Tag Archives: Humor

Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: The Gate of Dawn by Marina J. Neary

Gate of Dawn cover2

About The Gate of Dawn

Welcome to 1880s Vilnius, a volatile Northeastern metropolis where Balts, Germans, Poles, Russians, and Jews compete for a place in the sun. After sustaining fatal burns in a fire instigated by his rivals, textile magnate Hermann Lichtner spends his final days in a shabby infirmary. In a hasty and bizarre deathbed transaction he gives his fifteen-year-old daughter Renate in marriage to Thaddeus, a widowed Polish farmer who rejects social hierarchy and toils side by side with his peasants.

Renate’s arrival quickly disrupts the bucolic flow of life and antagonizes every member of the household. During an excursion to the city, Renate rekindles an affair with a young Jewish painter who sells his watercolors outside the Gate of Dawn chapel. While her despairing husband might look the other way, his servants will not stand by and watch while their adored master is humiliated.

Taking us from the cobblestone streets of old Vilnius, swarming with imperial gendarmes, to the misty bogs of rural Lithuania where pagan deities still rule, The Gate of Dawn is a folkloric tale of rivalry, conspiracy, and revenge.



Guest Post

Reversing cliches
Historical fiction abounds with tales of skittish, voiceless child brides being married off to callous and lecherous older men. It’s a perfect scenario for a potboiler, because it’s guaranteed to generate a certain emotional reaction out of the female readership. Modern women will sympathize with the poor oppressed lamb and wait for her to be rescued by a dashing highlander/outlaw/starving artist (fill in the blank). But are the stock victim/exploiter roles always clearly delineated? What if the child bride becomes the aggressor, and the older husband becomes a victim? In my latest historical novel The Gate of Dawn (Penmore Press, 2016) I develop that scenario. We have Renate, an assertive, pragmatic fifteen-year old girl of German extraction giving her spineless thirty-year old Polish husband Thaddeus a run for his money. Did I say money? Oh, that’s right. There’s another twist. In this peculiar relationship, it’s the child bride who brings in the money in addition to her youth and promise of procreation. What in the world does her husband have to contribute? A chunk of infertile land with a sinister name Raven’s Bog where nothing grows, a chronically bleeding heart from too many bereavements, and a fantastic amount of religious piety. How in the world did those two end up together?

It started with a bizarre deathbed transaction …
Renate’s father, Hermann Lichtner, a textile magnate, sustains deadly burns in a factory fire instigated by his business rivals. Having only a few hours left to live, he summons his attorney to make a will. Hermann’s biggest dilemma is what to do with his adolescent daughter, who is now left a very wealthy orphan. As a progressive man, Hermann raised Renate to be the successor to his empire rather than a debutante, a future entrepreneur. The devastating fire that obliterated his textile business makes him change his plans. A fifteen-year old girl with a lot of money on her hands can attract all sorts of unsavory characters and get into a great deal of trouble. So the next logical step is to marry her off to a man who is not too predatory or unscrupulous. The only candidate Hermann Lichtner can think of is Thaddeus Dombrowski, a thirty-year old widowed Polish farmer.

Polish men have a reputation for being good husbands. They have the right balance of work ethic, good looks, Catholic guilt and sexual appeal that make them suitable for a lifelong relationship. Despite their physical strength, they are demure, quiet and submissive to their wives, always eager to lift heavy things around the house, always with a sheepish smile and a bottle of beer in hand. For a woman with a strong matriarchal/feminist streak a man like that would be dream come true. Our fifteen-year old heroine is not entirely blind to the advantages her marriage has to offer. The only problem is that Master Dombrowski is not the one who makes the decisions. It’s his Lithuanian servants. Soft-spoken and dangerously democratic, Thaddeus treats his servants as family members and gives them plenty of latitude. They eat at the same table and drink from the same beer barrel. From the moment the young bride arrives at Raven’s Bog, she antagonizes every member of the household. Before long, Thaddeus finds himself torn between his demanding, condescending teenage wife and his increasingly discontented servants, who hate the new lady of the house.

