Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dec 2012

As you all have noticed, I stopped doing book reviews about a year and a half ago.   With full intentions of coming back to it within a few months of having left.

Only, it didn't work out that way.  Life got in the way.  I worked on my own manuscript for a few months, then ended up with a few injuries that changed the course of my life.

I decided to come in here today, because of all the work that did go into this blog for the time I was working on it, and say a big thank you to the publishing companies and authors that let me be part of their book tours.

Without the written word, society would not be what it is today.

There are literally thousands of bloggers like me out there, being given the opportunity to read the works early, to interview the authors and state our opinions.
Many go through hundreds of books a year doing this.  My hats off to all of you in the blogging world who shuffled through novels you might never have stumbled upon otherwise.

Every novel, every story is another window to someone's world.

Being on both ends of the window, I have to say getting it to the point of being a book is not easy.  For some of us it takes years of rejection.

I praise anyone who has held up and not caved under the first few rejections.


What I'm reading right now  (on my own for book club)
- Straight Up and Dirty
-American Psycho
-Don Quixote

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Time off

Some of you might have noticed the slowing down of reviews by me on here over the last few months.  What can I say other then life happens.

We had a series of postal strikes that has left me at times wondering if the books I was to review would ever make it here from their publishers.  Some did.

I also had to make a choice, continue to spend my writing time working on the blogs or working on my own novel.   After spending nearly three full years doing reviews -books and sports- I decided it was time to work on my novel again and to deal with a few of those life issues I had been avoiding.

The last review for now that I offer you is Tout Sweet  by Karen Wheeler.   A memoir she wrote when life got too much and she realized she needed a change.  I can not disagree with the timing of that book coming into my life. It was pure synchronicity.

Please, do check in to the blog in the coming months, as I will be returning.  

Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler

Plot: Karen has just come out of a bad break up and decides it's time to change her life.  Leaving her career as a fashion editor, she goes to France with a friend for the weekend and ends up buying a house.  Over the course of a year, she travels back and forth from England to France fixing up the new house in bits and pieces until she decides to move there on a full time basis.  Having already established herself within the small village, we are taken into dinner parties, a few unsuitable suitors and the local gossip.  During all this, Karen needs to remind herself that even though her ex-boyfriend is a few hours drive away, he's out of her life for good.

This is a memoir.

As a woman in my late 30's (at the time of this posting)  I fell in step with her choices as I read the book. You understand the pull right off that a new city and a new country had for her at that point in her life.  I thought it was a well designed suggestion that while the author was going through all of this, she kept mentioning a few books about moving to France that she too was reading. I am guessing that Julia Child had something of a role model for her on this regard.

We follow her through about two and a half years of her life as she fixes up her house, learns French and discovers who she can really trust as she learns who she herself really is.

A warm and light touch to what I am sure was a heavy time in the author's life.    I would have loved to have found out just what the real issue between herself and one of the men she writes about, Dave, was. It's hinted at (an over active imagination of a relationship by Dave that never manifested) but never actually confirmed.
Her way of telling you about a pie is done with a flair you would expect from a fashion editor, but also from someone who knows food.  

Karen Wheeler makes you want to take that risk yourself and just move to France.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer 2011

I was interviewed recently over on Kindle Forever.   You can read it here 
It was different being on the other side of the questions for once.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ex-Girlfriends United by Matt Dunn

Plot: Edward is back with another break-up disaster. Only this time, it's not his it's his best friend. Dan Davis, a British tv personality has been unable to get a date for the last few weeks. With the help of the old gang, Edward, Sam and Wendy, we learn that Dan has been rated on a dating site. And not in a good way. Meanwhile, Jane, Edward's recent ex wants him back. Can Edward save Dan's reputation in time to save his own?

This is the second book in a great series of "guy-lit" by Matt Dunn. Even if you have not had the chance to read "Ex-boyfriend's Handbook" you will have no problem following the characters in it's followup.

It's a year after Edward's own life changing break up, and we find he's happily in a new relationship, barmaid Wendy is pregnant, and Dan has just landed a new role on a soap opera where he will be playing a character called "Wayne Kerr" a double dealing slime.

The writing is rich with humour and real with moments that you could swear were your own. (such as Dan not catching on to the double meaning of his soap opera character's name)
The author has managed to capture a few snapshots of what it's like to feel insecure and desperate without making it seem like the characters are less then normal.
I was surprised to see a new layer to the Dan character with a back history where we learn he's been dumped because of his career. This gave him an edge of reality in a world of fiction (his career as a celebrity) and causes you to not just cheer for him but to connect with the character that you couldn't in the first book.

