Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: There Goes the Bride by Holly McQueen

Title: There Goes the Bride
Author: Holly McQueen
Publisher: Atria Books (June 5, 2012)

Source: Received from publisher
Summary from Goodreads:
Happily ever after isn't always what you expect..."Polly Atkins, a Londoner living in New York City, is headed back across the pond for her wedding, a grand affair that has her older sister, Bella, in a whirlwind of excitement. Bella can't wait to take over the wedding plans--and neither can Polly's best friend, Grace, whose life as a wife, housekeeper, and mother is making her feel older than her twenty-eight years. She's desperate to see Polly settle down in the same city--and the same life.

The only one who isn't bursting with enthusiasm is Polly. Which is why, before things can get any more chaotic, she calls the whole thing off and lets go of the most perfect man on the planet. There's no way that Polly is going to tell anyone why she's changed her mind. Some secrets are best kept hidden. But Grace and Bella are determined to get Polly and her fiance back together if it's the last thing they do. After all, solving someone else's problems has got to be better than dealing with your own. . . .
Review:
I have been waiting for this book for what seems like a long time. I love me some chick-lit every now and then, but I just haven't been able to root for the characters in the chick-lit I've read lately. They just seem so much like caricatured versions of whatever stereotype they are supposed to represent - the lonely housewife, the unfulfilled career woman, the lost and drifting girl in her early twenties. It's been hard to find characters that you could root for, but this was NOT the case with There Goes the Bride... AT ALL.

What I loved the most about this book was that it drew me in with realistic, believable characters. The story is told from the perspectives of Polly's older sister, Bella and her best friend, Grace. It seems like I've been enjoying multiple perspectives a lot lately in my reading, but the best part about it is that it added so much to the story being able to be in the head of two very different women. McQueen adeptly introduces various characters in a way that makes it easy to follow. (I don't like it when an author throws a bunch of characters at you all at once and you spend the rest of the book trying to remember who so-and-so is and how they're related to the main character.) It picked me up from the first page and never lost it's momentum. I love when a book does that!

Bella, Grace and Polly are flawed and just oozing with insecurities, but the way McQueen writes, she nails down all of raw and REAL insecurities of most women. The way women look at each other and automatically assume that the other is thinking the worst about you. It's a daily battle for me. Bella and Grace battle with all of the insecurities that women struggle with everyday - How do we measure up? Are we pretty enough? Am I skinny enough? Will he love me forever? Am I a good mother? What do people really think of me? McQueen writes about women so well and about how cruel we can really be to other women with all the passive-aggressive, emotional one-upping over each other. I can't wait to read more of her books.

It's been a long time since I've finished a book within a night. I thoroughly enjoyed There Goes the Bride and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an well-written story that will draw you in from the first page and be almost impossible to put down once you get started. You won't be disappointed!


Rating:
5 out of 5 stars


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop 2012 :: $5 Amazon gift card


Thanks to I am a Reader Not a Writer and Uniquely Moi Books for hosting the 2nd annual Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop!

In celebration of the beginning of summer, I'm giving away a $5 gift card to Amazon.com so you can find the perfect book or e-book to read while sitting on a beach while watching the sun set and sipping an umbrella drink. A girl can dream, right? :)

Amazon_gift_card.jpg

Over 150 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from Thursday June 20th through Tuesday June 26th. 

***MUST like facebook page TO ENTER***
(To follow, scroll down the left side bar to the top and click "facebook")


Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog then fill out the RaffleCopter.
Comments are for feedback and questions only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Now hop on over to share some more book love with other bloggers!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop: Mystery Box of Books



Thanks to I am a Reader Not a Writer for hosting this Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop!

I could use some Summer Cleaning in all different areas of my life - books included. I have lots of ARCs and finished copies that could use a new home where they won't just sit and collect dust waiting for the day they will be read. So I am giving away a MYSTERY BOX of books! This box will include 2 books of ARCs published within the past two years or other finished books. I haven't officially done my Spring Cleaning yet, so the choice of books will be a surprise!


I read mostly:
  • contemporary fiction
  • women's fiction/chick lit
  • historical fiction (especially about the Tudors period)
  • Christian fiction
  • middle grade fiction
So if any of those genres fit your fancy, please sign up below! 

Over 130 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from Friday June 15th through Wednesday June 20th.

Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog then fill out the RaffleCopter.
Comments are for feedback and questions only.
This giveaway is only for those with addresses in the United States.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Now hop on over to share some more book love with other bloggers!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Title: Between You and Me
Author: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Publisher: Atria Books(June 12, 2012)

Source: Received from publisher
Summary from Goodreads:
From the authors of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Nanny Diaries comes a new novel that takes readers behind the scenes of stratospheric celebrity—what it means to be worshipped by millions and still feel loved by none.

