WAIT FOR IT

wait-for-it

AUTHOR: Mariana Zapata

GENRE: Contemporary Romance, Slowburn Romance

PUBLICATION: 2016

You didn’t know what love was until someone was willing to give up what they loved the most for you. But it was also never letting them make that choice, either.

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend.

Or a husband.

But who needs either one of those?

MY THOUGHTS

Other people might think I’m overrating Mariana Zapata. But it looks like she and I have the same mental and emotional wavelength because I am really really hooked with her works. I’ve already read four books written by her and this is the third one that I fell in love with. Zapata basically made me love slow burn romances.

Wait For It is more of a slice of life story that focuses on grief, family, parenting and life lessons rather than a typical romance novel. There is no insta-love or insta-lust here. In fact, Dallas and Diana started off in the wrong foot. Then, through a series of events that is more of a typical daily life rather than dramatic, they became friends that eventually turned into something more. Their feelings for each other was not forced. They fell in love slowly, unexpectedly and completely.

“I’m not rich and I’m not good-looking, but I could make you happy.”

I don’t need a billionaire. I want a Dallas Walker in my life. He might not be as famous as Reiner Kulti or as rich as Aiden Graves But he’s loyal, honest, faithful, loving, tolerant and the perfect husband you will ever wish you have.

“If I can respect being in a relationship with someone who I won’t remember years from now, I wanted you to see how seriously I would take spending the next fifty years with the girl who’s keeping my heart for herself.”

“I love you, and every bone in my body tells me that I’m gonna love you every day of my life, even when we want to kill each other.”

Until now, I still don’t know my most favorite Mariana Zapata book (i love three!) but I know that if I am going to choose between the three heroes, I would gladly choose Dallas.

MY RATING

5 stars

OKAY FOR NOW

OKAY FOR NOWAuthor: Gary D. Schmidt

Genre: Coming Of Age, Young Adult

Publication: 2011

“She came over and looked at the picture. Then she took my hand.
You know what that feels like?
Like what the astronauts will feel when they step onto the moon for the very first time.”

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.

MY THOUGHTS

So you’ve read a book.

It took you a long time just to look for this particular book and when you found it, it feels like fate. And then you read it even though there were so many to-be-read-books that have been in your shelves for months and years. But you read this book first. And you cannot stop even if you want to. It made you laugh because of the witty, sarcastic and adorable main character named Doug (I love it when Mrs. Windermere calls him skinny delivery boy), and it made you smile foolishly whenever Lil Spicer enters a scene with him (I love how the author can make a romantic scene without them telling cheesy lines to each other), it made you bawl your eyes out (because really, who will not cry over this book?), it made you hate almost all the characters at the beginning but then you slowly saw how they were changing and then you realize that they were not really bad guys, and then the book taught you life lessons in a subtle way but will stay with you long after you closed the book, and most of all, it gave you an open ended ending but still you feel quite contented with it.

Do you know what that ending feels like?

It feels like a promise of sunshine after a rainy day. Like a hot coffee when you just came from a very cold place. Like Christmas eve, when you are excited for the next day to come so you can open your presents. Like New Year with a promise of a fruitful year to come. Like possibility.

MY RATING

5 stars

The Earnest Mask

the earnest maskAuthor: Xi Ni Er

Genre: Asian Literature, Singaporean Literature

Publication: English Translation; November 2012 by Epigram Books

“So many changes. In only a few years.”

“Nothing really changes. What’s different is how you feel inside.”

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

In this Singapore Literature Prize-winning collection of stories, an aging Japanese ex-soldier, ignorant about the horrors of the Japanese Occupation, returns to Singapore for a nostalgic visit; a young boy’s sole contact with his father consists of a weekly meeting at McDonald’s; and a hopeful employee tries to win over his tumour-stricken boss with traditional Chinese medicine. Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s rapid development from the 1980s to the early 2000s, the poignant and witty stories in The Earnest Mask peel back the veneer of official history, revealing flashes of the personal stories buried beneath.

