive (alcoholic) Episcopalian priest whom she decides to "seduce;" I loved this book. The recipe for this book: 1) White trash, alcoholic, emotionally unavailable woman inherits from her unknown grandmother after her alcoholic, fiscally and sexually irresponsible mother dies of cancer, 2) said woman abandons the one man (ex-alcoholic) who ever made a contribution to her life, 3) sets off in a unreliable heap on a cross country trek to solve the mystery of her mother's life, 4) meets a) an attractive (alcoholic) Episcopalian priest whom she decides to "seduce;" crashb) an equally attractive (ex-alcoholic) paraplegic paralegal; c) a grumpy librarian with a secret; d) a hostile goth teenager; e) a prickly neighbor, f) two flatulent French bulldogs named Winston and g) a down and out janitress in an abusive relationship and 5) then discovers the secret gay relationship that led to the mystery of her mother's exodus from her hometown. This book has almost every contemporary literary cliche: alcoholism, gay hate, bad partner choices, an angry teen, cancer and others that would spoil the plot if mentioned here, which should have been too weighty or too contrived for this short read. Instead, the characters were likeable in spite of their flaws or possibly for them and the fast paced plot sails above the cliches. Mattie is self acknowledged white trash, her happiest years spent in a run down trailer park in North Florida with the step father who tried to help her alcoholic mother and was always available to Mattie. Mattie learns that she had a grandmother who left a bequest for her and immediately sets off for Gandy, OK in an extremely unreliable car, leaving her stepfather at a point in his life when he needs her most. Mattie is unable to place herself in a position of responsibility until she has met the people of Gandy OK, who except for two men who are interested in her sexually, are prickly, unfriendly and pretty much hostile to her. Mattie loses her job in record time, fails to come through on her promises, and tries to sell stolen goods. This book is an adventure and a delight. Go read it! I received this book as an ARC from Edelweiss. To top it off, there is a librarian in this book who is a (fun) grumbly stereotype and two French Bulldogs!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    www.snazzybooks.com This is Melissa DeCarlo’s debut novel and I felt her writing was really humorous, packed with subtle jokes and dry humour which I loved. Narrator Mattie was the main source of amusement, and some of her thoughts and quick-witted comments were very entertaining- though a lot of her decisions were rather questionable! To start with I wasn’t sure whether Mattie was a man or woman (I had purposely not read a lot about the book so as to leave my opinions unformed before I began www.snazzybooks.com This is Melissa DeCarlo’s debut novel and I felt her writing was really humorous, packed with subtle jokes and dry humour which I loved. Narrator Mattie was the main source of amusement, and some of her thoughts and quick-witted comments were very entertaining- though a lot of her decisions were rather questionable! To start with I wasn’t sure whether Mattie was a man or woman (I had purposely not read a lot about the book so as to leave my opinions unformed before I began reading it) because she doesn’t seem typically ‘ladylike’ or feminine, but it becomes apparent that she is female when she reveals that she is pregnant (early on in the novel, I’m not giving a big spoiler away, don’t worry!). She’s a bit of a disaster and quite the wind-up merchant but I found her likable and quite charming in her own way; by the end of the novel I was sad for it to end because I really did want to read more about her! I really liked that The Art Of Crash Landing had an element of mystery about it; Mattie is trying to find out more about her mother’s early life before she was born and why she left the town she grew up in. I love any novel with a question at its heart and this wove it into the story really well. There was also some romantic interest which was entertaining, but the novel didn’t center around this and it wasn’t done in a cheesy way, which I really liked! In fact the story mixes a lot of different elements together; comedy, romance, drama, relationships, family, mystery, history and more! Melissa DeCarlo writes really well and creates realistic, convincing characters. Parts of the story are a little slower, particularly the start of the novel – I wasn’t hugely interested in the first few chapters to be honest, but it soon drew me in and started to move along at just the right pace. There was enough development of the characters and storyline throughout without it becoming dry or dull and also without it feeling rushed or unrealistic, and by the time I’d got a third of the way in I was hooked! I’d definitely recommend this novel for someone wanting a compelling, funny read. Melissa DeCarlo is certainly an author I’d like to read more of! ** Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this novel in return for an honest review **

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