Friday, July 26, 2013

Tampa-To read, or not to read?

How much is too much? Authors push the envelope from time to time, and readers either love it or hate it. I read about 250 pages of Fifty Shades of Grey, and honestly, didn't care for the book. It was not the sexually explicit nature of the book, but the writing that had me casting the book aside. I just could not stick with it. Many of my friends told me, "it gets better!" For me, it never did, so I quit. 

Then, this book comes out. Tampa. Boy, is it raising some eyebrows! People are reacting to this book with the "I loved it!", or, "this is disgusting!" Read the excerpt from Goodreads:

"Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She's undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste's devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste's terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack's father's own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut."

So what do you think? Should I read it? Or is this going to be way too repulsive? I am a mother to a son who in no less than two years will be in junior high. The thought of a teacher seducing him has me seeing through murderous lenses. 

What do you think? 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Lake House by Marci Nault

The Lake House by Marci Nault takes readers on a journey between two women's lives. Set in idyllic Lake Nagog (trust me, you'll want to live there) both Victoria and Heather are trying to fit the pieces of their complicated lives back together. Victoria Rose is looking to reclaim the life she once had on Lake Nagog. The complication occurs when Victoria's childhood friends all but desert her when she returns from California. Sweet Molly is the only friend who will associate with her. In a town as small as theirs, this makes Victoria's return all the more awkward. Victoria left Nagog for all the glitz and fame of Hollywood, but when tragedy strikes, it devastates her, and consequently isolates her from the friends who would have helped her through it. She moves back to Nagog to reclaim the life, and friendships that she holds dear.
Heather Bregman is the globetrotting columnist, writing about her escapades in different countries. She loves what she does, but her absence from her fiance has done nothing to improve their relationship. Eventually, her relationship fizzles, and she's abandoned by Charlie. Looking to start a new life, she purchases a house on Nagog, and she and Victoria become friends. The town's residents, a tight-knit group, don't take to Heather, and are doing everything to sabotage her getting comfortable in her new home. When Heather forms an unlikely bond with one of the only young, eligible, bachelors at the Lake, truths are revealed. Will Heather and Tommy forge a relationship that lasts? Will this idyllic community be the place where Heather will finally find what she's looking for? Can Victoria make peace with the past, and look forward to her the rest of her time on Nagog? What will happen to the broken friendships? Lifelong friends, now distant and cold. Read The Lake House to find out what happens to Victoria and Heather.
A kitschy story with likable, relatable characters. It felt like I was reading a movie. Honestly, the characters faces were vividly etched into my brain. It's like I could picture each one individually, and that made the story come alive for me.

To find out more about Marci click here
Follow her on Facebook here
Follow her on Twitter here

If this book sounds like something you'd love to be reading, enter to win one of three copies by entering a comment below. Please be sure to include your e-mail address within the comment.

Thank you to Kelley and Hall PR for a copy of this book, and for hosting the giveaway!

Thank you for reading, book friends!

*A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts here are mine, and mine alone. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid & A Giveaway

Every once in a while a book comes along and hits you right in the heart. The story is exquisite, and pulls at you. "Keep reading, keep reading", it says. It's a book so memorable, you dreamily recall the characters, the story line, and the outcome with fondness, and it may leave you a little melancholy that it ended. Forever, Interrupted is that book for me. It has even inspired a new book category on my blog. There's the borrow it, buy it, and now-Shut Up and Take My Money!! It's the book that I will be recommending to friends, and family, and even strangers (I'm talking to you dude at the Brand at Americana who works in concierge.  We are kindred book spirits. I'm coming to see you about this one!).

The scoop on the book is that Elsie and Ben are newlyweds, so in love with one another that their love is likened to a supernova. Brief, but brilliant. It lights up the sky. But its brilliance soon fades, and you're left with darkness. At the beginning of the book, Ben leaves their apartment one night to buy her fruity pebbles (I mean, it wasn't Cinnamon Toast Crunch-that should've been his first warning). She wanted Fruity Pebbles, so her devoted husband hops on his Schwinn to go down the street-when... bam! Tragedy strikes, and Ben is killed. Don't worry, that is not spoiling the story for you because, ummm....hello? It's called Forever, Interrupted!  I digress. Anyway, Ben's death understandably sends Elsie into a tailspin, which is further complicated by the arrival of Ben's mother. Ben's mother has no idea her son was even married, and planning for the funeral is Elsie's first meeting with her. Awkward? Yes. Devastating? You bet ya! Will Elsie be crushed under the weight of it all? Dear Lord, this is my prayer-please don't let this happen to me. I do not want my forever to be interrupted. I wouldn't be able to take it! I love that Elsie is a librarian, and trust me-it is the eventual highlight of the story for me. Read it-you'll see what I mean.

The story that unfolds in Forever, Interrupted is so wondrous, I'm certain you will feel the same way I did. You'll laugh, you'll cry. I was cheering for Elsie the whole book. I was rooting for her. This story will stay with you. I recommend stocking up on the Kleenex.

You've been warned about the impending book hangover.

I'm so charged up about this book, I am doing a giveaway. If you'd like to be entered into the giveaway, please leave a comment below and be sure to add your e-mail address. Please don't forget the e-mail address!

Click on the link(s) to order your VERY OWN copy of Forever, Interrupted (or shop Indie)

To contact the author, Taylor Jenkins Reid or find her on Twitter
To contact the Literary Agency PS Literary Agency

* I received a copy of this book as an Advanced Reader Copy from PS Literary Agency (THANK YOU!) and the thoughts reflected here are mine, and mine alone. I have not been compensated for this review.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck-Book Club Selection

This book was selected by my book club for June, and what a delightful read it was! The Wedding Dress takes you on a journey back in time, and into the present where two women (mainly two women, though others are part of the book) are linked together by a gorgeous wedding dress. Charlotte owns a dress shop, selling wedding gowns to Birmingham's most elite brides. One day she wanders to a mountain to pray, where she happens upon an auction. She inexplicably buys a chest for $1,000 that contains a wedding dress. Charlotte doesn't know it at the time, and this chest spurs the demise of her relationship with her fiance, Tim. Emily is a bride in 1912, in the South. Jim Crow laws abound, and Emily wants to throw caution to the wind, and have her dress sewn by a colored seamstress. In the South, at that time, this sort of thing was unheard of-and against the law! Emily was opinionated, and stubborn, so she wanted Taffy Hayes to sew her gown. Unfortunately for Emily, she is about to walk down the aisle with a complete louse, Phillip Saltonstall. She knows Phillip has his vices, but when she sees it first-hand, will she have the strength to trust her instincts and walk away? Complicating things further is Daniel, her ex- love. Daniel tries to convince Emily of Phillip's transgressions, but she dismisses him. You'll be rooting for the underdog in Daniel, that's for sure! Charlotte and Emily's lives are linked through this dress, which Charlotte finds when she opens the trunk. Even though you don't know where this story will take you, what happens in the end is just magical!  

Rachel Hauck has written an engaging, tender, love story in The Wedding Dress. Our book club collectively enjoyed this book. Our discussion was lively, and each of us had similar reactions to the plot lines in the book. I had not seen the connection between the man in the purple ascot, and Jesus, but after someone in book club pointed it out-it made perfect sense! There are religious themes in the book, so if that does not suit your fancy, this may not be the book for you. However, the Christianity is not overt or pushy, but adds nicely to the quality of the book. I highly recommend you  BUY IT!!

Happy Reading!