Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Girl on the Other Side

Girl on the Other Side
Author: Deborah Kerbel
Publisher: Dunburn Press
ISBN: 978-1-55488-443-8
Source: Publisher for Review
*To purchase click the image to the left*

Synopsis from book
Tabby Freeman and Lora Froggett go to the same school, but they live in totally opposite worlds. Tabby is rich, pretty, and the most popular girl in her class. But behind closed doors, her 'perfect' life is rapidly coming apart at the seams.

On the other side, Lora is smart, timid, and the constant target of bullies. While struggling to survive the piranha-infested halls of her school, she becomes increasingly nervous that somebody might discover the unbearable truth about what's been happening to her family.

Despite their differences, Tabby and Lora have something in common - they're both harbouring dark secrets and a lot of pain. Although they've never been friends, a series of strange events causes their lives to crash together in ways neither could have ever imagined. And when the dust finally settles and all their secrets are forced out into the light, will the girls be saved or destroyed?

My Review
For Tabby and Lora life could not be any more different. The girls are complete opposites in every way except that they are lonely, unsatisfied, scared and harboring secrets about the truth of their lives. This book is 152 pages of wonderful reading. I was easily able to relate and attach to the characters. The book tackles the topic of bullying and brings to light the insensitivity others have for those who they bully. I thought Deborah did a wonderful job of tackling this topic in a direct and meaningful way. By the end of the novel you’ll wish you had never made fun of someone, understanding the pain and hurt on the other side that arrives with words and actions.

I loved the flow of this book. It switches between the two girls each telling a little of their story at a time. I was hooked from the very beginning as the author introduces the story with a bathroom scene and then follows the scene up with events leading to that day. Once the reader is caught up, the story continues until its end. “Girl on the Other Side” is a thought provoking, insightful and entertaining read. This young adult novel is a must read for females entering sixth/seventh grade to those all ready in high school. It makes one think about how their actions can affect others whom they know nothing about. The author did a wonderful job writing this book and I am happy to recommend it to others, especially girls ages thirteen to sixteen years.


Gratitude Giveaway Winners

Thank you to everyone who follows my blog, reads my blog and enjoys my blog!  I really appreciate each one of you!  I love blogging and never knew it could be so rewarding!  Here are the winners!  Thanks to everyone who entered!  The Random Number Generator has spoken!!!

Winner of The Ice Cream Theory - Caitie F

Winner of Mercury in Retrograde - Aik Chien

Winners of Swag:
Charlie @Bitsy Bling Books
Becky B


Who Got Liz Gardner

Who Got Liz GardnerAuthor: Elizabeth Allen
ISBN: 978-1-84923-888-5
Publisher: You Write On
Source: BookPleasures
*To purchase click the image to the left*

When Liz, a financial planner, logs onto her high school website in hopes of generating new business leads, she finds herself landing inadvertently in a chat room full of her male classmates and former lovers. The twenty year flashback and random question “Does anyone know who got Liz Gardner?” throws Liz on a trip down memory lane, full of the good, the bad and the ugly and ultimately answers the question “Who got Liz Gardner?”

Who Got Liz Gardner is a work of fiction that is described as “embellished memoirs” by the author herself. The trip that answers the question “Who got Liz?” is an emotional journey through Liz’s past. The journey includes the detailed and graphic self exploration of Liz’s dysfunctional and sexual relationships and escapades. Liz journeys through her emotional baggage from a rough childhood and comes out on the other side healed and refreshed, determined to break the chain that her mother and grandmother have set, though they did the best they knew how. The journey is painful yet rewarding as Liz sticks to her personal codes and goals so that she can find true and lasting love. Liz deals with divorced parents, abortion, infidelity, love triangles, stalkers, countless sexual escapades and unfulfilled relationships while learning and growing along the way. In the end only one man truly go Liz Garner, the rest just had various levels of taste testing.

This book review comes with a fair warning of explicit sex and language use. If this content will offend you or is not your cup of tea outside a steamy scene or two, do not pick up this book. While it is a story of overcoming severe obstacles due to a harsh childhood and evolving into a better example for her own children, Who Got Liz Gardner is 520 pages that mostly deal with sex and the many partners of Liz. While Liz learns from each encounter, there are many, many encounters and escapades that are usually graphic in nature.

