Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Finds

What great books have you discovered this week?

Share your Friday Finds at Should Be Reading

"The Vienna Triangle" by Brenda Webster (found on 1st BOOKS: STORIES OF HOW WRITERS GET STARTED)

"The Year the Swallows Came Early" by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (found on Booking Mama)

"The Last of Her Kind" by Sigrid Nunez (found on Everyday I Write the Book Blog)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Book Review: The Local News by Miriam Gershow

"The Local News" by Miriam Gershow

Published by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House

Rating: 4 stars

This book was just released this week!

"The Local News" is narrated by Lydia Pasternak, whose older brother Danny mysteriously disappears one night, when Lydia was 15 years old. Most of the book consists of Lydia's memories of her high school years and the impact Danny's disappearance had on her life and her relationships. Lydia was an incredibly brilliant social outcast, who kept few friends and was constantly being teased by her older brother and his popular friends. Once Danny goes missing, everything changes for Lydia. She starts receiving attention from the other kids at school and much to her surprise, Danny's friends become protective over her and even befriend her. Lydia also takes a liking to the detective investigating Danny's case and a deep interest in helping him track down the truth. The books ends with the present day, as Lydia prepares for her 10th high school reunion and readers get to see what became of the other characters.

This is Miriam Gershow's first novel and I think it is an excellent testament to her beautiful writing style and powerful story-telling abilities. I loved how so many of her phrases were like poetry, because of the way they could evoke intense emotions. The writing and overall tone of this book reminded me so much of Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones" (which funny enough, I later read the same thoughts from The New York Times book review). The similarities lie in the dark and eerie feelings that emanate from the pages, as if something about the story is haunted in some way. That feeling is what drew me to the writing and simultaneously made me long for some lighter material to ease the emotional burden.

Even though the subject matter of the book was serious, it didn't always need such a somber tone. I think that had there been some comic relief weaved into the storyline, I would have enjoyed the story more. I had hoped for an uplifting ending but the reality was a bittersweet one, which perhaps was the author's intentions all along.

Overall, I think that this is a successful debut with respect to the excellent writing and plot development. I look forward to reading more from Miriam Gershow in the future!

BIG THANKS to Random House for my review copy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Review: The Makedown by Gitty Daneshvari

"The Makedown" by Gitty Daneshvari

Published by 5-Spot, a division of Hachette Book Group

Rating: 4.5 stars

This book is officially released today!!

"The Makedown" begins with memories of Anna Norton's life as an overweight, geeky, friendless teen and tales of her eccentric family. Anna decides to take drastic measures to change her fate and moves from her small town in Ohio to New York City. There she begins working in a catering business, where her boss becomes a personal mentor and health coach, forcing her to get in shape and helping her shed all her extra fat. Though not as glamorous or good-looking as the other women of Manhattan, Anna begins to gain some confidence and manages to attract the attention of a very handsome bachelor named Ben. Unfortunately, Anna is not the only one who admires Ben's good looks and she finds herself feeling insecure and jealous as other women constantly flirt with her boyfriend. One day Anna devises a plan to make Ben less attractive and therefore less competition for his attention - hence the makedown.

While I have to admit the book's plot sounds a little ridiculous, the execution is really well done and this book turned out to be even better than I thought! I love Gitty Daneshvari's writing style and her flawless choice of words. I also loved the humor in every situation, especially Anna's semi-delusional mother, whose personality merits another book all about her!

Throughout the beginning part of the book, I felt badly for Anna and the way the other kids tormented her. I really sympathized with her and wanted things to improve. Then once she lost the weight, I was relieved that she didn't magically transform into a beauty queen or become conceited. It was very realistic that Anna's insecurities did not disappear and dating the epitome of male perfection would inevitably bring the insecurities to the surface.

Surprisingly enough, even when Anna was fattening Ben up and putting Nair in his shampoo, I still loved her as a character. I thought Ben was way too stuck-up and in some ways deserved to see how it felt to be less than god-like in appearance. Of course the makedown doesn't go as planned and with time, Anna learns her lesson and is a better person because of her experiences.

My only complaint is that I wish the book didn't fast forward in the end because I would have loved to see what happened in between but I did think it was a good ending. This book was humorous and even witty at points, and certainly a lot of fun.

BIG THANKS to Miriam and Hachette Book Group for my review copy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Tweet!

