Tag Archives: Adult Fiction

Blog Tour: An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

An Uncommon Education-1“A young woman tries to save three people she loves in this elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut.

Afraid of losing her parents at a young age—her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed mother—Naomi Feinstein prepared single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. An outcast at school, Naomi loses herself in books, and daydreams of Wellesley College. But when Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it’s the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Naomi soon learns that college isn’t the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness—until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi’s introduction to Wellesley’s oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students. Naomi finally begins to detach from the past and so much of what defines her, immersing herself in this exciting and liberating new world and learning the value of friendship. But her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings irrevocable consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of growing up is learning that sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

An Uncommon Education is a compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations. Poignant and wise, it artfully captures the complicated ties of family, the bittersweet inevitability of loss, and the importance of learning to let go.”


An Uncommon Education is a deeply beautiful novel that collectively examines all that shapes and “educates” us throughout our lives culminating in who and what we become and why. From our earliest interactions and relationships such as those with our closest family members to later in life focusing on those individuals we choose to surround ourselves with and on down the line to our passions and those things that we choose to pursue and lose ourselves in by choice, the book speaks volumes about how each individual detail helps shape who we are to become.  It also begs to ask…how much control do we really have over what we encounter in life and how it will affect us? One of my favorite lines in the very beginning of the novel reads:

“The first phase of his life was so marked by trauma he was able to detach it almost completely from his later realities, his pain a faulty limb that had been cleanly removed, only to be remembered as a phantom sensation. But he was able to command the kind of joy that only those who have known deep unhappiness can summon.“

The line reflects how our past and/or early beginnings can shape who we become but again questions…how much choice or influence do we really have in the matter?

It all begs to ask what one means by the word education? What is an education? Is it a course of study we actively pursue or a series of lessons that we are taught regardless of choice. Not just our formal educations like the relationship of student to institution although Naomi’s relationship to Wellesley is a large part of this book but our relationships, life moments and everyday happiness all lend a hand to our life education. The book speaks to the idea that our “educations” are made up of everything we encounter from the moment we come into this world.  Naomi’s story is told from childhood on…showing how each and every moment helped to shape who she would become. Sometimes the lessons taught in childhood stick and become part of the end result and sometimes we learn and change what was earlier instilled.

Author Elizabeth Percer

It’s a tale of discovery and beauty as the details of the novel fall into place making the reader appreciate the flow of the story while also creating a very organic thought process that leads the reader to question long after the last word has been read. The book is one of easy readability on the surface but true depth just below. It’s definitely worth the read and the thinking that the reading will hopefully provoke. It’s a wonderful debut for Elizabeth Percer and I look forward to what she will do in the future. In her very first book she has truly mastered the art of creating an interesting story while also building a collective thought process that will lead readers beyond the plot and characters into something more. And now…you can get An Uncommon Education in paperback which makes it a great grab for easy summer reading on the go.

Feel free to check out the other stops on this TLC Book Blog Tour here.

tlc tour host-8

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

“A family is torn apart by fierce belief and private longing in this unprecedented journey deep inside the most insular sect of Hasidic Jews, the Satmar.
Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Christian maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. With the rise of communism in central Europe, the family moves to Paris, to the Marais, where Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live. Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore.”

I Am Forbidden is a journey through the lives of four generations of a Samtar family, a religious sect known for its extreme insularity and un-ending desire for privacy. Personally I have never encountered their existence in fictional literature quite like what Anouk Markovits has created. Her unique view of their world shines through every page as she draws on even the most minute of details from both her childhood and young adulthood growing up within the sect and her thorough research, which is apparent throughout the novel.  She truly brings you into a community that most individuals will probably never know exists and especially never be able to experience.

The novel spans decades and yet it has a never ceasing elegant flow to it’s travel through time as she explores each generation and their lives including both their joys and sorrows including their most trying times and horrific experiences. While often heartbreaking the novel is a testament to the never-ending ebb and flow of life even among those individuals who have in many ways withdrawn from modern society for their sacred religious beliefs.

As I read in many ways it reminded me of a past read Hidden Wives by Claire Avery which introduced readers to the world of a modern day Utah polygamist community.  If you like one you may want to check out the other. Both offer fantastic insights into world’s that exist almost invisibly around us although with very unique voices and different writing styles.