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have proven again and again that they are masters at exploring the nuances of family relationships—as they intersect with the current trends in the culture at large.

In Between You and Me, twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade has built a life for herself in New York City, far from her unhappy childhood in Oklahoma. But when she gets the call that her famous cousin needs a new assistant, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. Logan hasn’t seen Kelsey since they were separated as kids; in the meantime, Kelsey Wade has become one of Fortune Magazine’s most powerful celebrities and carrion for the paparazzi. But the joy at their reunion is overshadowed by the toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her controlling parents. As Kelsey grasps desperately at a “real” life, Logan risks everything to try and give her cousin the one thing she has never known—happiness. As Kelsey unravels in the most horribly public way Logan finds that she will ultimately have to choose between saving her cousin and saving herself.

Review:
I think all of us at some point or another imagine what it would be like to be famous. We picture the fancy clothes, shiny cars and big houses. What we often forget is the price celebrities pay to be famous - family, friends, love and happiness. The sad thing (and I am guilty of this too) is that we feed right into this system by watching the tabloid news and buying the tabloid magazines. Between You and Me puts us right behind-the-scenes of the high life and is a great reminder of how we should be careful of what we wish for.

What I enjoyed about this book was that it really does a great job of describing the behind-the-scenes life of celebrities. You really got a raw inside look inside and it was full of lots of juicy little details. It definitely fulfilled my voyeuristic desires for a peek inside the life of a person in the limelight. At the same time, the story reminded me of the rise and fall of Britney Spears, especially since Kelsey first worked for Kids Incorporated and Britney first started out in The Mickey Mouse Club. No wonder she, Kelsey and others are so susceptible to self-destruction!

Overall I enjoyed the book, but I wanted more depth to the characters. At first, I had a hard time keeping up with all the characters because of the names. I couldn't figure out who Kelsey's parents were for almost a whole chapter. I expected Kelsey to be shallow, but was pleasantly surprised by how I ended up feeling sympathetic towards her. The hardest part was that I couldn't get behind Logan. It seems like she just dropped everything to be there for her cousin. She seemed like a strong, independent woman at the beginning of the story and I had a hard time believing that she would just drop everything for a cousin she hasn't talked to in over a decade.

If you are looking for a light summer chick-lit read, I think you'll be entertained by Between You and Me. It's a nice reminder of how hard it can be to be a child star enveloped by the glitz and glam of Hollywood and how easy it can be to self-destruct from the pressure of it all. I am happy to say that I'm content with just being a normal girl who's not famous, doesn't have the biggest home or the nicest clothes, but has the love of a adoring husband, sweet little daughter and lots of happiness in between.

You can grab your own copy at your local bookstore today!


Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Bookshelf Monday :: 36


OH. EM. GEE.

That is all.

WOW!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Armchair BEA: Ask the Experts


Day Four: Ask the Experts

Today's discussion post is to ask our visitors for blogging advice. I consider myself to be a relative newbie to the book blogging world and would love any advice you'd like to leave in my comments. I am eager to learn from others and am hoping to not make too many mistakes along the way.

What is your piece of advice?

Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Blog


Day Four: Beyond the Blog

I really don't have any plans to write someday and one of the best perks of being book blogger is getting books... but other than that, I haven't really done anything special beyond my blog. Maybe someday?

I realized after browsing a lot of blogs from yesterday's topic on Networking that I probably have more to say about author signings than I originally thought. I noticed that a lot of people mentioned that they live in a small town where a lot of authors don't visit. I am blessed that I live in a big metropolitan city, San Diego, in Southern California where a lot of authors do pass through (especially in Los Angeles). I have attended the LA Times Festival of Books twice now and have met lots of children's authors that I never would have met otherwise.

I am late in posting my LA Times Festival of Books recap, but I'll share a little teaser here.

I hope you will forgive me for bragging a little bit...

At the festival this year, I got to hear speak, meet and speak with, and get an autograph from one of my favorite authors of all time - Judy Blume. She was such a delight to listen to. I didn't get to say much because I was starstruck for sure, but I did manage to get out a thank you for being one of the major reasons why I became the reader I am today. It was SUCH an honor.


I need to do my post-event recap with photos with Cheryl Burke, Michael Buckley, Jeff Kinney and Molly Shannon. SOON! I promise!

