Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...
Thursday, April 30, 2015
BLOG TOUR: Smash Cut by Brad Gooch
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
It's been a CRAZY reading week around my house. With work driving me up a wall (daily), my Mom getting surgery next week (sudden but outpatient), and the weather being less than ideal (rain, rain, go away), it's been a struggle to get things done, hence the lack of post yesterday as I finished reading today's spotlight title. Which brings me to today's post...
We're playing host to a stop along the TLC Book Tours promotion for a Memoir detailing the lives of two gentleman in the 70's and 80's in all their living colors. Ready to take a trip down someone else's memory lane? Ladies and gents, today's featured title is...
A Memoir of Howard & Art & the 70's & the 80's
About the book...
Brad Gooch arrived in New York in the 1970s, eager for artistic and personal freedom. Smash Cut is his bold and intimate memoir of this exhilarating time and place, complete with its cast of wild bohemians, celebrities, and budding artists, such as Robert Mapplethorpe, William Burroughs, and Madonna. At its center is his love affair with film director Howard Brookner, recreated from fragments of memory and a crosshatch of conflicting emotions, from innocent romance to bleak despair.
Gooch and Brookner’s intense relationship is challenged by sex and drugs, and by a culture of extreme experimentation. As both men try to reconcile love and fidelity with the irresistible desire to sample the legendary abandon of the era, they live together and apart. Gooch works briefly as a model in Milan, then returns to the city and discovers his vocation as a writer.
Brookner falls ill with a mysterious virus that soon has a terrifying name: AIDS. And the story, and life in the city, is suddenly overshadowed by this new plague that will ravage a generation and transform the creative world. Gooch charts the progress of Brookner through his illness, and writes unforgettably about endings: of a great talent, a passionate love affair, and an incandescent era.
I always view Memoirs in a different light because really, you can't discount someone's experiences; it was THEIR LIFE! So for the glimpses into the author's private world, the glitz and glam, the ability to view the coming out of America from someone that was there at the time, I am thankful. It was great to step inside life in New York during the era of free love and self discovery. I even had a chance to visit my own hometown which happened to be where Brad's parents lived (small world!). There are a host of characters introduced with our two leads set apart from the pack so there's no mistaking from whom the memories come or with whom they are shared. For the life of me though, I couldn't get into it until the main characters were checking out.
I know, it sounds extraordinarily morbid but I think for what I was expecting to get from the book, this part came closest. Up until that very real moment, spotted with multiple hospital stays, lessening of the quality of life, and saying goodbyes to people never imagined, for me it was simply a look at the entertainment industry of yesterday with a whole lot of name dropping, gratuitous sex, and drug experimentation.
So, I'll keep this short and semi-sweet; while it may be for some readers, unfortunately it wasn't for this reader. Does that mean I recommend you bypass it for something else? Not at all! I simply give you my viewpoint on the experience I had with an invitation for you to decide for yourself. Perhaps it'll be your next great read? Or you know someone who's looking for something just like it? Whatever you choose, I wish you happy reading!
About the author....
Brad Gooch is the author of the acclaimed biographies City Poet and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, as well as other nonfiction and three novels. The recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellowships, he earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and is professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He lives in New York City.
Find out more about Brad at his website.
Special thanks to Trish and Jen at TLC Book Tours for the ARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, THE ENTIRE TOUR, the publisher, the author, or any other flights of fancy you may seek to follow, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title was just released April 14, 2015 via Harper, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!
Posted by Gina at 1:29 AM 2 comments:
Labels: 2015, ARC, book review, entertainment, gay, Harper, memoir
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Taste Testing Tuesdays
Today's lyrical teaser comes to us from pg 23 of my current read-in-progress SMASH CUT.
I love the descriptive words chosen. To me, it makes the passage.
So, what book are you between the pages of? Care to share a tease?
Monday, April 27, 2015
PRE-PUB CELEBRATION: Lavina by Mary Marcus
Welcome back to another bookish week here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today's post is getting a late start on the virtual waves. My apologies for that but life got in the way of me finishing the read over the weekend (work, home life, and the first meeting of our new local book club - more on that another time) and I simply couldn't blog about it until I finished it. Since the actual finish time was like four this morning, I opted for a little shut eye so that my brain might actually comprehend what I read, and wanted to say about it. Sound like a plan? See! I knew you'd agree! Anywho, back to today's featured title....