Portraying the heroine
I am fortunate to live close to New York City. I am also fortunate to have publishers who give me some creative latitude. They are open to the idea of me picking models for the cover as opposed to using stock images. I’ve seen enough historical novel covers featuring the same headless model. One of my friends from Historical Novel Society wrote an entire article giving great examples of the same cliche stock photo featuring a blonde woman with anachronistic hair and makeup used for various novel covers. Why rely on stock photos, when there are so many beautiful, unique, ethnic faces around?

To portray the above-mentioned child bride I chose a beautiful New York based modern dancer Logan Devlin, who is actually working in her chosen profession – something so many performing artists only dream of. As her name indicates, she’s of Irish descent. Old enough to vote but not old enough to drink, she can pass for a fifteen-year old. Her bone structure, coloring and expression were spot on. There are so many young female models on the website who fry their skin in tanning salons and put their natural hair through all kinds of torturous procedures to achieve that “ethnically ambiguous look”. Too many actresses end up with orange skin and streaky highlights. They reinvent themselves to the point where you cannot guess their age or their innate ethnicity. So it was very refreshing to find a young actress who takes pride in her natural Germanic complexion. I started planning a draft of The Gate of Dawn 15 years ago, so I had a pretty good idea of what the main characters looked like. So when I saw Logan’s head shot, I immediately thought: this is her!

About Marina J. Neary12274343_10154343296021978_2189503503859888400_n

A self-centered, only child of classical musicians, Marina Julia Neary spent her early years in Eastern Europe and came to the US at the age of thirteen. Her literary career revolves around depicting military and social disasters, from the Charge of the Light Brigade, to the Irish Famine, to the Easter Rising in Dublin, to the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl some thirty miles away from her home town. Notorious for her abrasive personality and politically incorrect views that make her a persona non grata in most polite circles, Neary explores human suffering through the prism of dark humor, believing that tragedy and comedy go hand in hand.

Her debut thriller Wynfield’s Kingdom was featured on the cover of the First Edition Magazine in the UK and earned the praise of the Neo-Victorian Studies Journal. After writing a series of novels dealing with the Anglo-Irish conflict, she takes a break from the slums of London and the gunpowder-filled streets of Dublin to delve into the picturesque radioactive swamps of her native Belarus. Saved by the Bang: a Nuclear Comedy is a deliciously offensive autobiographical satire featuring sex scandals of Eastern Europe’s artistic elite in the face of political upheavals. Her latest Penmore release, The Gate of Dawn is a folkloric tale of conspiracy and revenge set in czarist Lithuania.


Enter to win a Amazon gift copy of The Gate of Dawn. Open to US residents only. Ends 6/21/16.

Publisher: Penmore Press LLC (May 19, 2016)


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Filed under 2016, Fiction, June, Review

Review: Vinegar Girl (Hogarth Shakespeare) by Anne Tyler


About Vinegar Girl

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

My Review

Such an amusing loose retelling of Shakespeare. I enjoyed Kate along with Dr Battista with their quirkiness, social awkwardness and tactlessness completely entertaining.

Kate and Pyodr battle culture skirmishes. The language barrier alone will leave you laughing out loud several times. Once betrothed Kate’s status takes a turn professionally, her colleagues view her as an adult – blossoms from insignificant to significant, not the former immature silly girl lacking a verbal filter.

The entire eccentric cast creates quite an enjoyable retelling with more than your fill of clever humor. Tyler’s writing always appreciated and gratifying.

