gimmethatbook

Reviews of what you should be reading next.

Category: New Adult

Walmart: Diary of an Associate by Hugo Meunier

In 2012, journalist Hugo Meunier went undercover as a Walmart employee for three months in St. Leonard, Quebec, just north of Montreal.
In great detail, Meunier charts the daily life of an impoverished Walmart worker, referring to his shifts at the box store giant as “somewhere between the army and Walt Disney.” Each shift began with a daily chant before bowing to customer demands and the constant pressure to sell. Meanwhile Meunier and his fellow workers could not afford to shop anywhere else but Walmart, further indenturing them to the multi-billion-dollar corporation.
Beyond his time on the shop floor, Meunier documents the extraordinary efforts that Walmart exerts to block unionization campaigns, including their 2005 decision to close their outlet in Jonquiere, QC, where the United Food and Commercial Workers union had successfully gained certification rights. A decade later he charts the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that exposed the dubious legal ground on which Walmart stood in invoking closure and throwing workers out on the street.
In Walmart: Diary of an Associate, Meunier reveals the truths behind Walmart’s low prices; it will make you think twice before shopping there.

 

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

Walmart is famous throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico for its low prices. However, they are also famous for low wages and demanding, wacky customers. (A glance at the site PeopleOfWalmart.com may tell you all you need to know). In this book, journalist Hugo Meunier goes undercover for 3 months as a Walmart associate, then emerges to tell us all about the good, the bad, and the ugly behind the scenes.

The corporation at the top is a warm, family-oriented company. At the store level, it is a place where low pay and hard work go hand in hand. There are stories of employees who cannot afford good food, despite the generous 10% off card they are given. There is an almost cultlike atmosphere in team meetings each morning (Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me an L …) and each associate is encouraged to tattle on those team members who “steal time”. Heavy, heavy emphasis is placed on the customer always being right, with posters in the break room exhorting staff to remember that “The most important person you will meet is your next customer”. Meunier portrays the clientele as brutish, demanding, and thankless. That sounds like most customers in retail – but to hear the author’s inner monologue as he complies with their demands is funny. This monologue will also be familiar to those who work in any service industry.

Something struck me amongst all the descriptions of hard work, lazy colleagues, clueless managers, and low pay. The author is someone with a good paying job and a high-end lifestyle – so the juxtaposition between his real job and his Walmart job is telling. He even notes that he misses sleeping in and not having to punch a clock.  Perhaps the most elitist moment is when he notes the difference between Walmart’s and his newspaper’s holiday party. One is filled with wine, truffles and caviar…and the other is not. Can you guess which is which? His reassuring thoughts to himself are that soon he will be able to leave the world of Walmart behind and return to his normal, happy, financially secure life. As he described his fatigue, aching feet and lack of sleep I thought to myself, This is what most of the US consists of – perhaps there needs to be reform?

Speaking of reform, Walmart believes unions are anathema and supports the illegal practice of squashing union talk. On the surface they claim to be open-minded, yet there is a top secret procedure that managers need to follow immediately when they hear talk of organizing. The final chapters of the book describe a hard-fought battle between the retail giant and some employees who wanted to unionize. If most of the book did not depress you, this portion will.

Most of the blurbs that surround this book note that you will never think of Walmart in the same way again. I will say that I wasn’t that surprised at some of the things I learned, except for the way the store demands associates interact with customers. I have never been smiled at or addressed first at my local store – perhaps it is a kinder world in Canada.

Final thoughts – this book is a quick and easily digested read about the class difference and extreme profit seeking of a major corporation. I would have liked if the author followed up in 6 months with his former co-workers to provide a bit more closure to his readers. In any case, it will be interesting to see how/if Walmart responds to the book (despite the fact that it came out a while ago in Canada and was recently translated to English).

You can pick up your own copy here.