MY THOUGHTS

The Earnest Mask showed me the transformation of Singapore from the 1980’s to how it looks like in the early 2000’s through a series of short short stories. It was the first time I’ve ever read a book written by a Singaporean and set in Singapore. And I can say that this book was the best first time I could ever wish. No wonder the author, Xi Ni Er, was awarded with Singapore’s Cultural Medallion while this book won the Singapore’s Literature Prize in 2008.

The stories are short, three to five pages at most, yet the message that the author wanted to impart can be felt through those few pages. Straightforward yet poignant, imaginative, heart-felt and oftentimes satirical, the stories showed a side of Singapore behind its rich and glamorous appearance.

Xi Ni Er imparts his opinion about the Sino-Japanese war, the indifference of the younger Singaporeans to their country’s culture and tradition, their forgotten history, and the consequences of Singapore’s growth as a first world country. In his short stories the author pointed out how establishments with historical values, as well as their natural resources were compromised and destroyed to build the high rise buildings and modern infrastructures that you can see in Singapore today. How their own language is starting to die and replaced by foreign languages. And how, sadly, the present generation doesn’t feel anything at all about these changes.

I can feel the author’s sincere love for Singapore’s past, culture and tradition and how he must feel sad and disappointed that everything is changing so fast. And that their rich history is now becoming a forgotten memory. As for me, The Earnest Mask gave me a glimpse of Singapore through the eyes of its citizen who knows its heart and soul and not blinded by the glimmer of its outside appearance.

MY RATING

4 stars

NEVER LET ME GO

NEVER LET ME GOAuthor: KAZUO ISHIGURO

Genre: Dystopian, Adult Fiction

Publication: November 4th 2010 by Faber and Faber (first published 2005)

“When I watched you dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go…. I saw you and it broke my heart. And I’ve never forgotten.”

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

MY THOUGHTS

Kazuo Ishiguro’s writing voice was straight forward yet hauntingly beautiful. I fell in love with the book even though I don’t really like the characters and that was all because the author’s prose was so heart-wrenching and so nostalgic. And it hit a part of my heart that really digs this kind of prose. Especially since Never Let Me Go made me cry and it even haunts me in my sleep.

Never Let Me Go is the type of book that’s hard to put down. Even though I don’t have any idea what I’m reading about at the beginning, I keep on turning the pages. The story was like a jigsaw puzzle that gradually takes shape as I read. I believe it was the power of Ishiguro’s writing that kept my attention. After all, the story, the air around it, was really disturbing. The characters seems to be normal people yet I can feel that they were different. It was in the way Kathy narrates the story, in the way the students act, in the way they were brought up in Hailsham, in the way the guardians treat them.

It took me up to the second part of the story to figure out what bothers me while reading the book. It’s because the characters felt so… inhuman. That even though they talk about friendship, relationships, sex and love, I feel that something is lacking. Like the way they talk and act feels mechanical. I learned halfway that it was because they were clones. And that they were created to become organ donors to cure sickness.

It was really tragic, that they could not do anything to change their destiny. It was so heart-wrenching, that feeling of helplessness and acceptance of their role in life. So at the end, when Tommy screamed his heart out after they learned about the truth, I really cried.

But as I have said, I don’t really like the characters. Especially Ruth. I hate her until the end. I really didn’t believe in their “deep” friendship because I felt like they kept on betraying one another since they were children until they were already adults. Even that feeling of “love”. I really didn’t feel it. So when “madame” asked Kathy and Tommy at the last few chapters about how they were sure they are in love, it made me nod to myself because I really didn’t feel the love. Anyway, they just lack something. I don’t know if the author really created his characters that way because after all, they were clones and they are not really humans with souls and real emotions. I have no way of knowing. But I was drawn in by the cruelty of the world they were living in and I was able to get what the author was trying to impart to his readers. Most of all, I really cried at the end where I found one of my favorite passages in the whole book, where I finally felt the LOVE:

