Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movie Review: He's Just Not That Into You

Photobucket Summary: It’s a classic single-woman scenario: you really like this guy, but he’s giving mixed messages. You make excuses, decide he’s confused, afraid of commitment. Behrendt, a former executive story editor for Sex and the City—and a formerly single (now happily married) guy who knows all the excuses—provides a simple answer: he’s just not that into you. Stop kidding yourself, let go and look for someone else who will be. After all, as Behrendt sensibly puts it, "if a (sane) guy really likes you, there ain’t nothing that’s going to get in his way." If you’re not convinced yet, by all means read this smart, funny and surprisingly upbeat little book, full of q’s and a’s covering every excuse woman has ever made to avoid admitting to herself that a man just wasn’t that smitten with her.

Movie Review: Let me start by saying that I have never read the book He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys
because I was definitely not in the demographic when it came out, I was already married and being single was the furthest thing from my mind. I've had friends who've read it and said it was the truth and even though it hurt, it was still funny. Today was a girls movie day with some friends and this was our pick. I was in the mood for a light-hearted funny girlie movie, well we got that and some heavy with it.

Frankly, I saw it for it's great ensemble (minus Scarlet Johanssen --can't STAND her) and I wasn't disappointed. This movie was fun, witty, serious and damn truthful. Let's all be honest we've probably all been Gigi at one point or another in some kind of relationship. Sure maybe we weren't as needy as her but we saw shades of ourselves in her and well wasn't that the point of the movie? No woman really wants to admit the desperate things they've done to hook a guy right?

My favorite story was about Neil and Beth (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston). It was sweet and sour all in one. Their relationship was about letting go and just accepting happiness for what it was...happiness. See Beth wants to get married, after all they've been together 7 years, isn't is time and well Neil he doesn't believe in marriage. So you can only guess where that goes. Can I say that it's been a while since I've seen Ben in anything and it was nice to see him on screen again. He and Jennifer Aniston have a great chemistry together, like they've know each other for years, which was good since that was key to their storyline.

Let me just say something here about the very delicious Bradley Cooper, I love him. I've loved him since ALIAS. OK but in this movie I HATED him. HATED him. Even his gorgeous blue eyes and his dreamy smile couldn't stop me from wanting to shake him in the movie. He's a total ass!! I will say he played his part well though since I'm used to him being the nice guy (aka Will on ALIAS). Many of you probably know him from Wedding Crashers - Unrated (Widescreen New Line Platinum Series)

The movie is really about how women over think relationships. And come on admit it, we all do. Heck I've been married for 8 years and still over analyze things my husband says or does. So if you are looking for a good chick flick, this is a recommendation but just expect to walk out thinking about things as well.

Movie Final Take: 4/5

P.S. - One of the previews we saw was for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!! I got goosebumps watching it. YAY!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Julie' Review: Testimony

Summary: Shreve's novels (Body Surfing; The Weight of Water) benefit from propulsive plots, and her mixed latest, with its timely theme of debauchery among children of privilege, does not lack in this regard. The first paragraph foreshadows a tragedy in which three marriages are destroyed, the lives of three students at a private school in Vermont are ruined, and death claims an innocent victim. The precipitating event is a sex tape involving three members of the boys' basketball team and a freshman girl. Beginning with an account of the debacle by the Avery School's then headmaster, and segueing to the voices of the participants in the orgy, plus their parents and others touched by the scandal, the narrative explores the widening consequences of a single event. Shreve's character delineation is astute, and the novel's moral questions—ranging from the boys' behavior to the headmaster's breach of legal ethics to the guilt of those involved in the death—are salient if heavy-handed, while the female characters are wicked in the way women have always been stereotypically portrayed. The novel is clever, but the revolving cast of narrators often feels predictable and forced, keeping the novel on the near side of credible.