The Girls of 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.
Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.
Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

THE GIRLS OF 17 SWANN STREET is a poignant and haunting story of a girl who is battling anorexia only because those around her want her to “get better”. Her demons and self-loathing have caused her to deny herself foods that she used to love. Her marriage is slipping away, full of unspoken words as Anna becomes thinner and thinner. Finally, her husband brings her to 17 Swann Street, where she will undergo treatment.

The author’s way of demonstrating the character’s struggle is intense – the reader is thrown into Anna’s mind through internal rumination and flashbacks, which serve to illuminate the deepest thoughts of an anorexic. Anna is not sure if she wants to live or die, even as those around her suffer with the same affliction and vanish. Throughout the course of the story Anna’s fate remains uncertain, as she takes one step forward and two steps back. Her struggle to consume enough calories under the watchful eyes of the clinic staff (who go un-named in an effort to dehumanize them, an excellent tactic by the author) is laid bare as she is shamed publicly for hiding a small bit of cream cheese in her napkin and then throwing it out.

As I read I wondered when Anna was just going to give up – her character is severely depressed and tragic. She does everything in her power to drive her husband away, despite his constant visits. She battles the staff over each mouthful of food she is forced to eat. In fact, she is such a morose person that at times I wished she would make a choice, rather than simply give up. However, it sounds like the author either did excellent research or she has personal experience with the disorder, because Anna’s behavior is exactly what you would expect from someone with depression and concurrent anorexia.

The book is an easy read – I got through it in one day because I was driven to know what would happen to Anna. As I mentioned before, at times I wasn’t sure if I was on her side or not. It was heartbreaking to see her shunning her husband, who clearly adored her. It was frustrating to see her work really hard, then seemingly change her mind and give in to her old habits. Self-care is not easy when you hate yourself, and Anna’s character is proof that the mind can be an evil, overpowering entity that robs one of the ability to control their life. I felt the cold fingers of depression reaching for me once I finished the book – it’s so real that it gets into your own head and makes you wonder if you are ok, if you will be ok.

Want your own copy of this haunting book? You can pick it up here.

Q&A with Lisa Becker, author of Clutch

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Clutch is the laugh-out-loud, chick lit story that chronicles the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer, who goes through a series of unsuccessful romantic relationships she compares to various styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc.  With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to stand up for the handbag style that embodies what she ultimately wants – the “Clutch” or someone to hold onto.

 

We are proud to present this Q&A with author Lisa Becker. The idea of “men as handbags” is a really funny and unique one, and I’m sure we can all identify with it one way or another! Enjoy this post, then go out and buy her book – click [easyazon_link identifier=”0692489894″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link] to purchase it.

 

1) Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor and community volunteer.   CLUTCH: A NOVEL is my 4th book.  The book actually started out as a screenplay that was optioned by a production company housed at one of the major movie studios summer 2014.  Unfortunately, it fell out of development.  I was eager to have this fun story with some of my favorite characters told, so I turned it into a short novel earlier this year.

 

2) What inspired you to write CLUTCH?

When I was writing the Click Trilogy, (Click: An Online Love StoryDouble ClickRight Click) I was obsessed with NCIS reruns and would have the show on in the background as I wrote.  There was an episode when one of the characters mentioned that men were like purses – something useless to hang on a woman’s arm.  I started thinking about how men are like handbags and the idea grew from there.

3) What advice do you have for women in search of their clutch?

In the modern classic film, “The Shawshank Redemption,” Tim Robbins’ character, Andy Dufresne, says to Morgan Freeman’s Red, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”  That quote comes to mind when I think about searching for the clutch.  If you feel like it’s not going to happen, then just give up.  You heard me.  GIVE UP!   Just surrender to that notion that you’ll end up alone.  If that is truly the case, do you want to spend the next 30, 40 or even 50+ years wallowing in misery?  Sitting around and lamenting your singleness?  Or are you going to get busy living?  Buy your own home!  Travel to all of the places you want to visit!  Adopt a child!  Write that novel!  Engage in hobbies and activities that bring you joy!