That warning aside, Elizabeth Allen does a wonderful job in regards to her writing style and grabbing the reader’s attention. I finished the novel very quickly considering its size. She grabbed my attention and kept it with an easy flowing storyline. Before I knew it the book was over. The author does a good job of keeping the story fictional in nature. While she admits to using some personal life experiences, the book doesn’t feel like a memoir. I don’t have any aversions to reading the graphic sexual content that encompassed most of this book, however novel had a lot more than I would prefer. What wasn’t sex was self exploration, discovery and life lessons learned.

Overall, the book was a quick and enjoyable one time read. Due to the content and subject matter this book holds no re-read value for me. The writing style was great, the story embellished and platonic with occasional deep issues and lessons learned. I enjoyed the novel but felt it was empty until the very end, it doesn’t fit the coming-of-age label for me as most of the book takes place when Liz is far past the coming-of age range. I felt sad for the main character throughout most of the book. I was very happy for her ending and her ability to achieve her goals and come out on the other side. If you’re able to read a novel with this content I suggest you pick up a copy of the book or borrow it from your library.


The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook

The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook (The Baby Bible Series)Author: Robin Currie
Illustrated by: Constanza Basaluzzo
Publisher: David Cook
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0368-9
Source: Reviewed for Bookpleasures
*for pricing or purchase click the image to the left*

The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook introduces your child to the Christmas story with bright, colorful pictures, simple prayers and suggested actions to bring the stories to life. The sixteen short stories bring parents and children together to learn the wonderful story of Christmas in an interactive manner.

I really enjoyed this Christmas storybook. The illustrations were wonderful and brought the Christmas story to life. They are bright, vivid and easy to see. My daughter was constantly pointing and naming objects, actions and places or animals. The book itself is unique because it gives suggested hand motions under each line in the story for parents to interact with their children. Here is an example:

Joseph knocked on the inn door
[Knock, knock, knock]

He looked for a place to stay in Bethlehem
[Look high and low]

Every room was full
[Shake your head: no room]

At last they stayed in a warm stable.
[Ask: What animals live in a stable?]

Each “chapter” of this book has different movements or prompting questions to encourage parents and children to interact with the story. Ideally this makes the book perfect for children 0-5 years of age. The book also includes a prayer at the end of each “chapter”. For example:

Chapter: A Long Trip
Story: Trip to Bethlehem
Prayer: Dear God, keep us safe when we travel. Amen

Chapter: A Manger Bed
Story: Jesus bed of hay
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for my own bed. Amen

Chapter: Listen to This
Story: Sheppard’s tell of Jesus birth
Prayer: Dear God, show me who to tell about Jesus. Amen

The prayers are simple and easy. They are perfect for children who are learning all about God’s world around them. I would recommend this Bible Christmas Storybook for children ages 0-5. Both my two and four year old enjoy reading it and are able to get different lessons and enjoyment from the stories. This simple book has quite a lot to offer. I was very impressed. The last page has a guide for “Baby Bible moments together” to help parents get the most from their time spent with this book. I appreciated this extra touch.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Post: Author Graham Parke

I am pleased to welcome Graham Parke, author of "No Hope for Gomez!" to my blog today. Graham is about to celebrate his books first birthday and has some exciting information to share with everyone! Enough said right?? Here we go....

"No Hope for Gomez!" Birthday Party. Win kindles, iPods, and get free books!

“It's the age-old tale:

Boy meets girl.

Boy stalks girl.

Girl already has a stalker.

Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.”

It's hard to believe, but it's been a year since I handed in the final proofs for my weird little book ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ To celebrate this, and the fact that it just became a finalist in 2010's Best Book Awards, I decided to throw an international party. As I’ve had a debilitating fear of throwing parties and no-one showing up since early childhood, I’d be more than delighted if you’d come!

