Thursday, August 4, 2011

How To Love An American Man

By Kristine Gasbarre

I love it when there's a trailer for the book I want to review!  It explains it so much better than I can.

My Thoughts:  This was such a loving tribute to the author's grandparents, which I could totally relate to, as I also adored my grandfather and thought he was just the most perfect man and my grandmother was the epitome of grace and style.  I've been married for 25 years to my high school sweetheart, so I didn't really need the advice on how to find and love an American man, but it was a sweet story.  At times, it read like a novel, so it really kept my interest, where some memoirs are just so I, me, my that I lose interest. 

My daughter and I were lucky enough to meet Kristine at BEA this year and my only problem with this book was that after meeting her, I was surprised that someone so beautiful, intelligent and charming, was having trouble finding her true love!!!  We first talked to her at the Bloggers cocktail party one night, where a fellow blogger we had never met, grabbed us, screaming something along the lines of  "Look, I got me an author!"  Kristine proceeded to introduce herself and describe her book to us, which my daughter realized she was already signed up for on a book tour.  Very cool!  The next day, we ran into her a Speed Dating Author Event, where she was seated at our table with another author and they were both supposed to describe their book and answer questions.  Unfortunately in the middle of Kristine's presentation, this EXTREMELY rude publicist interrupted her and said,'"You know, this is supposed to be 'author who shall remain nameless' table."  After we all picked our jaws up off the floor, because she was so freakin' rude, Kristine very graciously apologized and said she was almost done.   Truly classy, because I probably would not have so polite. 

Anyways, this is a really lovely book from an awesome author! 

Monday, August 1, 2011


By Allie Larkin

I am feeling kind of lazy, so instead of describing this book, I'll just post it's trailer!!

Now, the original idea was to try to get the cover dog, Argo, who is Allie Larkin's actual dog, in the trailer. I prefer this one, but they chose not to use it.

I am going to state at the outset of this review, that I was not in any way influenced by the fact that Allie Larkin is absolutely adorable and came to our Book Club meeting and brought us wine, while writing my review.  Even if she did not come (which was awesome) and was a total doll (which she was!), I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY loved this book.

First off, any book that features an animal as a prominent character is a winner in my book.  I have a dog that I am so in love with it's scary, even though he does not respond to commands in Slovakian (or in English for that matter!),so I could totally connect with the main character, Van, deciding to get a dog to restart her life and finally have someone to count on, when the unrequited love of her life, Peter, marries her best friend Janey.

This book was funny at times, made me cry at times and was just overall a fantastic read.  I basically read it in one sitting while out in the sun, because I wanted to see how it ended.  And then I was sad it was over.  Allie did tell us at our Book Club meeting (WHICH SHE CAME TO!!!), that she is not done with Van yet and might possibly come back to her in a future book.  YAY!!!

I am totally looking forward to Allie's next book, which is in the works.  In the meantime, she has an essay in an anthology book, coming out in September I think, called "I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship",
which is a collection of essays about the authors' dogs.  Sounds hilarious!

I would highly recommend this to anyone, regardless of what genre you usually read, as it was just so enjoyable!!  Loved it!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Think I Love You

By Allison Pearson

I am way behind in posting this- actually finished it a while ago and I've probably read five or six since then.  Very active reader, extremely lazy blogger!

Summary:  When Petra was 13, she and her friends were huge David Cassidy fans at the height of his popularity.  She and a friend entered a contest of knowledge of all things David, hoping for a chance to meet the object of their affection.  Fast foward about 25 years and Petra is now going through a divorce and her controlling mother has just died.  While going through her mother's things, Petra finds a reply from the contest from so long ago that her mother had hidden from her, announcing that she and her friend had won the contest.  Instead of just tossing the letter, Petra decides to see if she can still claim her prize. 

My Thoughts:  I wanted to read this book because I too was a huge David Cassidy fan back in the day.  The premise of this book sounded like it would be really light and funny, but it kind of wasn't.  There were some funny parts, but it was more of a serious book, describing first Petra's painful longing to belong to a certain group of girls as a teen-ager that she really didn't fit in with and then adult Petra trying to come to grips with the changes her life is taking because of her divorce and the death of her mother.  I enjoyed this book, but it was not what I expected.  The David Cassidy angle was a different twist on the story of a woman realizing that her life is not what she thought it was, but I was a little disappointed but that was not full of laughs (after all, how seriously can you take David Cassidy?)  Overall, it was a good read, just not what I thought I was getting. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Wedding Writer

The Wedding Writer by Susan Schneider

My daughter and I were lucky enough to meet Susan Schneider at BEA this year at the author speed dating event.  She has worked as an editor and writer for all the big bridal magazines, so this, her first novel, is about the bridal magazine industry.  We really enjoyed talking to her, especially since she knows Randy from Say Yes to the Dress, one of our favorite shows and even said she would hook us up when we are ready to shop for Steph's wedding gown (if she can ever get her boyfriend to propose that is!!)  The book wasn't coming out until June 6th, so Susan promised she would send it out to us, so we frantically checked the mail every day until it came!  I'm a faster reader, so I got to read it first (sorry about that baby girl!)

