September 28, 2012

And The Winner Is (The Adventures of Marty Peters): Erin Brady

Marty Peter's is an accountant, who has abandoned aka disappointed her family by moving down the street. She never moved into the city though and that is why she spends her mornings and evenings commuting into NYC. Around working and commuting Marty works on pursuing her dream of writing. No one has liked her works though and maybe she should just sticks to the numbers that make sense to her. But, then everything changes at whirlwind speed.

First she goes on client presentation with her chauvinist boss to Theodore McKenzie one of their largest clients and a leader in the entertainment industry. McKenzie is threatening to pull his account and with that would go many of their other accounts, including the one for the Motion Picture Academy and why the firm gets to do a presentation on voting at the Oscars every year. Marty makes an impression on Teddy, McKenzie, and has the fate of his account with the firm in her hands now. Not something her Boss is happy about.  On the way to this meeting Marty finds an abandoned bag on the subway with a journal inside it, but with a name but contact number or other information about the owner. The errors start as Marty realizes the screen play in the journal is amazing and since she doesn't know the owner she takes credit for the work. With Teddy McKenzie interested in her screenplay Marty just might have found a way to live her dream as a writer. That is until she actually meets E. Riley, the owner of the journal. With things rolling with the screenplay and at work it might be to late to stop things, but now that she is starting to like Riley and she isn't sure where her priorities should be and what is worth losing to get your dream. 

Written between a memories with quotes of friends of how Marty became famous and is famous and her telling her story above of how she started on the path in Hollywood. 

I was sent a copy of this novel by Erin Brady and writing the review per her request, but the summary and opinions are my own. 

This was in a different format that I hadn't read before, so it was a little odd for me. But, I found that I really did enjoy the plot over all. Marty was a fleshed out character that I found that I could relate to. The situations that she found herself in and how she reacted kept her human and in ways a reader could relate to, though they were exceptional circumstances most people wouldn't find themselves in. Not as much with the supporting characters, in I couldn't relate to them, but you learned enough about each of them as you needed to know and when you need to know it. I liked the set up of finding out about the supporting characters as the main character learned things and think that for some of the supporting characters that is what Brady was doing. 

I enjoyed reading about Marty and watching her grow and learn, she made some choices that seemed real to me, even like things I might do and ways I would react at first. I would give this book 4 stars and would like for more by Brady and would enjoy seeing her grow as a writer. 

September 21, 2012

The Next Best Thing: Jennifer Weiner

Ruth has lived with her Grandmother for most of her life, ever since the accident that cost Ruth her parents and left her scared for life. Graduating from college, she decides to move to Hollywood to pursue her dream of being a writer. With her grandmother along for the ride they set out. Grandma thrives working as an extra, with a boyfriend, and friends in the community center. While Ruth works, as an assistant, she writes hoping to get her own show on TV.

With hard work, a broken heart, and trying to find her way in a society obsessed with beauty with a scared appearance Ruth attempts to  find her happiness in Hollywood. She thinks she is getting her dream when her show is picked up. But, she just has to realize how much she may have to compromise or give up in order to actually live her dream.

Personally, I enjoyed this book more than some of Weiner's other recent stories. I enjoyed how she concentrated on one plot line and primarily on one character, with the supporting characters around Ruth. Instead of spreading the plot around multiple main characters and all the others that surrounded around each of the different characters. You had just one person to get behind and follow, that I felt I could really get behind more, while sometimes I get overwhelmed with having to follow and care about multiple characters. I enjoyed her other books, but going back to focusing on one person and the world that surrounds her lets me get behind that one person better. I am glad that this is more back to the roots of Weiner's early works.
If you had a chance to pickup Weiner's kindle novella Swim earlier this year, it was the inspiration for this novel and introduces us to Ruth. There were elements in this novella that weren't in The Next Best Thing, that I missed a bit, but having read both of them I was able to see all the elements, but wish if there was going to be some overlap that it all could have been there.

I am going to give this book 4 stars as it a great Weiner work and had characters that you could get behind and appreciate. But, it did still leaving you wanting a little more. I appreciated how it reflected Weiner's personal experience of having had a TV show picked up and dropped last season and I will miss The Great State of Georgia which I had tried to catch on hulu as I don't have cable. As always I look forward to more from Weiner as I always do and hope she keeps building more characters that we as readers can get behind and relate too.

September 14, 2012

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.: Nichole Bernier

Elizabeth dies in a plane crash that is overshadowed with September 11th, the one that changed the world we all live it, occurred soon after. But, her friends can't forget her and how she died as well as the others.

Kate stops on her way to a summer on an island to get away from the world to pick up Elizabeth's journals that she left her in the will. Kate decides she is going to spend the summer learning about her friend. The more she learns about Elizabeth and the friendship she thought she had the more she questions, about Elizabeth and her own life.  While Elizabeth's husband is pushing Kate to share what she learned and that is a decision Kate isn't sure she is ready to make.

Written between Elizabeth's past journal entries and growing up and Kate in the present reading the journals and considering what she is learning. Questioning choice she has made, her marriage, what she knew about her friend, and what she might want to do in the future.  Through out the plot you get to see both characters grow and change.

I enjoyed how the plot of this book deals with difficult issues, making the reader think about the choice they make, what they think they know about their friends and how they judge people or how they might be judged by the others around them.

I thought one great growing point that Kate could have done through this book that she didn't is she talked about how she enjoyed reading Elizabeth's journal and she wished that she had a journal or something to show how she grown to her husband, but she never did journal or try to write or anything. I wish that she would have tried, but see how that could have made the plot more complicated too.

I haven't ready any of other books by Bernier (this may be a debut novel not sure) and I would pick up more by her. I think she has a great writing style and provides a different view of how to look at things. I would suggest this book to others. It reminds me a bit of early other authors I enjoy, Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner and other recognizable names.

I would give it 4 stars.

September 7, 2012

Don't Let Me Go: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Grace sits on the steps of her apartment building so that someone will see that she's in trouble and needs help. Billy is a former dancer and an agoraphobic that never leaves his apartment, till he is pulled onto the balcony to find out what a little girl is doing on the stoop each day. The neighbors in the building end p coming together to help Grace and she pulls each of them out of their own little worlds too. They find that they all really have been lonely. Now, they have someone who needs them. Rayleen, the manicurist who takes Grace in the evening and makes sure she gets to school, kind of the one who spearheads the whole concept. Felipe, who walks Grace home from school and is teaching her spanish. Billy, takes Grace in after school, and teaches her to dance. Mr. Lafferty is a bit bigoted to the other neighbors and seems angry, but Grace has a way to melt parts of his heart. Ms. Hinman, says she is to old to help, but find she wants to and enjoys a lost hobby in making Grace some new clothes. They all come together and help Grace and each other, pulling Billy really out of his apartment. That is until Grace's Mother comes out of her drug induced stupor and takes Grace away from everyone.

This book took me a little to get into, but I really got into it towards the end. I appreciated how all of the  characters were built up and developed. The chapters alternated between from Billy's perspective and Grace's. I liked the child's perspectives alternating to the adults, with different information given in both. All of the characters changed and grew through out the plot of the book.

I would suggest this book to others as a nice fun read. It has some moments that are deep and the characters do great growth other the plot, but it isn't made have to really think intellectual. I hope that others enjoy it too. 4 Stars

This review is part of chick lit plus blog tours.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.