Women’s Fiction Review: New Money by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

 Hardcover: 336 pages

  •  Publisher: Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press-Thomas Dunne Books (September 10, 2013)

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Author:  Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Source: Publicist

Cupcake Rating:  A great cupcake with sprinkles on top!

Synopsis (taken from author’s website):

A young Southern woman of modest means suddenly finds herself thrust into New York’s high society when she discovers that she is the illegitimate daughter of a recently-deceased billionaire.

Savannah Morgan had high hopes. She dreamed of becoming a writer and escaping her South Carolina town, where snooty debutantes have always looked down on her. But at twenty-four, she’s become a frustrated ex-cheerleader who lives with her mother and wonders if rejecting a marriage proposal was a terrible mistake. Then Savannah’s world is shaken when she learns the father she never knew is Edward Stone, a billionaire media mogul who has left Savannah his fortune on the condition that she move to Manhattan and work at his global news corporation. Putting aside her mother’s disapproval, Savannah plunges into a life of wealth and luxury that is threatened by Edward’s other children—the infuriatingly arrogant Ned and his sharp-tongued sister, Caroline, whose joint mission is to get rid of Savannah. She deals with their treachery along with her complicated love life, and she eventually has to decide between Jack, a smooth and charming real estate executive, and Alex, a handsome aspiring writer/actor. Savannah must navigate a thrilling but dangerous city while trying to figure out what kind of man her father truly was.
New Money is a keenly observed and exciting peek into a world of privilege and glamour with a spirited and charming heroine at its center.

My Review:

After reading Book Mama’s review on this book, I knew I wanted to read it, too! Who doesn’t love a great Cinderella story?!  Thankfully, the publisher was able to send me a copy to read and review, which couldn’t have come at a better time!  Sick in bed this past weekend, I read this book over the weekend and can’t wait to read the sequel!

I must admit, I was a bit surprised that this book isn’t classified as, “chick-lit”, too.  I love chick-lit and this book has all the elements for a great chick-lit book!  Nonetheless, it doesn’t change my opinion of this book and how much I enjoyed reading about Savannah and her journey transitioning from Southern debutante reject to New York heiress.

Savannah is not perfect, and when she experiences a little trouble as library assistant and quits her job, she is faced with the overwhelming guilt of trying to find a job to help pay the bills.  Her friend, Tina, a rich, small town girl, never forgets that friends can’t be bought and that money doesn’t make you happy.  However, that is her truth….not Savannah’s.

Savannah feels the pressure of trying to make ends meet with her mom and is quite surprised to find out that she is left an unbelievable fortune and can work at a dream job, in New York.  Savannah reminded me a little bit of Andy in, The Devil Wears Prada, as she tries to figure out how to navigate through the city, find her way at work, and learns some valuable lessons about herself and her choices.

While there isn’t a lot of character development with Kitty, I adored her!! She is a smart, savvy, business woman, who happens to be married to Savannah’s step-brother (and nemesis).  She runs a successful magazine (online and in print), exudes confidence, has strong ethics and values, and is a woman not to be messed with.  She oversees Savannah’s work as assistant and helps bring the family together, despite their egos and issues surrounding money.  Both Caroline and Ned are more concerned about the money not left to them, than the fact that their father was possibly murdered.  However, as the storyline progresses, Lorraine shows a more vulnerable side to both step-children and shows how people become who they are because of circumstances and choices…not always related to money.

New Money is a great story that will have you rooting for Tina-she is one hot mess in the city, and for Kitty-who is blinded to some of the family secrets.  Nonetheless, they both learn and grow from it.  Savannah, while she makes some huge changes, realizes she has more to learn and becomes willing to be mentored by Kitty and aims to be a better friend, daughter, and girlfriend.

While this is not chick-lit (I already mentioned that), it does give you this “feel good” vibe when you finish the book.  There are some challenges along the way, as Savannah grows into her role as heiress and sister, and you can’t help but root for her along the way!

While there wasn’t much closure surrounding the suspicious death of her father, and it’s never explained who the man with the interesting birthmark is, there are some surprises along the way that help bring some clarity to possibly a motive for the death.  I was also hoping to learn more about Tony (Savannah’s driver), and hope he fulfills his dream with some little help from Savannah in the next book!! I’d also love to see how Tina grows into her own person, finds love, and gains some respect from her Daddy.  The book certainly left me wanting more and I can’t wait for the next book!

Overall, it’s a great read and will have you wanting New Money, too!

* A special thank you to Lorraine’s publicist, Katie Bassel, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. No forms of compensation were given.

 

TLC Book Review & Giveaway: Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

Title: Freud’s Mistress
Author: Karen Mack & Jennifer Kaufman
ISBN: 0399163077
Pages: 368
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Cupcake Rating:  An excellent cupcake with sprinkles AND a cherry on top!

Synopsis:

A page-turning novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, set in Vienna in 1895. Minna is everything her sister Martha is not—intellectually curious, an avid reader and a beguiling beauty. She and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, yet something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.