Of course, with every cool, international party comes a gift bag. Here's just some of the stuff attendants will get:
  • Exclusive short story collection
  • No Hope for Gomez: The Lost Chapters
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signed hi-res poster + bookplate
(These are all exclusive items and will not be available again)
Additionally, several lucky attendants will win a Kindle or an iPod!

Oh yeah, you can bring as many friends as you like, just don't bring your crazy uncle who drinks too much and then tries to get me to go to the attic with him to see something wonderful. I've fallen for that before and I don't mind telling you, I came away very disappointed!

Find out how to attend HERE.

Thank you Graham! Don't forget to click on the link above to attend the birthday bash and enter to win some great prizes! Good Luck!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Chesapeake Shores Christmas

A Chesapeake Shores Christmas
Author: Sherryl Woods ISBN: 978-0-7783-2852-0
Publisher: Mira Books
Source: Reviewed for BookPleasures

Mick and Megan O’Brien continue their saga in the heartwarming story “A Chesapeake Shores Christmas”. After spending years apart Mick and Megan are finally ready to give their marriage a second chance. Their plans to make if official again are well accepted by most of their children. Only Connor, hurt deeply by his parents divorce and mothers “abandonment” as he views it, refuses to give his blessing for the reunion. Unwilling to hurt any of her family again, Megan refuses to walk the isle without Connor’s blessing. Will an unexpected delivery that causes family chaos reunite the family or tear them apart? A Christmas miracle is highly in need but will the O’Brien family get theirs?

A Chesapeake Shores Christmas was a sweet and heartwarming novel of love, forgiveness and a mother’s determination to rekindle her relationship with her children. If you’ve followed the O’Brien family story this book is sure to fulfill many wishes from anxious readers who want to discover what will finally happen with Mick and Megan’s relationship. If you have not read the previous novels this book will capture your attention and leave you ready for more of the O’Brien family saga that is to come. The novel itself was easy to read and is what I consider a light hearted romance. The heat level is barley a one, making this novel acceptable for readers of all ages. The story is more about family and the love between a mother and her children than a romance between two people.

While I enjoyed this novel and finished it quickly, I found the novel slightly redundant and not very deep. The novel is 288 pages but felt much shorter. It truly is a bridge between novels for readers of this series. Though I have not read its predecessors I did not feel lost while reading this novel. It provides plenty of past history along with present drama to prepare for the future. I look forward to reading the next series about the O’Brien family providing they are not redundant in nature. I would like to read the first two novels of this series to better familiar myself with the O’Brien family story before moving on with the series. I look forward to Connor’s story continuing.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Julie Metz Hyperion
Source: BookSparks PR Blog Tour

In the aftermath of her worst nightmare, her husband’s sudden and unexpected death, Julie Metz discovers the worst is yet to come and that her seemingly happy life was a fiction of her imagination, a defense of her mind in order to shield her heart from the truth. As Julie heals from the loss of her husband, her world is shattered once again when she discovers the secrets he kept from her and the lies he lived. Forced to recover for the sake of her daughters’ happiness as well as her own, Julie’s personal story unfolds and ultimately changes her life and outlook forever.

Perfection was the horrific story of one woman’s discovery that her marriage and life was not what it seemed. It is utterly suffocating to read, I cannot imagine personally going through this tragedy, discovery and rebuilding. The memoir is haunting. There are parts of the story [spoon & ashes] that I could have done without knowing as they didn’t change the impact of the story or give any deeper understanding to what the characters were going through. Perfection is like a bad dream that you cannot wake up from. It is harrowing, and unforgettable. The story itself is amazing and shocking dependent on the readers’ level of morale. The writing style did not agree with me, and I frequently felt bored and mortified all at the same time.

I am amazed that Julie was able to write this book and tell her dark story. Though her life is much more than the pages of this book, I’m not sure I would have been able to put the event into words for anyone to read. The memoir has a wonderful set of discussion questions for book groups and makes a great topic for discussion as I am sure many different thoughts, feelings and opinions derive from this pointed memoir. The book left me in an odd state. I definitely had to start reading something less devastating and more upbeat.

