cover reveal and review of I Don’t Know How She Will Do It

I’m so pleased to share the cover of Kobby Tetteh Gyampoh’s (“Kobby”) debut novella, I Don’t Know How She Will Do It. Keep reading for my review!

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Book Blurb

Lily has had it with Aunt Lizzie. She wants her inheritance. She wants to be free. Aunt Lizzie wants Lily to find a husband, though she thinks it’s impossible. To her Lily could kiss freedom goodbye since it might be about the only person who’d allow that. Aunt Lizzie’s thinking marriage; Lily’s thinking marriage-if-anyone-would-ever-want-me. Aunt Lizzie’s thinking cooking, cleaning and looking after a family; Lily wants a career that isn’t home-running. Aunt Lizzie’s not bent on making Lily have her way. So what would Lily do? She’d plot to gain her inheritance. She’d plot to gain her freedom. Her dad’s will says nothing about Mr. Right, neither does it mention an aspiring actress eager to break into Hollywood.

Join Lily in her quest for freedom as she poses as a couple with Clare behind a camouflage of flashy cars and cupcakes in order to get that inheritance. Follow this hilarious recipe of a low self-esteem girl, a sassy self-employed actress, an Aunt whose quotes would get you raising brows and two grannies who are willing to help low self-esteem girl. But watch out, one has a pistol which she stashes in her underwear

Message from Kobby:

I’ve had lots of inspiration for writing. But the one that moved me into publishing my very first novel, I Don’t Know How She Will Do It, has to go to Allison Pearson. Words can’t describe how much loved I Don’t Know How She Does It─both the book and the movie. Something about Kate’s struggle and how lovable she was portrayed made me nuts to pen something down. Days and days the title I Don’t Know How She Does It resounded constantly in my sleep, in my wake, every moment in my life (mainly because it was one hell of a funky title). I was practically haunted to put down my baby I Don’t Know How She Will Do It. Though they are both different stories, they both portray that sense of feminism that makes women all around the world proud. And that’s why I penned I Don’t Know How She Will Do It, a short story that would make women rejoice for their womanhood and cheering them for giving men a run for their money. There are points I might make you reach for your Kleenex, but forgive me for you will laugh at so many moments they would make up for all my sins. Best, Kobby

Win any one of the Three Digital Copies Kobby is giving out “http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/756fa81/”

About Kobby:

First of all, KobbyTettehGyampoh, simply Kobby, hates referring to himself in third-person

I just turned eighteen. I am Ghanaian and have always loved Chick-lit. My Chick-lit role models would be Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, Janet Evanovich and Sarah Strohmeyer. I was introduced to the genre when I was thirteen. Sarah Strohmeyer made the introduction with her Bubbles Series. Since I read Bubbles, I quit writing Harlequin-styled romances and have always considered myself-since then, a humor writer.

My biggest dream is to be an EIC to a lifestyle magazine someday like Kate White-for my obsession for Cosmo’s language since she was running as editor. But for now, I am good with studying English to break into Advertising someday

I am currently working on my next title which is sort of a series like Cupcakes R US, but it’s based on the lives of editors, columnists and freelancers in a Cosmo-lookalike magazine. Which would be available in more formats than kindle. Epub, PDF, Docx, Doc, Mobi, PowerPoint. And oh, Paperback.

If I am not writing something funny, I spend most of my time reviewing something funny on my blog, ChickLit Pad “http://chicklitpad.blogspot.com

Contact Kobby:

Twitter: @chicklitpad

Facebook page: http://facebook.com/chicklitpad

Author’s Blog website: http://chicklitpad.blogspot.com

Buy the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Know-How-Will-Cupcakes-ebook/dp/B00HZ3EGQE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1390618534&sr=8-3&keywords=i+don%27t+know+how+she+will+do+it

My review:

I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this story. I know from Kobby’s reviews that he has a biting and somewhat “kooky” sense of humor and so I was not surprised that there were some laugh-out-loud moments in this book. I was, however, surprised by how heartwarming and touching this story was. There were moments that almost brought me to tears—in a good way.

