Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review: French Lessons

'French Lessons'
Author: Ellen Sussman

Format: ARC
Published: Ballantine Books; July 2011
Pages: 256
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

My Take: I think by now it's been established that I enjoy a little armchair traveling. If a book is set somewhere outside of the US, I'll be more inclined to read it!

Such was the case with Ellen Sussman's French Lessons. While fiction it is written almost as if it is three separate short stories, each exploring a different part of Paris and a different cast of characters. However, they are all linked in that half of the characters in each of the three vignettes are taking French lessons and the other half are the teachers all from the same school. At the beginning of the novel the teachers meet up at a cafe and you learn how they, Nico, Phillippe, and Chantal, are interconnected, and believe me, it's not just because they teach at the same school!

Without giving too much of the story away, because the individual stories themselves aren't that long, the three individual lessons the teachers give are each both different, poignant, and fascinating. It's a rainy day in Paris and they each decide, for different reasons to take their students on a walk around Paris to help them learn a little more. Sidenote, each section starts with a map of their walk - love this!! One of the students is a teacher visiting Paris on a short trip. She teachers French at a high school in America and had booked this lesson as a way to hone her skills. However, when she booked the trip it was meant to be a happy occasion but because of extenuating circumstances, it has turned into a painfully sad one. Another student is a women who moved to Paris with her family and is now a housewife. She needs to learn French because she lives here now but has completely lost herself as a person since moving to a foreign county. And finally, we have the third person, a male student. He is visiting with his famous wife and is often in her shadows. However, taking a French lesson without her, he can shine.

I enjoyed all of these stories and would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for an easy, and slightly saucy, read about Paris!

Cover Lust: I think this cover is somewhat fitting, although it does look like this woman is from the 1950s or 1960s and this book is not set in that era at all. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: The Good Woman

'The Good Woman'
Author: Jane Porter

Format: Paperback
Published: Berkley Trade; Sept. 2012
Pages: 368
Genre: Chick lit (also described as modern lit)
Grade: B
Source: BookSparks PR

Synopsis: The firstborn of a large Irish-American family, Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being “the good woman” have taken a toll and though her winery career thrives, Meg feels burned out and empty, and more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner, Chad Hallahan. It’s here, alone together in an exotic city, far from “real” life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg.

Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she’s ever made, especially that of her marriage. For Meg, something’s got to give, and for once in her life she flees her responsibilities—but with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating. Now she must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.

My Take: Last year I read and devoured She's Gone Country by Jane Porter (click title for my review), claiming it as one of my favorite books of the year. So when she had a new trilogy, centered around the Brennan Sisters, I was excited to read the first in this series. 

The Good Woman centers around the oldest daughter of the Brennan Sisters, Meg. They all grew up in an Irish Catholic family in San Francisco (go SF!!) and Meg always felt a sense of responsibility for everyone. Now as a forty year old woman with a husband, three kids, and a great career, her sense of responsibility hasn't gone away, it's only grown stronger.

While Meg is certainly the center of this novel, she isn't the only person we learn about, which helps give the book some great depth. We learn about the other fours sisters which are all a little different, some heart warmingly so, some annoyingly so. She also has a brother Tommy Jr. and her parents Tommy Sr. and Marylyn. Every single one of these family members is dealing with a drama of their own but it is Meg's family drama that the story circles around.

Meg is feeling restless in her life. She has been married for seventeen years and has been feeling, for quite some time, unwanted and unloved by her husband. For me, what I found annoying in Meg, was that, while she calls her husband Jack her best friend, she refuses to ever have an adult conversation with him about the state of their marriage, however uncomfortable it may be. Instead she decides to go on a path of destruction. I know not everyone would agree with me, but I find that novels are more enjoyable if I can relate to the main characters in some capacity and instead of being able to relate to Meg, I found her incredibly infuriating and selfish. I am not judging her for what she did, just for what she didn't do beforehand. That should make sense to anyone who has read the book but I didn't want to give to much away!