“I stood there, looking at that strange rubbish, feeling the wind coming across those empty fields, that I started to imagine just a little fantasy thing, because this was Norfolk after all, and it was only a couple of weeks since I’d lost him. I was thinking about the rubbish, the flapping plastic in the branches, the shore-line of odd stuff caught along the fencing, and I half-closed my eyes and imagined this was the spot where everything I’d ever lost since my childhood had washed up, and I was now standing here in front of it, and if I waited long enough, a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field, and gradually get larger until I’d see it was Tommy, and he’d wave, maybe even call.”

MY RATING

4 stars

KIELI volume 1: The Dead Sleep In The Wilderness

KIELI volume 1

Author: Yukako Kabei

Genre: Japanese Light Novel, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Ghosts

Publication: July 14th 2009 by Yen Press (first published in Japan January 1st 2003)

“Right now, my life’s generally not so bad, so don’t worry about me. I enjoy what I can wherever I am, and I have someone who’s making my life good. But… I’m fed up with it already. Just imagine, every single person I meet up with dies, leaving me behind.”

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

Kieli is a reclusive girl isolated by her ability to see ghosts. Her only friend is her “roommate,” Becca, the precocious spirit of a former student still residing in Kieli’s dorm. Everything in Kieli’s life changes suddenly when the girls meet the handsome but distant Harvey who, like Kieli, can see ghosts. He also turns out to be one of the legendary Undying, an immortal soldier bred for war now being hunted by the Church. When Kieli joins Harvey on a pilgrimage to lay to rest the spirit of a corporal possessing an old radio, as unlikely as it seems, she feels she may have finally found a place where she belongs in the world. And in Kieli, Harvey may have found a reason to live again.

MY THOUGHTS

The story is set in a fictional planet different from ours. A planet where the ruler is an institution they call the Church. It was said that the first people of the planet were saints from a mother planet who came riding a huge spaceship. Many years ago, the planet was progressive because of the high abundance of energy source. But then a war happened. The energy sources dried out. The planet was on the brink of destruction. To end the war, the Church invented the Undying – the immortal soldiers. They were the tools to finish all the soldiers. They killed mercilessly. But when the war ended, the Church didn’t have any much use for them anymore so they began to hunt them. The history of the war was even changed. Making them the villains. The Demons of War. The scapegoat.

Many years later, the story began with Kieli, a teenage girl who can see ghosts. She can even see the memories of the spirits she comes in contact with. Before the colonization week – a long holiday in their planet – she met Harvey who she later learned was an Undying. She also met Corporal, a spirit inside an old radio. The adventure began when Kieli joined Harvey in a journey to bring Corporal’s spirit to where his remains were.

Being a light novel, the story was fast paced. There seems to be something happening in every page and I like it that way. This volume was full of adventures, ghosts and action. The world building was not rushed but I can easily imagine the world the characters were living in. But what I love most about this book is the deep history behind the story. Especially Harvey’s past and his connection to the Corporal. I can feel that there are still many revelations about their planet in the next volumes of this book.

I also love the vintage, nostalgic feel of KIELI. It was beautifully written and heart-wrenching. I like the concept of the Undying. I love Harvey as well as the sorrowful vibe I can feel just by reading about him. I also like Kieli who, thankfully, was not the annoying type of heroine. There were many times that I felt a sting in my eyes while reading. It was a tragic story of a dystopian society. Of an outcast girl who can only make friends with the dead. Of a soldier who was tired of seeing all the people he cared for growing old while he still looks the same. And even though I have my doubts, I wish deep in my heart that this story will have a happy ending. That Harvey, in his long immortal life, could someday find the happiness he so much deserves. There are still a lot of volumes to go, though. So I’m still not sure. But what I am sure of is that out of the few Japanese light novels I’ve encountered so far, Kieli is one of my favorites.