The Wedding Writer is about a bridal magazine "Your Wedding" and what happens when the editor-in-chief, Grace Ralston, is fired and replaced by the protege she took under her wing, Lucky Quinn.  Unfortunately, things do not go smoothly for anyone involved, as Grace is now considered too old and not fresh enough anymore and Lucky is stuck with staff members, Felice and Sara, who are still fiercely loyal to Grace. It is told in alternating chapters about each of the four women, so you get a different perspective on the events that are happening. 

I really loved this book and even though some of the characters are not entirely likeable, she still manages to make you feel sorry for them when things are not working out exactly as they would like them to.  I also discovered that I would NEVER want to work in the magazine industry (except for the goodies closet where they keep all the freebies and gifts from the advertisers - would love to get into that!).  I am now also convinced that my future daughter-in-law cannot get married in anything other than Christian Louboutin shoes, or at least a pair of knock-offs! Thanks for that, Susan!!!

So if you're looking for a fun read, this is it!!!


Friday, June 10, 2011

A Turn in the Road

By Debbie Macomber

I love Debbie Macomber - she tells just really nice stories.   You always know what you're going to get when you read one of her books.

"A Turn in the Road" is about a road trip that Bethanne Hamlin, her daughter, Annie, and her ex-mother-in-law, Ruth,  take from Seattle to Florida for Ruth's 50th high school reunion.  Bethanne needs the time to make a decision about getting back together with her ex-husband, now that his second marriage has failed, Annie is on the rebound from her boyfriend and Ruth is looking to reconcile with her high school sweetheart.
This trip takes them all places they were not expecting.

Like all of Debbie's books, this is full of likeable characters and enough of a plot to keep you interested, without being overwhelming.  Are there a few corny parts?  Yes, but  they just add to the charm of Debbie's writing.  If you're a long time fan, then this won't disappoint and if you've never read anything of hers before, this is a nice introduction to her work.  She does have some serials, but this is a stand alone and was totally enjoyable.

I would give "A Turn in the Road" a 4.5/5. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

While at BEA (hope no one is sick of stories of BEA yet.  Got a lot of books there I can't wait to read!), my daughter told me to go stand in line for this book while she stood in another.  This line snaked all the way around the convention center I'm pretty sure and this book was being promoted as "THE NEXT BIG THING!"  I read the back of it while I was standing in line, as I wasn't even sure what book I was standing in line for (this happened a lot - I just go where Stephanie tells me, but only because this was her graduation gift.  Normally she does not have this much control over me.)  It sounded kind of interesting, although not something I would normally pick up, but never being one to miss out, I wanted to read it anyways.  Plus she gave out little chocolate mice candies with the book. Anyone that gives me chocolate is a friend of mine.

The Night Circus is about, obviously a circus that operates at night, but it was created as a venue for a bet between two master magicians, as to whose methods and protege are superior.  The two dueling magicians, Celia and Marco, were entered into this bet as children and trained for this event without their knowledge or consent.  As he starts to work for the circus, Marco knows who his opponent is, but Celia does not.

The story, background and characters in this book are so intricate.  The style of it reminds me of the Harry Potter series, where J. K. Rowling created a completely new world and language as her setting for the books.  Erin Morgenstern has a wonderful imagination and you feel like you are there, as everything is described in such detail, (but not boring, will it never end details) even down to how things smell.

The Night Circus certainly lived up to its hype and I am really glad I decided to give it a try, even though it's not my usual cup of tea.  The release date is 9/13/11 and I'm sure it's going to be a big success.  If there isn't a movie deal from this, I would be very surprised!!!  So look for this in the fall, grab yourself a copy and prepare to be amazed and charmed by The Night Circus!!!

I give this book a 5/5!!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

How I Planned Your Wedding

How I Planned Your Wedding by Susan Wiggs and Elizabeth Wiggs Maas

My son recently became engaged and so a lot of talk now is centered around "THE WEDDING."  My daughter brought this home from work at the library and thought it would be fun to read.  Now, I am not the mother of the bride, but we are very close.  In fact, she asked me to come along when she picked out her wedding gown, which I was quite honored, as a lot of future mother-in-laws are not included in this event.  It was so much fun, like Say Yes to the Dress (one of our favorite shows), but without Randy. If you don't watch this, you really should.

Anyways, this book was co-written by New York Times bestselling author, Susan Wiggs, and her daughter Elizabeth when Elizabeth became engaged.  They alternate chapters, although the majority of it was written by Elizabeth, who also has a very funny blog,  Susan and Elizabeth are mother and daughter and best friends and Elizabeth has always shared everything with her mom, so of course her wedding was also a joint venture.

Normally a book about wedding planning is more of a how-to manual, but this was written  as a story with wedding details thrown in.  It was a very enjoyable read and I loved hearing about their tight mother-daughter bond!  Even if you are not in the middle of planning "THE WEDDING", you will love this book.