Well, it's official! After reading Jen Lancaster's hilarious post about Twitter where she reveals her Twitter name (as well as Ashton Kutcher's), I decided to sign up and see what all the buzz is about.

There is also an AMAZING directory for anyone interested in the book trade people's Twitter names here

You can follow me here:

AND post your Twitter names in the comments so I can add you!

Teaser Tuesdays

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:

* Grab your current read

* Let the book fall open to a random page

* Share with us (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12 (which I've modified to 2-4 sentences)

* You also need to share the title of the book that you're getting your "teaser" from ... that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the "teaser" you've given!

* Please avoid spoilers!

This week's teaser is:

"She turned her back to me before I had even finished, which surprised me as I didn't expect to be rid of her so easily. From the way she had planted herself in our kitchen almost every afternoon until I had put a stop to it, she'd struck me as a single-minded girl, not easily discouraged."

- "The Price of Silence" by Camilla Trinchieri, page 131

Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

"Beat the Reaper" by Josh Bazell

Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group

Rating: 4 stars

"Beat the Reaper" is about hitman for the mob named Pietro "Bearclaw" Brnwa. It is also about Dr. Peter Brown, an overworked intern working at Manhattan Catholic hospital. Through the use of vivid flashbacks, readers learn that Peter is also Pietro, and his past ridden with a trail of murders and tragedy is finally catching up to him. Having been recruited into the mob by a close friend's father many years ago, he must now face the consequences of his actions. With the imminent threat of death upon him, he has eight hours to stay alive and 'beat the reaper'.

What I love about this book is its' originality. I was drawn to the unique storyline and especially the interesting characters, even though it all seemed a bit crazy. The writing style is engaging and direct, which is why I was a little confused by the seemingly random footnotes included throughout the book, which I don't think contributed much to the story.

There is a fair bit of vulgarity and one particular nausea-inducing scene, and yet I was always intrigued. The unexpected twists in the book were appreciated and made the book more enjoyable. Although there seems to be some method to the madness of this book, I was a little let down by the ending and was hoping for more of a dramatic turn of events for Peter/Pietro.

This book makes for a fast read and I finished it one sitting. I can't say that I felt particularly connected or sympathetic for any of the characters but they successfully held my attention and kept me turning the pages until the very end. "Beat the Reaper" is nothing if not fast-paced, exciting and even a little dangerous!

BIG THANKS to Miriam and Hachette Book Group for my review copy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Book Review: This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury

"This Side of Heaven" by Karen Kingsbury

Published by Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group

Rating: 4 stars

"This Side of Heaven" is about Josh Warren, an underachiever who is seen as a disappointment in his family's eyes. After being hit by a drunk driver, Josh spends his days in pain, living on medical disability and awaiting a settlement from the insurance company. Little does his family know, Josh was hit by the car because he pulled two teenage girls out of harm's way and saved their lives. Although there is no proof, Josh is also convinced that he is the father of a little girl named Savannah, whose mother has kept her away from him until he is able to provide large sums of money. Josh, however, is determined to be a part of this girl's life, even though his family doesn't believe he is really the girl's father. It takes a tragedy to show Josh's family the special person that he is and to realize how much Savannah means to Josh.

Karen Kingsbury is a talented writer and is particularly excellent at tugging at reader's heartstrings. Although the plot itself follows a predictable path, the story is a worthwhile one to read and to gain insight from.I felt moved by the story and deeply connected to the characters' struggles. My favorite character is definitely adorable Savannah, who despite difficult living circumstances and the terrible way her mother treats her, keeps her faith. My favorite parts of the book are those where Savannah is thinking about her father and dreaming of the day he will come and rescue her.

I was saddened to hear that some tragic events from this story are loosely based upon the author's own life, and I admire her for turning her pain into a positive and beautiful novel.

Although some parts of the story are incredibly sad, the overall message is one of hope. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a meaningful and uplifting read!

BIG THANKS to Miriam and Hachette Book Group for my review copy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Finds

What great books have you discovered this week?
Share your Friday Finds at Should Be Reading

"Tallgrass" by Sandra Dallas (found on Bloody Hell, It's a Book Barrage!)

