TLC Book Review: Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes

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My Review:

This book is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary!  For a book to be 10 years old and to still be ever so funny and relevant, says a lot about Plum Sykes quality of writing.

the perfect book to read between some serious reads!  I loved this book, as it reminded me so much of one of my all time favorite books: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann.  It’s a book about the kind of people that “people like us” are sickened by because of how fake they are, but yet we still watch those reality shows about them and read the tabloids. Told with wonderful 1990’s detail, readers will love the way Plum Sykes brings a modern twist to living in New York.  I couldn’t help but think of the NY heiresses, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Aly Hilfiger, the Clarin sisters, etc.

The storyline is funny-trading a handbag for a PH (potential husband), and trading crystal facials for a fiancé to get that “glow”.  I love how quickly the storyline moves, the characters are really interesting, which makes for a fun read, and it’s a book that many will love who enjoy the Chick-lit genre and love books told in a comedic way about the tales of the “oh-so glamorous”, who are really just girls with lots of money trying to have it all.

The only issue is the overuse of acronyms.  It’s was hard to understand initially, but after awhile, it was easy to figure out.  Just stay with it, it is worth the light read!

excellent cupcake 5

*This book was provided through TLC Book Tours and its publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Plum Sykes

Plum Sykes was born in London and educated at Oxford. The author of the novels Bergdorf Blondes and The Debutante Divorcée and the Kindle Single memoir Oxford Girl, she is a contributing editor at American Vogue, where she writes about fashion, society, and Hollywood. She has also written for Vanity Fair. She lives in the English countryside with her husband and two daughters.

Plum’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, August 19th: A Bookish Way of Life – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, August 21st: booknerd – Bergdorf Blondes

Friday, August 22nd: Drey’s Library – The Debutante Divorcee

Monday, August 25th: Carpe Libros – The Debutante Divorcee

Tuesday, August 26th: Books in the Burbs – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, August 27th: Book by Book – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, August 28th: Reading in Black & White – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, August 28th: From the TBR Pile – Bergdorf Blondes

Monday, September 1st: A Bookish Way of Life – The Debutante Divorcee

Tuesday, September 2nd: Drey’s Library – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, September 3rd: Reading in Black & White – The Debutante Divorcee

Thursday, September 4th: booknerd – The Debutante Divorcee

Monday, September 8th: Mom in Love With Fiction – Bergdorf Blondes

Tuesday, September 9th: Staircase Wit – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, September 10th: Reads for Pleasure – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, September 11th: BookNAround – Bergdorf Blondes

Tuesday, September 16th: Cruising Susan Reviews – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, September 17th: A Book Geek – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, September 18th: Books à la Mode – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, September 18th: Book by Book – The Debutante Divorcee

TBD: Books in the Burbs – The Debutante Divorcee

TBD: Cruising Susan Reviews – The Debutante Divorcee

Book Review: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

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my book thoughts

It has been awhile since I’ve read a Middle Grade/Children’s book.  I was drawn to this book because of the synopsis, which you can read by clicking on the book cover.  The book is told through the point of view of Naomi (who is called by her nickname “Chirp).  Chirp is obsessed with birds and loves reading about them, studying them, and locating them by her house.

Chirp is the typical 11 year old girl, who develops a friendship with one of the boys down her street, which she handles delicately because he is known as the school bully.  Her mom, a beautiful dancer, that she strives to please is diagnosed with a disease that in the 70’s wasn’t as treatable as it is today.  Chirp, her sister (the rebellious teenager), and her father (the psychiatrist).

At first, I didn’t feel the book had enough detail about the mom’s emotional and physical issues and how it truly impacted the marriage and parent/child relationship.  Why? Well, because I am so used to reading YA and Women’s fiction.  Then, I remembered this is for young children, middle school readers, and even high schoolers.  Although, I have a feeling anyone will love this book because Esther truly captures the youthful spirit and hopes/desires of a young little girl, who shows us how she makes sense of what is happening to her family.  Chirp is so innocent, so precious, that you just want to hold her and never let her go.

Young readers will relate to Chirp, love the relationship between her and her sister, understand how she feels about her mom’s diagnosis, and enjoy the friendship she develops with Joey.

Older readers will love the innocence Chirp brings, love the nods to the 70’s and vinyl records, and have a better appreciation for the way Chirp understands and experiences the family challenges and shifts in the family dynamics.  Most importantly, it will open a window into the eyes of a child and hopefully have families talk more, share more, and learn more from one another.

This is a book of hope, in the midst of tragedy, and is a beautifully written story!

 

excellent cupcake 5  *This book was provided through NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.  No forms of compensation were given.

TLC Book Review: After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

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My Review:

This book is within the genre of Mystery/Thriller, it isn’t the typical “edge of your seat” kind of book.  Instead, it’s more of a character driven novel that pulls back different layers of the women left behind, after Felix mysteriously disappears.