Chances are, when you start focusing on what will make you happy – not who will make you happy – you WILL be happy.  Happiness is evident and infectious.  Happiness makes you more interesting and more attractive to someone else.  And when that happens, you are more likely to meet the right person who is going to complement the amazing life you’ve created for yourself.

 

4) What are your plans for the future?

In addition to promoting the new book, I’m looking into making connections within the motion picture industry to try and get a movie version made.  I’m eager to see if there’s interest from someone else on bringing this fun and quirky story to the big screen.  So if you happen to be a well-to-do movie producer looking to make a new romantic comedy, please get in touch!

 

5) How can readers connect with you?

lisa becker

 

Lisa’s Books: Click: An Online Love StoryDouble ClickRight Click and clutch: a novel

Find Lisa: Facebook | Twitter  | Pinterest  | Web  | YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay Gibson, PsyD

 

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If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavior. These wounds can be healed, and youcan move forward in your life.

In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay Gibson exposes the destructive nature of parents who are emotionally immature or unavailable. You will see how these parents create a sense of neglect, and discover ways to heal from the pain and confusion caused by your childhood. By freeing yourself from your parents’ emotional immaturity, you can recover your true nature, control how you react to them, and avoid disappointment. Finally, you’ll learn how to create positive, new relationships so you can build a better life.

Discover the four types of difficult parents:

The emotional parent instills feelings of instability and anxiety. The driven parent stays busy trying to perfect everything and everyone. The passive parent avoids dealing with anything upsetting. The rejecting parent is withdrawn, dismissive, and derogatory.

 

In Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents (Called ACoEIP hereafter), Lindsay Gibson, PsyD, has provided an exceptional resource for people who grew up lonely within the company of their families.

To preface my review of her book, I must mention that the issue coping with immature parents, resonates strongly with me. I was fortunate enough to know in advance of reading this book that I was a part of its target audience. However, Gibson wisely acknowledges that most of her target audience will believe that their childhood experiences are normal, and that whatever problems they might have had seeking attention growing up was, and still is, their own responsibility to bear.

I would have felt this way not too long ago, and you may feel the same. If a person’s upbringing is likely to seem normal to them even in the absence of a meaningful parent-child emotional connection, how would a potential reader know that a book like this would be for them?

Below is a selection of statements that Gibson includes early on in the book to determine if you are in her target audience. If you find yourself nodding your head while reading these, then ACoEIP may deserve a place on your reading list.

“I was trying harder to understand my parent than my parent was trying to understand me.”

“I always felt that my parent thought I was too emotional or sensitive.”

“My parent rarely apologized or tried to improve the situation when there was a problem between us.”

For most peoples’ childhoods, some of these statements were true some of the time. For some people, these kinds of statements describe the general tenor of life childhood life. That kind of childhood leaves a lot of emotional baggage.

For some, the fallout of such a childhood is that you internalize. Consider this example: You may get yourself into relationships with others where you forego your own wants and needs as the price of admission for respect from the other. You may find yourself filling the requests of others, never asking favors for yourself. Why? Well, if your parents generally reprised you when you expressed desires, then keeping your wants and needs to yourself would be an expected learned behavior. The danger here is that you’ll look at yourself one day, always giving of yourself to others and letting people walk all over you, and decide that you must be a fool, or that you’re just weak, or some other self-diminishing thing. You would be terribly wrong, and a book like this one finds its greatest value in showing its readers why.

The example above is just one of many. The pages of ACoEIP are stuffed to the margins with relatable stories that are never too long, nor too simplified. Gibson speaks with a knowledgeable tone, but without pretense. Her diverse personal background of reading, life experience, and administering therapy shows in her concise writing style. I would not fault her for including more examples that I might have expected from a book like this because none of the examples feel like padding. All of them add unique value to the segments in which they appear.

Even if you’re not sure that this book is for you, I recommend it. If, while reading it, you decide that it isn’t, you will still gain a window into the hearts of those in your life to whom this book does speak.

