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.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Desirable Residence, Madeleine Wickham


I am thrilled to be able to review this book from Madeleine Wickham, who also writes as Sophie Kinsella and is responsible for the Shopaholic series. I also have 5 copies of the book to giveaway to my readers!

This book was originally released in 1996, and has just been re-released for the first time in hardcover.

Publishers Copy:

Liz and Jonathan Chambers were stuck with two mortgages, mounting debts, and a miserable adolescent daughter. Then Marcus Witherstone came into their lives - and it seemed he would solve all their problems.

He knew the perfect tenants from London who wold rent their old house: a glamorous PR girl, Ginny, and her almost-famous husband, Piers.

But soon Liz is lost in blissful dreams of Marcus, Jonathan is left to run their tutorial college, and neither of them has time to notice that their teenage daughter is developing a passion for the new tenants.

Everyone is entangled with everyone else, in the most awkward possible way. And as events close in, they all begin to realize that some deceptions are just a bit too close to home.

My Review:

As one of the famous chick-lit authors early works, this one lacks a bit of polish that her later works do, but is still a great read.

As life gets more complicated, Liz gets more lost in her exciting new fling, leaving her husband and daughter to fend for themselves. A large real-estate deal, a new business, a potential television star and an fun supporting cast of characters makes it a perfect summer book.

Whether writing as Kinsella or herself, Madeleine Wickham has a gift for fiction & you won't be dissapointed, especially since I have 5 copies of the book to give away to my readers.

How to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post. 1 entry. If you don't do this entry, any others won't count.
(You must include your email address in your comment. If I can't find you, you can't win!)

2. Follow Read, Review, Repeat. 3 entries, leave 3 comments.

3. Follow my Screaming Mimi blog. 2 entries, leave 2 comments.

4. Follow Oskar's blog. 2 entries, leave 2 comments.

5. Leave a comment on an of the book reviews on this blog, Read, Review, Repeat. Any comments left after this post is up will count as one entry as long as you've left a comment on this post. One entry per comment.

6. Blog about this giveaway & leave me the link in the comments. 3 entries, leave 3 comments.

7. Add the Read, Review, Repeat button to your blog. 2 entries, leave 2 comments.

Due to shipping, this contest is only open to U.S. residents. Contest ends at 12:00 midnight, on Saturday 8/7/10.

*Since I was in the hospital for 9 days this contest has been extended until 8/7/10 at 12:oo midnight. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner, the review.

Sometimes all you can do is fly away home . . .

When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician's wife—her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.

Lizzie, the Woodruffs' younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve—a husband, a young son, the perfect home—and yet she's trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER's exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.

After Richard's extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.

Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity, Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another.


I've been fortunate enough to read every Jennifer Weiner book published.  I've yet to be disappointed!  Fly Away Home is a wonderful story and such an easy read.  Jennifer (who confirmed this at her book read on Friday) played into the events that we are so familiar with in the news -- the extramarital affairs of the rich and politically famous, and even some imfamous... including a certain Ex-husband of an Oscar winner.

I will say that, there is a lot more SEX in this one.  None of the sex is particularly related to the point of the story, so (to me) it was fluff, but it's in there.  I managed to read it in a day and a half, and save the "scenes", I'd highly recommend this!!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gilding Lily, Tatiana Boncompagni


OK, this doesn't happen often, but I hated this book. Lily, the main character, throws away everything to pursue what she claims to hate, being a New York socialite.

She starts her writing career by making terrible decisions like doing an in-depth review of the tennis club where her husband & his family have been members for years, costing her husband his membership. Not too terrible.

Then she writes a piece about a "wanna-be" socialite, even after finding out that this woman is unstable & unhealthy. The woman commits suicide. Lily has doubts about her choices all along, but goes ahead with them & then blames everyone else for her choices and ends up getting everything she ever wanted.

The author Boncompagni, is married to an heir to the Hoover vacuum cleaner family and is herself somewhat of a socialite, but tries to play herself as an outsider in the Q & A at the end of the book.

Just leave this one on the shelf. It really has no redeeming qualities.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Undress Me In The Temple Of Heaven, Susan Jane Gilman


Publisher's Copy:

Undress Me In The Temple Of Heaven is a riveting, funny, but harrowing true story -- a modern-day heart of darkness full of Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes. In 1986, Gilman and a friend planned an ambitious trek across the globe starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent backpackers for roughly ten minutes. Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche and Linda Goodman's Love Signs, the two young women plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads -- hungry, disoriented, stripped of everything familiar, under constant government surveillance, and ensnared in rural China. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism and enlightenment grew sinister -- becoming a real-life international thriller that changed them forever. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a powerful, inspiring story for our times –a tale of being thoroughly humbled and helpless, yet
surviving. It is also a flat-out page turner told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.

My Review:

The idea of two young girls backpacking through China in the mid-1980's, when tourism was limited at best and communication was very difficult once you got there, is such a stunningly bad idea, that I couldn't get past that.

I found this true story un-even and didn't come to like the 2 main people involved. As one would expect in a tale like this very, very many things went wrong and seemingly only turned out well by the kindness of strangers.

I wouldn't bother with this one. It was o.k., but not really worth the time in my humble opinion.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cooking Dirty, Jason Sheehan

Former chef and kitchen rate, Jason Sheehan owes this book & his success as a writer, in part to Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain, the original drug-riddled, swashbuckling memoir writer. While Jason's story feels really similar to Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, it's interesting enough to be enjoyable and Sheehan is a good writer.

If you've never spent any time in the back of the house in the restaurant industry, this might not appeal to you, but my history leads me to laugh at the extreme nature of this crazy business and be relieved that while I remember it, I never got in that deep.

Insatiable, Erica Rivera

In Insatiable, Erica Rivera tells her story of striving for perfection, falling, and turning to anorexia so she could feel control over something. An interesting twist is that she's a worker at a eating disorders clinic herself while all of this is happening.

Ending up a young, single mom with 2 daughters, Rivera sinks so low into her disease that she even leaves her 2 & 4 year old daughters at home, alone, in bed to run to the store & get a food fix for a binge.

Dark, but moving and real this one is a really good read.