In this sweeping tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal—between a husband and a wife, between sisters—fact and fiction seamlessly blend together to offer an intimate peek at Minna’s profound influence on the founding father of psychoanalysis, while revealing her unforgettable story of internal conflict and passion.

My Review:

I remember my first introduction class in Psychology, where I learned about the Oedipus Complex (ummm, ewww!), and everything else that he developed.  Having a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Family Therapy, I know Freud’s ideologies pretty well.  Sure, as a student of psychology, I learned about other theorists.  However, Freud is and will always be considered the Father of Psychoanalysis, and quite possibly the Father of Psychology.

So, this book really peaked my interest and I wanted to know more about the life of Freud.  I always knew of his unhealthy relationship (some even say incestuous) that he had with his daughter, and that he left behind his sisters in Austria (taking his staff instead).  However, I didn’t know anything about his affair with his sister-in-law.

The authors did an incredible amount of research, weaving it into a fantastic storyline!  I loved the emotional and humanistic side of Freud, albeit, narcissistic and quite egotistical.  While I found myself not liking the “person” Freud was, I enjoyed reading the relationship and the way Minna (his sister-in-law) dealt with the delicate balance of being a sister and mistress under the same household!

As an observer, I can understand how easily she got swept up into Freud’s world.  While Martha may come across as uncaring and unsupportive of Freud’s development of theories, the authors do a superb job of showing her vulnerability and that of a tired mom of 6, while also maintaining the household as best as she can.  If it were not for Martha’s understanding of Freud and learning when to just step aside, I don’t think Freud would have had the space, time, or creativity to develop theories that are used today.

Minna is a woman that by the standards of that time, was an old maiden.  She was not married and the best she could hope for was to be a governess for a household.  While she cares deeply for the child ( a servant) in the last household she worked, she desires knowledge and is a bibliophile in every since of the word.  With nowhere to go, she arrives at Martha and Sigmund’s house, with low esteem and feeling hopeless.

Couple a hopeless, destitute woman with a man that is self-centered, eccentric, and full of wild theories, Minna is a sponge and soon their relationship evolves from in-law, to supporters, to lovers.

As the story evolves, there is so much that happens, that it is almost hard to believe it to be true.  Sadly, it is and the authors left me saddened for the Freuds, Minna, and thankful that a personal side to Freud was shown with such transparency.

It’s an excellent read and those who love Historical fiction and/or Women’s literature, will certainly enjoy this book.  There is absolutely no requirement to knowing anything about Sigmund Freud, but I guarantee you, that after this read-you will most certainly do some googling! ;)

*A huge thanks to the publishers and TLC Book Tours for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book!

Freud’s Mistress is the third novel by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman. Their first novel, Literacy and Longing in L.A., reached #1 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List and won the Best Fiction Award from the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. Their second novel, A Version of the Truth, was also a Los Angeles Times bestseller. Freud’s Mistress is their first historical novel. Karen Mack, a former attorney, is a Golden Globe Award-winning film and television producer. Jennifer Kaufman is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a two-time winner of the national Penney-Missouri Journalism Award. Both authors live in Los Angeles with their families.

Find out more about Karen and Jennifer at their website, and

connect with them on Facebook.

TLC Book Tour Stops

Monday, September 2nd: BookNAround

Monday, September 2nd: Peppermint PhD

Tuesday, September 3rd: The Lost Entwife

Wednesday, September 4th: Unabridged Chick

Friday, September 6th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, September 9th: A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, September 10th: Books in the Burbs

Wednesday, September 11th: A Novel Review

Thursday, September 12th: A Chick Who Reads

Friday, September 13th: My Bookshelf

Monday, September 16th: Read Lately

Monday, September 16th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Tuesday, September 17th: WalkieTalkieBookClub

Wednesday, September 18th: Lectus

Friday, September 20th: Book-alicious Mama

Friday, September 27th: guiltless reading

Monday, September 30th: Lavish Bookshelf

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

One random winner will be selected to win a hardback copy of this fantastic book!

Simply enter in the comment section:

*Your name as you’d like it to appear

*Email to contact you

*What about this book or Freud himself interests you?

    Giveaway closes September 30, 2013.

CLP Blog Tour Review: All the Difference by Kaira Rouda

Product Details

  • File Size: 581 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0984915109
  • Publisher: Real You Publishing Group (March 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • ASIN: B007MOY8ZA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Genre: Chick-Lit

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of HERE, HOME, HOPE, comes a novel of suspense and choices, with a nod to the best of Susan Isaacs’s tales of suburban murder.

Once again, everything isn’t what it seems in the wonderful suburb of Grandville. ALL THE DIFFERENCE is the story of three women whose lives become entangled by the choices they make and how, ultimately, one of them turns to murder to achieve her goals.

Roommates Laura and Angie couldn’t be more different. Laura is a local celebrity, the television anchor who is motivated to move out of small-time media markets and on to the big time, no matter the cost. Meanwhile, Angie, a luckless waitress, spends her time waiting for Mr. Right to save her from temporary jobs and a life spent making bad choices.