Want your own copy? Click [easyazon_link identifier=”1626251703″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts – Review

Napoleon book cover

The Blurb on the Jacket:

Andrew Roberts’s Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine. Like Churchill, he understood the strategic importance of telling his own story, and his memoirs, dictated from exile on St. Helena, became the single bestselling book of the nineteenth century.

 

Before encountering this book, I had not read any other biography of Napoleon. I had exposed myself to plenty of modern European history, and I felt like I know the “gist” of Napoleon’s life, but I hadn’t ever delved deeply into the man himself. When I approached this massive tome, I worried that my less-that-rigorous foreknowledge might render Napoleon, if not inaccessible, at least a chore.

This was not the case.

Rarely have I ever had the pleasure of reading a portrait of an important man or woman that was simultaneously as immersive and as insightful as Roberts’ Napoleon. Biographers who struggle to find a balance between giving their subjects personality and keeping their writing educationally valuable should take note. It often seems that this balance is a zero-sum game. Any account vastly endowed with one put pay for its endowment with the other. Roberts cheats this system by letting his primary sources stand front-and-center. Napoleon (the man, not the book) had enough moxie and humor of his own to buoy the tone of this book from dust jacket to dust jacket.

That sounds like I’m giving the credit to Monsieur Bonaparte rather than the author, doesn’t it? This is not my intention. All of the credit belongs to Mr. Roberts for pulling off this feat. Napoleon’s original words could not have filled this book. If they could, he wouldn’t have had time to govern. The majority of the mass of this massive pack of pulp owes its existence to Roberts’ careful work of contextualization. The author takes extraordinary care to include the reader in a conversation about the external factors weighing in on the scenarios he describes.

My most common frustration when reading a biography is it is not entirely clear why some important action X was taken rather than Y. Usually, a simple explanation would do. No such frustration could find a stable home in my consciousness while I read this book. Simple explanations regularly precede the description of the actions taken here, and these descriptions are regularly followed by exhaustive investigations into the minutia revolving the decisions made. It is not boring at all. It sucks you in. It makes you feel like you can appreciate the situations as acutely as the people involved. If you read biographies because you want to better understand people and the times you choose to read about, then this sense that you might as well have been there should be exactly what you’re searching for. If not, then stop searching for whatever you’re searching for, and pick up this book. If I didn’t make that clear enough, let me make this very clear.

If you think that it is within the realm of possibility that the life and times of Napoleon Bonaparte could appeal to you as subject matter, then you need to get a copy of Andrew Robert’s book into your possession, and swallow it like a python swallows an alligator. Unhinge your brain’s jaw and shove this hunk of gold down its distended gullet before you consider taking care of less important matters… like hygiene… and nutrition.

Biography Review: Russell Long by Michael Martin.

The Short Version

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Russell Long: A Life in Politics starts off even before he was born to one of the most powerful American politicians outside the Capital, Huey Long. We come to know Russell as a man who seems to have ideals: whichever ones suit his purpose. We meet a chameleon who grows more conspicuous and powerful . He skillfully harnessed his father’s controversial legacy to shape his own. Many biographies are stories of rags-to-riches. This one shows us political royalty begetting political royalty. Like father like son.

Cinderella stories and train wrecks are interesting, sure. But at the heights of national politics, all things ordinary are extraordinary. You just need to be close enough to see what’s actually going on. Michael Martin points his microscope at characters who can raise up or ruin thousands of lives with a phone call. More than just a biography, Russell Long is a life-size portrait of some of the invisible forces that shaped American civil rights and economic intervention policy from the 1920s through the 1980s. I had mixed feelings about how Mr. Martin treated some topics, but overall this book was a joy to read, and particularly transformative for my personal understanding of Congressional politics in the middle of the last century.

You in a hurry? Take your coat off, why don’tcha? Keep reading!