MY RATING

5 stars

[REVIEW] The Disappearing Dolphins

larger coverAUTHOR: JENNIFER KELMAN with Jordyn & Kyle Kelman, Illustrated by Michael Swaim

FORMAT: Color Paperback

PAGES: 32 pages

GENRE: Juvenile Fiction, Children’s

PUBLICATION DATE: February 14,2015 by Outskirts Press, Inc.

WEBSITE: The Disappearing Dolphins

ADD IT: Goodreads

BUY IT: Barnes&Noble | Amazon

SYNOPSIS

Can You See the Disappearing Dolphins? Kevin and his twin sister Jackie always enjoy going to the beach with their mommy, but Kevin can tell that today will be extra-special. As he and Jackie start building a sandcastle, Kevin sees a fantastic sight: a dolphin, jumping and playing in the ocean. Kevin is known for his vivid imagination, and when he tells Jackie about the dolphin, she doesn’t believe him. As he watches the joyful antics of the dolphin in the sparkling sea, Kevin is convinced that the dolphin is real-even he couldn’t make up something this fantastic! Determined to share the magic of the dolphin, Kevin sets out on an adventure of discovery that will create lifelong memories for him and for Jackie. With warm, comforting language and beautiful illustrations, The Disappearing Dolphins is sure to become a favorite with anyone who cherishes the wonder of the natural world as seen through children’s eyes.

MY THOUGHTS

A paperback copy was graciously given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Disappearing Dolphins is a very charming book. It made me want to go to the beach too. Kevin and his twin sister Jackie were adorable. I had fun reading about them. The story started when the twins went to the beach with their mother. While making a sandcastle, Kevin suddenly saw a dolphin. At first, he thought he was just seeing things and his twin sister didn’t believe it when he told her about it. But then, he saw the dolphin again. And another dolphin and another! Until Jackie saw the dolphins with her own eyes too. Thus began their fun adventure with the dolphins.

It was a short but enjoyable read. I like that Kevin was imaginative and creative. In his eyes, the dolphins were dancing, smiling and even winking. He was able to enjoy his time with his sister and mother and the dolphins because of his imagination. It made me remember myself when I was a child. When all I do to pass the time is imagine all kinds of things.

Also, I can feel the heart and cheerfulness of the author in her prose. It made the narrative of the story easy to read. Almost bubbly. Those emotions can be easily felt by the reader. And I’m sure it will also reach the listener.

Aside from the story, I also adored the illustrations. The dolphins were so cute. The colors are lively and good to the eyes. Maybe other people might not be impressed with the illustrations but I just have this soft spot for old school style of drawing so, it was good for me.

I am sure that children will love to read and/or listen to this story. This book will teach the children to be kind to other creatures like the dolphins. It will also teach them the value of family bonding. Most of all I’m sure they will be inspired by Kevin’s creativity that they will start to see situations that seemingly simple at first into an adventure. This will give them an idea that despite the new technologies available today, there is nothing better than a good imagination.

MY RATING

4 stars

THE AUTHOR

author - JENNIFER KELMANJennifer Kelman is a licensed clinical social worker, life coach, author, and entrepreneur. She enjoys cycling and tennis, and finds endless creative inspiration from her young twins. She is the author of the award-winning
Mrs. Pinkelmeyer® series featuring the lovable dog Moopus McGlinden®. The Disappearing Dolphins is her third children’s book.

To know more about the author and more about this book please read my Author Interview post.

Top 10 Books From My Childhood (Or teen years) That I Would Love To Revisit

THE REAL TOP TEN TUESDAY

Another Top Ten Tuesday post. This feature was created by The Broke And The Bookish. I wasn’t able to post for last week’s topic because one – we don’t have spring in our country (LOL) and two – because I got busy and wasn’t able to think of what to write. But this week, I’m happy that I was able to post something. Especially since the topic for this week is books from my childhood that I would love to revisit. Before listing down my top ten, I would like to tell you that back then, I only read a few number of authors so you will see the same authors in my post. Here I go.

1. Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling – Started reading this back in grade school up until college. This series really was part of my childhood that I cried after I finished reading Deathly Hollows. I will surely read this series in the near future.

2. Rice Without Rain by Minfong Ho – I’ve read this when I was in high school. Not because it was required but because I was a library junk back then. Out of all the Asian literature books I’ve read back then, this is one of the books that left the strongest impression to me. I can still remember the whole story as well as the name of the male protagonist (his name is Ned). I remembered how I cried when I was reading it. I remembered my disappointment when Ned didn’t choose to stay. But I like the ending when the female protagonist’s sister gave birth at the same time as the rain they have all been waiting for finally came.

3. Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata – the first Japanese literature that I’ve ever read. Back in high school, our library had a lot of Asian novels and it was the reason why I collect them now.

4. Three-Cornered World by Natsume Soseki – the book that really made me in love with Japanese Literature. Melancholic, nostalgic and poignant. It has been so long since I last read this that I haven’t shelf this in my “read” shelf on goodreads yet. I want to read it again first.

5. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks – the first Sparks book that I’ve read and probably one of the two out of all his works that I loved.

6. A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks – my favorite Sparks novel. Actually I stopped reading his books already. The last book I’ve read was The Rescue. This book can still make me cry no matter how many times I read it. It feels so different from his other books.

7. Love Story by Erich Segal – ah. Another tear jerker. There was a rumor that A Walk To Remember was inspired by Love Story since it was published first and the two books have almost the same plot line. But I believe that each book has a different appeal and unique in its own way. I read this book while riding the bus and it was the first time that I cried in public.

8. The Class by Erich Segal – I’ve read this in College and I think it was a perfect timing. The story is about a group of students from Harvard, their student life until they become an adult. This book is so underrated that I feel like crying.

9. Doctors by Erich Segal – I think it’s already quite obvious that Erich Segal is one of my favorite authors. Doctors is my favorite out of all his books. This book is epic.

10. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster – Such a feel good classic. Short and easy to read.

Aw, typing the titles made me want to really re-read them again. I also realized that I haven’t written reviews for these books. Hmm, alright. I decided that I will start tonight. 🙂

UNFIXABLE

unfixableAuthor: Tessa Bailey

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Erotica

Publication: April 14th 2014 by Entangled Publishing (Embrace)

“Love comes in many forms. It’s not always sweet. Or comfortable. Sometimes it’s selfish and consuming. Volatile. It makes choices for you. It demands you to obey it, not taking no for an answer. And it’s usually right. It knows you better than you know yourself.”

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

He’s the last thing she wants…but the only thing she needs.

Willa Peet isn’t interested in love. She’s been there, done that, and has the shattered heart to prove it. Ready to shake the breakup, she heads to Dublin, Ireland. But there’s a problem. A dark-haired, blue-eyed problem with a bad attitude that rivals her own. And he’s not doling out friendly Irish welcomes.

Shane Claymore just wants to race. The death of his father forced him off the Formula One circuit, but he’s only staying in Dublin long enough to sell the Claymore Inn and get things in order for his mother and younger sister. He never expected the sarcastic American girl staying at the inn to make him question everything.

But even as Willa and Shane’s fiery natures draw them together, their pasts threaten to rip them apart. Can Shane give up racing to be with the woman he loves, or will Willa’s quest to resurrect the tough-talking, no-shit-taking girl she used to be destroy any hope of a future together?

MY THOUGHTS

I devoured this book like a mad woman. I was craving for a good New Adult Romance novel and I was so happy I picked Unfixable. Because well, it was more than good. I know Willa Peet because I’ve read about her in Protecting What’s His (Derek and Willa’s sister Ginger’s story). And since then I was already wishing to read more about her.