Review: We all know that most teenagers are self-destructive in some form and that we are all pretty happy to make it out some what in tack. In today's age of You Tube the stupid things teenagers do can cost them a lot more than they even realize. This is what happens to three teenage boys at an exclusive academy. They are accused of Sexual Assault because they girl they all have sex with is 14 and that's statutory rape in the state of Vermont. The question is, was it consensual or not. We all know they performed because it was caught on tape and posted to You Tube for the world to see. Testimony is the story of how their actions affect many people and how consequences last a long time.

There was pretty much one or two characters that I thought were interesting in the book out of the 15 that she provides us with. The book is written from all the characters view points and frankly some of them weren't integral to the story. I would have liked to have gotten into the reasons for the actions long before the last chapter of the book and it was only from one point of view. I didn't really feel sympathetic towards any of the characters, except Noelle, who is the girlfriend of one of the boys on the tape. In all of this she really is the innocent victim. I'm not even sure that the "victim" in the story is truly a victim at all. I'm not saying that what happened was right, it sure as heck wasn't, but I'm not convinced she was innocent in all of this either. I didn't really get attached to any of the three boys that were involved in the case.

There are authors who are excellent at telling the same story from multiple views well, but Ms. Shreve failed with this book. It only works when each of the views moves the plot forward and I didn't feel like it succeeded in that manner. I understand what Ms. Shreve was going for here, our actions affect not only those close to us but the lives of others we may not even know. I just think it fell flat.

Ms. Shreve has written so many other wonderful books that I would highly recommend over Testimony. If you've never read her or this is your first novel, I recommend you try the following: The Pilot's Wife, Sea Glass and Fortune's Rocks.

I can't say that I would recommend this book to any of my friends looking for a great read. I would lend them any one of the books I mentioned above.

Final Take: 3/5

And The Winner Is......

Congratulations to Bev for winning a copy of The Agency by Ally O'Brien.

Want to know how we did it? We listed each commenter sequentially; then we visited the handy dandy and it produced the number "10 ".

Thank you all for participating in our giveaway! Surely there'll be more books to giveaway, so please keep your eyes peeled to this blog.

Bev - We'll be in contact via email for your address for St. Martins to send you a copy of the book.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jenn's Review: Carpe Demon

Summary: Lots of women put their careers aside once the kids come along. Kate Connor, for instance, hasn't hunted a demon in ages.

That must be why she missed the one wandering through the pet food aisle of the San Diablo Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, he managed to catch her attention an hour later-when he crashed into the Connor house, intent on killing her.

Now Kate has to clean up the mess in her kitchen, dispose of a dead demon, and pull together a dinner party that will get her husband elected to County Attorney-all without arousing her family's suspicion. Worse yet, it seems the dead demon didn't come alone...

It's time for Kate Connor to go back to work.

Review: I spotted this book over at Tiny Little Reading Room and had to check it out for myself. (The Amazon tag was compelling too: "What would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer got married, moved to the suburbs and became a stay-at-home mom? She'd be a lot like Kate Connor, once a demon/vampire/zombie killer and now 'a glorified chauffeur for drill-team practice and Gymboree play dates' in San Diablo, Calif., that's what.") As a Buffy fan, I couldn't resist.

Julie Kenner has created her own world, and while there isn't the quirky humor or the glib jibes of Joss Whedon, there was certainly witticism and calamity. But this was almost a little too light, a little too frivolous. Kenner's characters never seem to get fully developed, and while you are routing for Kate to succeed, it's hard to believe how many lucky coincidences she has (rarely does the retired Hunter get injured, and if she drops a ball in her juggling act, it always gets caught somehow).

The plot was a little contrived and it was difficult waiting for Kate to catch up to what the reader caught on to chapters ago. I was also a little taken aback by the Christian element (Hunters are hired and trained by the Vatican!?!) in the book; it seemed out of place.

As a Buffy fan, I confess myself disappointed. I expected more. I will read the next few in the series to see if Kenner manages to pick up the pace and run with a good concept that was executed in a mediocre fashion. Good for a quick read.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Giveaway: The Agency

We are excited that Sarah from St. Martin's Press is allowing us to giveaway one copy of the new release The Agency. An exciting novel set in London's entertainment industry. Here is the Girls Just Reading Review by Julie of the novel.

