Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros – Book Review

Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
Published by Gallery, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

You can’t ride a single successful debut novel forever. Abigail Donovan should know, she has tried. Her debut was big, huge, even. She was on Oprah, for goodness’ sake. The second novel, though, it isn’t really coming. She is years behind on her deadline. Her novel that was once so successful has now moved largely out of the realm of public consciousness, and she doesn’t hear from her publicist too often. Even when she is able to do public events, nobody shows up to see her. In fact, at her last event, she was roped into appearing in a bunny costume in lieu of the famous children’s author whose travel troubles kept her from making her appearance in time. Just when Abigail thinks things can’t get any worse, she finds out that her publicist has taken the liberty of of signing her up for Twitter. While bumbling around trying to figure out the site, she meets witty, sarcastic professor @MarkBaynard, with whom she forms a Twitter flirtation in very quick order. @MarkBaynard makes Abigail feel less alone and inspires her work on her second novel, but is he really who he seems to be on Twitter?

I picked up Goodnight Tweetheart the day it arrived in my mailbox, simply to flip through it and see what it was all about, as I had not been expecting it and hadn’t actually heard of it. Abigail’s plight as the formerly-successful author captivated me immediately. The opening scene, wherein she ends up in a bunny costume for hundreds of screaming children after the humiliation of having a completely unattended book signing is hilarious and creates an immediate feeling of connection with and empathy for Abigail.

As this is a novel written largely in tweets, it is a quick and engaging read. However, as a, shall we say, frequent, Twitterer, I actually felt that the Twitter angle could have been handled a little bit better. Apparently the majority of tweets were not actually public tweets but were instead direct messages, messages that could only be seen between Abigail and @MarkBaynard. This explains the extremely flirtatious behavior and the ‘Twitter date’ on an account that is supposed to be Abigail’s face to the world, her last chance to position herself as a novelist of note. It also explains the fact that her tweets to Mark tend not to begin with @MarkBaynard as they should if she were conversing with him on Twitter and wanted to make sure that he actually saw what she wrote. However, the fact that these were direct messages wasn’t made very clear; I actually only realized it when Abigail accidentally missed making a very embarrassing tweet a direct message and broadcast it out for all to see. Still, Twitter was actually handled better than I feared it might be.

Goodnight Tweetheart is a cute and engaging book, chock full of pop culture, both internet and television. Although I wasn’t 100% happy with the handling of Twitter, I commend Medeiros for taking it on and doing it fairly well. I read this in the course of a single evening, and would recommend it as a change of pace book.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound |Amazon*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

The Heroine’s Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore – Book Review

The Heroine’s Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore
Published by Harper, an imprint of Harper Collins

I doubt that any reader of this blog would debate the idea that books have much to teach us, perhaps even more, at times, than the author intended. Erin Blakemore certainly believes that this is true, and her goal in “The Heroine’s Bookshelf” is to suss out some of the fabulous female characters created by fabulous female authors who have so much to teach today’s heroines. “The Heroine’s Bookshelf” is divided into twelve sections with titles such as “Self,” “Dignity,” and “Compassion” and covers women like Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara, and Lizzy Bennet. Each chapter briefly outlines the life of the author and the premise of the book, weaving in the arguments for why the author and character exemplify and can teach us the stated virtue of the chapter. Additionally, each chapter ends with a bullet pointed list of three times when you should read the book in question, and the literary sisters/kindred spirits of the character discussed.

Oh, “The Heroine’s Bookshelf,” you have earned yourself a permanent place on my bookshelf!

Blakemore’s book is an absolutely lovely and engaging read. I ended up finishing it in less than 24 hours because every time I finished reading about one heroine, I wanted to see what Blakemore had to say about the next one. Each chapter was both nostalgic and informative, bringing me new and interesting information about even the authors and characters who were most beloved by me. I only wish that I had spaced out the chapters and savored the book, because I was very sad when I found I had reached the end. No matter, though, because just like the books Blakemore writes about, “The Heroine’s Bookshelf” is something that I will be able to go back to again and again when I need reminders and encouragements about dealing with life’s difficulties.

I highly, highly, highly recommend “The Heroine’s Bookshelf” by Erin Blakemore. I think the ideal audience is women 15 to 35, but I imagine than many others would enjoy it as well. However, if you have a readerly woman 15-35 on your Christmas list, BUY THIS FOR HER NOW. There, your shopping is done! Whether she has read all of the classics, or is a Twilight or Harry Potter-created reader unsure where to go next, this is sure to be a big hit.

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Now for a little game: Can you match the heroines with the virtues they represent (as per “The Heroine’s Bookshelf”)?

Virtue Heroine
A: Ambition 1. Anne Shirley in “Anne of Green Gables”
B: Compassion 2. Celie in “The Color Purple”
C: Dignity 3. Claudine in Colette’s Claudine novels
D: Faith 4. Francie Nolan in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”
E: Family Ties 5. Jane Eyre in “Jane Eyre”
F: Fight 6. Janie Crawford in “Their Eyes Were Watching God”
G: Happiness 7. Jo March in “Little Women”
H: Indulgence 8. Laura Ingalls in “The Long Winter”
I: Magic 9. Lizzy Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice”
J: Self 10. Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden”
K: Simplicity 11. Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”
L: Steadfastness 12. Scout Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Answers can be found at the bottom of this post.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

This review was done with a book received from the publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Answers: A7, B12, C2, D6, E4, F11, G1, H3, I10, J9, K8, L 5

After the Workshop by John McNally – Book Review

After the Workshop by John McNally
Published by CounterPoint

Have you ever wondered how authors get from the airport, to the hotel, to the bookstore in an unknown town when their publisher sends them on tour? In some cases, at least, they are sent with a media escort like Jack Hercules Sheahan. Sheahan is himself an aspiring author, having graduated from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop some twenty years ago. Back then, Jack’s life was very promising, he even had a story published in the New Yorker. After graduating, he took a job as a media escort and subsequently failed to finish his novel or do really anything in publishing besides drive authors around Iowa. Suddenly, though, the failures in Sheahan’s life seem to be coming back to haunt him. He is trying to escort two authors in the same weekend when one of them disappears with her baby, causing her slightly crazy publicist to all but stalk Jack, while the other reminds Jack of all he despises yet somewhat wants to be as well. Just as he is confronting his professional failures, Sheahan’s personal failures – largely through the person of his ex-fiancee – reappear as well.

“After the Workshop” is a highly entertaining account of a side of publishing about which I had never before thought. Media escorts! It makes so much sense, but it really never occurred to me. It sounds like a really fun job, actually, until you start reading “After the Workshop.” Authors sending you on embarrassing errands, crazy people, authors who lord their success over you…makes me feel very lucky about the personalities of all of the authors I have met!

McNally’s book is very entertaining, I really enjoyed his wry humor. I wouldn’t hand this to every reader, though. There is a very ‘inside baseball‘ feel to the book, so that I would really recommend it more to people who are interested in the ins and outs of publishing and book marketing. If you are happy to just have books show up at your door or on the shelves of your local store, this book might not really interest you. If, however, you like hearing about the politics of publishing, the little details of getting books published and makingĀ  book tours work, you might very well really enjoy this book.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

John McNally’s website

Other Books by John McNally:
Fiction:
“Ghosts of Chicago”
“America’s Report Card”
“The Book of Ralph”
“Troublemakers”
Other
“The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide”
“Who Can Save us Now?” (coedited)
“When I Was a Loser”
“Bottom of the Ninth”
“Humor Me”
“The Student Body”
“High Infidelity”

This review was done with a book I purchased.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.