Coming to us from the grand team over at The Story Plant with a head's up from the author herself, it was a title that I may not have noticed otherwise. Why? Well, not for lack of interest if that's what you're thinking, but simply a case of I hadn't heard of the author, knew not a thing about the work, and the title didn't necessarily reach out and grab my attention. Shame on me because I would have missed a really GOOD read..and now perhaps thanks to my adventure through the pages, YOU won't fall to the same fate. Getting ready to celebrate its BOOK BIRTHDAY TOMORROW, here comes today's book of choice...
About the book...
Mary Jacob grew up as an anomaly. A child of Louisiana in the early sixties, she found little in common with most of the people in her community and in her household, and her best friend was Lavina, the black woman who cooked and cleaned for her family. Now, in the early nineties, Mary Jacob has escaped her history and established a fresh, if imperfect, life for herself in New York. But when she learns of her father’s critical illness, she needs to go back home. To a disapproving father and a spiteful sister. To a town decades out of alignment with Mary Jacob’s new world. To the memories of Billy Ray, Lavina’s son who grew up to be a musical legend whose star burned much too bright.
And to the echoes of a fateful day three decades earlier when three lives changed forever.
A generation-spanning story both intimate and enormous in scope, LAVINA is a novel rich in humanity, sharp in its indictments, and stunning in its resolution.
This is as much a story of the tumultuous times in the South as it is a recollection of two souls finding their way back to themselves.
When start in the nineties, meeting Mary Jacob and Billy Ray as they are, both adults, both with lives, both with hardships, and both being drawn back to their hometown come heck or high water. Neither has had any inclination to darken doorways in that part of the country for decades and yet fate can be a funny mistress. She is there because her father is on his death bed. He is there because his career is on its last leg and this (of all places) is where his new manager booked a gig. One thing leads to another and their paths cross, opening up the floodgates to memories locked away long ago for you see, both also seek closure (she can't remember her childhood days and he wants to truth behind his mother's death) and the only way to get it is from each other. Can they put themselves on the line to uncover the truths that happened so long ago? Or is it too much to ask of a stranger that is so very familiar? Neither is a coward, but the results unleash a much bigger aspect of the story.
The bulk of the novel takes place back in the early sixties, when man was realizing that we are all created equal and therefore no one should be OWNED by another. Was that an easy lesson to learn? For some, yes...for others, no. Those that were resistant to the idea were making their feelings known in much more volatile ways than the oppressed were in their demonstrations. In this case, things went a step too far ending with the death of someone unintended. This one act of ignorance, this violent end is what the whole story circles around. It is the turning point for Billy Ray, when he escaped town and became the star he is/was today. It is the time that marks the start of Mary Jacob's memories of childhood for all that happened before was wiped clean from her mind, until now. It is also the road that she must walk today in order to set things right both for herself and the familiar stranger that is Billy Ray.
I really enjoyed the in-depth look at both of these youngsters lives, as well as that of her family, and friends. It brought us closer to them all, even when we might not have wanted to be. Mary Jacob was a force to be reckoned with in her own little way. All she wanted was love and acceptance. All she got was the short end of the stick and constant reminders of how she wasn't like her sister, Kathryn. I wanted to hug this little misfit multiple times and was glad she found a safe refuge in the heart of Lavina. Despite times being what they were, she and her were like peas in a pod. It warmed my heart (while simultaneously breaking it) to see little Mary Jacob stand up for Lavina to the store clerk about the scarf, then again to "Miz Hot Meal" (the nurse that eventually lives with them to care for her mother). The shared breaking and warming continued when Mary Jacob tells us how she associates the woman lying ill upstairs to her sister's mother, and Lavina as her own. Just goes to show you with whom she had more interaction...but she wasn't an uncaring child. In fact, she may have been the only one that truly DID care for anyone else in that household.
The sister was an awful, self absorbed shell of a person (sad to say, that doesn't change with the passage of time) and totally deserves the little hot sauce trick Mary Jacob plays on her (too funny!). I could see that Mary Jacob got her kind heart from her mother, despite her inability to really show too much affection or side with the right sibling. The torment she is put through by her very own flesh and blood is enough to stop a clock, but the real villain to her heart is her own husband, Big Jack. There was a time or two (at the very least) that I simply wanted to turn his belt whipping ways on him! Some things were simply a product of the times, but others were simply because he was an a**. The passage of time lessened some of his bark but the bite was still there and that's not something one can forgive or forget so easily. Moving forward....
