Monday, January 30, 2012

BORN WICKED: The Cahill Witch Chronicles Book 1 by Jessica Spotswood boo...

I just saw this book trailer for Jessica Sportswood's new book BORN WICKED! Looks so good! I hope I can get my hands on a copy!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Family Affair by Leon H. Gildin

The Family Affair, is not typically a book I would pick up and read. It is a conclusion to the 2010 Winner of the International Book Awards for Historic Fiction, The Polski Affair.  You can read it without having read the first book. I haven't read The Polski Affair and I believe this story may have been more powerful to me because of it.

Anna is a Holocaust survivor living in Israel with her husband Chaim. Both Anna and Chaim had lost family during the Holocaust and escaped after leaving the Hotel Polski in Warsaw. The hotel was a trap set up by the Nazis to lure Jews out of hiding in the hopes of obtaining visas. Anna at a later point in time testified against Col. Hauptmann during his war crimes trial.

The Story picks up two years after a reunion at the Hotel Polski. Her son, Sholom is an academic working on his doctorate about the hotel. After a devastating blow to the family, Sholom takes off to research the hotel and some nagging questions. While on his research trip, he uncovers something his mother had thought was lost forever. He had hoped it would finally free her of her burden. He also uncovers truths about himself.

Most of the book is from Sholom's viewpoint, but there are instances where the viewpoint changes. This is a story of how a family deals with life; new situations and explosive revelations. I don't want to write too much because I hate to give away spoilers.

This is a relatively short book, and yet was not short on impact. The dialog seemed choppy to me, like someone writing outside their native tongue. I wouldn't enjoy reading this sort of style all the time, but I personally felt like I was really reading someone's journal, where they were writing down their history. It gave a feeling of authenticity.

The one thing I took note of, is throughout the story it was mentioned how Anna was obsessed with what happened at the hotel. I don't think that really came through as an obsession, but more of something she wished to bury and wanted others to respect that. I will also say there was a few spots where the book felt would start to drag, but I can assure you it always comes back with a punch. I was teary eyed at the beginning of the story and at the end. I can't imagine the burden, the survivors guilt that Anna had to carry her whole life.

If you enjoy historic fiction than this is the book for you. As I read The Family Affair, I could only 'recall' the Holocaust by the images I've seen from documentaries and movies like Schindler's List. I would be reading and think of those images, I would recall the older Jewish Survivors who would tell stories on the documentaries. I can't even begin to imagine. This isn't a book about a love story with lots of descriptive scenery it's a book that tells a powerful story and how a family dealt. I recommend The Family Affair.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Princess of Park Avenue by Daniella Brodsky

Lorraine Machuchi is a twenty eight year old Brooklyn girl who still lives at home with her mom, dad and brother. She works for her Uncle Carlo and the Do Wop Shop for Hair as a colorist. She and her bosom buddy, Chrissy are still hanging out at the same places they did in high school even though they are 28 years old. Lorraine knows things will change when her long term on-again-off-again boyfriend Tommy marries her. The only problem is Tommy seems to be more off again lately. But during a late night talk, Tommy opens up and tells her how they'll never end up together because she is never going anywhere.

So when her Uncle has her go into the city for a coloring class--her life changes forever. Believing if she can succeed in Manhattan than surely Tommy will finally love her. Lorraine is soon swept up into a whirlwind of high society princesses, fancy parties, and high living...well Tommy sees the new and improved Lorraine--but does the new Lorraine want the same old Tommy? Or will Lorraine finally see her own value?

I have mixed feelings about the book, some parts I really enjoyed and other parts...not so much. I really liked Lorraine and could really understand to some extent her feelings for Tommy. I loved reading her inner dialog as she is holding her tongue from telling off her new boss knowing full well it wasn't like at her Uncle's shop where she always had a job. I also really enjoyed getting to know Don and Matt a little (though wished Brodsky would have focused on their relationship with Lorraine more).

Parts I didn't like. I thought there were a number of time when the book dragged on and nothing was really added to the story. I also found a number of typos which became distracting. I may have an unedited proof, I'm not sure. I also didn't really believe Lorraine would really enjoy hanging out with the princesses so often; she came across as a character who really enjoyed her close deep friendship with Chrissy and the princesses were so superficial.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Promise of Safekeeping by Lisa Dale + Giveaway

Lauren Matthews became a big shot prosecutor nine years ago. She walked in and successfully prosecuted a high profile murder case convicting, Arlen Fieldstone. Nine years later, the verdict is overturned and Arlen is pronounced innocent. During those nine years, Lauren made a name for herself as a jury consultant with her amazing knack for reading people…while Arlene’s wife divorced him and his mother died.