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Armchair BEA: Networking


Day Three: Networking

I wish I had more to say about this, but I am still learning about networking. As a wife, mom, teacher on the weekdays, photographer on the weekends and a book blogger in between... there are only so many hours in a day. I am happy to say that I do frequent our local bookstores, both independent and Barnes and Noble bookstores. I wish I were more extroverted and put myself out there to build a relationship with them as a book blogger!

One of my favorite author events and signings is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This was my 2nd year attending and it's the closest thing we've got on the West Coast to a BEA. Lots and lots of authors attend and it is such so much fun to meet them and other fellow readers.

I hope to get to know more local book bloggers. If anyone is down to host a SoCal meetup, let me know!

Even though I haven't met many people in real life, I am thankful for the few online buddies that I've made along the way. They are so supportive, encouraging and I just love talking books with them!

Make sure to come back for Day 4: Beyond the Blog!

Armchair BEA: Streaming BEA Live!



I am so excited about this new feature where you can be a part of BEA and see the events live online. My little one wakes up every day around 5am, so it'll be right around the time BEA starts. Never thought I'd be happy about that!

You can check out the streaming schedule here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Armchair BEA: $10 Amazon gift card giveaway


For Armchair BEA this year, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon.com!

Amazon_gift_card.jpg

The giveaway runs from Tuesday June 5th through Saturday June 9th. 

Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog then fill out the RaffleCopter.
Comments are for feedback and questions only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Armchair BEA 2012: Introduction


Armchair BEA is back in full force! I participated last year and enjoyed it thoroughly. I am so excited to be a part of it again and to be helping to host the twitter parties on Tues, Weds and Thurs as @jasmine_marie

Today, I will be interviewing myself so that you can all get to know me a little better. Please leave some love in the comments! I look forward to getting to know more book bloggers!


Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

My name is Jasmine and I am a 30-something Christian, wife to my college sweetheart, mama to a toddler, teacher to 5th graders, a wedding photographer on the weekends, and an avid reader when my little one gives me a minute or two. I have been blogging since April 2011 so I am fairly new to the book blogging world. I got into book blogging because I LOVE talking about books, especially when I want to share some of my favorite reads with the rest of the world. When I fall in love with a book, I want

What are you currently reading?

Title: Between You and Me: A Novel
Authors: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Publisher: Atria Books (June 12, 2012)
Summary from Goodreads:
From the authors of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Nanny Diaries comes a new novel that takes readers behind the scenes of stratospheric celebrity—what it means to be worshipped by millions and still feel loved by none.

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have proven again and again that they are masters at exploring the nuances of family relationships—as they intersect with the current trends in the culture at large.

In Between You and Me, twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade has built a life for herself in New York City, far from her unhappy childhood in Oklahoma. But when she gets the call that her famous cousin needs a new assistant, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. Logan hasn’t seen Kelsey since they were separated as kids; in the meantime, Kelsey Wade has become one of Fortune Magazine’s most powerful celebrities and carrion for the paparazzi. But the joy at their reunion is overshadowed by the toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her controlling parents. As Kelsey grasps desperately at a “real” life, Logan risks everything to try and give her cousin the one thing she has never known—happiness. As Kelsey unravels in the most horribly public way Logan finds that she will ultimately have to choose between saving her cousin and saving herself.
I am really enjoying this book so far. It is exactly what I've been looking for in a chick-lit book.

What is your favorite book so far in 2012?

Title: Comeback Love
Author: Peter Golden
Publisher: Washington Square Press (April 2012)

This is my favorite book of the year so far. You can read more about it at my review here.


Love love LOVE this book!




Tell us one non-book related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. 

I work part-time as a wedding/portrait photographer in San Diego on the weekends. Ever since I had my baby a few years ago, I've cut back a lot, but I still do events for families and friends. My mom gave me a camera when I was 10 and I've always carried one around since. My friends know me as the girl behind the camera. I've always enjoyed capturing life and thus creating and preserving memories.



If you are interested, you can check out more of my work here on my photo blog: http://www.jasminemarieblog.com

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

I think one of most influential books of my life was Little Women. I came across this book by chance during one of my many trips to our local library and it was such the perfect book for me at that point in my life as a young woman. I loved it. I read it over and over again. I rewrote the story so that Jo and Laurie could end up together (I was a hopeless romantic even then!). Knowing that Jo is based a lot on Louisa May Alcott herself, I would love to eat dinner with her just to see what kind of woman she was.



What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

When my hubby and I travel, I always make an itinerary of bookstores to visit in that city.  Some of the bookstores that I would love to see someday are:

Shakespeare & Company

shakespeare and company


The Strand Bookstore














.... and many, many more. :)


So I hope that helps you to get to know a little more aboout "the bookish mama." Please leave some love in the comments and I look forward to getting to know you soon! 
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