While some of the books I review on my site are furnished by the publishers, authors, or publicists for the purpose of review all of my reviews are truthful, honest, and my sincere opinion.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Review: How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly by Connie May Fowler

Thank you to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for letting me participate in this blog tour.

About the Book

How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly is the transcendent story of a young woman who, in a twenty-four hour period, journeys through startling moments of self-discovery that lead her to a courageous and life-altering decision.

My Review

This book left me feeling so empowered. I felt like I was Clarissa Burden at points. I didn't have the same pressures she had growing up, and as far as I know my boyfriend hasn't started photographing models in the nude in our backyard (although he has grown awfully fond of our new Mustang...LOL) but I have the same self-doubt about myself.

I love how everything in this book has a perspective on what is going on. From the fly in the beginning to the armadillo and rats in the end their actions are described in how it relates to what is going on in the story. I won't even begin to guess the reason for this, but to me it signified that everything has a conscience and is aware of what is going on around them. Which is something I wholly agree with.

The title is so appropriate for this book. From Clarissa's day dreams to the end of the book, everything she does leads up to her flying in so many interpretations of the word. The characters were great, even the ones that I loathed. I connected to much with Clarissa that I could feel what she was going through, physically and emotionally. Not only did I laugh a few times, but I also was near tears a few times. While the abuse Clarissa suffered from her husband wasn't physical it still was hurtful, and when Iggy talks to Clarissa I wanted her to tell him to shove it and leave him. Because if I were in her situation that is what I would want to do (but I don't think I'd word it as nicely... LOL).

There's so much I want to say about this one, but I don't want to give ANYTHING away. The story resonated so much with me that I want to tell the world about it, and at the same time I think that every one will get something different from this one so I want you to have your own opinion. To me it was about Clarissa learning to rise above what she's been told about herself her entire life, which is also what she believes about herself (at least at the most basic level of the story).

So in fear that I'm going to word something wrong and ruin the story for someone else I'll just say again that it was an empowering book and leave it at that. I highly recommend this one to everyone!

For more information on How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly please visit Hachette Book Group's webiste.

How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review: Alexandra, Gone by Anna McPartlin

Let me thank Sarah Reidy with Pocket Books for letting me participate in the blog tour.

About the Book


Once, Jane Moore and Alexandra Walsh were inseparable, sharing secrets and stolen candy, plotting their futures together. But when Jane became pregnant at seventeen, they drifted slowly apart. Jane has spent the years since raising her son, now seventeen himself, on her own, running a gallery, managing her sister’s art career, and looking after their volatile mother—all the while trying not to resent the limited choices life has given her.

Then a quirk of fate and a faulty elevator bring Jane into contact with Tom, Alexandra’s husband, who has some shocking news. Alexandra disappeared from a south Dublin suburb months ago, and Tom has been searching fruitlessly for her. Jane offers to help, as do the elevator’s other passengers—Jane’s brilliant but self-absorbed sister, Elle, and Leslie Sheehan, a reclusive web designer who’s ready to step back into the world again. And as Jane quickly realizes, Tom isn’t the only one among them who’s looking for something . . . or traveling toward unexpected revelations about love, life, and what it means to let go, in every sense.

In this insightful and irresistible novel, by turns profound, poignant, and laugh- out-loud funny, acclaimed Irish writer Anna McPartlin tells a story of friendship and love, of the families we are born into and the ones we create for ourselves, and of the hope and strength that remain when we fi nd the courage to leave the past behind at last.

My Review

I really liked this book. The title would suggest that it is about Alexandra, and it is to an extent. But the real story involves the other characters and what they go through while trying to find Alexandra. Really the character Alexandra is just a catalyst to pull all of the other characters together. Not to say that Alexandra isn't part of the plot, because the entire book revolves around finding her, but she's not part of the main stories.

This book reminded me a bit of a Maeve Binchy novel. Even before I read the author bio, and realized that McPartlin also lives in Ireland. I guess it's a similarity in Irish authors, but luckily Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors so being similar to one of her books is a good thing (at least in my opinion). The writing is similar and the dialect is the same. While this story doesn't have a Binchy style happy ending it is still very similar.

There was really only one character that I connected with, and that was Leslie. I too have lost family to cancer, and like Leslie am scared every time I go to the doctor that they will find something. Even though I didn't really have a personal connection with the rest of the characters I still liked every one of them. Jane is the levelheaded one. She keeps everyone else "in line" so to speak. Elle is the one that adds drama and excitement to the story. Tom is the one we all want to feel sympathetic for. The rest of the characters help the plot along, but I didn't really feel anything for them. They were just kind of there.

The writing was very good. It was humorous, touching, and romantic. Everything in the story was believable. I didn't feel as if any of the characters were fake, and the dialog was real. There were a few twists that I didn't see coming. And while I knew how the story would end I didn't expect it to take the path it took to get there.

Overall this was a great book. I liked the characters, the plot, and the writing. It's very readable, and I think I could read this again.

For more information about Alexandra, Gone please visit Simon & Schuster's website.
For more information about Anna McPartlin please visit her website.