Here are some early rave reviews for the book:

"A delicious read! Even more entertaining than Sex & the City and Lipstick Jungle combined… The Agency is one hot, exciting, and sexy book, with a seductive plot that makes those pages fly. Don’t miss this exquisite jewel!” –Publishers Weekly

“With an insider’s take on the book biz, and an appealingly foul-mouthed heroine, this debut is fast, funny and a bit nasty—not unlike Tess. A naughty, catty good time.” –Kirkus

"The duo writing as O'Brien proves there's nothing like teamwork. The book combines genres effectively, melding into one fantastic novel... Cleverness abounds, especially in the dialogue and plot twists." –Romantic Times (4 stars)

“The Agency's got bite -- it sucks you in and leaves teeth marks.”–Amanda Goldberg and Ruthanna Hopper, coauthors of the New York Times bestselling Celebutantes

“The Agency is brash, cheeky, and cuttingly smart. Move over Bridget Jones, there's a new girl in town! Despite enemies who hate her, lovers who betray her, and clients who desert her, Tess Drake is a marvelously irrepressible heroine. You'll want to stick with The Agency from start to finish, through thick and thin, through hell and high water--what a fabulous ride!” – Joan Johnston, author of the New York Times bestselling novel A Stranger’s Game

"Sex, drugs, and literature…" –Sarah Ivens, editor-in-chief of OK! Magazine
(Reviews courtesy of

Please leave a comment here by Sunday, February 15 Midnight EST to be automatically entered. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 16th.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Six Things That Make Us Happy

Generally, we don't post memes, but its been a while since we've done an "About Us" post, so we thought we'd particpate just this once:

Six Things That Make Us Happy:
  1. Reading!!!

  2. Good TV (don't knock it, that's how the three of us met!)

  3. Strong Female Characters
  4. Jenn: cooking for family and friends

  5. Julie: family

  6. Lisa: sleep or wine - they're the same thing really


The Rules are a follows:

Link to the person who has tagged you (Serena). Write down six things that make you happy. Post the rules then tag six others (the ladies at Trashionista, Stephanie's Written Word, Tiny Little Reading Room, Online Publicist, Book Talk with J & J, & Errant Dreams) and let them know you did it. When your entry is complete, tell the person who tagged you.

Friday, February 6, 2009

And the Winner Is.......

Photobucket Congratulations to Judyv12306 & Bookoholic13 for each winning a copy of Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen.

Congratulations to Pagius1 for winning a copy of Michelle Moran's Nefertiti.

Want to know how I did it? I listed each commentor sequentially; then I visited the handy dandy and it produced the numbers "9,2,1".

Thank you all for participating in our giveaway! Surely there'll be more books to giveaway, so please keep your eyes peeled to this blog.

Pagius1, Bookoholic13 & Judyv12306, just send us an email and we'll forward your information on to Michelle Moran for mailing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jenn's Review: Hard Stop

Summary: Sam Acquillo is getting to be a lot more sociable. People are constantly dropping by, including guys in black outfits with .45 automatics breaking into his cottage in the middle of the night.

Though on doctor's orders to stay clear of violence and mayhem, Sam does what's needed to encourage a candid conversation with the home invader, with surprising results. Suddenly Sam's past reaches out to pull him back into the world of big money and even bigger egos, where the term "corporate intrigue" is redundant and ambition the only virtue. It seems a person important to the private life of a very important person has gone missing in the Hamptons. And it looks like the best way to get her back is to extort Sam's cooperation.

After finally achieving some measure of peace and contentment on the tip of Oak Point, overlooking the Little Peconic Bay, Sam is yet again an accidental player in other people's dramas. It takes him into the world of private security goons, predatory financiers and lifestyles of young hedonists, some brave, some beautiful, all a bit lost. But this time there's some added incentive. An opportunity Sam thought he'd never see again. The chance to get a bit of his old life back. The only piece he might actually want.