Bottom line, I think for any all female book club, this would probably be a great choice to read because it brings up a lot of real emotions and therefore would spark a great discussion.

Cover Lust: While it's not the most compelling cover to me, it does look like how they described Meg so I can totally appreciate it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winner of Jamie Oliver's Great Britain!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter to win a brand new copy of Jamie Oliver's Great Britain: 130 of My Favorite British Recipes, from Comfort Food to New Classics by Jamie Oliver! Unfortunately there can only one winner and I have chosen that winner using So without further ado. the winner is: Aloi at guiltless reading! Congrats!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Winner of Lola's Secret!

Thank you to everyone who signed up to win a brand new copy of the fabulous book Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney! Using the winner is: Minicoops!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review: The Little Women Letters

'The Little Women Letters'
Author: Gabrielle Donnelly

Format: ARC
Published: Touchstone; June 2012
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: Sisters Emma, Lulu, and Sophie Atwater couldn’t be more different. They adore each other and drive each other crazy in equal measure. Next to her accomplished sisters, Lulu can’t help but feel like the failure of the Atwater family, working dead-end jobs with no romantic prospects in sight. When her mother asks her to find a book of old family recipes in the attic of her childhood home, Lulu stumbles across a stack of letters written by her great-great-grandmother Josephine March. As Lulu delves into the lives and secrets of the March sisters, she finds solace and guidance in Jo’s words, discovering that she and Jo share many similarities, even though they are worlds apart.
As uplifting as Little Women, Gabrielle Donnelly’s novel will speak to anyone who’s ever fought with a sister, fallen in love with a fabulous pair of shoes, or wondered what on earth life had in store for her.

My Take: What young girl didn't enjoy reading Little Women? I loved historical fiction from a very early age and so Little Women fit right into that wheelhouse and I also loved the two movies! So when Donnelly's novel, The Little Women Letters was introduced I was certainly intrigued!

The Little Women Letters does not take up where Little Women lets off but it instead introduces us to Jo March's great-great granddaughters and let's us in on what happened to the March family in the intervening years. Just like Little Women follows the lives of sisters and their intertwined life, The Little Women Letters follows the lives of the Atwater sisters, who instead of living in Boston, now live in London and are totally interconnected in each other's lives. Their mother, Fee is the direct descendant of Jo March and has all of her old letters, clothes, photos, etc, in their attic. As the girls were growing up and their mother would tell them about their great-great grandmother Jo the girls would roll their eyes and weren't really that interested in their family history and what sounded like it's very eccentric ways. However, now that the middle sister Lulu is grown up and feeling a little left out of everything, she finds herself in the attic one day helping her mother find something and gets drawn in by her grandmothers letters to her sisters. This is where Donnelly chooses to fill in the intervening story-line of Little Women for us, however subtly.

I really enjoyed learning about the lives of the three sisters, Emma, Lulu, and Sophie. At times they seemed a little too involved in each other's lives and sometimes a little too mean to each other, but overall you could see that they really loved each other. I thought that the story was really good but sometimes it moved a little slow. I couldn't really pinpoint what exactly but I think that overall the story could have been tightened up a little and then I would have loved the story.

However, for all of you Little Women fans out there, I think The Little Women Letters is certainly a loving compliment to the previous novel.

Cover Lust: I love this cover! For me, its the perfect cover for this book!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Paris in Love

'Paris in Love'
Author: Eloisa James

Format: ARC
Published: Random House; April 2012
Pages: 272
Genre: Memoir
Grade: A
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: she sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

With no classes to teach, no committee meetings to attend, no lawn to mow or cars to park, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time; her two hilarious children, ages eleven and fifteen, as they navigate schools—not to mention puberty—in a foreign language; and her mother-in-law Marina’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen (even as Marina overfeeds Milo, the family dog).

Paris in Love invites the reader into the life of a most enchanting family, framed by la ville de l’amour.