Alexandra, Gone

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guest Blog Post: Author Jaree Francis

Today is a special gust blog post. Author Jaree Francis is doing a post in honor of his mother who's birthday happens to be today! I'm glad to share this special day with him and his mother.

I am truly honored to be a guest blogger on this wonderful site. First off, let me introduce myself. I am Jaree Francis, author of Metra City: Destiny’s Kiss. It’s a fresh, urban fiction novel. Don’t turn your nose up at me because I said urban fiction. Thank you! With that said, I’ll be moving right along. Now some say there are no coincidences. Hmmm….maybe so, maybe no. But it wasn’t much of a coincidence that the day available for me to blog happens to be my mother’s birthday =) Yes, ladies & gentlemen, April 13th is my mother’s birthday. So I said to myself: I need to dedicate a blog to my mother. She undoubtedly deserves such treatment.

I can only imagine that being a mother is no easy task, yet they always find a way. Mothers know best, right? That’s more than just a catchy phrase, it holds weight in the modern world as it has throughout civilization. They can mold the future generations into works of art through their dedication to motherhood. And their work’s never done, continuing beyond those that society deems as adults.

To say my mother was and still is a motivator would be telling the truth. She inspires me because of her resilient moral fabric, facilitative skills, and ability to dream through it all. When I say dream through it all, I mean she always believes that there could be something special right around the corner. No matter the dream that I mention to her, she believes that it can be possible. That positivity I have incorporated into my own circle and it has benefited me tremendously. In a world where there is so much chaos & despair, it’s okay to dream. To know that things can be different and that we can be the source of change is a blessing.

Whenever I talk to my mom, she is always willing to give advice as well as just listen to my words. This is what friends do. So she’s a mother as well as a friend and not to mention a counselor, if you will. To see the world changing before your very eyes at such an alarming rate, you want some stability. And who have you been relying on such for so long? Mother, no doubt.

Feed you. Clothe you. Pray for you. Dream your dreams for you. Motivate you. Care for you. Sacrifice for you. These are things mothers do from New York to New Delhi. If your mother is alive, I want you to give her a call or shoot her an e-mail. Tell her thanks for all that she’s done and may still be doing ;) And if you’re reading this and you’re a mother, pat yourself on the back. And on the slightly more somber side of things, if your mother passed, just know that energy never dies. Her love remains. We are what we are. What we are are souls. These bodies are just shells that house us for the time being. So don’t cry; she will always be with you in spirit. That is the beauty within the circle of love. It’s constant rotation.

So in closing, I want to thank you for checking out my guest blog. It’s most appreciated and I wish you all peace & many blessings. And to my mother, Happy Birthday!!!

- Jay

Jay thank you for your post. Again I am so happy to have shared part of this day with you and your mother. And mothers are a great blessing. I know I've been bless with two great mothers and believe me I know how lucky I am for that. Not that my father isn't as great as a blessing but there's a special bond between mother and child. I wish your mother a Happy Birthday and hope that it was filled with great things!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Review: Sexaholics by Pynk

Let me thank Anna Balasi with Hachette Book Group for allowing me to participate in this blog tour.

About the Book

Miki, Valencia, Teela Raye, and Brandi share one thing...they are all addicted to sex. United through Sexaholics Anonymous, these women try to recover from their dependence on wild, spontaneous, and even sometimes, dangerous sex. From whips and chains, to sex in public, they have done it all! Led by Dr. Rachel Cummings, each woman takes the first step to recovery by sharing her biggest sexual act with the group. SEXAHOLICS takes readers through the outrageous experiences of four women on their long path to success.

My Review

When I started this book I didn't know what to expect. I've read some pretty steamy romance, but never erotica. So I figured that the book would be one steamy scene after another, given my past experiences with steamy romance novels. While there were some pretty intense scenes there was so much more to this book.

With everything in the news about Tiger Woods, Jesse James, and their mistresses I think people don't fully understand what a sex addiction is. We see it on the news but it's still limited information. That and when we hear about someone who is a sex addict they are almost always men. This book takes us into the minds of 4 sex addicts who just happen to be women. I think the story could have been just as good if the characters were men but think I related more to them because they were women. It made me feel a connection with them.

Like I said earlier, there were some pretty steamy scenes. But I thought they were written tastefully. To me it wasn't just a sex scene there was so much more going on deeper in the story with every interaction. The characters were so well developed. While I don't suffer from a sex addiction I was actually able to connect with the characters and understand why they were doing the things they did.

The story was great. As each of the 4 stories progresses to the end there were a few twists thrown in that I never expected. I won't give any details away, but let’s just say that everyone who's done what she did deserves that kind of punishment. I think it would put an end to those kinds of problems if people knew that's what was coming for them....

I'm glad that I read this book. I think the subject matter is something that needed to be touched on. There are real people who truly suffer from sex addictions. I think it took a brilliant author to write this book, keep it tasteful, and show (what felt to me as authentic) a look at the lives of sex addicts.

To find out more about Sexaholics please visit Hachette Book Groups website.
To find out more about author PYNK please visit her website.

I will be hosting a giveaway for 5 copies of Sexaholics so please check back on Thursday for the rules!