These Books Aren't All New??

Books are expensive. I tend to pick and review books that are both new & old. Many of these books you will be able to find on the shelves on your library as opposed to the front of your bookstore.

I believe that there are many hidden gems from years gone by & I enjoy highlighting those as well as today's best sellers.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Bad Bride's Tale by Polly Williams

Publishers Copy:

Right time. Right dress. Right man?

The author of The Yummy Mummy returns with a sparkling, hilarious look at what happens when you meet the wrong man at the right time.

Two weeks before her wedding, Stevie Jonson, a successful graphic designer in her mid-thirties, has got serious jitters. Is she finally growing up, or compromising horribly? In love or in denial? By the time Stevie steps into her 1930s vintage wedding dress for the last fitting, her life is coming apart at the seams. Her best friend, Lara, is moving to New York City, fulfilling Stevie's long-held dream of moving there herself; her parents' marriage is heading for the rocks; her teenage crush (The One That Got Away) is back in town, a reminder of everything her fiancé isn't; and that niggling little voice in her head is getting louder all the time. As the clock ticks, a shocking secret threatens to bring Stevie's future crashing down around her.

A Bad Bride's Tale is a grown-up love story about marrying, mating, compromising . . . and how love doesn't have a timetable.

My Review:

A Bad Bride's Tale is differentiates itself from other chick lit with more interesting side stories, but you can call the ending a mile away.

One thing that really stuck out for me in this book is that people from England fly to New York seemingly at will and very often.  I would think international flights would be too expensive for the way they kept hopping the pond.  I guess it's a small complaint, but it's one that stretched it's credibility too far for me.

On the plus side, A Bad Bride's Tale kept me reading till the end, but on the minus side, I kind of felt like I wasted my time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Attitude Girl, Interview With Author Mila Bernadkin

Publishers Copy:
Everyone thinks Vicky has an attitude problem, but in her eyes, she's simply being realistic and honest about what she thinks and feels. If people can't handle it, well... it's their problem.

The novel recounts a young woman's coming of age, with a little bit of sassiness and a lot of heart. Jam-packed with emotional conflict, trials and tribulations, romance and humor, this winner of 8 literary awards follows outspoken, materialistic 17-year-old Victoria Benson on her rocky road to adulthood as she struggles with financial setbacks, bullying, first love, idealism, loss and forgiveness along the way.

Raising children has never been easy... And guiding them through adolescence in our tumultuous modern world? Maddening! Today's teens want entertainment! What they need, however, is a little bit of guidance, especially given the challenges of the current US economy. Written for young adults, ages 15 and up, and their parents, The Attitude Girl is an inspirational, award-winning timely book that gives them both...

Selected as the Best Young Adult Novel of the Year by the 2010 Premier Book Awards, The Attitude Girl also placed as a Finalist of the 2010 National Indie Excellence Awards, was named a First-place Winner in the Young Adult/Teenage category at the 2009 London Book Festival and in the Arizona Authors Association Annual Literary Awards contest (Novels), and additionally received four Honorable Mentions in 2009/2010 literary competitions.

My Review:

Well I could relate to Vicky.  As a person who speaks their mind, sometimes to my own detriment, I can surely empathize with a teen who adults think have an attitude problem.

This book is touchingly real and up-front about the issues that confront teen girls today, and it will resonate with all of us who remembers our high school years.

Author Interview~
Mila, let’s start with your inspiration for The Attitude Girl, how long were the characters rumbling around in your head before you put them on paper?

I started the book when I was a student at the Institute of Children’s Literature. My assignment was to write three chapters, the beginning of the book, if I were to write one. I was inspired by my experience as an ex-teacher and the mother of an ex-teenager. I got an idea for a coming-of-age story about five teen girls, close friends. The characters were just popping up in my head. I created their personalities, imagined what they looked like, and named them. And then, I started to hear them speak. I knew what they were thinking and feeling. I lived and breathed along with them. It was like a movie playing in my head. Naturally, after the course was over, I just kept on writing. I couldn’t stop.

I think part of the reason that I loved this book so much was because of all of the real life trials and tribulations that Vicky and her friends had to go through. Was that your plan from the beginning?