Lily, the main character, has very low self-esteem. She’s very overweight and her Aunt Lizzie never fails to remind her that she can’t hold onto a man, having had two men leave her at the alter before the age of thirty. Lily doesn’t feel worthy and drowns her sorrows by eating cupcake after cupcake – cupcakes she bakes herself, one of her favorite activities. In order for Lily to receive the inheritance left to her by her father, Lily must get married. Since she’s already zero for two in her attempts to tie the knot, Lily has pretty much given up ever escaping her family and managing on her own. And then she meets Clare, an aspiring (and thin) actress/movie producer determined to make enough money to live her dreams of being famous, and the two decide to get married.  Lily’s father only said Lily had to get married; he never specified that Lily had to marry a man. The fun ensues when the two trick Aunt Lizzie and the rest of Lily’s family into thinking they are in love and a wedding is planned.

As I mentioned above, this story had some belly-laugh moments. My favorite had to be when the old ladies taught Lily how to cook a meal all the while wiggling and shaking her behind for the benefit of her husband… er ”spouse.” But my true favorite part of this story was watching Lily discover her true spirit and not only find self-acceptance, but self-love – cellulite and all. This is truly a story about self-discovery and coming of age and finding out that friendship and love can come from the most unlikely of sources.

I definitely look forward to seeing what Kobby comes up with next.

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Chick Lit Central – Giveaway of Blogger Girl

Melissa Amster of Chick Lit Central hails Blogger Girl another top favorite of 2013 and considers it the Girls Just Want to Have Fun of books.

Check out her review here and enter for your chance to win an ecopy of Blogger Girl.

Celebrating Bloggers Tour : Marlene Roberts Engel and Book Mama Blog

Celebrating all things “blogging” today is Marlene Roberts Engel, creator of the Book Mama Blog.  I was only recently introduced to Marlene through Facebook, but I already knew who she was and that she was a big supporter of chick lit and the indie author.  I liked her before I corresponded with her directly and I like her even more now!  I’m very excited that Marlene has agreed to review both Blogger Girl and A State of Jane on the Book Mama blog and that she agreed to answer some questions for me in celebration of the launch of Blogger Girl and bloggers everywhere! 

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After you’re finished reading Marlene’s interview below, definitely check out her blog here:    http://bookmama2.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html, like her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/bookmama22#, follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/mengel22, Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/mengel2/ and Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5401033-marlene-engel

1. What is the name of your blog?

Book Mama

2. What type of blog is it?

It’s mostly a blog about books/authors, but at times I may put something up about family/kids or anything else that may pop into my head at the time.

3. What inspired you to start a blog?

Actually, Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central kept saying that I should start my own blog. I was hesitant because I didn’t think anyone would read or want to follow it. I have to say, I’m not only glad that I started it but I’m really enjoying having it!

4. What do you like best about being a blogger?

I really enjoy sharing my passion for reading/books with others. I have discovered a lot of very talented indie authors and want to get their names and books out to the public more too. I also LOVE doing book reviews and hosting fun giveaways.

5. What are some of your favorite third party blogs and why?

I love Chick Lit Central. I think that it’s a very classy, professional looking blog. It has great reviews, book suggestions and giveaways. It also happens to be Book Mama’s  sister blog (since we recently affiliated).

6. How do you juggle blogging with your other responsibilities like family and/or career?

Doing a blog is very time consuming. Thankfully I work from home and am able to jump on the computer when I have a few minutes to spare. I also do a lot on my blog after my daughter goes to bed. It’s my “quiet time” where I can get a lot done with no distractions.

7. How often do you blog?

I blog every day. I am constantly updating the free e-books, posting on the Book Mama Facebook page or on my Twitter.

8. Do you have any pet peeves with respect to third party blogs/bloggers?

No, not really. I try to support other bloggers and in return they have shown me a lot of love as well.

9. When you read blogs written by other people, do you prefer blogs that are “theme specific”, for example, “book reviews”, “cooking”, “fashion” etc. or do you take an interest in “personal blogs” as well, for example “A Day in the Life” type blog where the blogger talks about his/her own personal experiences in general?

I mostly read book blogs, but there are a few personal blogs that I enjoy reading as well. I’m a book nerd, so book blogs are definitely my preference.

10. Do you think there is such a thing as “TMI” when it comes to blogging?

Most definitely! I personally haven’t had any experience with a blog who shared too much (or inappropriate) material, but I’m sure there must be some out there.