Seeing Edward's arch come full circle from the first novel (from wanting his ex back to her wanting him when it was too late) helped to keep the human elements of confusion and honesty of his character in tact, which made him so joyful in the first place.

"Ex-Girlfriends United" is a lighthearted, sweet, fun way to peer into the minds of the modern man.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just a note

Dear Readers:

Hi. As you have come to know, I have been doing my best to keep this blog as professional as possible. (Since becoming a semi-professional reviewer) But I thought, I would take a few minutes and post something personal(ish) and off the records.
So to speak.

 Let's start with a photo of the books you can expect to see make an appearance on this blog in the coming weeks.
Here they are, yes there is a few coming at you from the Paranormal genre.

 One of the few books I've managed to get my hands on that is not for review (my sister bought it for me... okay I put it on order and she went to the store and picked it up but still...) is the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto.   I have been coveting this book for months and finally broke down and bought it.
Even though it's not part of the review list, I'm sure at some point I will make comments on it.  If not on here then on my personal blogs (most likely my cooking blog)

 See, even when I take a break from work (book reviews)  my top thing to do for fun is read.  My second is eat. The staff at my local grocery know me almost too well sometimes. But that's another blog for another time.

Love Kimberly.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson

Plot: Mellie has been fighting what seems to be a loosing battle now for centuries. The image that was given to her because of her step-daughter Snow White.
Charming has grown older and just wants a normal life with his two daughters after his divorce from Cinderella.
Mellie and Charming bump into each other at a book fair in L.A. and decide they need to work together to change both their images.  Soon the two are writing a novel together based on Mellie's side of the Snow White story. Before long, the cozy world they have created for themselves is threatened by members of the Fairy Tale Kingdoms. Does Prince Charming still have what it takes to be a hero to his favourite Evil Step-Mother or will reality crash their dreams?

Rarely do I find a novel that I think is just so unique that I wonder why I didn't think of it myself.   This is that book.

This is a book about books.  It's seen through the eyes of a book lover and a first time writer (the character not the author) which gives it a sweetness you almost never see.  From the moment the two leads meet in an awkward hallway to the scene where they are in coffee shop battling side by side, you know their chemistry works on many levels.

We meet Mellie, in the middle of a protest for her group PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Archetypes- a woman who  has been given a bad rap in her home world and is just trying to help those who are part of the Fairy Tale worlds.  She is all business, and other then having a very long life span, no longer has any magic.
Already twice widowed, she's not looking for love or marriage or any of the trapping that come along with it.  The only problem is, so far no one is taking her seriously as she tries to explain that the books are lies and step-mothers are not evil.

Charming, who is now calling himself Dave, does not see himself as the hero his stories paint him to be. He views himself as a divorced dad of two, who just wants to run a book store. Which is why he does not understand Mellie's protest or current desire to ban a large chunk of books.  He manages to convince Mellie that her best way of getting people to listen is to use the media/medium to her advantage by writing a book on the very topic.

Both characters are given very human desires, insecurities, talents and issues that help to bind them to the real world, while still holding them in a fairy tale setting.
I loved the idea that both were attracted to the other for centuries (having meet years before at events) but are both too shy to react on it at first. Each having that give and take of feeling like they are the only one wanting the relationship adds major weight to their pairing.  I loved how the author examined their personal insecurities while pointing out that they were not teenagers, but that love/lust at any age can cause misunderstandings.

This does more then just deliver a great budding romance, it puts some much needed value on not just step-moms, but older women. It also firmly establishes that women's fiction  isn't just for women. One of the sub-plots is that Charming, is an advocate for the genre. The character of his oldest daughter also reinforces this idea later on when she makes a comment about how that's her dad's job, to stand up for damsels in distress.

With the hundreds of fairy tales out there, the choice of using Snow White and Cinderella as the backgrounds, was the author's ace.  I giggled out loud at the idea of Cinderella (Ella in the book) being a gold digger of sorts. As well as the idea that Snow White was not as pure as she's been white washed to be (pardon the pun) 
The author manages to bring you along two very different paths that somehow merger perfectly into one very emotional and believable plot. (Snow White's husband being a creepy Necrophiliac really makes you rethink that fairy tale's ending) 

I'm told this is the first book in a Trilogy and I can only say, more more more!