 

My Full Review:

Excellence in the Biographical Craft

I read a lot of really dry books. I like’em that way. I’m all about the information density. Crank it up to 11! Don’t get me wrong. I love good narration and storytelling, but I’ve left mountains of biographies more relatable than Russell Long unfinished. Why did I finish Russell Long, but not the others?

As long as a biography helps me understand the place and importance of the person in the title, I’m happy. There are plenty of ways to do this. Some authors use personal accounts of people who knew the title character to construct a story. These biographies usually have a very personal touch. Their success or failure depends on how easy it is for the reader to get to know the person they’re reading about. Russell Long doesn’t even try to do this, so I won’t judge it on this basis.

This book wants to teach you about Russell, not introduce you to him. Enjoyment doesn’t issue from its style or wit, but from its combination of clarity and insight. Every page is pressurized to the bursting point with information. Russell Long is such a dense piece of pulp that the absence of any one sentence would immediately stand out to most mildly-attentive readers. Even being as dense as it is, however, it’s still easily accessible. Usually, accessibility correlates well with the complexity or depth of the content. I believe Mr. Martin created this outlier by focusing on a narrative structure before thinking in terms of timelines, events, and explanations.

Russell Long’s overall structure is evidence that Mr. Martin took spectacular care to produce an account that covers a wide canvas without becoming obtuse. The lesson other biographers can learn here is that contextual information is not a commodity. What does that mean?

In the Land of the Confusing, Context is King

Some contextual information pairs best with its related content when nestled in with a tangentially related account. We learn of Earl Long’s ultimate fate early, to lose his marbles while in the Senate in 1960. Seemingly a non-sequitur at first, this knowledge casts its foreshadow over Earl’s actions leading up to that year. At no time does Mr. Martin suggest any relationship between Earl’s escalating political aggressiveness and his meltdown. Even so, I would expect any reader to make his or her own judgment about the cause for his behavior, and whether his actions or his meltdown were the chicken or the egg. Regardless of the determination you make, the very fact that I was involved so deeply for so long leading up to the reveal is thanks to a masterful measuring of just the right amount of suggestion early on and an otherwise-innocuous lead-up to the event in question. You could argue that leaving the cause for his meltdown for the reader to intuit is unsatisfying, but remember, this book is interested in the facts. Guessing and wondering is the reader’s half of the contract here. Besides, have you ever called a book that left your brain chewing on its contents long afterward a “bad book”?

Russell Long is loaded with foreshadowing that seems like fact-stating at first blush, but produces satisfying “Aha!” moments throughout the proceeding text. Much of this foreshadowing occurs in the meaty first chapter entirely devoted to the life and career of Huey Long, Russell’s father. Mr. Martin depicts him as a powerful and ruthless Louisiana governor and political boss. Huey was a New Deal-era populist, and early on we come to know Russell as a Truman/Kennedy/LBJ Fair-Deal-era/Great Society-era populist. The account of Russell’s time striving toward and later working within the U.S. Senate during this period stands tall on its own, but it benefits tremendously from the foreshadowing earlier on.

As for sections of the book that trace the cause of a significant even to its effect, Mr. Martin provides context in step with the content. He seldom leaves the reader wondering what motives the actors might have had. Often, when an author does not give particular consideration to the distribution of contextual knowledge, the reader is burdened with wondering if he or she missed something until the author gets around to providing helpful context. The combination of foreshadowing and unconstructive inline explanation makes Russell Long a relatively effortless read.

Small Book, Big Ambition: The Compromise Shows.

In spite of all of the great things that I have to say about this biography, I do have complaints. Mr. Martin’s application of foreshadowing sometimes seems to guide the book’s focus away from very important details in favor of events that mesh well with the scaffold of foreshadowing upon which the biography seems to be built. Mr. Martin glosses over, and sometimes neglects even to account for, very important transitions in Russell Long’s political career. I found the explanation of the machinations by which Russell became Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, for example, to be unsatisfying. In sections describing the use of connections by either Long to usurp the function of government agencies, some more detail regarding how these connections were formed and maintained would have been beneficial.