My Take: I don't know what it is about books with people up and moving to Paris but they seem to captivate the imagination. I didn't even particularly like Paris that much when I went to visit in high school. Don't get me wrong, I loved the countryside of France, but Paris, eh. I know, people will probably start sending me hate mail now. However, I love it when people throw caution to the wind and move somewhere in a foreign country. It's so inspiring!

Eloisa James did just that for just one year with her family and captures it all in her memoir Paris in Love. When the book opens, James has had cancer and survived and felt that it should have been more earth shattering. Something needed to be done to mark the occasion of her survival. Life just couldn't go on as normal. I could totally relate. When something MAJOR happens in your life and then everything just goes back to just the way it always was life just seems off balance. So her and her husband took a one year sabbatical from their jobs, sold their house, and packed up their two teenage kids (only to enroll them in school in Paris) and moved to Paris for a year. I loved it!

What I also enjoyed about this memoir was the style in which it was written. It takes a bit to get used to but once you do you can fly through it. Most of the book is written in one or two paragraph 'thoughts' so you can start and stop the book with ease. I LOVED this! Being on vacation and then on the plane it made it immensely readable. 

Additionally, her family was lovely and funny. If you don't find yourself smiling and nodding your head through this book then their just might be something wrong with you. Naturally, as teenagers, her children hate the move and can't appreciate it for the opportunity it is at first. Also, her descriptions of the city and their adventures in it and around Europe as a family are a delight.

I can highly recommend this book to anyone looking for their next great armchair vacation read!

Cover Lust: It's a nice subdued cover, befitting the easy going writing style contained within.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: The Color of Tea

'The Color of Tea'
Author: Hannah Tunnicliffe

Format: Paperback
Published: Scribner; June 2012
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction
Grade: A
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land—a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets. As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of family have been shattered. She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea.
Grace opens a cafÉ where she serves tea, coffee, and macarons—the delectable, delicate French cookies colored like precious stones—to the women of Macau. There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family. But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface. Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghosts to rest and to begin to trust herself. With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaron baked, Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.
A delicious, melt-in-your-mouth novel featuring the sweet pleasures of French pastries and the exotic scents and sights of China, The Color of Tea is a scrumptious story of love, friendship and renewal.

My Take: I am not sure why almost every book I brought to read on my honeymoon involved a marriage on the rocks but it did. I started to think maybe I was trying to shore myself up for what not to do wrong. Instead, I just read this book really fast and dreamed of eating as many macaroons as I could get my hands on. Note: when I got home I went to Costco because we had no food in the house and they were selling a HUGE thing of macaroons there. I had an internal war with myself not to buy those and eat the entire tub of macaroons (yes, tub) in the car. I am sure the French did not intend to ever sell macaroons by the tub. But I digress, you came here for a book review!

The Color of Tea is a beautifully written story about a marriage on the rocks, the island of Macau, and a woman who is finding her way back to being whole again. The story centers around Grace. She has been trying to get pregnant for years. After many miscarriages, doctor visits, and moves to different countries for her husband's job, her and her husband no longer feel like a team, let alone like the married couple they were on their wedding day that seemed so full of joy. Now they just exist in the same realm, barely speaking.

Grace's solace comes in the form of frenzied baking. Her mother was French and they bonded over baking. Without even really eating it, Grace bakes and bakes and one day she realizes that Macau doesn't have a good French bakery so perhaps that might help her occupy her mind so she opens up a shop that sells tea and macaroons. Seriously the description of these pairings will make your mouth water!

At any rate, the bakery heals Grace and at first her husband resists but it soon heals their marriage as well. I love to cook and bake so the descriptions of the food especially appealed to me. But the way they worked on their marriage as well the friendships Grace formed in this book I found very inspiring. I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels that the themes I mentioned above might be relatable to something they could be going through as well.

