Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Featured author: Sue Margolis (Tribute, Book Review and Giveaway)
By Melissa Amster
I first discovered the joy of a Sue Margolis novel when my friend gave me “Apocalipstick” to read on my honeymoon. It was clever and funny and I couldn’t put it down. After I finished, I craved more of her novels and polished off “Spin Cycle” and “Neurotica” shortly afterward. Since then, I’ve read almost all her novels. For some reason, I managed to miss “Breakfast at Stephanie’s,” but that will be remedied soon…especially if it is anything like her other novels. There's also a novel called "Sisteria" but I haven't been able to find it in the US.
Sue Margolis seems to have a no-fail formula for her books. There’s the down-to-earth female main character, who usually has some sort of interesting career (like the woman who ran an upscale baby goods store, or the woman whose flower shop got picked for a film). Then there are the eccentric secondary characters, which include best friends, co-workers, parents, siblings, etc. There are also a lot of crazy mix-ups and laugh-out-loud moments that come from her characters’ witty dialogue and scenes that would rival the best sitcoms. Usually there’s a Jewish element. In the past, her main character has been Jewish. Lately, that has transferred to secondary characters. The references are still there, but I hope she comes out with another Jewish main character in the future. That’s what drew me to her initially, as well.
Another thing that grabs me about her novels are her catchy titles. Sometimes they're play on words, but they just stand out. My favorite of all her titles is "Original Cyn."
Finally, there’s the love interest. She makes the relationships between her heroines and their love interests so intriguing. There’s the emotional aspect, which makes me think of my first dates with my husband. It includes lots of fun conversation and dates that don’t seem to end. Then there are her trademark “romantic” scenes which leave me blushing every time and wanting a cigarette, even though I don’t smoke. Yes, they’re that hot! (If you think some of the scenes from “Fly Away Home” by Jennifer Weiner were steamy, then you’re in for a real treat with Sue Margolis’ novels.)
While I love Sue Margolis' novels, I've noticed that she doesn't have much of an online presence. She's not on Facebook or Twitter and I've never seen an interview done with her. I contacted Sharon Propson from Random House to inquire about Ms. Margolis' latest novel, "Perfect Blend" and possibly being able to do a giveaway to promote the book. In response, Sharon sent me an advanced copy of "Perfect Blend" to review and promised SIX more to some lucky readers who may or may not already know the joy of reading her books.
"Perfect Blend" has all the elements that make a Sue Margolis novel what it is. There's Amy, the down-to-earth woman who works at a coffee shop, wants to be a journalist and has a young son thanks to the help of a "frozen pop." The eccentric secondary characters are almost too many to name. Brian is her close, platonic male friend and the owner of the coffee shop where she works. He loves "Seinfeld" and takes after the characters by breaking up with girls over minor flaws. There's also her uptight perfectionist sister who finds ways to criticize her at every turn. The Jewish element comes from Zelma, the other lady who works at the coffee shop. She spouts off Yiddish phrases and encourages everyone to eat more. (Usually a bagel and lox will do the trick!) The funny scenes are all over the place and a lot of the laughs come from the children in the story. (Of course, I busted up the first time I heard the word "moobs," which plays an integral part in the story too.) Finally, there is Amy's romantic interest, complete with the perfect first date and some steaming hot scenes throughout. (The part I could relate to initially was that she and her love interest didn't like coffee but loved hot chocolate. When my husband and I started dating, he asked me out for hot chocolate because we weren't coffee people either. So this definitely made me think of our first date!) Of course, no novel is without its share of complications for the main character, and "Perfect Blend" is no exception. It's what keeps the readers on their toes!
I really enjoyed this novel. It was cute, funny, romantic, sexy and even tugged at some emotional strings. There was one part that was predictable, but even that had a twist. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Margolis' work in the future and hope she'll come out of the woodwork someday so that I can learn more about her (and share that knowledge with all chick lit readers). In the meantime, I plan to check out "Breakfast at Stephanie's." Sue Margolis is a clever writer and it's always a treat to read her novels.
Now for your treat....If you would like a chance to read "Perfect Blend," here's how to win a copy:
**Giveaway is now closed**
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)
For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite "first date" story?
2. Thanks to Amy's friend Brian, there were a lot of "Seinfeld" references in this book. What is your favorite episode of "Seinfeld?"
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
Open to residents of US and Canada only. Giveaway closes August 17th at 6 pm EST.
Thanks again to Sharon Propson of Random House for the review copy and for facilitating the giveaway!