"The Heights" by Brian James (found on Presenting Lenore)

"Things I Want My Daughters to Know" by Elizabeth Noble (found on Booking Mama & Book Club Girl)

"Skin Deep" by E. M. Crane (found on she reads and reads)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Review: Something Like Beautiful by Asha Bandele

"Something Like Beautiful" by Asha Bandele

Published by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Rating: 4.5 stars

"Something Like Beautiful" is the story of Asha Bandele's experiences as a single mother, raising her daughter Nisa, while her husband serves time in jail. It never dawned on Asha that she was a single mother until she realized her husband, Rashid was never going to be around to help raise their daughter. Asha discusses the challenges of being a single mother, but more importantly focuses on the joy Nisa has brought her and the life lessons she has learned from having such a special child in her presence.

What first struck me was the beauty of Asha Bandele's writing and the powerful imagery she evokes. I was amazed by the intensity of her words and it was hard not to be immersed in her passionate writing. In addition to the writing itself, her message was also beautiful and incredibly meaningful. I was especially touched by the passages in which she explicitly addresses her daughter and shares all of the hopes and dreams she has for her.

Asha Bandele also describes some really personal and difficult experiences, including the abuse she suffered from as a child and then another abusive relationship after her marriage ended. Yet, with her daughter for inspiration, she shows immense strength and for that I really admire her. There is much to be taken away from this heartfelt book and it truly serves as a testament to a beautiful bond between mother and child.

BIG THANKS to HarperCollins for my review copy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review: The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson

"The Mighty Queens of Freeville" by Amy Dickinson

Published by Hyperion

Rating: 4 stars

"The Mighty Queens of Freeville" is Amy Dickinson's humorous memoir, describing her childhood and life thus far, and in particular focusing on her experiences as a single mother raising her daughter, Emily. There are also hilarious stories about the colorful members of her extended family, who have managed to remain close over the years.

This was a very fast and easy read for me. I enjoyed the way Amy recounted tales from her youth with vivid detail and always with a humorous slant. I especially liked the chapter about the 'dorkiness' that runs through her family's genes, highlighting her talent for self-deprecating humor.

Beyond the humor in the book though, what I liked most is the way Amy conveys her love for her family. Is is so evident how much she respects and admires them, despite their occasional mockery and overhwelming quirkiness. While I originally expected that there would more written about Amy's experiences on the job as the replacement for Anne Landers, I think it was the right choice to include more content about her family and it made my reading experience more fulfilling.

BIG THANKS to Hyperion for my review copy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:

* Grab your current read

* Let the book fall open to a random page

* Share with us (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12 (which I've modified to 2-4 sentences)

* You also need to share the title of the book that you're getting your "teaser" from ... that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the "teaser" you've given!

* Please avoid spoilers!

This week's teaser is:

"My heart beats irregularly, creating a shortness of breath as I avoid looking at Ben. The longer I divert my eyes, the more my chest constricts, creating an audible wheeze. I inhale slowly. I must marry him."

- "The Makedown" by Gitty Daneshvari, page 101

Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Review: The Moon in Deep Winter by Lee Polevoi

"The Moon in Deep Winter" by Lee Polevoi

Published by Casagrande Press

Rating: 4 stars

"The Moon in Deep Winter" tells the story of Parker Sloane, who has returned to his home and family after having been gone for five years. During his absence, Parker travelled around the world for a cash-smuggling scheme and was later nearly beaten to death. In need of a safe haven, Parker headed back to home to his mother, stepfather and half-siblings only to find himself with even bigger troubles than before. This family epitomizes the meaning of dysfunctional as each chapter Parker discovers another side to their madness. This book explores some serious issues including adultery, murder and even incest, making it a beautifully written, although tragic piece of writing.

I loved the writing in this book and appreciated the wonderful descriptions of each of the characters. Although none of the characters won any of my sympathy, I was compelled to read further and see what would become of them. There is also a dark humor to the writing that is subtle, and yet greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the book.

While I really enjoyed the writing and the story itself, I am still unsure of whether or not I am satisfied with the ending. I am not the type to require a happily ever after, but I felt the book finished off too quickly and could have been more fully developed. Even though I was surprised by the ending, I can still appreciate Polevoi's vision, as unsettling as it may be. The books I tend to like reading the most are those that offer unique plots and in that respect, this one certainly fits the bill!

BIG THANKS to Melissa and Stray Dog Media for my review copy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book Review: Modern Magic by Anne Cordwainer

"Modern Magic" by Anne Cordwainer

Published by Clotho Press

Rating: 3.5 stars

"Modern Magic" is officially released today!!