The story is told in alternating chapters, one from Mary Jacob's viewpoint, then one from Billy Ray, with a third narrator thrown in from time to time. Who is the third? Why the spirit of none other than the book's namesake, Ms. Lavina! Yes, that's right. We get a little sage advice and memories of what was, from the "other side", and while it could have been hokey, it wasn't; it added a genuine warmth and further clarification to some passages of time only she would have. I was actually surprised though in regards to how much of the novel was in the past and that the only true hop to the "present" was the concluding chapter. I was expecting another division in the novel like at the start. In truth, there is enough there to bring everyone full circle, but I think I would have liked to have seen a smidge more. After all, we came to know a decent amount about our two leads along the way, I would have liked to see how all this revelation affected them on a more intimate level. But I digress...
In conclusion, a novel that sheds light on the evils that man commits against his fellow man both historically and personally. It reminds us that we should never take the little things for granted because we never know when their comforting familiarity might disappear. It shines a light on the importance of family, but also in having a true sense of self. We are not to be doormats for anyone, friend, family, or foe. Our ideals and loyalties are our own, and EVERY man, woman, and child, is entitled to them. So I invite you to take a walk down memory lane with Mary Jacob, Billy Ray, and yes, Lavina, as they all discover what's really important in life and the impact their decisions/actions had on the bigger picture.
Recommended read for Historical Fiction and General Fiction fans that appreciate a glimpse of the past and present with moments to remember, for better or worse.
About the author...
Mary Marcus has published short fiction in North Atlantic Review, Karamu, Fiction, Jewish Women’s Literary Journal and The New Delta Review among others. Her first novel takes her deeply personal voice to a new level. Danny Goldberg, author of Bumping Into Geniuses called The New Me “Part baby-boom prose poem, part woman’s re-birth…alternately hilarious and heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful. What a cool first novel!” Moira Walley-Beckett, Writer/Co-Executive Producer of Breaking Bad said, “The New Me is funny, poignant and deftly written. It is a relatable story that beats with a pulse of a modern marriage paradigm and provides cringe-worthy moments that simultaneously delight and distress. This book made me uncomfortable in all the best ways. I couldn’t put it down.”
Special thanks to both author Mary Marcus and Lou at The Story Plant for the ARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, or any other flights of bookish fancy your mind may have wandered near during the course of this post, feel free to click through the links provided above. Again, this title is set to release April 28, 2015, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or at a virtual retailer of your choosing. Can't wait? You can ALWAYS pre-order it now and when tomorrow dawns, it'll start winging its way to you. Just sayin'. ^_^
Until next time...happy reading!
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Storybook Saturday: How the Witch Got Alf by Cora Annett
Welcome back to Storybook Saturday here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're diving into an Early Reader once again, that combines all the charms of a Storybook with a bit more length tale wise allowing it to reach a wider audience than possibly at first intended. I was going to wait until Fall to feature it but I simply couldn't hold it back. Ladies and gents, lads and lasses, today's book of choice is...
This is the story of little Alf, the donkey. He is a proud member of a little farm with a "mom" and "dad" that keep the joint hopping, but lately, he's feeling a little down. He can't understand why his caretakers don't want to spend as much quality time with him, or in the same ways they do with others members of the farm. I mean, the farmer plays fetch with the dog. The farmer's wife coddles the cat. The caged bird sings beautifully for the enjoyment of them both. What's left for poor little Alf? More time to stand around chewing his lunch all by his lonesome? Why isn't he viewed as useful and fun? So, he makes a decision that will change all of their lives...with an outcome that reminds us all of our unique importance.
I must say, when I picked up this little gem, I expected a good story, no more no less. What I got was MUCH more than anticipated and in the best possible ways. Little Alf is such a charmer and his attempts at getting the same attention as his farm friends is endearing. The sadness he feels over his perceived lot in life is heartbreaking but you're soon belly laughing at his antics (he runs away, but to the roof! A donkey, on a roof!) as you smile and grin your way to the heartwarming end. The pencil drawing illustrations add charm to each passage. They work WITH the story without overwhelming it. One of my favorite images depicted is also one of the saddest. It's a scene that places Alf at the duck pond, gazing in at his reflection, as he comes to realize that he is simply unlovable. Now, of course we all know that this is simply not the case, but the downtrodden little chap nearly broke my heart. I wanted to reach into the page and give him a great big hug! Luckily, after his misguided journey fraught with misunderstandings, he's back to his happy place with a family that loves him, understands him, and perhaps most felt of all, appreciates him.
Recommended read for both the young and young at heart. Who couldn't use a reminder that though we are all different, we all have our place in this world? It may be up to us to find it, and own it but that niche is ours for the taking. Simply reach for the place that feels right to your heart and your forever home won't be far behind.