I would not choose to recommend or not recommend this book. I feel that it is a decision best kept to the individual reader. I do suggest you read the synopsis of this book along with a few reviews before purchasing it. The memoir has great potential for book clubs or other discussion groups. It is a story with potential to help many other women, who may have suffered some of the same traumatic details, to heal and find understanding. I wish the author great happiness in the future. She deserves a break from the painful tale that encompassed so much of her life and heart.

About Julie Metz:

Julie Metz is a graphic designer, artist and freelance writer whose essays have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Hemispheres, Glamour, and more. Julie received a MacDowell Fellowship in 2008 where she completed work on Perfection and began work on a novel. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Website: http://www.perfectionbook.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Metz/132749525472


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Spotlight: When Harry Met Molly

It is with GREAT anticipation for the arrival of my review copy of When Harry Met Molly that I post this book spotlight!  I hope you enjoy this advance look at Kieran Kramer's newest novel as part of her blog tour with Pump Up Your Book promotions!  Enjoy the highlights until you can pick up your own copy!

About the book:
Kieran Kramer transports you to London, and a time where a wager can be placed by royal decree—and romance is always in season…

Dashing Lord Harry Traemore is perfectly content to live out his days in the pursuit of pleasure. But when he’s named by the Prince Regent as one of society’s “Impossible Bachelors,” Harry is drafted into a ribald romantic wager. The rules of engagement are scandalously simple: The bachelor whose mistress wins the title of “Most Delectable Companion” gets to remain unmarried. Harry is utterly unconcerned about his status…until his latest lightskirt abandons him.

Enter Lady Molly Fairbanks. Harry’s childhood friend—actually, “foe” is more like it—is the most unlikely companion of all. She’s attractive but hot-headed, and in no mood for games. Besides, what could the self-indulgent Harry possibly know about what makes a woman delectable? It’s time for Molly to teach him a lesson once and for all…but will it lead to “happily ever after?”

About the author: 
Kieran, a former CIA employee, journalist, and English teacher, lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her family. Game show veteran, karaoke enthusiast, and general adventurer, her motto is, “Life rewards action.”  Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.kierankramerbooks.com.

Remember to check back for my review of this title!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Recessionistas

The Recessionistas
Author: Alexandra Lebenthal Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-446-56367-3
Source: Reviewed for Author Exposure

Synopsis from book:
“It’s the day after Labor Day, 2008, and the elite universe of New York’s Upper East Side is about to unravel along with the economy. Socialite Grigsby Somerset is barely aware of her changing world and has no idea her investment banker husband, Blake, is about to enter into a devil’s bargain with hedge fund owner John Cutter. As autumn unfolds, Grigsby’s fairytale life starts to unwind. Street-smart Renee Parker has been hired as John’s executive assistant and is convinced that something is amiss with her new boss. Renee enlists her friend Sasha Silver, CEO of Sliver Partners, to help her decipher what is happening. They soon discover that John in nearly ruined, except for the assets he is hiding in the Cayman Islands from his wife, Mimi, and has concocted with Blake a scheme to redeem himself. This tale of expulsion from a modern-day Garden of Eden captures what happens when economic decline spells ruin for Manhattan’s pampered elite.”

My Review:
If you’ve read the above synopsis you have pretty much read this book aside from horrible characters, wall street’s numbers, and mundane details. The Recessionistas chronicles four main characters debuting them by chapter. The start of each new chapter furthers the story of one of these four. While I am normally a fan of this set up, I did not enjoy this book or the authors writing style. I felt as if I was reading a power point presentation of facts rather than a story. I was unable to connect with the characters throughout the book. I actually preferred not to read about them. The novel states it is “A novel of the once rich and powerful” but truly it is a novel of spoiled rich women, a few honest hardworking people who are very rich and a couple of white collar crime millionaires who are greedy beyond belief.