TLC Book Giveaway

Ready to delve into a past and culture that is most probably completely new to you? Thanks to the folks at TLC Book Tours Stiletto Storytime is excited to  to be able to give a copy of I Am Forbidden to one reader. Giveaway ends at midnight EST on  June 23, 2012. US/Canada address only please. The winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. To enter just comment below. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower of TLC Book Tours on Twitter

“Like” TLC Book Tours on Facebook

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

    “For fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It comes an irresistible novel of a woman losing herself . . . and finding herself again . . . in the middle of her life.

 When Alice Buckle, who has been married to William for nearly twenty years, receives a survey in her e-mail from the Netherfield Center for the Study of Marital Happiness, she is in the doldrums. She loves her husband but they’ve grown distant, she is bored with her job, and her adolescent children need her less now. And she has reached the age at which her mother died. So as she idly begins answering the questions, she finds herself baring her soul in an anonymous survey she never even intended to respond to. As she struggles, she realizes it has been years since anyone asked deep, serious questions of her, and really listened to her answers. Soon her entire life as she knows it is called into question.”

Stiletto Storytime is excited to be a part of the book blog tour for Wife 22 by Melanie GideonWife 22 is a great read for those who like to curl up with a good book that’s not afraid to ask those tough life questions or push the boundaries of what can sometimes be considered “safe” contemporary women’s fiction. While it delves into some serious life issues I still think it would an ideal book for the beach or pool-side. It’s definitely a book I found I could relate to even though I may not be at that age or moment in life that Alice Buckle finds herself.

The very book itself is centered around the main character of a middle aged woman who finds herself deeply questioning her place in life, the choices she has made as time has gone by and the current state of her own happiness. It’s about that point in life that I think a lot of people reach when one might look around and suddenly wonder how you got to where you are. For women in particular I think it can be what happens when you’ve poured every bit your very being into everyday life (marriage, children, career…etc) and then suddenly you look around one day and wonder where “you” went. More specifically for this character it centers around the declining state of her marriage and to some degree the changing relationships with her children as they have grown. Those moments in life can come about in lots of ways but for Alice Buckle it all seems to begin when she proceeds to answer questions put forth by an online anonymous marriage survey.

The survey is really a driving force for this novel. One of my personal favorite aspects of the book is the unique format in which it is written. Alice Buckle finds herself answering questions in this survey and the reader is given the answers to the questions as the book proceeds. Each chapter brings new answers and topics to light. However readers are not the given actual questions themselves until the end. I myself didn’t even realize the survey questions were in the book at all until I finished and discovered them listed in the very back of the book. I’m glad I didn’t look ahead and see them or even know I had the possibility to cheat. Reading the answers and not knowing the questions makes the reader really have to look into each answer and truly think about what Alice is saying and why. It gives a unique twist to the book and made the writing more interesting in my opinion. For me it piqued my interest in a unique way that just would not have been the same if I knew the questions as I was reading.

As a special part of this tour I am going answer one of the questions from the book and also allow you a sneak peek at the author Melanie’s answer as well. Our survey question for this stop on the tour is:

What did you imagine falling in love would be like when you were young?

Melanie’s answer:
Oh my goodness, I was such a dewy-eyed romantic. Romeo and Juliet kind of love. Obsessive love. Not the kind of love that makes for a good marriage. I’m glad I got over that phase.

My Answer:

I was much like Melanie. I was very naive in a lot of ways but I truly believed in that all-consuming, meant for each other love that was so real it could be your everything. Love to me was the most important thing in the world and so I often let that person be my everything.  I’ve been lucky to have had that kind of love in my life and while I treasure it and remember it fondly in many ways….Melanie is right, as you get older you find there are lots of kinds of love and some work better for marriage and the happily ever after than others.

And now back to my review. While I really enjoyed the book there were some facets of the novel that I found a little far fetched including the relationship that Alice embarks upon as she questions her marriage. I don’t want to spoil anything but readers will no doubt understand what relationship I mean shortly after beginning the novel. I also wish Alice’s relationships with her children and the death of her mother were further explored. They kind of lie on the surface of the book- making an impact but never really being brought to light fully.

In the end all in all I found it to be an enjoyable and thought provoking read although some of it’s elements don’t go that deep and could be better developed. To me it was a good book but it had the ingredients to be better if that makes sense. Sometimes you just want more but I think that can be a compliment to the book in and of itself. If it wasn’t well written and you didn’t care about the characters then you wouldn’t want more.