While I could completely understand the emotions and personal experiences each woman shares, it really left me resenting the main character-who really never appears in the book.  Rather, Felix is described by each woman through flashbacks and present storytelling. It’s only when the disappearance and murder of Felix’s mistress happens 10 years later (after Felix disappears), the story is really shaped and pushed forward by the ever persistent detective: Sandy.  It’s his personal mission to solve this cold case, and is really the strong character in the book, who makes the novel quite unique.  While this isn’t the typical thriller/mystery book, it is definitely a book that will have you wanting to know more about the women Felix leaves behind.

*A huge thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of the tour.  No monetary compensation was given.

 

great cupcake rating 4

TLC Book Tour Review: Help for the Haunted by John Searles

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  Paperback: 400 pages
  Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (7/15/2014)

Boston Globe Best Crime Novel of the Year
An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten “Must List”
Winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award
Publishers WeeklyLibrary Journal, and Booklist starred reviews

Synopsis:

Sylvie Mason’s parents have an unusual occupation: helping “haunted souls” find peace. After receiving a phone call late one snowy night, they are lured to an old church on the outskirts of town, where Sylvie falls asleep in the car and is awoken by the sound of gunshots.

Orphaned on that night, Sylvie comes under the care of her reckless, distant older sister, still living in the rambling Tudor house that guards the relics of her parents’ past. As she pursues the mystery of their deaths, Sylvie’s story weaves back and forth between the time leading up to the murders and the months following, uncovering the truth of what happened that night—and the secrets that have haunted her family for years.

my book thoughts

Wow!  That is the one word that I would use to define this incredible, fantastic story.  It is easily the Best Book of 2014 for Books in the Burbs, and will definitely be one of my all time favorite books for many years to come.

From the very first page, there is an eerie, Gothic approach, which makes the book even more creepy to read.  It’s a perfect mystery thriller for anyone that loves this genre, but even those who love books about relationships, family secrets, religious fanaticism, too.  I was determined to find out the ending as soon as possible, so I actually took this book with me everywhere to sneak in as much reading as I could.  I ended up reading this book in about 2 days, and in the end, I just cried.  My heart broke for Sylvie and I wanted to process this book with someone, who had also read it.  It’s a book that you can’t just read and move on from.  You will need to talk to someone, who has read it, just to get some closure and talk through some of the scenarios that occur in the book.

Sylvie is a young girl, still grappling with the loss of her parents and adjusting to living with her sister, Rose.  The story is told through present and past flashbacks from Sylvie’s perspective.  She is the only witness to who she says murdered her parents, and as she slowly retraces her steps and those of her family’s, the truth reveals itself to Sylvie and the reader at the same time.  So, as Sylvie is shocked…you will be, too!

Religion fanaticism, healings, demon possession…those are some of the topics that will be brought up in the book, albeit a murder mystery.  John Searles raises incredible points: How far will a family go to finding peace?  At what point does the preacher/healer use his influence and plays “God”?  How can family secrets destroy a family and keep them from truly being happy? Do you do what is right, even if it means that you lose everything? Or do you hold a secret and tell a lie to maintain the status quo?

I absolutely loved the topics John brings up and weaves it into a fantastic storyline.  This book shows how something that starts out with good intentions can go wrong, and go off course because of different factors, such as : greed, selfishness, fear of realizing everything was an illusion, and the way that one lie has the domino effect of building upon other lies that eventually tear up a family.

This would make a great book club pick, because the discussions would be endless!  I would love to hear people’s own personal stories about healing services, tent revivals, and their own personal experiences.  I would equally love to know what people think of this particular family, the lengths one person goes to shield the truth, and what happens when secrets have a stronghold on a person.  Sylvie is a beautiful, remarkable, and brave little girl, who I am sure many will love and cry for, too.  Get the book and move it to the top of your TBR pile, because it’s that good!

supreme cupcake rating 6

*This book was provided through TLC Book Tours and the publisher! Many thanks to both of them!

 

Special offer for book clubs:

Book clubs that sign up to chat with John Searles about Help for the Haunted could win a tote bag of books for each member of their book club! Find out more details about John Searles’ goal to speak to a book club in each state of the United States over at Book Club Girl!

 

About John Searles:

John Searles is the author of the national bestsellers Boy Still Missing and Strange but True. He frequently appears as a book critic on NBC’s Today show and CBS’s The Early Show. He is the Editor-at-Large of Cosmopolitan. His essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national newspapers and magazines. He lives in New York City and can be found on Facebook and also on Twitter: @searlesbooks.