On the other side of town, Ellen abandons her life as a successful fundraiser for that of an isolated housewife in the country estate she shares with her husband, whose affairs become increasingly hard to ignore. When the city’s gossip columnist, Maddie, and restaurant reviewer, Dixon, become involved in the mystery, the unlikely duo stir up more than they intended. But will anyone be able to stop the next murder?

With her signature compassion and wit, Kaira Rouda once again takes readers on an entertaining journey into the heart of women’s lives in suburbia – this time with adultry and murder in the mix.

All the Difference Trailer

Review:

Having read Kaira Rouda’s first book, “Here, Home, Hope”, I expected to read a similar chick-lit book. Oh, but this is not a regular “feel good” chick-lit kind of book!! It has mystery, murder, and is a bit dark with sinister undertones. Now, before you decide to hold off on reading this book and not finish this review, think Desperate Housewives meets Alfred Hitchcock.

It has quirky characters that are flawed, those who will kill for love (possibly literally), and those who don’t care how they will rise to the top in status and comfort…so long as they do! I was drawn into this storyline immediately and I couldn’t put the book down for the first half of the book. After that, my ADD kicked in, and I wanted to know “who did it?”. However, Kaira must know that I am like that!

Just when I think I have it figured out and am ready to stop reading, she throws in another character, another storyline, and sprinkles some mischief and humor so that I just “have to” hold on for the ride. Don’t be too quick to judge this book by it’s cover. It’s not a sweet little sugary book filled with romance…it’s chick-lit stretched beyond it’s limits. I liked this book and encourage you to add this to your TBR list!

*This book was provided as part of the CLP Book Tour, in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Kaira Rouda is an award-winning entrepreneur and author. She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or KairaRouda.com. Rouda has won numerous awards for her writing including: Winner, Indie Excellence Award for Women’s Fiction; Winner, USA Book Awards for Women’s Fiction; and Honorable Mention, Writer’s Digest International Book Awards for Mainstream Fiction. In addition to her fiction writing, Rouda is the author of the best-selling and award-winning business book REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs.

Connect With Kaira Rouda:
Website |Facebook | Twitter


Review: Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda

Follow Kaira Rouda on Twitter or Facebook.

Some Quotes I Like:

“And I cracked a tooth because I am too busy being restless in my subconscious- ‘chewing things over’, as Dr. Bane put it.” (p.2)

“Ever since I opened that seemingly innocuous letter on December 15 last year, I’ve been torn between trying to be happy in the moment and focusing on my future. ” (p.5)

“Between making sure the kids and Patrick are happy and that I’m there for them, putting on my supermom cape whenever necessary, I haven’t really been available to my friends.  I guess I’m lucky to still have them.  (p. 33)

“It wasn’t Beth’s fault we stopped talking; it was mine.  Our whole group ostracized her.  We didn’t understand what she was going through, and it was easier to talk about her than to help her.”  (p.113)

“And I’ll be sure not to mention the fact that while you’re over here your daughter is next door at my house, trying to recover from a serious medical and physical illness that I have had to learn far too much about, yet you seem to be oblivious to; that and what your lack of care and self-centeredness are doing to her and to your wife.” (p.141)

“Some of us just never learned to give love, just take…” (p.194)

My Review:

Here, Home, Hope is set in a fictional place named Grandville, where everyone knows your name and the grass is always greener in your own yard.  Kaira brings her readers to this beautiful town and shows that despite success, beauty, and family, appearances are never as they seem.

After receiving news from her mammogram, Kelly evaluates her life and what she wants to change.  Armed with post-its and a pen, she begins placing notes to herself as reminders of T2C (things to change).  While her children are away at summer camp and her husband is working as a successful attorney, Kelly decides she is ready to embark on a new career.

Charlotte and Kathryn, with “perfect lives, perfect marriages, perfect careers”, soon let Kelly know what really happens behind the doors of beautiful homes.  Kelly is thrown in the mix of helping her friend’s anorexic daughter, dealing with her own mid-life crisis, being referee to her best friends as they deal with the fall-outs of their marriages, and balancing a new business that has quickly erupted into a mega success.

This is a very fun and light read.  I could relate with Kelly’s character and felt that I was alongside her the whole time.  It was refreshing to read a book that empowers women and shows that not all mid-life crisis’ have to result in an affair to “find oneself”.  Rather, a mid-life crisis can bring people closer together and be a catalyst to positive change.

What I loved:  the empowerment of women, friendships strengthened, the writing style

What I did not like: seemed at times to be a little “too good to be true”….however, it is set in the perfect world of Grandville

Style of Writing: 4/5

Pace of Story: 5/5

Storyline/Plot: 5/5

Character Development: 4/5

Christian Perspective: 0/5

Spiritual Connection: 0/5

Emotional Connection: 4/5

Moral/Message: 4/5

*This book was provided by the publisher, which I received through Goodreads.