Review copy came from my own personal library and was discovered on a trip to the second chance bookstore at my local library. The original release is listed as 1975 via Franklin Watts for the Weekly Reader Children's Book Club, so search carefully if you care to add it to your own collection.
Until next time...happy reading!
Friday, April 24, 2015
Roll the windows down and turn the music up!: Leaving Amarillo by Caisey Quinn
Welcome back to the site that aims to please the bookish side of you every day of the week, Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today's post is all about the satisfaction, both in giving, getting, and certainly more ways than one. Now, before your mind goes too far into the gutter, I ask you to remember what site you are at. If you recall, I'm not a reader of erotica so those no need to scurry off, but today's featured title does in fact require a warning and a little room clearing. Ready? Here goes.
Before we even get things started as to the who and what we're diving between the pages of, first things first.
Repeat after me...
NOT FOR KIDDOS.
If you are a kiddo or could possibly be claimed as a kiddo by another party despite your chin being held high in the air and you looking down on said person with as much distain as could possibly be mustered, STOP READING THIS...or at the very least wait until you're older.
We clear of all the kiddos?
*looks through your screen...peers suspiciously*
Okay then, if you're sure.
Today's title comes to us from the folks over at William Morrow Paperbacks and stars the first book in a HOT (and I do mean hot) New Adult series called Neon Dreams. The first title just released last month (with the second to follow this June and the third in October) and its already creating quite a buzz. Ready to read all about it at least from this reader's perspective? Here we go! Today's book of choice is...
A Neon Dreams Novel
About the book...
Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.
Ten years later, Dixie and her brother Dallas are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.
Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.
Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old time there are not forgotten.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!
How very appropo.
Now I actually LIVE in the South (not from it, but a transplant from the North) and while this tune isn't on any of my playlists, it fit quite well for an opener here. Why you might ask? Well, for one, it's typically played with a fiddle front and center, much like the band at the center of our story. Secondly, the lyrics oh the lyrics..at least the 'look away' part for our dear lead, Miss Dixie Lark. How she will ever do so is simply beyond me....
The basics of the story...
...newly orphaned brother sister duo, Dallas and Dixie Lark, meet newcomer Gavin Garrison at their parents funereal (of all places). Instead of a sympathetic ear or dwelling in the sadness of it all, he takes the pair to let out their frustrations in a more aggressive manner, only to feel the first tuggings of interest on his heart. A promise is made, feelings are shelved and they are bonded for life. Flash forward several odd years and life has taken them down somewhat different paths but they are never truly apart, in music or at heart. But remember, when you play with fire you might get burned and Gavin is definitely fire. Dixie may do well to remember that...then again, she's not exactly a sparkless princess herself.
Did you catch all of that? Good because the story is all about their ups, downs, ins, outs, and everything in between, as well as the heated affair that is close to setting their souls on fire. I loved seeing the glimpses of the past through Dixie's recollections. Her insecurities felt real as did her hard won take-no-prisoners attitude. Watching her find herself, let her defenses down, and ultimately sacrifice herself for the well-being of those she loved was heartbreaking and breathtaking all at once. Now, speaking of breathtaking, her brother Dallas (whom we're about to learn more about in book 2) is nothing to pass over, though a bit too business minded for my taste even if he means well, and then there's Gavin. What can I say? I'm not usually rooting for the "bad boy" character but here, I'm definitely team Gavin. If his looks weren't enough, his charm would do you in and that's not even scratching the surface on this multi-layered guy. His fierce protective streak for those he loves whether they be family or friend will make you smile. His wit and sarcasm help him mask the depths to which he feels things (take the Bluebird nickname he has for our lead). When he and Dixie get together, the combination is messy, sweet, sassy, and explosive. Definitely a character driven work and it works!
In conclusion, there was a conversation recently on Twitter about what makes a book erotica versus a hot hot romance. My response (again, non erotica reader here) was the amount of skin time and detailing in the descriptions. Story versus coupling. Taking that into account, I definitely wouldn't put this in the first category, but would certainly label it in BOLD as the latter. The story is well worth the read with characters that leave their mark and encounters that will leave your windows steamed. I could do with a little less on the dirty language bit, but it's use feels right enough for the situations presented allowing me to overlook it for the most part. The ending is a nice landing spot with much to anticipate in future releases; score one for readers! An all around musical trip through the South with unexpected consequences on all fronts. Musically, I was listening to Hot Chelle Rae at the time, so I liken it to WHY WON'T YOU LOVE ME at the start, and THE ONLY ONE at the finish. Step inside the world of neon lights that most only dream of to discover a story you won't soon forget.