But don’t take my word for it….Want a sneak peek at Wife 22? You can read an excerpt here and make sure to check out the next stop on the blog tour on June 7th at Book Journey. You can also check out debut author Melanie Gideon on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

   Book Giveaway

 I am extremely excited to be able to give two lucky readers here at Stiletto Storytime their very own copies of Wife 22 to enjoy this summer. Giveaway will end midnight EST June 12, 2012 and is available to a US addresses only. The lucky winners will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

To enter just comment below and share one of your favorite summer reads. It can be a new book from this year’s summer reading pile or that old stand-by that you read every summer when vacation time rolls around. I’m looking for those must read books to add to my summer list so let me know the one you can’t live without and you might win a new book to add to your collection.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower of Author Melanie Gideon on Twitter

“Like” Author Melanie Gideon on Facebook

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books

Blog Tour: An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

    “A young woman tries to save three people she loves in this elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut.

Afraid of losing her parents at a young age—her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed mother—Naomi Feinstein prepared single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. An outcast at school, Naomi loses herself in books, and daydreams of Wellesley College. But when Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it’s the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Naomi soon learns that college isn’t the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness—until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi’s introduction to Wellesley’s oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students. Naomi finally begins to detach from the past and so much of what defines her, immersing herself in this exciting and liberating new world and learning the value of friendship. But her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings irrevocable consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of growing up is learning that sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

An Uncommon Education is a compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations. Poignant and wise, it artfully captures the complicated ties of family, the bittersweet inevitability of loss, and the importance of learning to let go.”

An Uncommon Education is a deeply beautiful novel that collectively examines all that shapes and “educates” us throughout our lives culminating in who and what we become and why. From our earliest interactions and relationships such as those with our closest family members to later in life focusing on those individuals we choose to surround ourself with and on down the line to our passions and those things that we choose to pursue and lose ourselves in by choice, the book speaks volumes about how each individual detail helps shape who we are to become.  It also begs to ask…how much control do we really have over what we encounter in life and how it will affect us? One of my favorite lines in the very beginning of the novel reads:

The first phase of his life was so marked by trauma he was able to detach it almost completely from his later realities, his pain a faulty limb that had been cleanly removed, only to be remembered as a phantom sensation. But he was able to command the kind of joy that only those who have known deep unhappiness can summon.

The line reflects how our past and/or early beginnings can shape who we become but again questions…how much choice or influence do we really have in the matter?

It all begs to ask what one means by the word education? What is an education? Is it a course of study we actively pursue or a series of lessons that we are taught regardless of choice. Not just our formal educations like the relationship of student to institution although Naomi’s relationship to Wellesley is a large part of this book but our relationships, life moments and everyday happiness all lend a hand to our life education. The book speaks to the idea that our “educations” are made up of everything we encounter from the moment we come into this world.  Naomi’s story is told from childhood on…showing how each and every moment helped to shape who she would become. Sometimes the lessons taught in childhood stick and become part of the end result and sometimes we learn and change what was earlier instilled.

It’s a tale of discovery and beauty as the details of the novel fall into place making the reader appreciate the flow of the story while also creating a very organic thought process that leads the reader to question long after the last word has been read. The book is one of easy readability on the surface but true depth just below. It’s definitely worth the read and the thinking that the reading will hopefully provoke. It’s a wonderful debut for Elizabeth Percer and I look forward to what she will do in the future. In her very first book she has truly mastered the art of creating an interesting story while also building a collective thought process that will lead readers beyond the plot and characters into something more.

Feel free to check out the other stops on this TLC Book Blog Tour here.

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books

Book Birthday & Giveaway: These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

Happy Book Birthday to These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen.

Three unique young women each stand on the brink of success in life but all carry a secret that threatens to consume them and destroy any chance they may have at the achievement of their most treasured goals including the ability to be open up and forge meaningful friendships with the women around them.

In her newest novel Sarah Pekkanen explores the bonds we create with those truly special women in our lives. The ones who help make and shape who we are and who we will become, those that will catch us when we falter and play leading parts in the moments that define our lives.  These are the women who become our deepest confidantes and true chosen sisters in life.