11. What are your goals with respect to your blog? For example, “I want to have 1000 followers.” “I want someone to write a movie about me.” “I am using it to build a platform for a future writing career.”

My main goal is to share the books that I love with others. I also really want to get more exposure to indie authors. There are so many self published or small publisher authors out there. They don’t get the exposure that the authors signed with larger publishers get and I’d really like to help get their names/books out to the public more.

12. Why should readers check out your blog? What insight do you think you might have that others might lack?

My blog is fun! I think readers will enjoy the book reviews, author interviews, giveaways and fun interaction. I don’t think I necessarily have insight that others lack, but I just try to keep my blog fun and positive. No negativity allowed on my blog.

13. Bonus question: What actress would you like to play you in a movie featuring you and your blog?

Hmmmmm, that’s a good question. I would have to say Sandra Bullock. We seem to have the same goofy/silly sense of humor and we’re both adoptive parents.

Marlene, thank you so much for taking the time to answers these questions! 

Coming soon: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chicklit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Kicking off the Celebration of Bloggers Tour with Samantha March!

I am so excited to kick off the Celebration of Bloggers Tour with Samantha March, founder of the fabulous Chick Lit Plus.  Before Just Friends with Benefits was published, I remember searching for “Chick Lit” online and seeing the girly Chick Lit Plus website with all of the latest and greatest in chick lit.  At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about book marketing and so I did not know the term “book blogger.” I just knew that Chick Lit Plus was a really cool website for reviews, author interviews and other fun female-targeted posts!  When I reached out to Samantha to see if she would review Just Friends with Benefits, I was terrified.  I knew she reviewed Jackie Collins and Jennifer Weiner and all of the other “traditionally” published authors in the genre and I was afraid she would have no interest in reviewing a debut novelist with a book from an unknown small press.  It turns out I had nothing to worry about as I quickly learned that Samantha is the furthest thing from a book snob there is!  She got back to me promptly and said she would absolutely love to read my book and she was so nice!  In the two years that have passed, I have often referred to Samantha as “Super Woman.”  Not only does she run one of the most popular book blogs on the web, she is an author of two published novels, she is an editor and she runs her own publishing company, Marching Ink!  All of this on top of a day job and, currently, wedding plans.  It blows my mind that she never seems flustered or utters any indication of being exhausted.  She’s truly an inspiration and so I welcome you to check out her websites.  After you read her blog post below, of course!  Take it away, Samantha!

Samantha March

When I first got the idea to start a blog back in 2009 (wow, that is crazy!) I had no idea it would change my life – literally. Looking back, it brings tears to my eyes when I think of what one small blog could do and the impact it would have. Since my first post in October 2009 I have gone on to read and review hundreds of books, interview authors such as Jackie Collins and Emily Giffin, publish two novels, and start my own business. It’s scary to think of where my life could have gone had I not started my blog – would I be a published author? Would I be happy and fulfilled in a career that wasn’t with books? I’m not a big “what if?” fan, and I just know how grateful I am for the opportunities blogging has provided me.

What I find really interesting about blogging is the people I meet. I think one of the best parts of belonging to the book blogging community is making friends with other people that have the same interests as me. I don’t have many close friends who can talk about books and plots and chick lit for hours on end, so it’s amazing to be able to turn to my computer and start chatting with a virtual friend about a book I just can’t put down. But my friendships with these fellow book bloggers and authors don’t just begin and end with books. I have a handful of wonderful women that I can turn to when I’m having troubles – whether it be with a book, my writing schedule, wedding planning woes, and even my personal life. Though we might not have met face to face and very well might not ever, the friendships I have made through my book blog are some that I treasure. 

Blogging is much more than a simple hobby to me and I’m so grateful for all the support I have had over the years that I’ve been running Chick Lit Plus. If you would like to stop by and say hi, you can find me … well, just about all over the web 🙂

 

Author Bio:

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

 Connect with Samantha!

 http://www.samanthamarch.com/

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 Buy the Book!