I was writing a realistic contemporary story. So I tried to be as close to real life as possible. There are so many problems in the world today! My plan was to illustrate how teenagers deal with issues they have to face on the road to becoming adults such as bullying, first love, teen pregnancy, and relationships with parents. My goal was to deliver a message: life is not all black and white; it’s mostly grey, so deal with it! I wanted to make young adults and their parents understand that although it’s extremely hard to raise a child, being a teenager is not that easy, either.

Being that you are originally from Ukraine, you seemed to really have a grasp on American teens and their struggles, how did you get into their frame of mind so well?

I’ve been in the United States for many years. I watch TV and read. There are always news reports. I’ve heard stories from other parents about their kids being bullied. As I mentioned before, I infused many of my own traits into my protagonist. Some of her thoughts and questions are actually mine, and her authentic voice is often my own voice. And I’ll tell you a little secret: I’m awfully young at heart!

This book has won so many awards, which can only be attributed to your great writing, were you surprised that your first book did so well?

I’m very proud that my book won the total of 8 literary awards. Thanks! When my manuscript for The Attitude Girl won first place in the Arizona Authors Association Annual Literary Awards contest and a publishing contract with Five Star Publications as a prize, I was extremely surprised, even shocked – I couldn’t believe it! And when the novel was named a first-place winner in the Young Adult/Teenage category at the 2009 London Book Festival, I thought to myself, It must be good. They can’t be wrong twice, can they? Later, I received four Honorable Mentions in 2009/2010 literary competitions, and the book became a finalist of the 2010 National Indie Excellence Awards. And, finally, last September, The Attitude Girl was selected (I was told, unanimously) the Best Young Adult Novel of the Year at the 2010 Premier Book Awards. It’s overwhelming! But it’s a great feeling…

I didn’t feel like Vicky had such a terrible attitude problem, I could really relate to her honesty and outspokenness. Have you gotten a lot of feedback from girls who see themselves in these characters?

You are absolutely right! The problem with Vicky’s attitude is just that she doesn’t want to be or to think positive when she doesn’t feel like it. Considering Vicky’s honesty and outspokenness, it’s understandable where she’s coming from. Those are my own traits, infused into my main character. I, just like Vicky, always stand by my principals and fight for what I believe in.

Actually, I’m getting a lot of feedback from teen girls and moms. They say things like, “Finally, there’s someone who gets me!” or “It’s a book about me and many of my friends – same issues, same problems. Who doesn’t have attitude at this age? It’s like seeing myself in a mirror.” Moms identify with Vicky’s mother and start to understand young adults better. Many mothers and daughters read the novel together when they reviewed it, and they told me it was a great bonding experience. That means so much!

Is there a follow up to The Attitude Girl in the works?

I’m not planning a follow-up to The Attitude Girl. To be honest, I don’t believe in sequels – they usually are not as good as originals. But… you know… Never say never.

What new things do you have coming on the horizon?

I’ve been writing articles on parenthood and young adults. A couple of them were published in Power Women Magazine, MORE magazine, BOLD magazine, and the National Gallery of Writing. I’m a contributor to, and (Women Embracing Every New Challenge) – they publish my articles as well. I have several short stories for middle graders and young adults that need “polishing.” I started two books for kids ages 5 – 10, and I have a few ideas for books for adults that I have to develop.

Well I can't wait to see what comes next, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me!

You are very welcome, Mimi. It’s my pleasure!

For The Attitude Girl website, click here, and to click directly over to Amazon to buy it click here!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Under The Overpass, Mike Yankoski

Mike Yankoski’s Under the Overpass, which allows for an inside look at homelessness and the way they are perceived, is truly insightful. Most everyone can relate to the panhandler on the corner or the disheveled individual walking down the street or sleeping on a city bench. I, for one, am guilty of averting my gaze as I walk past or anxiously await the red light to turn green.

