Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Willing Spirits: Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tour

When MaAnna from Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours contacted me about hosting a tour for Phyllis Schieber’s book Willing Spirits, I immediately jumped at the chance. I read and reviewed Schieber’s last book Sinner’s Guide to Confession a couple months ago, and LOVED it (read my review!), so I was excited to see what she had to offer this time. I was NOT disappointed!!!

This story has so much to offer! It really is a strong novel about different relationships, friendships between women, relationships between lovers, and the relationship between parents and their children. Schieber has a gift when it comes to portraying women’s friendships. The primary characters in this novel are long time friends Jane and Gwen, and Schieber does an amazing job in relaying the comfort that comes with having a friend who knows you and has been there through the good and bad. There is no judging, just unconditional love and support. Sometimes these relationships can come across as fake and unbelievable, but I felt that these characters, as well as the supporting characters, were real people dealing with real life situations.

We also get to spend some time with both Jane and Gwen in their pasts, so see how they came to be the women they are. Their relationships with their own parents, their relationships with their husbands and insight in to how they grew up are all introduced in order to give the reader a better understanding of their current decisions and reactions to what is going on around them.

Phyllis Schieber has written a beautiful novel about the importance and significance of female friendships. I highly recommend this novel!!

Please feel free to leave a comment!! Each comment on any of the blogs in the tour will offer a chance to win a free copy of Willing Spirits or The Sinner’s Guide to Confession. A couple of people who make a real impression on Phyllis during the tour will be chosen to win a free book.

To follow this tour, click here!!

About Phylis Schieber:

The first great irony of my life was that I was born in a Catholic hospital. My parents, survivors of the Holocaust, had settled in the South Bronx among other new immigrants. In the mid-fifties, my family moved to Washington Heights. The area offered scenic views of the Hudson River and the Palisades, as well as access to Fort Tryon Park and the mysteries of the Cloisters. I graduated from George Washington High School. I graduated from high school at sixteen, went on to Bronx Community College, transferred to and graduated from Herbert H. Lehman College with a B.A. in English and a New York State license to teach English. I earned my M.A. in Literature from New York University and later my M.S. as a developmental specialist from Yeshiva University. I have worked as a high school English teacher and as a learning disabilities specialist. My first novel , Strictly Personal, for young adults, was published by Fawcett-Juniper. Willing Spirits was published by William Morrow. My most recent novel, The Sinner’s Guide to Confession, was released by Berkley Putnam. In March 2009, Berkley Putnam will issue the first paperback publication of Willing Spirits.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Review: The Red Leather Diary

I am excited to tell you about The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal, by Lily Koppel. The book has such an interesting premise – a long lost diary, found when a young author for the New York Times happens upon a large stack of trunks that are being moved from the basement of the building she lives in. After rummaging through the trunks and finding a number of treasures, a red leather diary found it’s way into Lily Koppel’s hands. In a time of her own life where she is trying to find her way in the journalism world, this diary found her.

The diary once belonged to a young Jewish girl living in Manhattan from 1929 to 1934. Florence Wolfson was given the diary for her 14th birthday, and didn’t miss a day until the diary ended 5 years later. She was an ambitious teenager who was moved by such thing as art, theater and books. She strives to reach her full potential in all of these things. She loved attending the theater, going to museums, and reading literature. “There’s so much to do — music, art, books, people,” Wolfson writes in her diary. “Can one absorb it all?”

Also, like most girls her age, Florence was very focused on her looks. She took great pride in her appearance, and the clothes that she wore (which were made by her mother, who owned a clothing shop). She was also a very adventurous and curious teenager, experimenting intimately with both boys and girls. It is interesting to hear about the different views on relationships from that era, and the views from someone who was so young and inquisitive during that time.

I enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. First, it gave me some insight into a life that I couldn't even dream of. Living in a Manhattan long past, living as a teenager in a big city in general (my hometown has around 400 people in it!), and living in a world where such experiences as going to the theater, hitting up museums, and getting other amazing opportunities are available. Also, Florence's experiences and desires make me want to find different opportunities for myself, to achieve my full potential, since that was what she always seemed to strive for.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be transported into the life of a teenage girl in the early 30's, life her life and have her adventures. If you are looking to achieve greatness or looking to live up to everything you can live up to, then you should read this book.

Thank you to Lily Koppel for finding me, allowing this book to find it's way into my hands. I appreciate the opportunity you have given me, and I am excited to strive for greatness!!

Additional Information:

To purchase this book from Amazon, click HERE.

Click HERE to visit the website of The Red Leather Diary.

Click HERE to visit Lily Koppel's website.

The Red Leather Diary book trailer:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Has it really been that long?!

So, I have just realized that it's been FOR-EVAH since I updated my blog! I feel like such a slacker - but life has been getting in the way. Too bad for me with no internet at home, it makes things a lot harder. I used to be such a good little blogger, but not so much anymore... Is anyone still out there?!

Things have been rough... I am still looking for a library job (seriously, if anyone knows anyone who needs a good librarian - I'm your girl!!!). Unfortunately, my hubby was the victim of company restructuring due to the economy, and lost his job last week. We are hanging in there, and are full of positive energy and good hopes and all that good stuff. Things will look up soon, I can feel it!!!

I do have some things on the horizon, though. I have a review to post about the book The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a life through the pages of a lost journal by Lily Koppel. I'll give you a preview: this was an entirely engaging story!! I can't wait to tell you all about it, because it truly rocked my face off!! I also have another book that I am currently working on for review - Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? From the projects to prep school by Charlise Lyles. So far, so good!!!

And now I'll leave you with a Dear Customer letter. This is a good one, I promise...

Dear Customer,

I am so happy you chose to return these items to our store. I am sorry that they didn't work out for you, and would be pleased to take them back. Next time you want to return something, however, I do have some advice for you.

Please don't put them in a bag, and then proceed to blow a carton's worth of cigarette smoke onto them. The stench from the clothes caused my eyes to water from 10 feet away. I understand the need to smoke, as I was a smoker for quite a number of years (quit 6 months ago - whoot whoooooot!!), but DAMNATION. If you and everything you touch smells like that, it's a wonder how you have any human contact at all. Even soaking them in Fabreeze didn't allow us to put them back out on the racks.

Thanks for your consideration.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Customer Service Specialist.