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…yet again.  I thank all my visitors who still come back every day (I don’t know who you are, but I appreciate it) and make me consistently add “blog” to my to-do list (which I conveniently misplace when it gets too long).

I’ve still been reading and imbibing, but also have branched out and taken a pilates class (my abs were sore for days), saw my first off-broadway play (fabulous), gone to brunch and NOT had a mimosa (painful) and had a huge spring cleaning session with the roomie (worthwhile – we celebrated with our first patio party!).

Instead of me attempting to write reviews of the books I’ve read lately, I’ve decided to highlight a few special reviews that really jumped out at me from fellow book bloggers, often who express my thoughts more eloquently:

THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW by Peter Bognanni

This book was a hugely pleasant surprise for me.  Now that I am far too old for 16 year old boys (that would be illegal), I hadn’t anticipated to feel the connection with the teenagers in this debut novel.  I was wrong. Their voices came through clear, though their feelings and emotions were muddled.  Jen at Devourer of Books says it so well in her review:

This book is made of awesome…Bognanni used punk rock skillfully to explore the alienation of teen years, without creating obnoxiously alienated teens.

PRETTY IN PLAID by Jen Lancaster

Ever since I discovered Jen in BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS I’ve had a girl crush (similar to the one I have on Chelsea Handler – these ladies are funny!).  Jen’s one of those authors for whom I have a hard time reviewing, because there are so many facets: her Chicago details which cause me fits of nostalgia, her pet antics, her husband and her modesty all make the pages fly by.  Another blogger whom I really enjoy reviewed this book last year and I was so happy to discover Nat’s wonderful thoughts – take a look at this excerpt from her review on the wonderful blog, Book, Line & Sinker.

Lancaster takes the mundane and spins it into a giant, literary confection of equal parts humor, hubris, and habiliment.  This book should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning printed on it–Reading this book should be done only in private and may induce:

  • laughing until your mascara runs down your face in twin, black rivers
  • laughing until you snort (Swine flu be damned!)
  • laughing yourself into a wheezy, cartoonish fit
  • laughing yourself into hyperventilation (as your husband frantically dials 9-1-1 for help)

THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake

Another book, which I’ve mentioned in the past but never really reviewed, is THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake.  My new friend Rebecca over at Book Lady’s Blog did a wonderful job of, eh, attempting to review this title:

Don’t let the pretty cover and the nice purple rose fool you, people. Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress is no fluffy romance novel… Because I’ve been trying to write this review for more than two weeks but have continued to find myself reduced to gushing (a good problem to have, but not exactly one that contributes to an articulate review)

–I know this isn’t the best excerpt from her review, but you really should go visit her site to get the full impact of her thoughts.  Also nice to note, she and I have similar tastes in liking books on weird religions!

ANGELOLOGY by Danielle Trussoni

Now this is partially cheating, since I’m not totally done with this book yet (half way at best)… But what I’ve read I love, and the reason I even made a point to get this bestselling new release is due to Swapna’s review.  So I wanted to make sure you all read it her thoughts as well, in hopes that you’re driven to immediately acquire it yourself:

Angelology was one of the best books I’ve read in recent memory…Trussoni has crafted an intricate and impeccably researched history for the reader in this book.  She creates an entire world simply through her words.  The details are vivid and her prose is descriptive, such that the reader can picture events in the novel clearly in their head.  She is thorough, yet strikes a balance between not enough information and overwhelming the reader with details.  It’s a beautiful construction, and one that I can’t praise highly enough.

I hope you all enjoyed these snippets from well written reviews as much as I did! Please visit the blogs listed above, as they’re wonderful and I am consistently impressed with how much these ladies read, then review, and have lives – my juggling skills are not yet at their level!

FTC disclosure: Many of the books listed above (the Penguin ones) I read due to having the best job in the world so received them from my desk. Others were bought or borrowed. Thanks for caring.

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My Vegas flush (excuse the 5am pic circa 2006)

I like to think I’m lucky.