"Modern Magic" is a unique book that is comprised of short story cycles revolving around a world of magic, set within contemporary times. Liz is born into the Prospero family but is the only of them that does not possess magic powers. Liz and her brother John go through a series of difficult challenges as they are exposed to some of the dark sides of magic, particularly as a result of those who abuse their powers. We learn about their extended family and the complicated lives they lead due to magic. The book spans over 10 years and follows John and Liz throughout college, dating life, marriage, parenthood and unfortunately inevitable tragedy from the potential risks of magic.

I liked that the book was different because it was the story of the same family, yet conveyed throughout different separate adventures. I only wished that I could have seen more of Liz and John's interactions without the context of all the dramatic events. Because the book was primarily focused on the action of the magic world, I felt there could have been more character development and opportunity to see different sides of the characters.

Nonetheless, it was a fast-paced book that definitely grabbed my attention and made for a very interesting read. I also really enjoyed the twists and turns along the way, proving that not everything is always as it seems.

BIG THANKS to Melissa and Clotho Press for my review copy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Finds

What great books have you discovered this week?

Share your Friday Finds at Should Be Reading

The View from Garden City by Carolyn Baugh (found on S.Krishna's Books)

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond (found on she reads and reads)

The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian (found on Bookin' with Bingo)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Review: Cancer is a Bitch by Gail Konop Baker

"Cancer is a Bitch: (Or, I'd Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis) " by Gail Konop Baker

Published by Da Capo Press, a member of Perseus Books Group

Rating: 4.5 stars

Simply put, "Cancer is a Bitch" is about Gail Konop Baker's experiences after having been diagnosed with breast cancer. However throughout the book, Gail explores her relationship with her mother, husband, children and friends before her diagnosis as well. There are a lot of insightful observations made and we soon see that the diagnosis has initiated a lot of self reflection and symbolizes so much more. Having breast cancer was a wake-up call to live life to the fullest and she certainly took that challenge by spending more time with her family, becoming more fit (including running several marathons) and lucky for us all, pursuing her writing!

This story is inspirational and heartfelt but the best part is that everything is relayed with an amazing sense of humor. You would think that a book revolving around cancer would be depressing, but you would be wrong. If anything, I was even more hopeful after finishing the book, not to mention having laughed my way to the end. This book may technically be classified as a 'Health' book but for me, it belongs in the 'Humor' and 'Inspirational' categories!

Gail Konop Baker was a member of the Deb Class 2008 from The Debutante Ball - to read her archived posts click here

For even more of Gail Konop Baker, click here to read her articles that she has written as the 'Bare-breasted Mama' for Literary Mama.

BIG THANKS to Megan of Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Inc. for my review copy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Book Review: Fool by Christopher Moore

"Fool" by Christopher Moore

Published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Rating: 5 stars

Make use of HarperCollins' amazing "Browse Inside" feature to get a generous glimpse of Fool's beginning chapters here

Christopher Moore's latest book features a very clear WARNING:

"This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as nontraditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank . . . If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!"

Well, at least he warned me!

Since it's hard to summarize the plot in my own words, here is the book's description from the publisher, HarperCollins (plus it's one of the funniest book descriptions I've ever seen):

"A man of infinite jest, Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years, from the time the king's grown daughters—selfish, scheming Goneril, sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot) Regan, and sweet, loyal Cordelia—were mere girls. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear—at the insidious urging of Edmund, the bastard (in every way imaginable) son of the Earl of Gloucester—demands that his kids swear their undying love and devotion before a collection of assembled guests. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of . . . well . . . stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

Well, now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. The whole damn country's about to go to hell in a handbasket because of a stubborn old fart's wounded pride. And the only person who can possibly make things right . . . is Pocket, a small and slight clown with a biting sense of humor. He's already managed to sidestep catastrophe (and the vengeful blades of many an offended nobleman) on numerous occasions, using his razor-sharp mind, rapier wit . . . and the equally well-honed daggers he keeps conveniently hidden behind his back. Now he's going to have to do some very fancy maneuvering—cast some spells, incite a few assassinations, start a war or two (the usual stuff)—to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear's good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia's twisted sisters, to rescue his gigantic, gigantically dim, and always randy friend and apprentice fool, Drool, from repeated beatings . . . and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who's amenable to shagging along the way.