The ever ambitious Cate seems to have all she could dream of as she ascends to the position of Features Editor at Gloss magazine but a secret from her past threatens to expose what she views as her unworthiness for this highly coveted position. Other complications arise when her boss begins to make advances towards her which not only cause office gossip but also make Cate wonder what got her her position in the first place. Will her past catch up with her or will her constant vigilance to cover her tracks allow her to keep her dream job even at the highest of costs?

Renee is a woman on a mission to not only attain her personal weight goals for her seemingly always resistant body but to also achieve what she views as an acceptable image of a woman in the New York magazine world. As an out of this world motivation she seeks to also ascend to the newly opened position of Beauty Editor at Gloss.  While attractive with a voluptuous figure that many women would covet, Renee feels the undeniable pressure to lose weight and decides no price is too high to achieve her goals and possibly attract the man of her dreams. As the numbers on the scale begin to fall so do Renee’s ability to keep a hold of reality. Who will catch her when she literally falls?

Abby is a girl on the run from her past. Deeply distraught, confused and about to completely collapse from an emotional experience of gigantic proportions, she seeks out her journalist brother Trey whom she has always found comfort with to help make things better. However this time big brother may not be able to offer the solace or compassion Abby needs. Family secrets, a lost love and a deep depression all threaten to tear Abby apart and leave her destitute without a confidante in the world. Can she truly open up to the two women who come to her rescue or will her silence keep her locked in a prison of her own making forever?

As each women battles her own past, present and future, friendship rears it’s inspirational head and bonds are formed that may rescue all if only the women can put down their barriers and trust in one another and the support that surrounds them. Powerful, moving and inspiring These Girls offers a look into the world of true female friendships allowing readers to see the power and love that can be contained within.

Sarah Pekkanen has once again created characters that are not only relatable but real in every sense of the word. These women have faults, secrets and fears that many women may share. These women represent the average reader and allow for an absolutely intimate personal reading experience.  Cate, Renee and Abby all represent a type of woman a reader might be or one they most definitely know.

Fresh, surprising and as always innovative These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen is a novel to be shared with best friends and talked over late into the night. It is a work that can strengthen bonds already formed and encourage women to take that leap of faith and discover the undeniably sacred benefits of true friendship among women. Well though out and beautifully written it is a novel of meaning and encouragement within which each woman can find not only themselves but each other.

 Book Giveaway

In celebration of the release of These Girls Stiletto Storytime is excited to be able to offer a giveaway of one copy to one very lucky reader. This giveaway will end midnight EST April 24, 2012. US/Canada addresses only please. Winner will be contacted by e-mail.

Friendship plays such a central role in These Girls. The novel really demonstrates how another person can not only support and be there for you through thick and thin but also maybe even save you at times. To enter simply share what friendship means to you or share a special friendship that you cherish in your life. Was there a time when that one amazing person or group of friends truly changed your life like Cate, Renee and Abby? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a special friend who is always there, someone who not only is a support system but truly a person who holds a piece of your heart? Someone you feel maybe even makes you a better person when all is said and done.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower of Author Sarah Pekkanen on Twitter

Tweet or Blog about this “Book Birthday” Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Book Birthday, Chick Lit, New Books

Blog Tour: Irma Voth by Miriam Toews

 “That rare coming-of-age story able to blend the dark with the uplifting, Irma Voth follows a young Mennonite woman, vulnerable yet wise beyond her years, who carries a terrible family secret with her on a remarkable journey to survival and redemption.

Nineteen-year-old Irma lives in a rural Mennonite community in Mexico. She has already been cast out of her family for marrying a young Mexican ne’er-do-well she barely knows, although she remains close to her rebellious younger sister and yearns for the lost intimacy with her mother. With a husband who proves elusive and often absent, a punishing father, and a faith in God damaged beyond repair, Irma appears trapped in an untenable and desperate situation. When a celebrated Mexican filmmaker and his crew arrive from Mexico City to make a movie about the insular community in which she was raised, Irma is immediately drawn to the outsiders and is soon hired as a translator on the set. But her father, intractable and domineering, is determined to destroy the film and get rid of the interlopers. His action sets Irma on an irrevocable path toward something that feels like freedom.”