About the author...
Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New Adult and Contemporary Romance novels featuring southern girls finding love in unexpected places.
Special thanks to Onalee at HarperCollins Publishers for the ARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the series, the publisher, or anything else that might strike your fancy over the course of reading the post above, feel free to click through the links provided. This title is available now via William Morrow Paperbacks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing. Now, be a good little reader and get yourself caught up on the series because as I'm typing this, I have simultaneously signed up for a spot on the blog tour for book 2 coming this June/July with Bookslapped. Fingers crossed I get my date! ^_^
Until next time...happy reading!
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Shivers! The Pirate Who's Afraid of Everything by Annabeth Bondor-Stone & Connor White
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're diving into a Kids Fiction title that will have you battening down the hatches and keeping your shoulder at the ready for your best mate to land. It's a pirate tale but not in the traditional sense that's fit for the wee land lubbers as well as the more time tested folks running about this here part of the blogosphere. Ready to make its acquaintance? Just say, ARRRRRHH! Ladies and gents, pirates and pir-ettes, today's book of choice is....
The Pirate Who's Afraid of Everything
Annabeth Bonder-Stone & Connor White
Based on a really funny idea by
Harrison Blanz, Age 9
About the book...
Meet Shivers, the scaredy-est pirate to ever sail the Seven Seas. Along with his best friend, Margo, and his loyal fishmate (yes, you read that correctly), Albee, Shivers battles a giant squid, discovers hidden treasures, and gets pooped on by a pigeon to save his parents from the clutches of evil. (Yep, that's right: evil!) You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll never eat snails again. So put on your pantaloons, batten down the hatches, and join Shivers on his first (but still very dangerous) adventure.
This was a whale of a tale if ever there was!
Shivers is a land loving pirate, much too scared to venture out on the high seas, until one very unfortunate day for his family and one feisty girl named Margo come together to create an adventure of a lifetime. Nothing like family in peril and the making of a friend to give you just the right motivation to crawl out of the shell you're living in, am I right? So naturally, Shivers sets forth with gusto to save the day....
You weren't apparently listening to me when I originally described him now, were you?
Shivers is anything but weigh-the-anchor-let's-get-this-excursion-under-way, but he also knows that his family's lives are in his hands. What's a scared lad to do? Seek out the authorities, that's what! Bad news for him, they seem unmoved; good news for him, Margo (the captain's daughter) is a little firecracker who's been paying attention every Take You Child to Work Day (whether actually the holiday or simply a day she tricked him into THINKING it was). Apart, they are definitely unusual individuals, but together they are an unstoppable pair. Now, don't get me wrong, things DO try to stop them many a time so it does look as if all might not end well (can't confirm if it does or doesn't...sorry), but they still form a formidable team. The fact that they also discovered that friendship doesn't spawn from the likenesses we have with each other, but the differences that make us who we are is just icing on the cake.
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this tale as I was having a hard time connecting with Shivers. I mean really, the kid is afraid of EVERYTHING! Hard to swallow, especially when he's from a family of pirates....I mean, I was ready to think “adoption” might have been the answer. Leave it to the ending to change my mind. That's right. Right up until about the final fourth of the book, I was ready to give it a resounding “meh” but then came the turning point which turned me around. What did the job? Oh, it was all in unraveling of the situation at hand, though at whose hand and why it unraveled will have to remain a mystery until you read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that one should never underestimate the strength of someone's fear nor a foe based on their size. The latter of those provided an unexpected laugh out loud moment as well, leaving me to end the read with a smile upon my face.
Recommended for Middle Grade readers through adults. Fans of the Wimpy Kid and MacKenzie Blues series will definitely gravitate towards it for the similarity in formatting (story with lots of pencil illustrations), though it is certainly not necessary to enjoy the adventure within.
Special thanks to the team at HarperCollins for the chance to bring this title to you as well as the review copy. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their growing catalog, be sure to stop by their official site, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter. This title reached its book birthday February 2015, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Teasing Up Wednesdays
So, I hosted a blog tour yesterday and seeing as I didn't want to miss out on"teasing" you with my latest read-in-progress, I thought today it might make the perfect post. Sound good? Great!
Coming to you from pg 49 of LEAVING AMARILLO by Caisey Quinn...
...and let me tell you right now, the "female reasons" she's using are a total cop out...not that she doesn't have valid ones; they're just more along the tension variety. *ahem*
So readers, what are you between the pages of this week?