Pocket may be a fool . . . but he's definitely not an idiot. "


Let me start off by saying that I am a huge Christopher Moore fan and in that respect I may be a little biased. However, I tried by best to separate my admiration for his writing and judge "Fool" as a single book of its own merit. Also, I usually try to avoid books with vulgar language and explicit material but Moore's writing is so incredibly witty and hilarious that I completely forgive him (although not everyone necessarily will).

For devoted fans, newcomers or anyone in between, the humor in "Fool" DOES NOT disappoint. The depths of Moore's delightfully wicked imagination seem to know no bounds. Moore did a great deal of research when writing this book and perfectly nails the essence of British humor and all of their colloquialisms (while making up a few of his own). I continue to be amazed by the brilliant way Moore uses insane metaphors and imagery to inspire laughter.

I loved the quirky characters and most of all the Pocket, the fool himself, for actually teaching us not to judge others by their titles because one's standing can change with the drop of a hat (or a codpiece).

It's hard to explain exactly why Moore is a such a comedic genius. The only way to truly understand is to find out for yourselves! "Fool" was just released, so go out and get a copy right away!!

BIG THANKS to Deanna and HarperCollins Canada for my review copy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:

* Grab your current read

* Let the book fall open to a random page

* Share with us (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12 (which I've modified to 2-4 sentences)

* You also need to share the title of the book that you're getting your "teaser" from ... that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the "teaser" you've given!

* Please avoid spoilers!

This week's teaser is:

"For an awful moment I wondered if she was sixteen or something. It was certainly possible. Just as it was also possible she was thirty, since she gave off a feeling of ancientness like you'd imagine from a vampire, or an angel."

- "Beat The Reaper" by Josh Bazell, page 159

Monday, February 9, 2009

Book Review: Broken Bulbs by Eddie Wright

"Broken Bulbs" by Eddie Wright

Published by '86 Newman

Rating: 3.5 stars


Frank Fisher is nothing. He wants to be something. When a mysterious young woman named Bonnie offers assistance by injecting seeds of inspiration directly into his brain, Frank finds himself involved in a twisting mystery full of addiction, desperation and self-discovery. Broken Bulbs, a novella by Eddie Wright, tells the story of the lengths one young man will go in the pursuit of "somethingness."

"Broken Bulbs" is a really interesting and certainly unique little novel. It is the kind of read that will leave you thinking about its message and implications long after you've finished it. Some parts were really confusing and I wasn't sure what to make of them but overall I was pretty intrigued. While I realize this story was intended as a novella, I really wish it could've been longer and perhaps more fully developed. Nonetheless, Eddie Wright is a talented writer who clearly has a vivid imagination and it was probably his intention to end the book with unanswered questions.

BIG THANKS to Eddie for sending me a review copy.

Bookin' with Bingo's Giveaways

Bookin' With Bingo is having some really GREAT giveaways!!!

Check them out:

Birthday Present extravaganza - 4 advance review copies

The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Finds

What great books have you discovered this week? Share your Friday Finds at Should Be Reading

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Book Review: Sima's Undergarments for Women by Ilana Stanger-Ross

BIG THANKS to Francesca and Overlook Press for my review copy!

Published by Overlook Press

Rating: 4.5 stars

This book is officially released today in the U.S. - so go out (or stay in) and buy a copy!!

"Sima's Undergarments for Women" is about Sima Goldner and the bra shop that she runs out of her basement in Brooklyn. Out of the tight-knit community, she has many loyal customers who have trusted her for years to find the very best lingerie for themselves and their daughters in a modest and private environment. One day a young Israeli woman named Timna enters the shop and mesmerizes Sima with her youth and vitality. Timna begins working with Sima as the shop's seamstress and a friendship emerges. Timna is like the daughter Sima was never able to conceive, however Sima takes it too far. Timna's presence forces Sima to confront demons from her past and secrets of her youth are discovered through the use of flashbacks within each chapter.

This is Ilana Stanger-Ross' first novel and she has certainly succeeded in writing a thought-provoking and meaningful debut. I felt very invested in Sima and her feelings and hoped that she would overcome the hardships of her past and let Timna's influence prevail. I loved the sense of camaraderie that is almost tangible throughout the novel between all the women sharing the common bond and connection through Sima's shop.

The book itself is incredibly charming and well-written. Though it deals with some serious topics, I never felt overwhelmed by the severity of the circumstances. I loved the lessons that can be taken away from Sima, particularly with regard to accepting one's past and learning to live life to the fullest.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book Review: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

BIG THANKS to Miriam and Hachette for my review copy!