With lawyer Jackie Swaitkowski and cop friend Joe Sullivan reluctantly in tow, and the beautiful Amanda Anselma, fisherman Paul Hodges and mutt Eddie Van Halen eager to lend a hand, Sam is back on the quest.

This time with a few ambitions of his own, which lead him into something all his battles in the ring and corporate boardroom could never have prepared him for.

Review: I requested this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's (due out in May), because it came off as witty in the blurb. When I received this book from Library Thing, I was a little dismayed to discover this book was mid-series. I hate starting in the middle of a series. The publisher, however, was nice enough to include a brief overview of the previous books in the series so I didn't feel too lost. So for the most part, I'm reviewing this as a stand alone novel, because that's my frame of reference.

The plot was solid and the reader is kept in the dark until the very end. This helped me press on because there are a lot of characters in his book, and while I'm sure may of them were introduced in previous novels, it was difficult for someone new to his work to keep track of them all. I had to keep going back and looking up the names of the people he was investigating, and those were new characters, for the most part.

I had a hard time engaging with any of the characters. We briefly meet Sam's daughter a few times. Sam's girlfriend, Amanda, swoops in and out. She's supportive yet eerily blasé, flitting in and out with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres oftentimes serving the intruders! There are lawyers who work for free, which I can understand if they're friends, but the legwork Jackie does for Sam makes her seem more like his personal shrive (part administrative assistant, part gumshoe). There are cops that share way too much information and bend way too many rules (yes they're friends, but really!!!). There are ambivalent henchmen and quirky assassins.

I also felt that Knopf's denouement was a little rapid. The case was solved but not fully resolved, and the wrap up is left a little open ended. It sort of felt like a crash landing.

All in all, this should have made for an entertaining read, but by the end, I was underwhelmed. Maybe I went in with the wong expectations, perhaps it's just because it's the middle of the series, but from what I can surmise, Chris Knopf is not as witty as his blurb writer.

Final Take 3.8/5

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Julie's Review: The Agency

Summary: Meet Tess Drake. She’s earned everything she has. Now it’s time to get what she deserves…Sexy super-agent Tess Drake has worked hard to make a name for herself in the glamorous yet cut-throat entertainment industry. Tess works at an international agency, where she skillfully manages some of the world's biggest egos—her company, Bardwell International operates in the thrilling, fast-paced worlds of Rights, wrongs and revenge. Tess has been an agent there for longer than she cares to remember and now she's in trouble. Real trouble. After the mysterious death of the agency's senior partner, Lowell Bardwright, Tess's sworn enemy, Cosima Tate, has taken over and would do anything to send Tess's career down in flames. And Cosima is only one of the rogue’s gallery of agents in London and New York who want Tess to take a fall. Tess has another little complication, too. She’s sleeping with men on both sides of the Atlantic who are in bed with the women who are trying to sink her.

Can Tess jump ship without losing her clients and breaking her heart? Or will she lose everything before finding out if she really has what it takes to do what she’s always wanted? There’s risk and reward in this wickedly funny novel that turns the world of agenting inside out and lays bare all the ambition, sex, adrenaline, bad luck, and good luck at the center of one young woman’s success.

Review: The Agency is a fun, witty, quick read. I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers and am so I glad I requested it. I love anything about the Entertainment industry and this book was about the little written about world of Publishing Agents. What a world it is. I know that most lines of business are cut throat but this business takes the cake, in my opinion.

You can't help but like Tess even if she's brash and has a "no holds barred" attitude, but she's honest and knows her flaws; one of them is thinking with the nether regions of her body. That gets her into trouble all the time.

Tess is at the point in her life and career where she's ready to break out on her own and start her own agency. The problem is that her boss just died and there's a new boss in town and she's not exactly a big fan of Tess. We meet Dorothy, Tess' biggest and most successful client and she's up for a new contract. Tess wants to keep her without a deal until she can break out on her own. This is where the fun starts.