The-Green-Ticket

Amazon: Print or eBook Marching Ink: Print

Coming soon: BLOGGER GIRL

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

 A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over all the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Book Review – Point, Click Love: A Novel

Point, Click, Love by Molly Shapiro is the story of four friends, Maxine, Kate, Claudia and Annie, who are all dealing with issues related to the internet in one way or another. Maxine is not the happily married woman she portrays to the world and, in fact, hasn’t had sex with her husband in years. She forgets her own troubles by burying herself in gossip magazines about celebrities. Katie is a divorcee who swore off men until she realized that she couldn’t swear off sex. She decides to find casual encounters online. Claudia’s lazy husband spends more time on Facebook than he does with his family or looking for a job and 38 year old single Annie is no longer interested in finding a soul mate but she does want a baby and has decided to pick her sperm donor from an online catalog.

I’m giving this book 4.5 stars not necessarily because I LOVED it, but because I really couldn’t put it down from page 1. I found myself tearing through the pages at every opportunity to see what happened.

The book is basically 4 separate stories that only come together because the individual women are friends. Although I enjoyed all four storylines, I was surprised to find myself most interested in Maxine and Claudia since I have never been married. Annie’s story was a bit far-fetched but I enjoyed it as well. My least favorite was Katie. The way things wrapped up for all four was somewhat predictable and while I was satisfied with how things turned out with Maxine, Katie and Annie, I was disappointed with Claudia. Finally, while each story was definitely unique, the personalities of the characters were all pretty similar and I wish there had been more distinction made.  They were all likeable and sympathetic characters but there were no character traits, aside from appearance, that really made them stand apart from each other. For instance, we were told that Claudia was a bit aggressive sometimes but you never really saw it.

Although the book had the potential to dig deep into how our society has become so dependent on technology and using the anonymity of the computer to avoid relating to each other on a more personal basis, it really didn’t.  So, if you’re looking for depth, keep searching.  If you’re looking for a fast read to get you through a long commute by train or plane, though – this is a perfect pick!   

4.5 Stars

Buy here: http://tinyurl.com/bvjm5vq

 

Reviews – opposing opinions

I just finished a book I only read because the members of my book club voted for it in a poll.  I had no desire to read it, based partly on some assumptions of what the book was about, but based mostly on some bad reviews on Amazon.  As a result, the book didn’t get my vote but I begrudgingly declared it the winner. 

Guess what?  I loved the book – Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger. 

Since I read the book quickly and enthusiastically, I decided to go back and read  the bad reviews on which I based my premature assumption that I would hate it. 

Many reviewers complained that the book lacked a plot line.  I completely disagree.  The story is about three women who, approaching 30 years old, think they are supposed to accomplish something major by that milestone, i.e. marriage and kids.  In the course of a year, they come to discover what they really need is to be true to themselves and mindful of their own needs and desires, regardless of their age.  Was the plot what one would consider ‘high-concept?  No, but in my opinion, it didn’t matter because it captured and maintained my interest and I was fully invested in the characters. 

A few reviewers expressed a lack of relatability with the characters.  Again, I do not share this opinion.  Of the three main characters, I found myself relating to two of them.  One had difficulty letting go, jumping in and taking risks because she was often self-conscious and let fear get in her way.  I don’t know many people who haven’t been paralyzed by fear at some point in their lives.  I know I have.  The other seemed to have so many blessings, yet she wasn’t really happy and felt trapped. It is sometimes difficult to admit to others, and sometimes to ourselves, that what is perfect on paper isn’t right for us – I have been there as well.  (I did not find anything relatable about the third character, a Brazilian drop-dead gorgeous sex goddess who used her sex appeal to get whatever she wanted and whined whenever her friends got attention from men.  She was extremely conceited and it bothered me that her ability to be a good friend seemed to be dependent on being able to one-up the other characters.  I really didn’t see much of a character arc there and her story-line was definitely my least favorite.)   

Some reviewers complained that the book lacked depth.  With all due respect to those people, the book cover, an image of a stiletto sandal, is highly indicative of the light/fun nature of the story, as is the title.  If the reviewer was looking for a deep, thought-provoking novel, he/she should not have chosen that book in the first place. When I read a thriller, I expect to be frightened.  When I read a mystery, I expect suspense.  When I read an Oprah pick, I expect to be deeply touched.  And when I read a book with an image of a designer shoe on the cover, I expect to unwind and be entertained.  Chasing Harry Winston served that purpose for me.  I suppose it could have delved deeper into the psyches of the main characters, but I’m not certain it would have made me enjoy the read any more/less.     