"The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" by Tiffany Baker

Published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group

Rating: 5 stars

"The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" is narrated by Truly Plaice, an unusually large child who grows into an even larger adult, who tells her own tale along with the other interesting and eccentric people in her life. This books spans many years and follows Truly along her path, where it seems as though she is destined for misfortune and heartache. Truly dances along the fine line of morality and obligation when she unlocks the secrets to ancient herbal remedies and their dangers, which ends up altering her fate and teaching her important life lessons.

There are so many reasons why I adored this book. The most obvious one being Tiffany Baker's beautiful and eloquent writing. She has a real talent for conveying her meaning through metaphor and I often stopped to re-read certain passages out of admiration. It's astounding to me that this is Tiffany Baker's first novel, as her writing has the maturity of an experienced author.

The storyline itself is also as imaginative and well-crafted as they come, which also amazed me that it's written by a first-time novelist. Each character in this book is almost an exaggeration of themselves, and yet there is something so human and relatable about them.

I also loved the mystical and magical elements of the story, which added a unique quality to the plot and made it even more interesting.

I don't want to spoil too much about the book because yes, it is that good and I want others to read it and see for themselves why it is worthy of all the praise it is receiving! Needless to say, this book has quickly risen to the top of my list of favorite books. It is not one that everyone will necessarily fall in love with, but it is one that I felt an immediate connection with and will recommend to anyone in search of a true gem of a book.

For more of Tiffany Baker (and to read the story of how she got published and other amusing anecdotes) be sure to visit The Debutante Ball . It is also a great 'grog' (group blog) to check out because it is filled with other future literary talents, all of whom are releasing their first novels (so the members change each year).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Review: Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye

BIG THANKS to Danielle and Sourcebooks for my review copy!

"Romeo, Romeo" by Robin Kaye

Published by Sourcebooks

Rating: 3 stars

"Romeo Romeo" follows Rosalie Ronaldi as she becomes involved with Nick Romeo, a wealthy good-looking bachelor who has a reputation for being a ladies man. However, Rosalie doesn't know this man is the Nick Romeo, and thinks he is a down-to-earth mechanic, which is the impression he gave when they first met. Rosalie insists she doesn't want a serious relationship but Nick falls for her very quickly and takes care of her when she falls ill. Although Nick never stays with the same woman for very long, he is astounded by Rosalie's independence and cannot resist trying to care for her, despite her objections. Throughout the book there are a number of complications, including the fact that Rosalie is trying to turn around the same company that Nick is trying to buy out, which she doesn't know as well.

I enjoyed reading this book but every once in a while was bothered by how contrived some of it seemed to me. While I didn't mind the predictable plot, I found Nick way too unrealistic to be taken seriously. Then again, if the characters were more realistic, it wouldn't be as much fun to read.

My favorite parts of the book were the amusing ones, particularly those that involved Rosalie's loving yet overbearing Italian family. I liked seeing how their involvement always complicated everything!

"Romeo, Romeo" is perfect for a quick and light read, but like its characters, isn't meant to be taken too seriously.

Giveaway: Cool Jew by Lisa Alcalay Klug - WINNER

Congratulations to .................


who has won a copy of "Cool Jew" by Lisa Alcalay Klug and has helped promote multiculturalism by saying:

"Multiculturalism, tolerance is very important. I believe all cultures have value and it is important to respects everyone's belief. Mutual respect, non violent tolerance we need reasons to get along, not reasons to hate each other"

For another chance to win a copy of "
Cool Jew" check back in March for a giveaway in honor of Purim!!

Did you know?

"Cool Jew", is a recipient of an honor in the "Jewish Pulitzers," the 2008 National Jewish Book Awards. It was named a finalist in the category of "Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice." It is the only pop culture/humor book among the 2008 National Jewish Book Award honorees. In fact, it is the only funny book honored in recent years!!

Teaser Tuesdays

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:

* Grab your current read

* Let the book fall open to a random page

* Share with us (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12 (which I've modified to 2-4 sentences)

* You also need to share the title of the book that you're getting your "teaser" from ... that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the "teaser" you've given!

* Please avoid spoilers!

This week's teaser is:

"In the rising heat of my deepening chagrin I returned to my isolation. All I had to rely on was the knowledge of Islam my parents had passed on to me."

- "In The Land of Invisible Women" by Qanta A. Ahmed, M.D., page 160