Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book Review: Vixen-The Flappers by Lila Fine aka Jillian Larkin

Vixen is a young adult book with a new edge. It’s set in the Roaring Twenties when prohibition was in full swing and hidden speakeasies dotted the landscape; gangsters grew in prominence and teenagers had an exciting and pulse-pumping outlet to get into trouble.
The flapper lifestyle, the freedom and excitement of it, it is sure to draw in its share of young girls with the promise of something extraordinary. The three protagonists of this story get caught up in it with decidedly mixed results.
Gloria Carmody, seventeen, is engaged to be married to the handsome, but boring stuffed shirt Sebastian Grey. They are both from prominent Chicago families and Gloria is hardly the sort of girl that would do anything to embarrass them—unless you count sneaking into illegal drinking establishments, teetering on the edge of an interracial affair and possibly making waves with the Jazz set.
When Gloria’s cousin, Clara Knowles comes to town, her mission is to make herself useful.  She’s supposed ensure that Gloria stays on the straight and narrow path toward wedded bliss. There’s just one problem. Clara may be a teenager herself, but she’s been living a lifestyle that would turn Chicago high-society on it’s ear and she has to keep it a secret at all costs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Divergent is the debut young adult novel of Veronica Roth, a young adult herself at the ripe age of twenty-two. She’s riding the wave of the current trend in young adult fiction and written the first book of a dystopian trilogy.
The story takes place in Roth’s native Chicago, but it’s not the Chicago we know of today. The sixteen year-old protagonist, Beatrice Prior, lives in a Chicago world in which society is divided into five factions. These factions represent a particular virtue and its adherents subscribe to that virtue as the guiding force of their lives: Dauntless (the brave), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Abnegation (the selfless) and Erudite (the intelligent).
Each year, all sixteen-year-olds decide which faction they will commit themselves to for the rest of their lives. They have the choice to remain where they originate from or chose another.  Beatrice contemplates who she really is and what she wants out of life and makes a surprising decision. It is at this time, that she changes her name to Tris.
Selecting a faction is only the beginning. Now, an extreme competition ensues. Failure could mean being faction-less, which is almost a fate worse than death: belonging nowhere at all.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway by Bryan Cohen. If you or someone you know is a writer or considering becoming one, I have some tips for you! Do you believe?

By Bryan Cohen

”When I’m talking about belief, why do you always assume I’m talking about God?”

Shepherd Book, Serenity

As I was growing up, my parents with the help of our Jewish faith, taught me the difference between right and wrong. They taught me to believe in God and that God was good and that if I behaved well that everything would turn out fine. I think that the religious belief system I learned growing up was a pretty good one and I would call myself a relatively moral person at least partly as a result of this upbringing. It tied into my beliefs of true love and destiny that I learned from books and movies.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

I've been so busy, I didn't get a chance to do a WOW post last week; the first time that's happened in months, I think. Waiting on Wednesday is my favorite meme and I look forward to it to learn what's new and interesting in the book world. It was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine--thanks, Jill!

Over the past week, I reviewed the debut, young adult novel, DIE FOR ME, and interviewed it's author, Amy Plum. The intriguing, romantic novel is set in France and I guess it's upped my French interest right now. When I went to England last summer, it was my intent to go to France, but I was so exhausted by the trip and jet lag, I just couldn't drag myself over there. I tell you! I won't let that happen again, doggone it! Now, on to my selection this week. Of course it has to be French related, because that's my sensibility right now. It's called French Lessons (what else?!) Check out the description...

 A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves. 

I think this sounds absolutely delicious. Paris appears to be as much of a character as the three protagonists described. Love, loneliness, passion and self-discovery sound like major components of this plot. I want to read it with something sweet to drink, good to eat and just indulge myself...hee hee hee.

So, what say you, my literary friends? Anyone else up for French delights?

French Lessons releases July 5, 2011 by Ballentine Books.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Author Interview: Amy Plum, Author of Die For Me

I thoroughly enjoyed Die For Me. It's a young adult, paranormal romance that has a fresh and new spin. It tells the tale of a new mythology: revenants, immortal entities that die over and over again. Amy Plum is an Alabama native, but she lives in France and that's where the story is set.Here's a brief description of the story...

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.                                                    

Amy has created such a lush and inviting story, I couldn't wait to speak to her and learn more about her lifestyle and her road to publication. Let's just get to that interview!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And the Two Winners of EXPOSURE are....

Finally! I can post the winners. Blogger was going crazy over the past couple of days. I thank each of you who stopped in and posted their opinions; it's always appreciated. I'm going to give away my hardcover edition of the book as well as the one coming from the publisher, so they'll be two winners today--and they are...