Do tell! ^-^
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
BLOG TOUR: About a Girl by Lindsey Kelk
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're playing host to a TLC Book Tour starring a Contemporary Romance title that's recently landed on our shores from a UK bestselling author. After reading this work, I can certainly see why! (*adds other titles to wish list*) Before I get too far ahead of myself, allow me to introduce today's featured book of choice....
About the book...
Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when the Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.
After accidently answering her roommate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, she might try being Vanessa. With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?
But Tess is soon in big trouble. And the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster. Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run…
I gotta say it...I LOVED THIS BOOK!
Now, let me count the ways....
Quick summary, Tess is made redundant at her job (bummer, been there too), gives into the crush she's had on her male bestie for TEN YEARS (good grief!) only to get blown off, randomly gets a call from fate who sounds an awful lot like her flatmate's foul mouth agent, and several hours later, winds up in Hawaii with an assumed identity, new job, and a perfectly shaggable colleague with a reputation of his own. Aww, this is the life. Well, it could be, if it was her own and EVERYTHING wasn't threatening to come out into the great wide open?! Will a happily ever after be in her future? Only time will tell, but perhaps even greater than finding her true path will be her experience uncovering her true self? Something we all strive for and wish to find.
Tess is such a lovable, likable, and all around relate-able leading lady, most unlike the actual specimen we call Vanessa. (*glares at her flatmate*) She pulls out some SERIOUS big girl panties, the likes of which I've never seen nor am certain I could pull off, and makes her way through the bloody mess that her life has become one airline mile at a time. Then there's Vanessa, the ACTUAL Vanessa, who is a true skank if ever there was one, and that's not even talking about every dastardly deed SHE pulled! (It all comes out in the end.) Of course, we must mention Amy, Tess' bestie for life. She is the opposite of Tess in many ways but it makes them fit together all the more. I love her take-no-prisoners attitude and how she can't stand down when her friends are under attack, even if it IS by their own family. You go girl! Charlie is a total...unmentionable. Especially since my interpretation of some of the English words may be lesser in meaning than they are in actuality. Suffice it to say that if Tess told him to sod off I would support her fully...and the whole reappearance in the final chapters doesn't leave ME feeling warm and fuzzy. Then there's Nick (hubba hubba), Kekipi (not on my team but what a friend!), Al (I'll be next in line for him to be my stand-in grandpa), Artie (total arse), and of course, Paige (much better person than she initially seems...don't write her off too soon). I could go on and on and on but I think I've done that enough, don't you? ^-^
If you follow me on GoodReads, you may have noticed that I had a distinct lack of updates on my progress for this read due simply to the fact that I ended up wanting to quote something every other page! Seriously, I was an annoying nag to be around as I breezed through the pages because I was all...HEY! Listen to this!....or...You've GOT to read this, it's TOO FUNNY!. It didn't matter what the other person was doing, I simply had to share. Like just after Tess is given the boot from her job, she gets mugged in the park...or rather reverse mugged when the mugger feels bad for the muggee and gives her HIS cell phone to call a friend! Or how about Tess' adventures in Waikiki with Kekipi at the bar with the Australian dude...who TOTALLY deserved the kick in the jewels he ended up with! Or the time when Paige tried to call her out only to discover that...okay, so I can't reveal that one. How about my gut feeling being RIGHT when it came to TWO of the men in her life? NO, I can't tell you which too much I so totally nailed it on the one and was definitely swaying towards the other before any final rumbles came about. There is quite literally something to remember from each chapter, for better or worse.
In the end, a HIGHLY ENJOYABLE read for fans of Contemporary Romance that enjoy quirky characters you can find yourself in, tough spots to struggle out of, and good times to be had with every turn of the page. There's nothing negative I could say about this read except maybe that the ending leaves you waiting to find out....oh, never mind. If you read it, you'll see what I mean. *smirk*
About the author...
|Photo by Graham Jepson|
Lindsey Kelk is a writer and children's book editor. When she isn't writing, reading, listening to music, or watching more TV than is healthy, Lindsey likes to wear shoes, shop for shoes, and judge the shoes of others. Born in England, Lindsey loves living in New York but misses Sherbet Fountains, London, and drinking gin and elderflower cocktails with her friends. Not necessarily in that order.
Find out more about Lindsey at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Special thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours for the chance to host this stop and the ARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the tour, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title reached its book birthday just last week, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!
Monday, April 20, 2015
Paws for Reading with Legacy: An Anthology!
