Thursday, October 27, 2011

Q&A: THE FIVE W’S Of Michele Gorman + Giveaway

I am very excited to introduce Michele Gorman to A Novel Review. Michele has written a new book Single in the City, a UK bestseller. The exciting news is Michele has brought this fantastic new chick lit novel here to the US! So please join me in getting to know:

THE FIVE W’S  Of Michele Gorman 

I guess one of my most defining features is my optimism, because it translates into my writing as much as it does in other parts of my life. My stories have happy endings. This optimism is also what allowed me to write my second book after the first one didn’t find an agent, and the third book after the second one didn’t find a publisher, and the fourth book (Single in the City) which found a home with Penguin (UK) and was a best-seller in the UK.
It’s also what’s driving me to self-publish Single in the City in the US, because I believe the US publishers we approached are wrong. They were very nice about it but they said that chick lit fans can’t identify with a book set outside US borders. I have more faith in the book, and I have more belief in chick lit fans.
Humor also plays a big part in my life. I laugh a lot. Often I’m not even laughing at what’s actually happening. I’m laughing at what I imagine is happening. I realize this makes me sound insane, but it’s an excellent skill to have as a writer. I’ve never seen a situation that I haven’t been tempted to embellish upon retelling. So what my parents called lying I now get to call fiction writing!
WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
Relationships are most important to me, so much of my time is spent with my friends and boyfriend. I’m an avid reader, naturally, and while not overly sporty I do like to go for walks and cycle rides, and jogs around the park, and skiing in the winter. Because we have a big circle of friends, a fair amount of time is spent out enjoying London but I’m a homebody at heart. I love my food, so a night in cooking something delicious with friends is my idea of heaven.
I’m also a champion nap-taker and unashamedly have a kip every day that I’m not working in an office (I work part time to fund my writing habit). 
WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. I decided one day that I wanted to get paid for what’s inside my head without having to go into an office. I figured (wrongly) that it would be easy, since I love to read. It took several years though for my ability to catch up with my ambition. So it was a process punctuated by ‘aha’ moments. I remember when I wrote The End on the last page of my first book. That’s when I knew I could do it, so that’s when I knew I could be a writer. It wasn’t till I finished my second book that I knew I would be a writer. That’s when I knew that I’d chosen writing as a career.

WHERE? Where do you write?
I have two favorite writing spots, both in my flat. One is on my squishy sofa, propped up with pillows, cup of coffee within easy reach. But when I want a really serious writing session, I take to my bed. I love my bedroom - it’s covered in swathes of rich fabrics and has huge windows that stream light. Again, I prop myself up on mountains of pillows and bang away on the keyboard.
WHY? Why do you write?
Because I have stories to tell, and hopefully they’re stories that people want to read. I’m not interested in winning the Booker Prize. I write to entertain. I’m lucky enough to have this perspective on the world, and it’s fun to put it into words. I guess that’s what it comes down to. I write because it’s fun. 
Thank-you so much for joining on us here on A Novel Review, Michele! It was great getting to know you! 

About the book:

What happens when you take one twenty six year old American, add to one two thousand year old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir? Hannah Cumming and the population of London are about to find out.

To think Hannah ever believed that Americans differed from Brits mainly in pronunciation, sophistication and dentistry. That’s been the understatement of a lifetime. She lands upon England’s gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she’s supposed to build the new life she’s dreaming of.

Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, Hannah charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself.

Single in the City was successfully published by Penguin in the UK and its commonwealth territories, debuting at number 8 in The Bookseller’s Fiction Heatseekers bestseller chart.

 Sounds great, doesn't it! Well how about a chance to win an ebook copy! Just leave a comment below with your email address! If you want an extra chance to win sign-up for A Novel Review email subscription! Please let me know in a separate comment if you are following by email. I will pick a winner using Giveaway ends November 7, midnight EST. Good luck!