About Anne Tyler457

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. The Beginner’s Goodbye is Anne Tyler’s nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Expected publication: June 21st 2016 by Hogarth (first published June 2nd 2016)

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Filed under 2016, Fiction, May, Review

Guest Post: Andrea Lochen author of Imaginary Things

Raven Haired Girl is thrilled to welcome Andrea Lochen author of Imaginary Things

divider-transparentandrea-lochen-authorAndrea Lochen is the author of two novels. Her first novel, The Repeat Year (Penguin 2013), was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “an engaging, satisfying read that explores friendship, love and who we really are when it truly matters.” A draft of the novel won the 2008 Hopwood Novel Award. The Repeat Year was also produced as an audiobook (Brilliance Audio) and translated into a German edition (Ullstein Buchverlage). The film option was sold to Ineffable Pictures. Andrea’s second novel, Imaginary Things, was published by Astor + Blue in 2015. Lori Nelson Spielman, bestselling author of The Life List, called it, “a beautiful book, filled with vivid scenes, unforgettable characters, and oodles of heart. With a page-turning plot and an utterly unique concept, Imaginary Things entertains, inspires, and provokes thought—a perfect book club pick.”

Andrea earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she was a Colby Fellow. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the Fiction Editor of The Madison Review, a nationally-distributed, student-run literary magazine. Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and was recently awarded the UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Andrea currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband and daughter and is at work on her third novel.

Listen to an interview with Andrea on Milwaukee Public Radio’s “Lake Effect.”

Read an interview with Andrea about her writing process and her advice for aspiring writers.


Guest Post

Ten Most Delicious Desserts Inspired by Novels
by Andrea Lochen

As an avid reader with a major sweet tooth, I love when authors include the recipes for the yummy desserts they’ve made me drool over throughout their book. It’s a marriage of two of my favorite activities—reading and baking! And if you’re a book club member, what better treat to bring to your meeting than a dessert straight out of the novel? Here are ten of my favorite book-inspired desserts!

1) Southern Caramel Cake from The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Who hasn’t wanted to try a bite of the scrumptious-sounding caramel cake that Minny makes in The Help? (Maybe not so much her chocolate pie, however!) Though Stockett didn’t include the recipe in the back of her book, this food blog has the The Junior League of Memphis Cookbook recipe that supposedly inspired her.


2) Coconut Cake from Amy E. Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake


The titular coconut cake in Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake earned its place on the cover of this heartwarming book. To the main character, Lou, baking her grandmother’s cake is the ultimate expression of love. In the book, those who get to eat it earned their slice, which certainly made me crave a piece all the more!


3) Crème Caramel Flan from Anita Hughes’ Island in the Sea: A Majorca Love Story


In Hughes’ newest novel set in Spain, she describes how Majorca’s restaurants serve a mouthwatering variety of delicious fresh fish and locally grown vegetables and how many diners like to end the meal with a dessert that satisfies any sweet tooth while not being heavy or cloying. This creme caramel flan recipe certainly does the trick!


4) Lemon Cream Cake from Juliette Fay’s Shelter Me


Fay introduces the concept of “pology cake” in her first novel, Shelter Me, as something you bake for someone you’ve wronged in the hopes of that person forgiving you. Though according to Fay, it doesn’t need to be a particular kind of cake, her recipe for lemon cream cake in the back of the book and on her author website sounds fabulous!


5) Peanut butter bars from Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal


Though there are several delicious dishes described in Stradal’s debut novel about Midwestern foodie culture, it was the blue-prize winning peanut butter bars recipe from Lutheran church lady, Pat, that caught my eye. I made this for my book club and these chocolate-frosted bars are just as decadent as they sound!


6) Thumbprint Cookies with Jam from Kelly Simmons’ One More Day


Baking figures prominently in Kelly Simmons’ book because in One More Day, the main character, Carrie Morgan, bakes with her grandmother, as she did when she was a little girl. However, it’s not clear whether her grandmother is dead or alive! These thumbprint jam cookies look like just the thing to bake when you’re in a nostalgic mood (or simply in the mood for something buttery and sweet)!


7) Mantecadas from Tina Ann Forkner’s Ruby Among Us


In Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner, Kitty and her granddaughter Lucy spend a lot of time together talking over cookies and tea. Lucy even has a special tea cup that she drinks out of with her grandmother Kitty who is keeping a lot of secrets about Lucy’s past. Below is a link to Kitty’s secret recipe for Lucy’s favorite cookie, Mantecadas. Yum!