The cast of characters is fun from her assistant Emma, her married lover "Darcy", her dear friend Sally, her other client Oliver and a few more. Time is over the essence when you are going out on your own and the book doesn't cover more than a couple weeks in time. This lends itself to a very quick pace and it keeps you on your toes.

I can't say a whole lot because it'll give the novel away. I can see that there is a pretty big twist that I did not see a mile away but there is something else that occurs that I figured out towards the middle of the book. I didn't mind because it was Tess' realization of everything going on around her that makes the book savvy and entertaining. I think one part of the ending is a bit unrealistic but not so much that I think it's not possible. After all the book is about the entertainment industry.

I'd like to see Tess come back in another novel; following her into the next phase of her life. Seeing how things are turning out for her. I highly recommend picking up The Agency for a good read. It would be a perfect beach/vacation book. I devoured it fairly quick.

Final Take: 4/5

Monday, February 2, 2009

Giveaway: Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen

We are so excited to have the opportunity to be giving away Michelle Moran's books: Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen. Ms. Moran has offered us the ability to giveaway 2 autographed copies of The Heretic Queen and 1 autographed copy of Nefertiti Photobucket.

Please leave a comment here by February 5th Midnight EST to be automatically entered. The winners will be announced on Friday, February 6th.

If you'd like to find out more about Michelle Moran, please check out her website Michelle Moran.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lisa's Review: The Other Queen

This dazzling novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history's most intriguing, romantic, and maddening heroines. Biographers often neglect the captive years of Mary, Queen of Scots, who trusted Queen Elizabeth's promise of sanctuary when she fled from rebels in Scotland and then found herself imprisoned as the "guest" of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick.

The newly married couple welcome the doomed queen into their home, certain that serving as her hosts and jailers will bring them an advantage in the cutthroat world of the Elizabethan court. To their horror, they find that the task will bankrupt them, and as their home becomes the epicenter of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth, their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of treachery and treason, or if the great spymaster William Cecil links them to the growing conspiracy to free Mary from her illegal imprisonment, they will all face the headsman.

Philippa Gregory uses new research and her passion for historical accuracy to place a well-known heroine in a completely new tale full of suspense, passion, and political intrigue. For years, readers have clamored for Gregory to tell Mary's story, and The Other Queen is the result of her determination to present a novel worthy of this extraordinary heroine.

Other than my review of The Other Boleyn Girl movie and Julie's Review of the book, this is my first experience with Philippa Gregory. The Other Queen focuses on the first three years of Mary Stuart's captivity in England and it was definitely interesting. The research seemed to be well done and the little digging I did on my own, seemed to match up. Frankly, if anything there wasn't true, I wouldn't be able to poke any holes, so I have to trust her research.

The novel is well written. It is told from the point of view of the three main characters, George, his wife Bess, and Queen Mary. George is an earl given what he believes to be the honorable task of hosting the Queen until she is restored to her throne in Scotland. He is soon mistaken as he becomes infatuated with the beautiful young queen . Bess, is a shrewd "business woman" or, you know, golddigger, who sees the keeping of the queen as an opportunity to advance her fortunes as well as those of her children. She is soon mistaken because Mary is a queen and expects to be treated as such. Mary is portrayed as an arrogant beauty, who believes that her claims to the thrones of France, Scotland, and England makes her untouchable.

I believe Ms. Gregory made a mistake choosing to write about this point in Mary's story. A lot of backstory has to get filled in with excessive exposition. The first three years of Mary's captivity are filled with plots to free her, one of which came close to succeeding, however, characters are hardly, if ever a part of the action and the story certainly suffers for it. With fifteen years of captivity left when the book ends, the story is wrapped up all to neatly and Mary's march to execution was relayed in dream sequence. Seriously? Hmm, definitely not what I was expecting.

All in all, I didn't hate this book, mostly I wasn't sure what to expect, so my reaction is mostly ambivalent.

Final Take: 3/5