Thursday, November 18, 2010

TLC Blog Tour: Everything I Never Wanted to Know by Dina Kucera

First off, let me apologize for the late posting: I have been having issues loading blogger all day.

I must confess that this is out of my usual reading sphere and, thus, I was especially pleased to break out of my "comfort zone" per se, when approached about this tour.

Like the most gripping of stories ( true or not), the surprises, the journey, the twists and turns with no concrete foresight are what string the reader through the tragic ( and yet uplifting) rollercoaster of Kucera's life. Thus, I will not bog you down with plot details, other than to express that this is a blatantly true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. This is a world so beyond my own that at times it seemed almost inconceivable. How could so much negative circumstance be amounted on one circle of our universe? Moreover ( and most hauntingly), how could Kucera muster the courage to so honestly relay her story?

To say that this story is uplifting doesn't seem to grant it justice. Not only were trials met with perseverance, Kucera champions those affected by similar circumstance by confiding in all of us.

This story oozes integrity. You become Kucera's confidante as she sits you down and unravels the secrets of her family. Her honesty, at the core of this important book, is what I respect most.

It is not a proud or shaped honesty crafted to entice readers; rather all-out truth. For a religious person, I was especially interested in the parts of her narrative that invoked God. Not always inwardly wrestling with the Great Theological tenets assuaged through personal circumstance in so many memoirs, yet the little thoughts that plague us all.

"Why heap all the beauty and talent on a few people," Kucera asks of God, " If someone is short, make them really funny. If someone is bald, give them lots of money. On the other hand, if someone is beautiful, give them a constant toothache. Or if a person is a gifted artist, maybe they could have herpes. It seems that God is in the people-making factory, and Jennifer Aniston comes down the belt and he takes a bucket of beauty and talent and dumps a ____ on her. Then Danny Devito rolls by and God walks away to check his Facebook." (178).

It is this kind of stark and realistic narrative that drew me in from the get-go. Kucera found the tenacity to expose her life in hopes of providing empathy, sustenance and a life raft to those who have experienced similar circumstances. This book will help, give hope and heal.

Readers of The Glass Castle and A Million Little Pieces will be riveted by Dina Kucera's achingly honest account of her life and relationships.

Looking for a bittersweet and humorous read for the booklover on your Christmas list? Make sure you visit the author's website and get 30% off simply by entering DINA when it comes time to check out

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Forgive the lack of posting. I have been doing some extensive work travel and life has caught up in more ways than one and this poor blog has fallen on the wayside. But, Halt! Give not up yet! Here is a review:

Bright Young Things

I read the Luxe series and I enjoyed the Gossip Girl meets Edith Wharton savvy of the glittery gilded age. In Bright Young Things Godbersen has certainly found her niche: the roaring 20s. In the New York of prohibition and bootleggers; of flappers, nightclubs and forbidden and hot jazz, Godbersen stitches a romance of forbidden love, a sort of Capulet-Montague drama for the historical teen set.

Cordelia and Letty escape their small Ohio town in search of glamour, fame and fortune. But, while Letty is certain that her future is determined by her lovely voice and lithe figure and an impending career on the stage; Cordelia has an ulterior motive: finding her long, lost father.

Those enraptured by lavish Gatsby-esque parties of the age will be lost in the cocktail world of too many martinis, excessive wealth, colour, lipstick and hairbobs.

Godbersen’s novel is exceedingly readable, catchy and fun. She has a wonderfully light and buoyant way with words and teens ( and those who still read teen fiction who AREN’T teens) will enjoy this unique romance.

While the storyline certainly plays into some convention, it is Godbersen’s narrative voice and manner that sets it apart. The exposition far outplays any nuances of plot or tension.

My sincere thanks to Harper Collins for the review copy.