Can't wait to read it?? Single in the City is available now in the US!
You can follow Michele on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

I absolutely fell in love with Sarah's first novel The Violets of March and I can't wait for December because her newest book The Bungalow will be out. I just saw the trailer for it this morning and I had to share!!! Anyone else excited?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Starring in the Movie of My Life By Laurel Osterkamp + Giveaway

Starring in the Movie of My Life, goes back and forth between two females. At the beginning there doesn’t seem to be any connection between the two. Samantha and Melody are two very different characters. Samantha is a 35 year old married woman who works at a video store. She is a great friend, who would do just about anything to help someone out and has a fantastic relationship with her father. She is flawed when it comes to her lack of direction for her future and still seems to carry a torch for her ex-boyfriend, Collin-who just happens to be the manager of the apartment complex where her and her husband live.

Melody is a high school senior looking to escape her reality. Melody doesn’t have much going on in the friend department. The one friend she has is Kelsey and Melody really is more interested in using her ‘friend’ than being a friend. Her relationship with her mother is dysfunctional to say the least and as the novel progresses the more manipulative Melody becomes.

These two stories collide one night during a high school dance when Melody is almost raped. Her teacher Mr. Linden comes to Melody’s rescue and she now has her heart set on attaining him. The only problem is, he is married to Samantha.  Melody doesn’t seem to think that is going to be much of a problem once she enacts her five point plan to make him hers. As Melody chips away at making Nate Linden hers, Samantha is going through her own real life drama with her friend in an accident and her dad with a medical issue. Sam’s distractions and baggage makes Melody’s plan all the more easier to implement.

Starring in the Movie of My Life is a story of flawed characters looking to find happiness in their not so perfect lives. The book has dark moments and witty, fun moments. I never really connected to any of the main characters, but I could emphasize with their struggles. I loved how all the characters in the novel have flaws even one that I was expecting. Even the end was unexpected, in my mind. I didn’t always know where the story was going to go and I found it refreshing. Let’s be honest that is how real life works! I am definitely recommending Staring in the Movie of My Life! If you agree with me I have two chances for you to win a copy! Comment below telling me what the name of the movie about your life would be. I have one hard copy to send to someone in the US/Canada and I can offer one electronic copy to anyone (please add to your comment if you are a US/Canadian resident wanting the hard copy)!! The giveaway is open until November 2nd midnight EST. Don’t want to wait to try and win it, well the e-book price is only 99cents right now! Buy it!!!


Other books by Laurel Osterkamp

Friday, October 21, 2011

Q&A: THE FIVE W’S Of Laurel Osterkamp

Today I'd like to introduce to you, Laurel Osterkamp. I will be reviewing Laurel's book Starring in the Movie of My Life on Tuesday with your chance to win a copy! Thank-you so much for joining us here at A Novel Review, Laurel! Now let's get to know:


WHO? I think so much of who are is defined by our relationships. For me, wife, mother, daughter, and friend are huge parts of who I am. I try to be loving and generous whenever I can. But apart from that, I like to spend my days doing things that matter – either to myself or hopefully to other people. I don’t want to be in my seventies someday and suddenly realize that I’ve been wasting my time.

WHAT? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Spare time … I wish I had more of it! I teach full time, and I have two young children, so my days are pretty busy. However, when I do a spare moment here or there, I enjoy exercise, cooking, reading, and watching movies.

WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer? I actually majored in theater in college, and for a long time I wanted to be an actress. I wound up performing with several different comedy groups in Minneapolis, but soon I realized that I enjoyed writing the sketches more than I enjoyed performing in them! When I became a teacher and started a family I no longer had time to do any performing, so I switched to writing novels as my creative outlet.

WHERE? Where do you write? I used to have a room to myself that served as both my office and my closet. However, when my daughter was born we had to move my computer out of that room to make room for her crib. So I bought a lap top and now I sit and the dining room table and write. It’s not as private, but it will do.

WHY? Why do you write? It’s so much fun! I just really enjoy the process of creating characters and situations, and turning them into something I can be proud of. And, there’s nothing better than when readers enjoy and/or relate to what I’ve written.

I want to thank Laurel for joining us here at A Novel Review! Make sure to come back on Tuesday to see what I thought of Starring in the Movie of My Life and your chance to win a copy!!!

To get to know Laurel better you can visit her website at:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I normally post book reviews on my blog, but I know in a number of my reviews I have mentioned how a book touches me or brings up feelings about my past. Today, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would like to share a personal story with you.