John’s Tour Stops

Thursday, July 17th: Bibliophilia, Please

Monday, July 21st: Great Imaginations

Tuesday, July 22nd: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Wednesday, July 23rd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monday, July 28th: missris

Tuesday, July 29th: Books in the Burbs

Wednesday, July 30th: Excellent Library

Friday, August 1st: Sweet Southern Home

Monday, August 4th: Books in the City

Wednesday, August 6th: Kahakai Kitchen

Book Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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I loved this book! There was so much mystery surrounding the truths behind the “suicide” of Riley’s sister, Lisa.  It was a novel that definitely kept me turning each page, with increasing curiosity, as I learn the truth behind Lisa’s suicide and fatal accident, Riley’s mom, and the many secrets that the MacPherson parents died with.

It’s definitely a page turner and will keep everyone on their toes, trying to connect to the missing pieces as Diane Chamberlain slowly reveals little hidden truths along the way.  I read this book in about a couple of days and loved that the ending didn’t end so nicely.  Rather, there are some loose ends and I do hope that Diane Chamberlain will consider writing a sequel.

The only thing I didn’t like too much was the title.  I didn’t feel the title reflected the storyline because both sisters were not very quiet, rather the opposite.  Although, one sister was more hidden.  Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic book!

excellent cupcake 5

She Reads July Book Club of the Month: That Night by Chevy Stevens

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Click here to win a copy of this fantastic book!

Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 384
Genre:  Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis:

They said she was a murderer.

They said she killed her sister.

But they lied.

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

my book thoughts

Have you ever read a book that was from a genre you don’t typically read, and when you do, it’s the book that busts wide open your interest in that genre??  Well, this book absolutely did!  I do read Mystery Thriller books, but it’s not often, so I was amazingly surprised at how incredible this book was.  Chevy Stevens delivers a brilliant book to readers, who will be on the edge of their seat the whole time!
The storyline is real, raw, and the character development is detailed.  While each character is developed, the action and drama is what drives this book home.  It’s a book that will definitely deals with complex issues of: family, parenting, perfect child vs. troublemaker, mean girls, social injustice, abuse of power, sexual abuse, and murder.

Tori is the “troublemaker” daughter, who has been recently released from prison.  She and her boyfriend, charged with the murder of her younger sister, and is shunned by her community and family.  While Toni just wants to move on with her life and forget about the past, Ryan wants to know who framed them and why.  The secrets that are unveiled are unexpected, sad, horrific, and in the end…the readers are left with a little hope.

Brilliantly written, it’s a book that deserves to be a “Summer Must Read!” I would love to share more about Tori’s family, but doing so, would give too much away to the storyline.  This is the book your book club needs to read, because the discussions will be endless!!!

excellent cupcake 5

*A huge thanks to the publisher and She Reads for allowing me the opportunity review this book!

 

Chevy Stevens. Photo Credit Poppy Photography

CHEVY STEVENS grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. While holding an open house one afternoon, she had a terrifying idea that became the inspiration for Still Missing.Chevy eventually sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book. Still Missing went on to become a New York Times bestseller and win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel.  Chevy’s books have been optioned for movies and are published in more than thirty countries.

Chevy enjoys writing thrillers that allow her to blend her interest in family dynamics with her love of the west coast lifestyle. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s camping and canoeing with her husband and daughter in the local mountains.

 

 

TLC Book Tour Review: Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert

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Reading this novel, I could imagine break out female actresses and singers, who are single moms and travel with their child(ren).  This story details the struggles and daily challenges Naomi faces to become a star, even at the expense of her daughter, Sophia.

Sophia is not your average little girl.  Of course, she is also living on the road, living with different people, and has a different perspective on life.  She is an observer, and journals words/thoughts/ideas in her two little notebooks.  While she doesn’t have a father in her life, Jim (Naomi’s manager) assumes that role and becomes a father figure to Sophia-who she looks to for support.

During a time of racism, sexual revolution, and the challenges of being a single mom, Naomi’s life is revealed through the eyes of her daughter, Sophia.  There are some lesbian moments in the book, although it is not explicit.  Nor does the author go into much detail about that part of Naomi’s life.  It’s an interesting tale and a cautionary one, because sometimes to gain fame, it means to lose those you love most.

 

great cupcake rating 4

 

About Rebecca Rotert:

Rebecca Rotert received an M.A. in Literature from Hollins College, where she was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets prize. Her poetry and essays have appeared in a range of magazines and journals. She’s an experienced singer and songwriter, who has performed with several bands, and a teacher with the Nebraska Writers Collective. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska. This is her first novel.

Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @RebeccaRotert.

Rebecca’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 1st: Drey’s Library

Thursday, July 3rd: Kritters Ramblings

Friday, July 4th: Sweet Southern Home

Monday, July 7th: Book-alicious Mama

Tuesday, July 8th: Books in the Burbs

Thursday, July 10th: Books à la Mode

Monday, July 14th: Becca Rowan

Tuesday, July 15th: BookNAround

Wednesday, July 16th: Olduvai Reads

Thursday, July 17th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

TBD: The Written World