Take me to Vegas, and it’s probably I’ll win you money (really, a Jack and a two is a winning hand for me in Texas Hold ‘Em).  I enjoy the thrill of betting, though get just as excited over penny slots as hundred dollar bets (well, maybe that’s a stretch, but not having lots of extra $$ I’d have a heart attack before winning if lots was at stake).

I also love brackets.  Wayyyy more than basketball.  But year after year, I tend to perform well in brackets knowing nothing about the sport (see above: I’m lucky).

Luckily, in this month o’ brackets, I have more options from which to choose, and on a subject I’m knowledgeable: Books!

The Morning News is at it again with their new Tournament of Books (#ToB for your Tweeters).  I’m engaged: THE HELP has already beat LOWBOY, and LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN has overtaken Nami Munn’s lovely debut, MILES FROM NOWHERE (which I read when it first came out in hardcover and found it to be amazing).

Not only are books just as exciting as basketball (or more-so, in some cases), these “competitions” are judged by well-written experts.  After reading Rosecran Baldwin’s review of why he chose McCann instead of Munn, I’ve already ordered LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN and am eagerly anticipating its arrival.

On a side note, Baldwin happens to be the author of an upcoming Riverhead title, YOU LOST ME THERE (August 12), which has officially climbed up on my TBR stack after having read, and loved, his thoughts and style.

Now that you’re hooked on the ToB, who do you think will win?

Onto Bracket #2!  The fabulous Jen Forbus over at Jen’s Book Thoughts, is hosting a bracket for the “World’s Favorite Detective” tournament!

I tried to revisit the bracket to give you a better rundown, but her techie site seems to think I’m trying to stack the vote (which I may have considered) and won’t let me back in.  No worries, as I can about guarantee your favorite detective is included!

From classics like Agatha Christie’s Hercules, to the contemporary and swoon-worthy Elvis Cole, this bracket reads like the “who’s who of crime fiction.”  Voting in Round One is occasionally like “Sophie’s Choice” – how can you reasonably choose between Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton) and V.I. Warshawski (Sara Paretsky).


But, as you’ve probably noticed, after touting my “lucky” status, I’m not about to jinx myself and share my predictions on the book brackets!  I’ll be sure to let you know how my predictions (jotted down in a post-it somewhere) turn out…

The past several days here in NYC have been just glorious, with warm weather and sunshine finally showing up, giving me freedom from tights and the motivation to spend an exorbitant amount of money for spring-y blond highlights.  There’s no better way to jaunt off to work than tightless, trenched, coffee in hand and to traipse through Washington Square Park en route.

An iconic spot, the arch at Washington Square park is recognizable and has been featured in many movies (and blown-up in some, like that Zombie, world-ending one with Will Smith).  It also graces the jacket, and the title, of Joanne Rendell’s second novel, CROSSING WASHINGTON SQUARE.

“A charming, witty, and cerebral novel.”
-Nicola Kraus, co-author of The Nanny Diaries

Residing solidly in the chick-lit category, this title offers more than just the expected romantic encounters.  Maybe because Rendell has a PhD in English Literature, this book is peppered with references to classics that I felt guilty for not having yet read.  Following a likable, English teacher NYC implant from the South (fittingly, a professor of popular women’s literature), readers sympathize with her character while looking back at their own college days.

Frolicking in front of the arch last summerThe perfect light read for a gorgeous spring day!  As still a relative newcomer to the city myself, I still find cheap amusement in the awareness I have when reading about NYC.  Being able to nod my head and think “yes, yes I know where her apartment is.. that street corner.. that bar” has yet to get old.

Washington Square Park is an iconic, gorgeous attraction not to be missed on your next trip to the city.  There are often performers entertaining the crowds, along with sun bathers, young mothers, and readers on the bench.  It’s under construction now, so I eagerly await the renovations.

If you’re lucky, you may even see a sun-bather, like the picture I was lucky to have snapped last summer:

Cross your fingers for this view!

NovelWhore Tweets

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