Am I nitpicking? You may not even think twice about the informational gaps if you give this mainly solid book a read. I’m probably asking too much from a book in the range of 300 pages. If an editor demanded that I tamp down the word count, I might have nixed these details, too. Regardless, fleshing out these details in a longer book would have been well worth the longer read. In the end, every book must stand on it’s own two… covers. Russell Long certainly suffers from several unsatisfactory, unsatisfying, and sometimes missing explanations of what I though should have been key elements of a complete narrative.

The Last Word

To get hung up on any of these qualms would be to miss out on appreciating this book’s most important feature. Before Michael Martin’s Russell Long became available, there had been no quality account of Russell Long’s place in American history accessible to the layperson. The alternative for the average person seeking to learn about the younger Long would be a greatly fruitless Google search. Even Wikipedia, with it hordes of fanatical volunteer editors, hosts relatively little quality, cross-referenced information about this troubled, controversial, and interesting man. The publication of this book fills a conspicuous void, and there’s nothing but good in that.

The information density of Russell Long is actually dumbfounding. That Mr. Martin was able to make such a dense work so easy to read is a testament to his mastery of the biographical form. I swallowed about 300 pages of pure knowledge in hardly more than four hours. (If I’m being honest, the speed was just as much thanks to the “Spritz” reading software I use as to Mr. Martin, but I digress.) If all non-fiction books were like Russell Long, we would all be far more knowledgeable. People would read more books. People would patronize their libraries and coffee shops with equal frequency. Heck. The coffee shops would probably just be in the libraries.

 

We’ve Always Got New York by Jill Knapp

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Thanks once again to author Jill Knapp for gifting me this book!

Amalia has returned from her trip to Brazil, and things are both different and the same. Cassandra is acting strangely distant, with no apparent reason why. Michael seems to be recovered from Amalia’s departure, since he has Angela hanging all over him. Olivia and Alex are on again, off again, NYC classes are as difficult as ever, and Amalia is trying to get accepted to a work study program. The one bright thing in her life is Hayden, who sweeps her off her feet and makes her feel special.

So why is she still hung up on Michael?

This book seemed a little less filling than the first one, kind of New York Lite. There is plenty of action, but it’s basic and what you would expect of 24 year olds–drinking, dating, drama. I did start disliking Cassandra for her bad attitude, and I’m very curious to see how the author explains her behavior towards Amalia. Olivia and Amalia have gotten a lot closer, and the book is told in both their perspectives; each chapter alternates with occasional overlapping of stories. New York looms large, as always, with familiar locations and hip restaurants described beautifully. Amalia seems more sure of herself, despite her confusion over the Michael/Hayden situation. You can see her maturing and thinking about her future, and not letting the drama rule her life.

We’ve Always Got New York purrs along smoothly until the ending, which is a CLIFFHANGER! Knapp knows how to generate tension, and there was definitely plenty of this throughout the book, with breakups, arguing, and even a bar fight. Readers of this series will be eagerly awaiting installment # 3, and I will too.

Want your own copy? Click [easyazon_link asin=”B00OFLDTC6″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]here. [/easyazon_link]

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 12.27.15 PMHello everyone. My name is Michael Nail (on the right). I’m the webmaster here at Gimmethatbook. I make sure the website looks nice, runs quickly, and doesn’t blow up. I also run the giveaways, which means that I have the honor and exquisite pleasure of announcing the winner of the Judy Melinek book giveaway:

Congratulations @enterprise314! Your copy of [easyazon_link asin=”1476727252″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]Working Stiff[/easyazon_link] by Judy Melinek will arrive as quickly as our beloved United States Postal Office’s fastest rickshaw can reach you. Be kind, and give the poor fellow a drink of water when he gets to you.

As for all you unfortunate souls who didn’t win, don’t fret. At Gimmethatbook, there will always be another giveaway, another book, and another chance. As for those who didn’t enter, tsk-tsk. For shame. Enter next time!

Antisense Giveaway Winner Selected!