Snow is falling and the sky is gray, hard to believe its April. I stand outside in the cold letting the snow fall on my face hoping somehow it’ll wake me up from the nightmare I am living. I want to breathe, but I can’t seem to remember how. A single tear escapes my eye. No. No, if I cry it makes the nightmare real. Somebody talk to me… anybody. My husband holds my hand and opens the door. I walk inside. There is faint organ music playing in the background, gloomy and depressing. I hate it here. I want to leave, but instead I walk into the small room where the rest of my family is. I smile. I am brave. I look straight ahead and walk. I walk forward and I see my mom. I go to her and rub my hand to her cheek and smile at her. I wonder if she is proud of me. I wonder if she knows how much I love her. My little nephew suddenly runs up to her and starts patting her shoulder, “Grandma, Grandma wake up” The world around me starts to crumble. I feel something inside of me waking up, but I don’t want to wake it up…I feel it trying to break free from my control. People start to arrive. Good. I have it under control again. I talk to people. I can’t get over how many people are here. It’s so nice. I smile I even laugh. Suddenly, we are ushered away into another room and we are being lined up. It feels like a wedding. We come back out to where my mom is waiting for us to take her into the sanctuary. I walk forward. Oh no. Oh no, they didn’t. What did they do? Why? Why? Why? They closed her in the box. She won’t be able to breathe in there!!! I move forward I want to stop this from happening, but it’s starting to crack. No. I can’t breathe it hurts to bad, nothing has ever hurt so bad. My heart feels as if it’s been pierced by a scalding hot knife. Someone screams. It’s the most agonizing scream I’ve ever heard…it’s pitiful and full of mourning, it’s my voice—I am screaming. My mom is gone. My beautiful mom, my best friend, my safe place. My mom is gone. I am empty. I am broken. I fall to the ground.

I can recall a number of conversations between myself and my mom about the importance of a yearly mammogram. She refused to get one. There is a small part of me which is still angry at her for not going in and having a mammogram done. I look at my girls and know I will not miss a mammogram.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Woman Who Heard Color By Kelly Jones + Giveaway

Art Detective, Lauren O’farrell, is investigating art stolen during World War ll in hopes of restoring pieces to their rightful owners. She is looking into, Hanna Fleischmann, who was rumored to be a Nazi Collaborator. She contacts Hanna’s elderly daughter, Isabella to probe about Hanna’s past. She is stunned when Isabella not only invites her into her home, but also shockingly announces she has possession of a Kandinsky painting, which was believed to have been destroyed during the war. Isabella believes she must finally tell her mother’s story before history writes it.

Hanna Schmid was just a young girl when she took off from her German country home. She found work in the affluent home of Moses Fleischmann, a Jewish art dealer. The story of Hanna begins in 1900. She begins with working in the Fleischmann home and later Moses realizes her love for art and she begins working in his gallery where she eventually becomes an art dealer. She lives in Germany with her family during World War l. After Hitler takes over the life Hanna knows and loves is over. In order to survive Hanna must do the unthinkable and work with the Nazis. The story of Hanna Schmid is deeper and darker than even her daughter realizes.

I normally give myself a week for a book, but I went over my week mark with The Woman Who Heard Color. I went over because I needed to put the book down a number of times and really absorb what I was reading. It was fascinating to me to read a story about what life may have been like for German’s living during Hitler’s reign. I was completely engrossed in Hanna’s story. I would read for awhile about the changes Hitler was making and would have to stop and realize how blessed I am to live in the US today—no matter what are political views are we are free to have them and to express them.

I tend to read during the evenings and the last few nights I’d lay in bed for a bit and just think about the story…it felt as if I was really reading Hanna’s story. This is a story filled with history, art, mystery, suspense; it is beautifully written and filled with heart palpitating moments. I was captivated by The Woman Who Heard Color. I highly highly recommend it.

 I am thrilled to be able to offer one copy of The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones to a US/Canada resident. Just post your name and email address in the comment box and tell me why you’d like to win this book or just that you want to win! The winner will be chosen using Giveaway for The Woman Who Heard Color will end on October 24 midnight EST. 

Learn more about Kelly Jones at her website
other books by Kelly Jones:

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As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.