Archive | April, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby Girls

26 Apr

As all the high school juniors read The Great Gatsby, and anticipation mounts for Baz Luhrman’s 3D visual spectacle of Gatsby, it is an exciting development that The Saturday Evening Post has brought us this collection of little known short stories written by Fitzgerald in 1920. Among the first things he published, and certainly the biggest national platform he had til that point – these 8 short stories represent Fitzgerald at his most sparkling. I was, quite honestly, blown away by the glittering ease with which he conjured worlds. We all take it for granted now that the Flapper Girl of the 20s could flirt and kiss and bob her hair – what few realize is that these very stories CREATED the notion of that girl. The Post’s famed artists (including a Norman Rockwell cover that depicted a key scene from ‘Bernice Bobs Her Hair’) created the look that we now expect. As I read these stories, laid out beautifully for my tablet (thank you!), I could imagine the impact these would have had on countless girls and women, secretly reading the stories after Dad was done with the paper…and realizing that you could leave the farm, you too might have your pick of men, you could be daring and sophisticated…

This book is a delight – both for long-time fans of Fitzgerald (calling all you American Lit majors…) but also for those who aren’t.  It is kind of a lovely thing – fun short stories by an acclaimed American author – that are just a joy to read!

Bonus – the book (esp great in color in the digital version) offers the original illustrations that accompanied the stories, and reproduces the actual pages of the Post in which the stories ran, so you can see the ads for farm equipment, men’s starched shirts and ladies shoes.

Available in both print & digital. Also note – the publisher is having an art contest – you get to pick which piece of art will be made into a limited edition canvas print.  http://www.gatsbygirls.com.

Highly recommend!

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Shana Galen’s Next Book

26 Apr

If You Give A Rake A Ruby is the latest in a series of fast paced Regency Romances, which combine both the glittering ballrooms of society with the darker side of espionage and covert business.  The characters are fresh and different, and the story moves quickly. I felt like the ending was abrupt and a bit of a cheat. Loved the secondary characters and found myself wanting to know more about their stories. Overall, a good read – maybe an 8 out of 10.

A Taste…by Sorcha Grace

26 Apr

A Taste of You: The Epicurean Book 1 by Sorcha Grace is clearly looking to follow in the <ahem> footprints of Fifty Shades, and makes a good start but then falls apart. The central female character is interesting, but William felt like a not very developed brother to Mr. Fifty Shades. The food/eating angle is fun – but William’s relationship to food isn’t well established. Overall, the plot is as weak as the plot from its role model book, and ends with a whimper as it rolls into what will be the sequel. It isn’t enough to write about graphic sex – as a reader, I still want to be interested in the characters and their challenges – otherwise, just print the sexy pages and let’s move on 🙂

Defining Moments: Breaking Through Tough Times

26 Apr

Dr. Dorothea S. McArthur, a clinical psychologist, helps people recover and grow through life’s inevitable knock-down events. She shares her viewpoint through a series of dialogues that represent typical discussions & feelings around events like a death, or loss of a job, or marital problems. She shows how recovery can help us get stronger & better at seeing the opportunity from change.  One especially fun section of the book goes into the manner in which her pets (cats & dogs) have interacted with her patients in her home office, and shares how their sensitivity to clients’ moods has made a meaningful difference.

This book functions both as an overall general read for insight into how to see the opportunities that arise with change, as well as specific discussions around types of events we all experience – so you can just read the section that applies to you.

Well-written, thoughtful, enjoyable and with important insight.

Victoria’s Secret…is a Regency

14 Apr

Undone By the Duke – by Michelle Willingham – is a fun addition to the series “Secrets in Silk.”  The heroine – Victoria – has a secret business making & selling ladies unmentionables. Cute premise, interesting characters with a new take on the “we can’t be together” plot dilemma.

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Privateer’s Apprentice – YA Historical Fiction

12 Apr

Jameson Cooper, an indentured apprentice, gets gang-pressed into service on Attack Jack’s privateer’s ship and embarks on an unexpected adventure.  He becomes a part of the privateer’s crew, helping discover new lands for the Queen. This book is nicely paced, and would be a good fit for teens interested in historical fiction with action.

Format Matters…

11 Apr


I could not read this book as the early NetGalley edition was so badly formatted that it hurt my brain to look at. I know its tough for publishers to wrap THEIR brains around formatting but HELLOO it must be done.