Welcome back to another week here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're kicking things off with a special post to celebrate the recent release of Legacy: An Anthology. It's a collection of 13 short stories all based on the theme of legacy and while I haven't read them yet myself, I have had the pleasure of reading one of the author's featured within its pages. Who you ask? Well, that would be Stephanie Carroll whose book, A White Room, was featured RIGHT HERE on the site a few years back. (Feel free to click for a reminder, but come right back, okay?) When she recently contacted me about this latest work, I was definitely interested and thought YOU might be too! Let's read a little more about it...
Features 14 Authors Writing on the Most Human of Questions . . .
What will you leave behind?
Long after we've left this world, our legacy remains. Or it doesn't. If you had a choice, what mark would you leave?
In January 2015, Velvet Morning Press and the The Book Wheel blogger Allison Hiltz challenged fourteen fiction and nonfiction authors to sit down, shut out distractions and write on this transcendent topic, all the while Tweeting about their efforts. The resulting fiction and nonfiction stories fill the pages of Legacy: An Anthology.
The book includes stories from Kristopher Jansma, winner of the 2014 Sherwood Anderson Award for Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra, 2013 USA Book News Best Book Award recipient Stephanie Carroll and Canadian best-selling author Marissa Stapley among others. Read about all the contributing authors on Velvet Morning Press.
Within these pages, there is laughter, pride and hope. There is romance and rock and roll. Certain messages are eerie, while others bestow a sense of peace. The collection, through the discerning lens of each writer, runs the gamut of the human experience.
Legacy: An Anthology debuted April 17 and is available on Amazon.
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Sounds good, right?
So, how about we learn a little more about it from one of the authors themselves? Hmm? Was that a resounding yes I heard? I thought you might agree! Without further ado, ladies and gents, please welcome author Stephanie Carroll!
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Interview with Historical Fiction Author
and Legacy Contributor Stephanie Carroll
I’m a historical fiction author. I write dark and magical stories set in turn of the century America. My work has elements of the Victorian Gothic and my writing has been compared to the classic authors Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier.
My novel A White Room was inspired by Charlotte Perkin’s Gilman’s 1890 short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” A White Room is the story of Emeline Evans, a woman who sacrifices her dreams of becoming a nurse to save her destitute family. She marries a stranger who can provide for them, but her resulting despair drives her to such depths, the doctor diagnoses hysteria. Her only relief comes from secretly nursing to the poor despite her new husband, whose law firm prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.
I’m also a former military spouse and founder of Unhinged & Empowered, the encouraging site for military wives and girlfriends.
Tell us about the anthology and the #30Authors challenge.
Legacy: An Anthology is the product of an intense writing challenge that took place in January 2015. Allison Hiltz, founder of the The Book Wheel and creator of #30Authors joined with Velvet Morning Press to challenge fourteen authors to write a piece of fiction or nonfiction on the theme of legacy in a period of 30 days. Authors shared their experience on social media using the #30Authors hash tag. I even created a Pinterest board with images from my research and images that inspired me.
The products of that challenge are what make up Legacy: An Anthology.
What’s this I hear about puppies?
Velvet Morning Press is donating proceeds from online sales to Paws for Reading, an adorable program that helps children improve their literacy and communication skills by reading out loud to a therapy dog, cat, or even a bunny.
Was the month-long writing challenge difficult?
I’m used to writing longer pieces, so creating a short story was a new, albeit, rewarding experience for me, but to make it ready for publication in only 30 days—that was the real challenge. I, like many writers, take breaks from my projects to gain perspective but with this, there wasn’t enough time. Yet, all of these authors dove into their creativity and produced stories that are heartfelt and inspiring.
What did you end up writing?
My short story “Forget Me Not” is set in turn of the century Colma, California, a place where the dead outnumber the living. Lauraline Rosland has three days left, three days to do something—anything—that will make her life worth remembering because the day after her thirtieth birthday she is going to die.
Wait, does she know she is going to die?
The third daughter in every Rosland family has dropped dead the day after her thirtieth birthday, blood dripping from eyes, ears, and nose.
Whoa, so is this like a family of witches? Is she cursed?
Not exactly. Lauraline’s grandmother passed this information down to her when she was eight years old, shortly after her parents died. The truth is somewhat ambiguous and left to the reader to decide.
Okay, piquing my interest, but what’s this place where the dead outnumber the living? Is that real?
Yes, it is a very real place. I found out about it while working on the first draft. I imagined Lauraline living in her grandmother’s old house, which I saw as being one of those tall rectangle Victorian houses you see in San Francisco, which are called Stick-Eastlake. I fashioned a very creepy an ornate house for Lauraline’s grandmother, but I was struggling to represent historic San Francisco accurately. I just didn’t feel like I had enough time to research it properly or enough space to describe it.