One of the major problems I had with this book was its lack of appeal and intrigue. The most interesting part of the book takes place in the last seven chapters. This means I had to battle my way through twenty chapters only to find little alleviation and still work my way through seven more. While I understand the idea of the novel, I feel it is all wrong for today’s market. The agent who requested that Ms. Lebenthal write this book would have been better of asking her or someone else to write a book about real struggle in a recession. A book chronicling the lives of four women who are working and taking care of their children with fears and struggles that the average woman faces would have made a much better women’s fiction novel and made for a better story. Instead, I wanted to throw the book across the room as I read about a bunch of spoiled rich women with no sense of reality and how fortunate they are as they whined, complained and threw fits that they were no longer popular or rich. They were not enjoyable. The end of the novel did not equal the end of money or the end of status for the non-law breaking characters. Its as if the novel chronicles a few hard months for the rich, who find themselves still rich at the end.

I honestly had a hard time reading and reviewing this book. The process was painful. I found myself looking for excuses not to read which is highly unlike me. I rarely ever pick up a book without finishing it but I was tempted multiple times to do just that. I would not have finished this novel if it had not been for the commitment I made to review it. I enjoyed very few points in this novel. The most interesting part of the book for me was the titles of each chapter and the pretty fonts they were printed in. If you like the synopsis and want to give this book a try please do, just don’t spend 24.99 on it. Check your local library or borrow the title from a friend. I will not be recommending this book, nor will I attempt to read another novel by this author unless she decides to write a book on her own, for herself, without being asked to write a book. I believe a lot of a great book is due to the passion of an author. Ms. Lebenthal has many impressive aspects of her resume as CEO and President of her company, however I personally did not benefit from her book.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cozy Reader Recap

Did you miss anything this week?  I did not put my blog on the normal hops because I will be very busy this weekend and will not have time to visit other blogs.  I have had so many post and contest this week that I wanted to post the links for everyone... just in case you missed something!

WOW!  What a week!  Enjoy catching up on all of my post!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Portrait

The Portrait
Author: Hazel Statham ISBN: 978-0-8034-7787-2
Publisher: Avalon Books
Source: Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours
*To purchase click the image to the left*

Rarely do I take the synopsis from the book itself, but in order to review this book without spoilers I decided the synopsis from the book was the best course before giving my review. It is below.

England 1812:
Severely injured at the battle of Salamanca, Edward Thurston, the new Earl of Sinclair, returns home to his beloved Fly Hall. Determined not to present his prospective bride with the wreck he believes himself to have become, he decides to end his betrothal, unaware that Lady Jennifer, for vastly differing reasons, has reached the selfsame decision.

Throughout the campaigns, Edward was often seen relying greatly on a miniature he carried, and it is to this token he clings upon his return. Will he eventually find happiness with the girl in the portrait, or will he remain firm in his resolve not to wed? Reason dictates one course, his heart another.

My Review:
This novel surprised me, I’m not really sure exactly what I expected but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. The Portrait is a sweet love story that involves two English Nobles. Edward, Earl of Sinclair and Lady Jennifer were engaged by way of arranged marriage. While Edward is at war, both fathers pass away. Upon his return from war due to injury, they mutually agree to break the engagement though the break derives from vastly different reasons. As the story progresses the reader is brought into a tale of friendship between Edward and Jennifer as their lives become entwined through more than just social engagements and past history. The novel is full of unexpected events that charmed me into falling in love with these two characters. It is an endearing tale of deep love and commitment as Edward’s heart never strays from the girl in the portrait and Jennifer discovers herself and her true love.

I really enjoyed The Portrait and the events that transpire within the story. The only war scene in this book took place on the first two pages as a prologue, giving the reader the background information necessary to bring them up to speed with the start of the story. Set in 1812, the writing style depicts a noble, polite and thoughtful language that was easy to read. It transplanted me back to England in 1812 without feeling lost in a language or way of life that is so vastly different from today. I enjoyed the authors writing style immensely. One of my favorite things about the genre of Romance is that romance itself comes in many forms with one common denominator, attraction. I enjoyed reading this romance in all its traditional and proper ways as friendship evolves into love and these characters are both able to find happiness with their true love. I was attracted to Edward in the sense that I was rooting for him and his true love. His character makes connecting to the story easy. I would recommend this novel, it is sure to be a charming read.

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