Cover Lust: Just looking at this cover makes my mouth water all over again!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: The Soldier's Wife

'The Soldier's Wife'
Author: Margaret Leroy

Format: ARC
Published: Voice; June 2011
Pages: 416
Genre: Historical fiction
Grade: B
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: As World War II draws closer and closer to Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, and the restrictions placed upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship--and her family--safe. But when she becomes aware of the full brutality of the Occupation, she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.

My Take: A note to all future brides out there: do not, I repeat do not, read a book that involves Nazi's living next door to the leading lady the week before your wedding. This will lead to stress dreams and unnecessary nightmares which you will already be having anyway! I do believe that your feelings towards a book have to do with when and where you read them and I honestly believe I would have liked this book better had I not read this book the week before my wedding. Totally stupid timing on my part. An otherwise harmless book that totally freaked me out!

Ok, to the review! The Soldier's Wife, as you might be able to tell from the title, is about the wife of a soldier. One Vivienne (love that name!) who lives on Guernsey (must visit this island some day. Totally fascinated by this place!) whose husband is off fighting in WWII. She has two young daughters and as the war starts out must make the choice of whether to stay on the island which they all know will become occupied by the Germans or to flea to London which everyone on the island thinks is the safer choice (but those of us reading the novel are thinking, don't go, you will be blitzed!). Vivienne decided to stay on the island she loves so much. It is her and her children's home after all.

So naturally, the German's show up and occupy the island. Now, a few German's move in next door and they start to watch everyone's every move. For the most part the island is relatively peaceful, although as time marches on, food becomes scarcer and scarcer and there are less and less items being shipped to the island. Also, locals begin to notice some strange new, and sad, inhabitants on the island. Yes, that's right, apparently there was a concentration camp on the island (hello nightmares!). 

However, Vivienne, finds the Germans living next door to her, well one in particular anyway, nice. And she is having a hard time dealing with her emotions. See, she is in a rather loveless marriage and this new German is stirring up some rather new feelings in her. However, should she put her life and her children's lives in danger just to see where this path takes her?

This novel would be great for a bookclub because it deals with a lot of real life issues that I think might really come up in war so it would be interesting to see what others would have done if put in Vivienne's shoes.

Cover Lust: I absolutely adore this cover!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Jamie Oliver's Great Britain

'Jamie Oliver's Great Britain: 130 of My Favorite British Recipes, from Comfort Food to New Classics'
Author: Jamie Oliver

Format: Hardback
Published: Hyperion; Oct. 2012
Pages: 416
Genre: Cookbook
Grade: A
Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis: Having grown up in his parents’ gastropub, Jamie Oliver has always had a special place in his heart for British cooking. And in recent years there’s been an exciting revolution in the British food world in general. English chefs, producers, and artisans are retracing old recipes, rediscovering quality ingredients, and focusing on simplicity and quality. Jamie celebrates the best of the old and new (including classic British immigrant food) in his first cookbook focused on England.
Here are over 130 great, easy-to-prepare recipes, ranging from salads—Heavenly Salmon and Epic Roast Chicken; to puddings—Rhubarb and Rice Pudding and Citrus Cheesecake Pots; to Sunday lunch—Guinness Lamb Shanks and Roast Quail Skewers; and, of course, the crumbliest scones. America has already fallen for the new British gastropub cooking, with popular restaurants by chefs such as April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and the John Dory. Now Jamie shows how to make the same delicious food at home. This is definitely not your grandmother’s mushy peas!

My Take: I LOVE to cook! Actually both my husband and I do! We have such a huge collection of cookbooks that they outgrew our tiny kitchen and we had to put a box of them downstairs in our storage area (so sad!). But that doesn't stop me from acquiring more. That would be crazy talk! One of my favorite chefs is Jamie Oliver. I love his easy cooking style and his whole theory on cooking with the most wholesome ingredients. We totally agree with all of that in my house! 