Reeling from the shocking news of Arlen’s innocence sends Lauren running to Richmond, Virginia to find him and to apologize for her involvement in his wrongful conviction. Expecting to just to apologize and go home to her job and promotion, Lauren finds Arlen hostile and his best friend, Will working somewhat as a go between. Lauren realizes she can’t read people as easily as she thought, remembering the most important rule: people are always surprising.

I really enjoyed A Promise of Safekeeping. When Lauren first arrives in Richmond she is quite uptight and all business. Though I could respect and admire what she was doing she felt less than genuine. I really enjoyed watching her open up not only to Will, to the reader, but mostly to herself. She slowly started to ‘think’ about her own life instead of living out a plan.

On the other hand, I went back and forth about Arlen. I began with having all this sympathy for him, but then began thinking how he was always on the verge of becoming the criminal he wasn’t before. I understood but also felt frustrated. Then the more and more I read, I began liking him and routing for him.  I also really enjoyed getting to know Will. I wasn’t really sure what to make of him and thought him to be a really good friend to Arlen. The characters were all really well developed and enjoyed watching how they moved forward when they realized they were each at a crossroad.

I felt the story moved at a fairly good pace, but the end came fast and I didn’t really get to fully appreciate or savor the ending. The book comes to a very dramatic end, which I really wasn’t expecting. This was the first book I’ve read by Lisa Dale and I will definitely read her again. I definitely recommend A Promise of Safekeeping. Not only do I recommend it, I’m giving a copy away! Leave a comment below with your email address. You must live in the US and no p.o. boxes. Sorry! You don’t have to be a gfc follower, but it is appreciated!! This giveaway will close at midnight EST on 1/25/12. Good luck!

Other books by Lisa Dale

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Outside the Lines By Amy Hatvany

There is a hole in Eden West’s heart, an empty spot aching to be filled with the love of her father. Growing up Eden had loved and adored her father, David. She had been the apple of David’s eye…his reason-- his hope in his dark world of depression and bipolar. Twenty years have gone by since that fateful day when David left her, abandoned her…without as much as a word. After her mother battles breast cancer, Eden realizes she needs to find him. She begins searching homeless shelters.

Outside the Lines begin with Eden as an adult woman on her journey to find her father, but the chapters also give the vantage point of Eden’s story back in 1989, as well as David’s. Eden is a ten-year-old girl dealing with emotions and a situation much larger than her. David is trying to live in a mental hell keeping himself or make himself to appear balanced. The tension builds and builds until it explodes.

This an emotional novel which filled me with so much compassion for the characters. Each character was written flawed, raw and with a desire and need for acceptance. I was filled with anger while watching the car wreck of Eden’s young life that I could see coming and wanted to stop. Love, the beautiful deep love that David felt for his daughter was breathtaking. As I read Eden’s story in 1989, I found myself literally holding my breath.

Outside the Lines was a brilliant novel dealing with a tough subject. I think one of the greatest signs of a great book is when you put the book down and walk away with a greater insight into your own life. For me, this is one of those books. I don’t want to say anything else because I don’t want to spoil any details about the book.

This was a beautiful story behind a very real disorder. I highly recommend Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany! You can pre-order Outside the Line due out Feb. 7!!!

Learn more about Amy on her website:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Salvation City By Sigrid Nunez + Giveaway

Flu pandemic breaks out and orphans Cole Vining, a thirteen year old boy, and changes the face of America. Cole is one of the lucky orphans and is placed into a home where he may be potentially adopted by Pastor Wyatts and his wife Tracey. The Wyatts live in Salvation City, a small town in rural Indiana. It’s here where they introduce Cole to God and a new way of life. Cole easily accepts this new lifestyle even though he grew up in an atheist home. Though truthfully, he remembers very little about his former life—a complication from the flu he had.

The entire story is told by Cole’s perspective: before the flu, during the flu and after the flu. He easily adjusts to his new surroundings and forms relationships with his new family. There is a definite back and forth struggle between his old and new life. After a disappearance in Salvation City, Cole comes to the realization of the future he wants for himself.

Nunez writing is very articulate, but I found the story to be slow. There isn’t a whole lot of action, as I thought there would be. This is really a coming of age story more than a story of surviving the pandemic. I never really connected with any of the characters, so I never sympathized with them. I felt like I was ‘waiting’ for something to happen the entire time I was reading.

Overall, the book was good just not my thing.

I did my homework and found mixed reviews for Salvation City. The publisher offered me the opportunity for a giveaway, so I’m going to go ahead and post it, since just because it wasn’t my thing doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. Comment below and leave me your email address for your chance to win a copy of Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez. The giveaway will close 1/15/12 at midnight EST. This giveaway is for US only. Sorry!

or you can order your copy today!

Other books by Sigrid Nunez
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