The thing that kept running through my mind the entire time I was reading Irma Voth was that the book was very much like an eclectic independent film…not unlike the one being filmed in the book. This is not a book that flows along conventionally..it darts and veers, never giving any clue as to where the reader will travel next. The beginning of the book feels minimalistic as the reader searches for their bearings in a story where very little is explained. As the story progresses…and as Irma progresses the reader receives more and more detail and plot. However the storyline is always somewhat scattered and searching.

I can think of a number of people that would adore the vagueness this book often emitted, unfortunately I am not one of them. The story just never really came together for me and Irma never really grew into herself in the way that I wished. I see this book being one that a reader will either love or hate…much like many of those eclectic independent films that I mentioned. I guess sometimes you just get it or sometimes you don’t.

But don’t take my word for it….Make sure to check out the other stops on the Irma Voth Blog Tour here.

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Blog Tour: Electric Barricuda by Tim Dorsey

Serge Storms, that loveable thermonuclear vigilante and one-stop-Florida-trivia-shop, has been leaving corpses strewn across the Sunshine State for more than a decade. The authorities—especially one tenacious state agent—have begun to notice the exponential body count, and send a police task force to track down Serge. Could his luck finally have run out?

Meanwhile, armed with his perpetually baked sidekick, Coleman, Serge decides to blitz the state and resurrect his Internet travel-advice website—which, of course, must be the finest and the final word on trekking the Sunshine State. To up the ante, Serge concocts a theme vacation for his cyberspace audience. And that theme? You, too, can experience Florida through the eyes of a fugitive.

Off they go blogging along a getaway route through the state’s most remote bayous, back roads, and bars, where the number of cadavers begin stacking up like Serge’s website hits. And in the middle of all his make-believe close brushes, Serge finally wises up to his pursuers and realizes that the manic gumball rally is genuinely on “in the tradition of the great American chase movie.”

Clues and questions mount:

    Who are all the women being photographed naked in the swamp? 

    What made Coleman draw on his face with magic markers?

    Where is the cruise-to-nowhere taking its drunk prisoners?

    When was the last time a Civil War reenactment involved a sports car?

    But Serge also has some personal business to tidy up. His grandfather’s old Miami Beach gang suddenly had their life savings wiped out, and there’s a good bet it was no accident. Too much action for Serge to juggle? Not when it all dovetails nicely into his Secret Master Plan. And especially if it involves Serge’s favorite new obsession: tracking Al Capone’s little-known escapades in the Everglades.

So gas up the car, say good-bye to the relatives, and join Serge on the lam as he drives straight for the deepest bowels of Florida to unravel the final mysteries of Electric Barracuda.

The first thing I have to ask before I begin this review is: “Have you ever read a Tim Dorsey book?”

If you answer no, then you probably think that question was a bit odd. If you answer yes, then you know exactly why I asked.

Electric Barricuda is my first Tim Dorsey novel. It will not be my last. I don’t generally read “crime” novels, the closest I have come is to the occasional thriller here or there and my  fondness of the true crime genre. So when I first saw this book…I was a little hesitant. However I kept reading reviews of how funny the author supposedly was and could not help but give it a try. If there is anything I need right now as the stay at home Mother of a very active toddler- it’s a laugh. And laugh I did.

With a wacky mix of unforgettable goof ball characters, crazy shenanigans and never-ending humor Electric Barricuda will draw you in and keep you reading late into the night and on into early the next morning. The book is a non-stop whirl-wind tour into the dysfunctional world of a deranged serial killer who on one hand is a psychotic mass murderer and on the other is the kind of guy you can’t help but root for. From one page to the next you cannot help but continue reading even if it’s just to find out what he’ll do or say next. And forget about knowing what will happen in advance…no chance of that happening here. A fact which is refreshing and part of the allure I must admit. When you read as much as I do you can get bogged down where nothing really stands out to you anymore. Electric Barricuda will shock you right out of that state and keep you on your toes. I am excited to have twelve former novels in the “Serge Storm” series to keep on stand by for a rainy day or an emergency reading slump.

Tim Dorsey is definitely an author who is going to have a certain die hard audience- his humor and subject matter are going to attract and detract certain readers. However his imaginative tales and unique sense of humor will satisfy many different types of readers including those like myself who don’t usually  venture into the “crime” novel genre. In the end….there are no words to describe a Tim Dorsey novel…you’ll just have to read one for yourself.


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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books