I previously had reviewed Jamie Oliver's Jamie's America (click title for my review), and still use that cookbook all the time, but this time Jamie has returned to his own homeland to produce the lovely cookbook Jamie Oliver's Great Britain. For me, one of the main things I look for in a good cookbook is photos! I want photos of every dish I am going to make and man does this cookbook deliver! The imagery is amazing and drool-worthy. I wanted to make everything contained within. 

So now I know perhaps the British have received a bad rap in the past for not having the best cuisine but Jamie pays the perfect homage to his homeland. I basically want to make every soup and pie (those are meat pies) contained within this book! However, in order to accurately review this book I had to choose just one recipe to make in a timely manner! So after looking through this book for quite some time to pick the perfect meal for our Sunday dinner we decided on the Granny Smith's Pork & Rice Salad

My version of the Granny Smith's Pork & Rice Salad!
It was actually an unseasonably warm day for November so as much as I wanted to make a big batch of soup I decided to make a salad instead and this one looked really hearty and dinner worthy. 

Normally I don't like fruit in my dinner but Rob really does so I went for it and it was a big hit around here. It was also surprisingly easy to make. With lots of fresh herbs and delicious items in it, it actually took less than an hour from start to finish and we gobbled it up!

Bottom line, I can't wait to make some more items from this delightful new cookbook!

Cover Lust: This cover is a perfect tribute to the Union Jack!

For other opinions on this book, check out the rest of the TLC Book Tour!

Giveaway Details
Thanks to the publisher, I have one to give away! The deadline for this giveaway is Nov. 23rd; entries open to those in the US and Canada (no PO boxes please).

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Nov. 23rd. I will draw the winners using and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Lola's Secret

'Lola's Secret'
Author: Monica McInerney

Format: Paperback
Published: Ballantine Books; Oct. 2012
Pages: 352
Genre: Christmas fiction
Grade: B
Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis: Nestled in a picturesque corner of southern Australia, the Valley View Motel has been run by the Quinlans for years—and nobody adores the place more than Lola, the family’s lovable and mischievous Irish-born matriarch. So when she insists that her relatives spend their Christmas elsewhere, the close-knit bunch can’t help but be a bit curious. Lola has always had a knack for clever schemes; after all, she once slyly reunited her three feuding granddaughters, whom she nicknamed the Alphabet Sisters. And with the holiday season fast approaching, Lola decides it’s time to stir up some extra excitement.

Plotting in secret and online, Lola thinks it would be fun to invite a select group of strangers to stay at the motel for Christmas. Will these guests become friends, ignite sparks, fall in love? As she counts down the days until their arrival, Lola’s own family dramas threaten to upend her best-laid plans. Yet amid moments of humor, heartache, and unexpected twists of fate, Lola finds that she’s the one who’s in for the biggest surprise of all.

My Take: I love books set around Christmas time! I know, I know, it's barely the beginning of November and to be honest, when people ask me if I've started my Christmas shopping I get a little twitchy because we've barely recovered from our wedding around here so to think Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away is freaking me out! However, Christmas fiction is always nice and relaxing and nothing ever really goes too bad in it. It's like a warm cup of cocoa!

Such was the case with Monica McInerney's latest novel Lola's Secret! Don't be confused by the title, Lola's Secret isn't a dirty one so get your mind's out of the gutters people! Lola is an octogenarian but a spicy, totally with it one who lives in Australia in a motel. She runs the motel with her son and daughter-in-law, but this year, at Christmas, she wants to spend some time away from her family relaxing a little. I can relate!

Now, when you read a book set in Australia during Christmas time don't expect to get lots of snow capped mountains and cozy times by the fire! It's the peak of their summer folks. So it's more intense heat, bar-b-q'ing and finding the nearest pool. Totally weird to me but it's fun to imagine that being your normal.