Chey and Sharif!!

Please email me your addresses girls, so I can send out my copy and notify the publisher to get out the other one. If I don't hear from you in 72 hours, another will be selected in your place. Thanks!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Release Day! Book Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

Die for Me is the debut novel of Amy Plum, an Alabama native living the literary life in the French Countryside. It would not be unusual to find Ms. Plum cranking out the pages of her Work-In-Progress in an ancient French castle. She puts the City of Lights to excellent use in the first book of this young adult, paranormal romantic trilogy.

Kate Mercier, age 16, a New Yorker living in Brooklyn, finds her life turned upside down in more ways than one when her parents die in a car accident. Kate and her sister leave their old life behind and try to start life afresh when they move to Paris to live with their grandparents. Kate hopes to lose herself and forget her pain in a world of books and art.

During one of her forages, she encounters a mysterious and extremely handsome young man named Vincent. Though cautious, Kate finds herself charmed and intrigued by him. As she spends time with him, she questions how much she really knows about him. Vincent seems to be hiding something.
Before long, Kate discovers what it is. Vincent is not what he appears to be. And his secret is deadly. He is already at risk—every day. Now Kate’s association with him puts her very life in danger as well. She finds herself right in the middle of an ancient struggle between good and evil. Kate has already lost so much. Just as she was starting to heal, she must confront an important decision: How important is Vincent to her? His love and all he has to offer, is it worth losing him and suffering a broken heart once more. Can she subject herself to never feeling safe again?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How Would YOU Handle Your Son Being Labeled a Sexual Deviant? Author Interview and Book Giveway: EXPOSURE by Therese Fowler. Don't miss this!

I'm so excited for you to read this interview. The author, Therese Fowler was so forthcoming with her answers. Her family experienced a frightening situation that none of us what want to find ourselves in. It inspired her to write EXPOSURE. Here's what it's about...

In EXPOSURE, Therese Fowler has written her most gripping novel to date - a ripped-from-the-headlines story of ardent young love and a nightmarish legal maelstrom that threatens to destroy two families.

Amelia Wilkes's strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn't stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia's parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony's mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows - and keeps - their secret. But the couple's passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia's father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter's computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia's frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against 'sexting,' the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all.

A captivating page-turner, Therese Fowler's
Exposure is also a deftly crafted, provocative, and timely novel that serves as a haunting reminder of the consequences of love in the modern age.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Saying good-bye to one of the nicest guys...

Anton, a colleague at work, passed away last week. He was more than a colleague though. He was a dear friend. I've spent the past several days running around getting cards signed, collecting donations in his honor and working with other staff members to put an album together to present to his family. We're planning a luncheon in his honor and inviting his family to attend.

Anton was so well liked. Everyone spoke of what a gentleman he was. He was so kind and friendly. He didn't have the word "no" in his vocabulary. I took this picture of him during a end-of-the-year barbeque our job holds every year. I'm so glad I have it. I want to remember him just this way: smiling and enjoying life. Goodbye Anton. You left us way too soon. We'll never forget you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Unsaid by Neil Abramson

Time flew by. I've been so busy, I haven't had a chance to post anything since last week! I had to do Waiting on Wednesday though! This meme was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. I love hearing about what other people want to read and I learn so much about what's coming out. I'm going for something a little different than my usual YA fare. I'm looking forward to reading Unsaid, by Neil Abramson. Check out what it's about...

As a veterinarian, Helena had mercifully escorted thousands of animals to the other side. Now, having died herself, she finds that it is not so easy to move on. She's frightened of confronting the mistakes she's made in life. And she's terrified that her thirty-seven years of life were meaningless and forgettable. So Helena haunts--and is haunted--by the life she left behind: David her shattered, attorney husband; her houseful of damaged, but beloved animals; and Cindy, a chimpanzee to whom she helped teach sign language and who may just unlock the key to our own hearts and consciousness. When David takes on a legal case to save Cindy, all the threads of Helena's life, entwine and explode--unexpectedly, painfully and beautifully.

The description of Unsaid, kind of reminds me of The Lovely Bones. It seems to have that same "haunted" sensibility--the protagonist has died and is telling the story from an otherworldly perspective. I'd like to know if I'm right. It also sounds like a poignant read if you're an animal lover. I just hope it's not too sad. I wasn't able to get through the first chapter of The Lovely Bones, but I loved the movie and I intend to give the book another shot. Oh my. I've, Unsaid sounds like a very interesting story. And check this out: the author is an attorney and his wife is a vet! He clearly is an expert!

Unsaid releases August 4, 2011.