8) Nanaimo Bars from Miracle Beach by Erin Celello


Nanaimo Bars are served in the cafeterias of the ferry boats between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada. In Miracle Beach, when main characters Magda and Jack come to the Island, they fall in love with the sinfully sweet bars. Author Erin Celello testifies that they’re amazing!


9) Damascus’ Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake from The River Witch by Kimberly Brock


In The River Witch, a family feast brings an estranged southern family together. When ten-year-old Damascus Trezevant’s summer ends with a bounty of pumpkins, she sets out to heal deep wounds with a sweet, old recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake and faith in the magic of a mother’s love. You won’t be sorry you tried this recipe!


10) The Best Chocolate Cake Ever from The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochen


What dessert list is complete without a delectable chocolate cake? In The Repeat Year, main character Olive is named after her maternal grandmother who passed away the week before she was born. In addition to her grandma’s name, Olive also inherited her recipe for the “best chocolate cake ever” which her mom bakes as a peace offering for their family in a time of major transition.


What are your favorite recipes inspired by novels? Comment below!

Andrea Lochen is the author of two novels, Imaginary Things and The Repeat Year. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and her BA in English at the University of Wisconsin. Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. When she isn’t teaching, reading, or baking, she is hard at work on her third novel. To learn more about her, visit her website.


About Imaginary Things25106194

Watching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life’s great joys. But what if you could actually see your child’s imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child’s imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?

Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents’ rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she’s lost her mind or she can see her son’s active imagination. Frightened for David’s safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son’s imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.

Living right next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna’s childhood friend who has grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew. Jamie reminds her of simpler times—Ferris wheels and sparklers, picnics by the river, and Neapolitan ice cream—but due to past regrets and the messy lives they’ve since led, rekindling their friendship proves easier said than done. Between the imaginary creatures stalking her son and her tumultuous relationship with David’s biological father, Anna doesn’t have any room left in her life or her heart for another man. But as David’s visions become more persistent and threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and who she can truly trust.

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Filed under 2016, April, Fiction, Guest Post

Review: Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte

Private Citizens cover

About Private Citizens

Capturing the anxious, self-aware mood of young college grads in the aughts, Private Citizens embraces the contradictions of our new century—call it a loving satire, a gleefully rude comedy of manners, Middlemarch for millennials. The novel’s four whip-smart narrators—idealistic Cory, Internet-lurking Will, awkward Henrik, and vicious Linda—are torn between fixing the world and cannibalizing it. In boisterous prose that ricochets between humor and pain, Private Citizens follows the four estranged friends as they stagger through the Bay Area’s maze of tech startups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties, and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other’s lives once again.

A wise and searching depiction of a generation grappling with privilege and finding grace in failure, Private Citizens is as expansively intelligent as it is full of heart.

My Review

I’m not remotely close to being a millennial thus causing a disconnect with Tulathimutte’s stellar achievement.

Tulathimutte’s writing is energetic and feral. He nails satire perfectly as well as delving into his fully developed characters with what appears to be effortless. Hailing from San Francisco, a Stanford alum I enjoyed the vivid descriptions and references, ambiance is felt. If you’ve never visited San Francisco you will be more than familiar from the comfort of your preferred reading nook. The ending made up for the wide berth I felt with the book.

I had no connection with the protagonists or plot. I was a different breed in a different more prosperous time. The struggles of the millennials was plausible, their troubled pasts commonplace, their history haunting their present, their future in bondage. Sex was prevalent and a bit too bawdy for my taste, I’m from the school less is best in sexual descriptions.

Curious to explore future writings from Tulathimutte his writing is appealing worthy of at least another go, hopefully I won’t feel like an outcast.

Tony Tulathimutte APAbout Tony Tulathimutte

Tony Tulathimutte has written for VICE, AGNI, The Threepenny Review, Salon, The New Yorker online, and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University, he has received an O. Henry Award and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. He lives in New York.