Anywho, Lola is the matriarch of a fabulous family who are all up in each other's business and often go to Lola for their problems but sometimes Lola has some of her own too and she doesn't always have someone to go to. What I enjoyed most about this novel was that it wasn't the normal leading lady of a story that I read but I still found Lola totally relatable and fun. To be honest she reminded me of one of my grandmas and I hope I can be that with it when I am her age. Additionally, within her family, I could relate on a more personal level to her granddaughters and the struggles they faced and I liked to see how they all worked out them out.

I'll admit there were parts of the story-line that could have been tightened up, but ultimately Lola's Secret was a delightful read from an author I hope to read more of in the future.

Cover Lust: Honestly, I don't get this cover. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything contained in this book. Not a fan!

For more opinions on this book, check out the full TLC Tour here!

Giveaway Details
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this novel to give away! The deadline for this giveaway is Nov. 21st; entries open to those in the US and Canada (no PO boxes please).

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Nov. 21st. I will draw the winners using and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mega November Review Book Giveaway!

As a thank you to all of you for sticking with me as I went about and got married and honeymooned, and therefore barely posted at all these past few months, I wanted to offer some wonderful books on giveaway!

As before, the titles link to my reviews.

The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton 

The Queen's Lover by Francine Du Plessix Gray 

All titles are ARCs, have been read once by me, and are in very good condition.

Giveaway Details!

The deadline for this giveaway is November 30th; entries open to those in the US.

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below, indicating which book(s) interest you and a way for me to contact you. You can enter for all but you will only win one.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate in the comments below that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

Three extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST November 30th. I will draw the winners using and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review: The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken

'The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken'
Author: Mari Passananti

Format: Paperback
Published: Rutland Square Press; July 2011
Pages: 276
Genre: Chick lit
Grade: B
Source: Publicist

Synopsis: Zoë Clark thinks her world will implode when her fiancé dumps her on the eve of their splashy wedding. After nearly a decade with her college sweetheart, Zoë feels like a teenager about to be eaten alive by the New York dating scene. And her problems don’t end there. Zoë works a less-than-ideal job, managing other people’s careers while her own ambitions wither. To add insult to injury, she does so in the employ of a larger than life woman whose staff measures the boss’s emotional state by the zealousness of her make up application. Quitting is out of the question; Zoë’s rent doubled when her fiancé bailed. Enter Oscar Thornton. He’s handsome, charming, attentive and rich - the perfect boyfriend. But does he harbor a dark secret? Or will Zoë torpedo her newfound happiness by indulging a far fetched suspicion? The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken tells the story of a young woman who sets out to find a man to solve her problems. Instead she finds herself facing her own shortcomings, testing her oldest friendships and realizing that she has the power to make herself happy. Packed with snappy dialogue and playful wit, The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken will strike a chord with any woman who’s ever allowed herself to think, My life would be perfect, if I could just meet the right guy.

My Take: When you are lying by the pool there is a specific type of book you want to have with you to pass the time. Each person has specific qualifications. For me, I like an easy reader, so this book went in my suitcase on my recent honeymoon to Tahiti and it was the perfect companion to the pool. I read it in a day and found it wholly entertaining.

The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken, I'm going to be honest with you, takes you on some weird twists and turns. Don't go in expecting the usual out of the characters. However, if you want some entertainment, pick this book up! Zoe, our leading lady, has had a tough year. Her engagement was called off when she found out her fiance was gay. That's a tough one but you can't really change his mind so she has to move forward. She has a job with a boss that is crazy but at least can provide her with some distractions and she has a good group of friends.

One day while at work she gets some flowers from a secret admirer. Deciding she has nothing to lose she goes out on a date with this man and it seems like he could potentially be the man of her dreams. He is charming and good looking and rich even. However, as Zoe might find out, if something seems to good to be true, it just might be.

Like I said, a totally fun read, however, without spoiling it for you, if I wasn't by the beach, the twist and turns might have been a little too wacky for me. Totally glad I read it though!

Cover Lust: I love this cover! It is what made me want to read this book!
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