Willa is broken. She has a very dark and traumatic past and no matter how much Evan, her first boyfriend, tries to change her, she can’t. She just felt suffocated and guilty that she cannot live up to his expectation. So she broke up with him and found herself in Dublin. I like Willa. I like her strong character. I didn’t find her smart mouth and sassy attitude pretentious and irritating like I sometimes feel in other female characters I’ve read before. In fact, I find her cool and lovable.

And Shane Claymore… now that guy is hot and handsome. I can sense it in the way he talks (I can almost hear his Irish accent) and the way his movement was described by the author. He’s… alive. But most of all, what I like best about Shane is the way he cares for his family and for Willa even though he looks like he doesn’t care. He’s the type of guy that will do something surprising and so out of character that it will hit you like an arrow to your chest.

Sparks always fly between him and Willa every time they meet but I like it that the scenes were not rushed. That the author gave them time to get to know each other and that they tried to resist the attraction between them. That’s why when they finally let go of their feelings the love scene was so satisfying and beautiful. I can easily feel their storming emotions. I can feel the love and the pain.

And as if those things were not enough, Tessa Bailey gave the readers a glimpse of Ginger and Derek’s life and I was a goner. This book is just so adorable, intense and heart-warming all at the same time.

Unfixable is one hot read. But it’s not only about romance. It was also about the value of family, about making decisions, about how to overcome regrets, about finding yourself and loving what you find no matter how different it may be from what other people think as normal. Most of all, it’s about finding someone who will love you for what you are.

MY RATING

4 stars

[Review] McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication

workman's complicationAuthor: Rich Leder

Genre: Mystery, Humor, Adult Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Publication: September 7th 2014 by Laugh Riot Press

Website: Workman’s Complication

(For more information and where to buy the book check out my feature and author interview blog post)

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:

WAY-OFF BROADWAY ACTRESS. MURDERED PI FATHER. NEW DAY JOB.

Off-off-off-off Broadway actress Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigations business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance company elevator.

A concrete-carrying, ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding, can never work—or dance—again, and sues the contractor for a whole lot of money.

Kate assembles the eccentric tenants of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble.

But not as much as Kate, who sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot of arrested for murdering a medical examiner.

Will Kate bust the insurance scam, prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade? She might, but it’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious.

MY THOUGHTS

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

There is a saying that life begins at 40. But for Kate McCall that was an understatement. She’s forty five, a forever struggling theater actor currently rehearsing a vampire musical under a theater company called Schmidt and Parker, a mother of a lawyer, a part time dog walker and a residential manager of a building she named the House Of Emotional Tics. Then one day, her life changed when her father was found dead inside a building’s elevator leaving her his private investigation company. Thus began her work as a Private Investigator in search for her father’s killer while working on a case of Workman’s Compensation. She uses her acting skills and disguising herself to solve her cases.

I like it that the author wrote this story in a humorous way so it was not really hard to read. Kate McCall was very interesting, funny, strong, independent and brave. Even the other characters surrounding her were so fun to read. I especially love the people living in the House Of Emotional Tics. Their characterizations were so rich, so vivid that I can easily imagine them. The players from the theater group were hilarious too.

The mystery cases, on the other hand, seem simple but not really. The suspects were too smart. I was amazed that Kate can think of strategies to crack her suspects. It was so hard to predict how she can solve the case or who killed who. So when the truth came about I was shocked. I don’t know if I was slow or if deep inside I know who was behind everything and I’m just in denial. All I know is my heart broke (so my full star rating became four stars. I just can’t move on!).

Speaking of heart break, I would like to point out that this book was not only pure humor and mystery. This was also about family, friendship, love and betrayal. There were parts that made me want to cry with Kate, especially when she remembers her father. Jimmy McCall was dead from the very beginning but when Kate and her son remembers him I feel like I’ve known him my whole life too.

“It’s hard for me to remember his voice. I wish I had recorded him saying, I don’t care, anything, reading the phone book. Just the sound of his voice is all I want. I can’t believe I’ll never hear it again.”