Find out more about Tony at his website, and connect with him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Published by William Morrow Paperbacks (February 9, 2016)

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Filed under 2016, February, Fiction, Review

Review: Life and Other Near Death Experiences by Camille Pagán


About Life and Other Near Death Experiences

When Libby Miller learns that she has a rare form of cancer, she naturally assumes it is the worst news she could possibly get that day—or ever. So when she arrives home and her husband blurts out a startling confession that makes their long and (she thought) happy marriage a sham, Libby is pushed to her breaking point. On an uncharacteristic impulse, she quits her job and heads to a small island in Puerto Rico. Just when Libby thinks nothing else could go wrong, a near-fatal plane crash triggers a new adventure, and she begins to fall in love with Shiloh, a pilot who has his own philosophy on life—and how Libby can best cope with her disease. But that’s only the beginning.

A poignant, uplifting novel that examines just what it is that makes life worth living.

My Review

Pagán did a wonderful job with the main protagonist Libby. Libby carries herself with such grace as her world crumbles. Her reaction is plausible, even more so as her history is revealed. Despite her decisiveness I was happy she was receptive and embraced what she originally dismissed. The secondary characters were colorful and charming in their own way adding to the story and to Libby.

Perfect amount of humor and romance balancing the hard-handed subject matter. Witty and snarky repartee left me smiling quite a bit.

Libby as well as her story is compelling, I quickly turned the pages to find out what would happen next, easy to do with such a rapid pace plot. The ending was pleasant, more or less what I was expecting, not disappointed by any means.

Pagán recreated a plot that has been written time and time again, however Libby and her stellar attitude and personality more than compensated. Will definitely seek more from Pagán. Would welcome a check in on Libby down the road, she’s memorable and endearing.

A wonderful story serving as a reminder to enjoy every moment of life, hope, love and family.

About Camille Pagánheadshot_books_190

Camille Pagán’s work has appeared in dozens of publications and on websites including Forbes,Glamour, Men’s Health, Parade, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, WebMD.com, andWomen’s Health. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

Connect with Camille:  Website | Facebook | Twitter

Excited to be included in the tour for Life and Other Near Death Experiences by Camille Pagán. Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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Filed under 2015, Fiction, November, Review

Review: Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

Carrying Alber Home (429x648)

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (October 13, 2015)

Carrying Albert Home tells the sweet, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking tale of a young couple and their special pet on a crazy 1,000-mile journey. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys a beloved bestseller, Homer Hickam’s rollicking novel is truly a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we call love.

Absolutely delightful story, the characters along with their adventures and of course the depth of the premise made this story undeniably charming.

Elsie – at first she comes as harsh but as the story progresses you realize there is much more to this woman than meets the eye. Homer – his patience and love for Elsie is both endearing and frustrating. He’s a man full of integrity and often a victim of circumstance. I found myself cheering this couple on, hoping love would smooth out their rough patches and find themselves on equal ground. Albert is adorable along with his rooster buddy, Hickam creates a mighty character and I was able to visualize Albert and his ‘yeah-yeah-yeah’ and smile crystal clear. We learn of Elsie’s stealth loving side as she openly and freely displays her affection and attachment towards Albert.

The story is a love story but not one that is saccharine and sentimental, rather it’s a glimpse into a marriage stuttering along with the poignant message of ‘appreciate what’s in front of you as opposed to what you wish you had.’ Hickam balances the implausible with the plausible, a few of the predicaments were far fetched but left you guessing their validity, a level of whimsy lingers further endearing you to both couple and their tale.

A wonderful journey with memorable characters, my kind of love story, perfect ending.

About Homer HickamHomer-Hickam

Homer Hickam (also known as Homer H. Hickam Jr.) is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books, including the #1New York Times memoir Rocket Boys, which was adapted into the popular film October Sky. A writer since grade school, he is also a Vietnam veteran, a former coal miner, a scuba instructor, an avid amateur paleontologist, and a retired engineer. He lives in Alabama and the Virgin Islands.

Find out more about Homer at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Thrilled to be included in the tour for Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam. Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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Filed under 2015, Fiction, October, Review

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: 9 1/2 Narrow: My Life in Shoes by Patricia Morrisroe



A funny, poignant coming-of-age memoir told through the shoes that she wore.

