Thursday, February 28, 2008

Great Website for Bibliophiles with Wanderlust!

Hi All (if anyone besides me reads this!) -

Whenever I am traveling, I like reading novels set in the city where I will be. Well, I'll be in the Big Apple next week and in looking for a fun novel set in NYC, I came across a website called I love it! You can plug in your desired location and a list of books set in that city come up! The books are submitted by readers of the website and you can add any books you know of missing from the list. I have already started looking for books set in New Orleans in anticipation of my trip to the Big Easy in May for a friend's wedding. In keeping with the theme of this post, I thought that I would list some of my personal recommendations for some of my favorite cities here. The books listed in red are those I have reviewed on my Library Thing page (see post on 2/25/08). You can see these reviews by clicking on:
New York City:
1. The Good People of New York by Thisbe Nissen
2. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
3. Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York by Adam Gopnick
4. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
5. The Extra Man by Jonathan Ames
6. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
7. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
8. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell
9. Tepper Isn't Going Out by Calvin Trillin
10. Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis
11. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
12. Love Monkey by Kyle Smith
13. Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell
14. Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes
15. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
New Orleans:
1. Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite
2. Prime by Poppy Z. Brite
3. Soul Kitchen by Poppy Z. Brite
4. Side Effects: A New Orleans Love Story by Patty Friedmann
5. Almost Innocent by Sheila Bosworth
6. Slow Poison by Sheila Bosworth
7. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
8. New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City by Andrei Codrescu
1. Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojurn at Shakespeare & Co. by Jeremy Mercer
2. A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke
3. Left Bank by Kate Muir
4. Rowdy in Paris by Tim Sandlin
5. Le Divorce by Diane Johnson
6. The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most
Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
7. A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
8. The Book of Salt by Monique Trong
9. Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home by Kim Sunee
10. The Pleasing Hour by Lily King
1. What's the Girl Worth by Christina Fitzpatrick
( I haven't reviewed this book, but I must mention that if you are going to Madrid, you MUST
pick up this book. Christina Fitzpatrick perfectly captures Madrid.)
1. City of Falling Angles by John Berendt
2. Venetian Stories by Jane Turner Rylands
3. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sara Dunant
Provence, France:
1. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
2. Tojours Provence by Peter Mayle
3. Encore Provence: New Adventure in the South of France by Peter Mayle
4. French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle
5. Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Love by Kim Sunnee
Denver, Colorado:
1. Orange Mint & Honey by Carlene Brice
1. Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello

Monday, February 25, 2008

Best Thing EVER for Book Lovers!!

There is a website called where you can catalog and review all of your books. I signed up in June of last year and I swear that I am obsessed! I don't know how anyone couldn't be once they have entered all of their books.

If you click on this link you can see all of my books:

Here is the description from their webpage:

What is LibraryThing?
Enter what you're reading or your whole library—it's an easy, library-quality catalog. LibraryThing also connects you with people who read the same things.

What's good?
Meet the world's largest book club.

Find people with eerily similar tastes.
Catalog with Amazon, the Library of Congress or 252 other world libraries.

Import from anywhere.
Get recommendations.

Tag your books and explore others' tags.
Put your books on your blog.
Enter 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

Happy reading & cataloging,


It's Oscar Time!

Since it is Oscar time, I went looking for books featuring the Academy Awards. Lucky for me two were published just this year! I found Celebutantes by Amanda Goldberg & Ruthana Hopper and Oscar Season by Mary McNamara. Both books are written by authors with the right creditials: Amanda Goldberg is the daughter of one of Hollywoods biggest producers; Ruthana Hopper is the daughter of actor Dennis Hopper; and Mary McNamara is an LA Times reporter who has "written extensively on the inner workings of Hollywood". Both books give the reader a glimpse into high-powered Hollywood during this chaotic time in Tinsletown.

Here are my reviews of both:


Oscar Season by Mary McNamara is a fast-pace mystery novel set during Hollywood’s most tumultuous time of the year: the time period between the Academy Award nominations announcement and Oscar night. At first, Oscar season at the hotel seems to be business as usual for PR Director of the Pinnacle Hotel, Juliette Greyson. Well, as usual as can be for one of Hollywood’s hottest hotels hosting all of the big name celebrities who come to stay for Oscar week. That is until a series of mysterious deaths start to seem all too connected to be coincidence. Is someone trying to sabotage the Oscars? And if so, why?

Mary McNamara spent time with the people who run the Four Seasons in Los Angeles to get a real insiders view of the preparations that go into making a high end hotel run smoothly during Oscar season. Her attention to detail makes this novel compulsively readable and intriguing.

Where this book fails is as a mystery novel. The mystery that propels the story line in Oscar Season falls flat in the end. The ending was anticlimactic and dull. McNamara never manages to truly spin a suspenseful thriller.Pick up this book for a fun behind the scenes glimpse of the inner workings of a Hollywood hotel during this glittering time of year in LA but not to indulge in a real mystery story.



Celebutantes is everything you would expect it to be. It is fun, salacious, entertaining, predictable, and formulaic. In short, it is fun fluff filled with TONS of name-dropping. Celebutantes gives an insider’s look into the madness and weirdness that is life in Hollywood.

Celebutantes centers on the trials and tribulations of Hollywood royalty spawn, Lola Santisi during Oscar Week in Los Angeles. Lola is a mid-twenties failed actress who happens to be the daughter of one of Hollywood’s biggest directors. Lola is suffering from a malady that could only be diagnosed by an LA psychotherapist: Career Deficit Disorder, or as Lola calls it, CDD. Lola is also a recovering “Actoraholic”. Her penchant for affairs with Tinsletown’s hottest actors has left her heartbroken and bitter. Thank goodness for Lola she has the support of her BAF (Best Actress Forever), Cricket, who is waiting for her big break; her BFF, Kate, an upcoming Hollywood agent desperate to work for CAA and whose ungrateful bratty client has just been nominated for his first Oscar; and her BGF (Best Gay Forever), Julian.

Lola is finally given the chance to turn her life around when her best friend, hot new designer Julian Tennant, hires her to be his “ambassador”. Ambassadors are the people hired by designers to whoo and cajole actresses into wearing their designs on the red carpet on Oscar night. This job is easier said than done when dealing with actresses who want their dogs dyed to match their dresses, speak in the third person, and take “bathroom” breaks every five minutes.

Of course, Celebutantes wraps up in the last few pages with Lola and her entourage having a true Hollywood ending and everything ending perfectly. For thoroughness’ sake, I should mention that Celebutantes is filled with mentions of every brand of makeup, hair product, shoe, bag and designer; as well as the names of almost every major Hollywood star. It is THAT kind of book. It is also the kind of book that will have you laughing out loud and flipping pages faster than Julia Roberts can rip open the envelope containing the name of this year’s Best Actress award.