Finally, some reviewers complained that the structure of the book was choppy and confusing.  At no point did I ever feel lost or feel the need to go backwards.  (Although I did read one of the sex scenes more than once – it was evocative without being graphic and I liked it!)  

My only complaint about the book was that a major story-line was concluded through a character telling the reader what happened in a flash-back. I would have much rather seen it play-out and I definitely felt gypped. 

Despite my premature assumptions, I really enjoyed Chasing Harry Winston and am happy it was chosen for my book club.  I like books that are full of action and dialogue as opposed to paragraphs of description and narrative so this was an ideal read for me and the story had me completely engaged. Not once during the read did I find myself bogged down in too much detail or skipping paragraphs.  And while, as mentioned above, the plot was not high-concept, I was never bored. Despite a mixed bag of reviews, that’s what makes a good book for me. 

What makes a good book for you?

Book Club review – The Ten Best Days of My Life

Besides being a writer, a trademark paralegal, a New York Yankees fan (with or without a good pitching rotation) and a runner, I am also the organizer of a book club through www.meetup.com, dedicated to the genre of ‘chick-lit’.  At each meeting, we discuss the book of the month (among other girl’s-night-out appropriate topics) over a beverage or two and snacks.  It’s a blast and I look forward to it every month.  Each month, I post a poll with four or five possible book choices and the book with the most votes wins. 

I’ve decided, moving forward, to review the book of the month on my blog.  While the review will be written by me, it will include the comments and opinions of the book club as a whole.  This past month, the winner was “The Ten Best Days of My Life” by Adena Halpern and the book club met this past Wednesday.

Without further ado, here’s our Review of “The Ten Best Days of My Life”

Synopsis – The hereafter is happier than ever in Halpern’s debut novel. After Alex Dorenfield and her dog, Peaches, get smashed by a car, they wind up in heaven, where bubbly 29-year-old Alex is floored by how hip the digs are—especially Seventh Heaven, where Alex’s dreams (of, for instance, designer clothes, an awesome house and eating without gaining weight) come true. The icing on the cake is her reunion with a few deceased family members and meeting a dreamy prospective soul mate. Only problem? She must pass an entrance exam to stay in Seventh Heaven and not be demoted to the fourth level, where she would have to live in a condo, wear last year’s clothes and lose Peaches (all dogs stay in Seventh Heaven). So Alex gets to work on an essay to prove she led a worthwhile and fulfilling life. This simple little story is syrupy sweet throughout; readers into the heavenly have another bonbon to savor.

The general consensus was that the book was very light but highly entertaining.  The book did not tackle any serious issues and was kind of fluffy, however, this was the reason many of us enjoyed it so much.  Although while reading, most of us considered our own ten best days and whether we’d likely be accepted into Seventh Heaven, the novel was a perfect escape from the stress of our own lives.  Some people said it was a perfect beach read and I concur, having devoured it while vacationing on the Norwegian Epic.  And, finally, some members said they read it directly after finishing a deep, thought provoking novel and welcomed the change of pace. 

While many of us enjoyed the book specifically because it was such a light read, a few members of the club did not enjoy the book for just that reason.  One said it was like a “Little Debbie’s Snack Cake” – too syrupy sweep – and she couldn’t even bring herself to finish. Another member enjoyed it, but described it as ‘hoakey’.  One universal negative was that we didn’t buy the connection between Alex and her prospective soul mate, Adam.  Adam didn’t have much of a personality and there was no evidence to suggest that he belonged in Seventh Heaven either, aside from looking adorable in a baseball cap (and most guys do).

But the ending left most of us teary eyed, in a good way.  The last few chapters were very powerful.  

Finally, we all agreed that in order to enjoy this book, you need to suspend reality, not think too much and just go with the flow!  Since I read it on vacation, I had no problem with this but many attendees on Wednesday had questions.  For instance, when Alex lands in heaven, she spends most of her time with her grandparents and her uncle.  But her grandparents never mentioned their own parents and grandparents and wouldn’t you think they’d want to spend time with them too?  This never crossed my mind while reading the book but, then again, I was on vacation and one of my first rules of thumb while vacationing: don’t think so much! 

In sum, the majority of the attendees really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining, light, beach-like read.

http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Best-Days-My-Life/dp/0452289408