18745798A winner has been selected for our giveaway of a copy of Antisense by R.P. Marshall! Congratulations, David H of Leeds, West Yorkshire! We hope you enjoy it. We surely did! The book is traveling a looooooong way to get to you.

If you entered the contest, and you didn’t win, then you can still get your hands on a copy of the book [easyazon_link asin=”B00GCS3WUO” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]here[/easyazon_link].

Want more information? You can find our review of Antisense here!

Here’s the blurb that appears on the book:

What if you could evolve in a moment? What if you had the power to change the genetic future of your loved ones and the people they become – simply by the way you live your life? When neuroscientist Daniel Hayden’s father dies, such thoughts begin to erode his very sanity, with the growing fear that he might share a dark secret buried deep in his family’s past – a past he is about to relive. The idea only seems to gain credibility from the bizarre results coming from his own laboratory, forcing Daniel to resurrect the discredited theories of an eighteenth century naturalist in the process. Was Daniel’s fate sealed all those years ago? Has he been betrayed by his own DNA? Antisense combines literary fiction with the sharp, crisp prose and pace of the best suspense novels. The author’s insight into medical science and how it might inform the nature of human behaviour is all the more compelling because it is based on real science. It’s not a whodunit, but a whydunit. Not science fiction, but fiction with real science woven through it. A thought provoking and enigmatic work.

What Happens to Men When They Move To Manhattan? by Jill Knapp

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Amalia Hastings is happy. She’s attending graduate school in Manhattan, her relationship with her college boyfriend Nicholas is going strong, and she feels as though the world is her oyster. So far, she has been able to ignore the growing feeling that she has a crush on her friend Michael. However, when you are 23 years old, things are not always what they seem to be, and changes can happen fast. This book is first in a series about Amalia and her best friend Cassandra chasing  love, life, and dreams in the Big Apple.

Jill  Knapp brings the city of Manhattan alive with details only a seasoned New Yorker would be familiar with. Place names, brand names, and pop culture are all name dropped and referenced on almost every page. As I read, I truly felt as if I were on the streets of Greenwich Village with Amalia, experiencing the seasons:

“When you’re in Manhattan, it seems like you never really notice a nice day. The only sign of it is when restaurants open their side doors, and allow for outdoor seating. That’s about it.”

Getting your hair done at a chic salon:

“When we finally got to the salon, I was bombarded with over-friendly, and overly thin, employees who quickly offered me everything from a bone dry cappuccino, to what I was pretty sure was an offer of Quaaludes. I settled for the coffee and sat idly by as Cassie brought over an obviously gay hair stylist. ….They chattered in Italian and ran their fingers through my hair like I was their My Size Barbie.”

What St Patricks’ Day really means:

“The streets of the Village has transformed into a David Lynch movie. People looked way too happy. The happiness was undoubtedly due to the copious amounts of alcohol people were consuming all day…. To New Yorkers, St Patty’s Day commemorates green beer, shots of Jameson, and scantily clad girls wearing what can only be described as sequined cocktail napkins designed to make them resemble sexy leprechauns (if there ever was such a thing).”

Amalia, Olivia, Alex, Cassandra, Michael and Nicholas all seem authentically young/hip/collegiate. Each has their own set of problems, and there are a few subplots that highlight the struggle of dating in a city that never sleeps. We get to meet Amalia’s dyfunctional family, sympathize as no nonsense professors pile on the work, and feel the outrage at the bizarre antics of guys who trifle with girl’s hearts. Knapp’s writing is tight and humorous, and I never felt as if the characters were in improbable situations.

Self discovery is the theme here, as we watch Amalia weather a few romantic storms. This is the first book in a series, and it ends with Amalia leaving for a trip to Brazil. No spoilers–it’s mentioned throughout the book. Who will she choose upon her return? Will her friendships still be as tight? You can find out on 11/20/2014, when book # 2, We’ve Always Got New York, comes out.  Check out my post on the cover reveal.

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