Setting plays a really important role in all of my work, so I couldn’t just not include it. I sent the story to a friend who lives in San Francisco, and he pointed me in the direction of Colma, a town of cemeteries. Inspired!
In 1900, around the time my story was set, San Francisco passed an ordinance preventing any more burials in the city limits for fear of running out of land, so people buried their dead a little bit south of the city, and one of the main locations was a town called Colma. At the time of my story, there were already ten cemeteries there, and several years later in 1914, San Francisco sent eviction notices to those with family members buried within the city limits, and guess where the graves were relocated?
You said setting plays an important role in all of your work. Can you elaborate?
I really like to create vivid images and deep moods through the use of setting. My characters tend to have strong attachments or peculiar perceptions of their homes. This is pretty obvious in A White Room, since the house and furniture actually come to life. However, my settings serve almost character-like roles even when they don’t have minds of their own. In “Forget Me Not” the house serves as a symbol of Lauraline Rosland’s life. In my next novel, the characters live in a turn of the century prison that was built to look much like a medieval fortress.
At first I was at a loss. When I heard legacy was the theme, I automatically thought of things like winning a prestigious award, writing something that will be remembered, or passing on life lessons to your children, but all of those happy things just didn’t inspire a story idea for me. I think it’s because my stories are bit dark.
So I got to thinking a little bit more about my darker feelings associated with legacy, my fears and doubts, and I asked, “What if you died without leaving a legacy and what if you knew that was going to happen?”
I knew this was the question I wanted my story to center on, because it’s a major fear for many people. What if you died and left nothing behind and were forgotten, as if you never existed at all. It’s a scary thought but it’s usually just a fear, not guaranteed knowledge. Still, I didn’t know what to do with it for several days, so I started listing things I wanted the story to have, such as time period, setting, etc. I listed these words: Dark, magical realism, strange, unexpected, subtle, bitter-sweet, sad, female main, turn of the century, Gothic, mysterious house.
I started to piece things together and finally wrote out several paragraphs about my character and what I thought would be her back story, i.e. her dilemma, family life, etc. This is usually how I start fleshing out an idea. At first, I thought the couple paragraphs I wrote would be something like a beginning, but after looking at it for a while, I realized I’d pretty much written the story in summary form, so from there I took the different pieces from this summary and expanded them into scenes.
What is the significance of the title, Forget Me Not?
While doing a little research I stumbled upon this three line poem that children and adults would often write in autograph albums, in letters, and on cards at the turn of the century. The poem is called “Forget Me Not” and when I read it, it fit with the story perfectly. I just had to find a way to incorporate it. In the end, it tied the story together so well, there was no question that it was the title.
I have multiple projects going on at the moment. I’ve been making a lot of progress on my next historical novel called The Binding of Saint Barbara, which is based on the true story of the first death by electrocution, which took place in 1890 Auburn Prison, Auburn, N.Y.
I also started writing a science fiction novel last year called S0L M8. It’s about a not-too-distant future when the environment is destroyed, but mankind has survived by retreating to isolated underground homes where they live and interact via virtual reality, except for their immediate family units and their soul mates, who are chosen during childhood via an algorithm.
Then this past October, inspired by Halloween and a research spree into the Victorian Gothic tradition, I started my own Gothic novella about a young woman who is sent to a depressed and out-of-work spinal specialist in order to receive treatment for her mysterious pain condition.
How can people find out when your other books come out?
I write about my experiences with authorship and publishing in my quarterly newsletter. Emails only go out four times a year. It’s also where I announce new books and special opportunities for those who want to become test readers. Sign up for Coming Unhinged with Stephanie Carroll today!
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Thanks so much, Ms. Carroll!
Now, this new collection hit virtual shelves just last week, so it's fresh off the presses for your reading enjoyment, but did you catch the other aspect of fun to be had beyond the wordy goodness? All proceeds from online sales benefit an amazing little program called Paws for Reading! I couldn't believe my paws, I mean eyes when I read that portion. So if it wasn't already on my wish list from the description and my previous reading encounter, it DEFINITELY was now!
Special thanks to author Stephanie Carroll for the heads up on this fun-tastic project and taking the time out to share a bit of herself with all of us. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the contributing authors, Paws for Reading, or other flights of fancy your mind may have created while reading this post, feel free to click through the links provided above.
Until next time...happy reading!
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