No doubt this book caught my attention, yes the shoe factor pulled at me. I had to read this memoir to see for myself how Morrisroe incorporated shoes into revealing her life story. Let me say Morrisroe did a wonderful job with both. I’m a shoe diva so her clever blending of shoes in tandem with stages of her life from girlhood to the present was greatly appreciated.

Humorous, touching, the authoress provides a sincere glimpse into her life. Through the pains of childhood, adolescence, first love, loss, sibling issues, you’ll find her story easy to identify with. She also included much information on shoes – from factoids to history which was very interesting, especially if you’re a shoe lover like myself.

Love the bond she shared with her mother, their interaction throughout the years was a laugh, numerous times I found myself laughing out loud reflecting on my own memories of years past.

Wonderful clever memoir of one woman’s interesting life, love and family guaranteed to make you laugh and prod similar moments and instances from your own life.

READ 9 1/2 Narrow EXCERPT

About Patricia Morrisroeimage

atricia Morrisroe grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in English. After spending a year as a reporter and film critic at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, she received an M.A. in Cinema Studies at NYU. As a contributing editor at New York magazine, she wrote over fifty features, many of them cover stories. Patricia’s work has also appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Departures, Travel & Leisure, and the London Sunday Times Magazine.

In 1988, the noted photographer Robert Mapplethorpe selected her to write his biography. A year later, several months after he died of AIDS, the Corcoran Gallery of Art cancelled the photographer’s “The Perfect Moment” exhibit. This spurred a heated nationwide debate about pornography as art and called into question the extent to which Congress and the NEA should be funding that art. When Mapplethorpe: A Biography was published in 1995, the art critic Arthur C. Danto, in The Nation, called it “utterly admirable… The clarity and honesty of Morrisroe’s portrait are worthy of its’ subject.” The Washington Post declared the book as “mesmerizing as Mapplethorpe’s stare in his self-portraits.”

In 2010, Patricia wrote Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia, which blended science, culture and personal insight to tell the story of why she – and 40 million other Americans – can’t sleep at night. Janet Maslin in the New York Times praised her “deadpan funny” sense of humor, describing the book as a “fine firsthand look at insomniac eccentricities.”


Enter for a chance to win a copy of 9 1/2 Narrow, please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 8/4/15


•Hardcover, 256 pages
•Published April 14th 2015 by Gotham
•ISBN13: 9781592409242


Filed under 2015, July, Nonfiction

Review & Giveaway: Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham

Read Bottom Up

Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Dey Street Books (April 7, 2015)

A charming novel about falling in love (or like) in the digital age—the never-before-seen full story.

Madeline and Elliot meet at a New York City restaurant opening. Flirtation—online—ensues. A romance, potentially eternal, possibly doomed, begins.

Super quick read. Quirky, funny.

I liked where the authors were going but they missed the turn off. The whole technological interaction sparking dating leading to a relationship was great but who emails, seems texting usurped emailing long ago (book lost me with this fact). If you’re itching for a read exploring the bowels of dating and relationships, you won’t find that here, rather you will find a plot touching on the superficiality of budding romances. I did enjoy the sketch of how males and females assume and interpret differently, often a foreign language of man speak vs woman speak, high praise for the authors in this area. The chess like game strategy of dating was perfectly played, makes the reader consider the intricacies and nonsensicle babble of the dating science.

Sterile read, no connection with characters due to its lack of depth and lightening fast pace. Entertaining, perfect for a lighthearted chuckle based read, contemporarily interesting.

neelAbout Neel Shah and Skye Chatham

Neel Shah is a screenwriter in Los Angeles. He used to be a reporter at the New York Post and his work has appeared in Glamour, GQ, and New York magazine.

skyeSkye Chatham is a writer living in New York. Her work has appeared in various publications, including GQ and Maxim.


To enter to win a copy of Read Bottom Up please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 5/15/15

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Filed under 2015, Fiction, May