What is extremely eye-opening is that these individuals are shunned, even by many who consider themselves part of the Christian community. It causes one to pause and be introspective to ponder the question of whether we are following God’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Yankoski gives names to the homeless so that we can see them as fellow human beings and not just a filthy person placed in our path to create annoyance or an uncomfortable feeling. By acknowledging that these individuals are NOT less than human, we are forced to reconcile if we are treating them as an equal. The fact that even the Christian community, which I count myself a part of, tends to stay as far removed from the reality that there are millions of suffering individuals whose everyday existence is comprised of finding a meal and a safe place to sleep, is sad. It’s strange that we feel satisfied when we sponsor mission trips but avoid the simple act of buying a meal for the “bum” we pass on the way to work every day.

Yes, it’s important to congregate with other Christians in fellowship to worship the Creator but we are completely missing the point if our actions don’t follow through. As I Corinthians 13 states, If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. You have the choice, take up the call and act or give lip service to the Lord!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Never Been Kissed, Melody Carlson

Publishers Copy:
All Elise wants is to have her first kiss before she turns sixteen. Is that so bad? But when a friend's poor advice and the powers of electronic technology combine, Elise heads down a dangerous road. She is accused of "sexting" and gets kicked out of school. But is she really the one to blame?

This powerful and realistic story from beloved author Melody Carlson shows teen girls the impact of their choices when it comes to respecting themselves and their integrity. Honest and relevant, Never Been Kissed will make girls laugh, cry . . . and think.

My Review:
This great book was a slight departure from most Christian Young Adult books.  Covering issue like "sexting" it pushes the envelope in a way that is both relevant and spot on for today's youth.

You can see where Elise is making wrong turns & want to stop her, but like the youth of today, it's often too much, too soon.

Melody Carlson stands out in a field of YA authors, nailing the language of today's youth and the struggles they face in this book.  As a reader, she always leaves you wanting more.

Pick this one up for your teen or yourself today!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chunneling Through Forty, Anne McAneny

Welcome back to the few of you who might be reading Read, Review, Repeat!

I wrote a couple of months ago about how reading had become something that I couldn't do anymore, but I have crossed that hurdle, and am back to my reading self.  Hooray!

Santa brought me a Kindle for Christmas and Chunneling Through Forty is the first book I downloaded.  The Kindle takes some getting used to & it won't ever replace real books for me totally, but I love it.
Publisher's Copy:

A woman’s 40th birthday comes on like a tsunami, especially when life's biggest excitement means finding a wad of fudge in a half gallon of ice cream. For Susanna O’Leary, the day prompts her to set five goals. They don’t include the invention of personal jet packs or finding the cure for cancer, but for a bored mother, they might as well. As she takes a stab at each goal, she encounters hilarious and heartening complications that reap unexpected results, including an attraction to her daughter’s history teacher. An unpredictable cast of characters buoys her along the way, and in the end, her goal list remains incomplete but at least attempted. She has faced the tsunami head-on and emerged on the other side ready to chunnel through the next forty years with gusto.

My opinion:

I was sick when I read this book & honestly enjoyed it except for the infidelity storyline that was just thrown in from left field to try and make the stakes feel higher, perhaps?  It was like a really good song that an orchestra is playing where someone keeps hitting the wrong note, just as you start to enjoy the music again.

I'd still read it, but this one could have been so much better.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jane In Bloom, Deborah Lytton

Publishers copy:
Jane's big sister, Lizzie, has always been the center of attention.  No one ever pays attention to boring, plain Jane.  But Jane's twelfth birthday markd the beginning of Lizzie's final descent into a fatal eating disorder, and Jane discovers that the only thing harder than living in her big sister's shadow is living without her...

In the wak of tragedy, Jane learns to look through her camera lnes and frame life differently, embracing her broken family and understanding that every girl has her season to blossom.

My review:
This book is described as spare and vulnerable and I think that those are two very apt adjectives.  This little book packs a bigger punch than the reader sees coming and the subject of losing and then finding one's family is handled masterfully.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Someone Will Be With You Shortly, Lisa Kogan

Hmm, Lisa Kogan works for Oprah Winfrey, has a marriage where she & her husband live on 2 different continents and this book does not reflect this level of excitement for me.

It's the small mundane things of her everyday life, which are interesting, but I want to know how the hell her marriage works!

People have compared her favorably to David Sedaris, Nora Ephron or Erma Bombeck.  Way too high of praise in my opinion.

It's worth reading, but doesn't really stay with you or leave you wanting more.