“How do you keep going,” he said, “when all you want to do is stop the world and get off?”

“I close my eyes and listen carefully, and I hear him telling me to quit crying and take care of business. Jimmy wouldn’t want us to stop the world and get off. He’d want us to keep fighting. I want to make him proud. That’s what keeps me going.”

Rich Leder was able to combine humor, mystery, action and a little bit of drama and I think that was amazing. Good thing he decided to publish this despite the rejections he received from traditional publishers (please read his author interview. It was inspiring especially if you wish to get a book published). If he stopped trying to publish his work just because of those rejections, I would have never got a chance to read something like this.

Reading Workman’s Complication, I can easily feel that Rich Leder has a scriptwriting background. Everything was well thought. The back stories of each character were so rich you would love to read about them again (Hello, Fu!). I feel like I’m watching a movie the whole time I’m reading. And mind you, it’s a good thing. In fact, I can’t get enough of this book I want to read the sequels already.

MY RATING

4 stars

McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication and Author Interview

workman's complication

AUTHOR: RICH LEDER

FORMAT: Paperback/ Ebook

PAGES: 394 pages

GENRE: Adult Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Humor

PUBLICATION DATE: September 7th 2014 by Laugh Riot Press

WEBSITE: Workman’s Complication

ADD IT: Goodreads

BUY IT: Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Barnes&Noble | Google Play | Createspace

SYNOPSIS

Off-off-off-off Broadway actress Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigations business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance company elevator.

A concrete-carrying, ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding, can never work—or dance—again, and sues the contractor for a whole lot of money.

Kate assembles the eccentric tenants of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble.

But not as much as Kate, who sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot of arrested for murdering a medical examiner.

Will Kate bust the insurance scam, prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade? She might, but it’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious.

INTERVIEW WITH RICH LEDER

What is the title of your book?

McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication

What genre does your book fall under?

McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication is funny mystery with a woman PI.

What is your book about?

MCCALL & COMPANY: WORKMAN’S COMPLICATION

WAY-OFF BROADWAY ACTRESS. MURDERED PI FATHER. NEW DAY JOB.

Off-off-off-off Broadway actress Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigation business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance company elevator.

A concrete-carrying, ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding and can never work—or dance—again, and then sues the contractor for a whole lot of money.

Kate assembles the eccentric tenants of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble.

But not as much trouble as Kate, who sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot of arrested for murdering a medical examiner.

Will Kate bust the insurance scam, prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade?

She might, but it’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious.

Why did you decide to write it?

I had written murder mystery movies for television and also some comedies (for features and TV) and had a thought I should write a funny murder mystery series of novels set in New York City starring an off-off-off-off Broadway actress who inherits her father’s PI business after he’s found murdered in an insurance company elevator and uses her acting “skills” to find her father’s killer and solve other mysteries too. I have no idea where that thought came from—left field, outer space—but it made me laugh, so here I am writing the third book in the series.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft of McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication took about six months to write.

 

How did you get your book published? Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

As soon as I completed McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication, I set about the business of signing with a New York literary agent. I did, but that journey took almost a year. Then, together, we set out to find a traditional publishing company for my book and heard the same response a dozen times: “Rich is one hilarious, talented writer. I laughed out loud and had no idea whodunit! But we’re passing because funny books are too hard to sell.”

Okay, a dozen times is not that many, I know, but I’m older than I was when I set out to be a Hollywood screenwriter, and so I had the time to wait it out back then, but now, like I said, I’m older than I used to be so a dozen times was like a hundred times to someone as young as I was then.

Throughout the process, I had been researching self-publishing and thought: what a perfect plan for a control-freak writer of funny books. So I created Laugh Riot Press, a social media marketing and self-publishing company, and LRP has published my four funny novels.

What types of readers will be interested in your book?

Readers who like to laugh out loud will love McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication and so will readers who like a mystery that keeps them guessing until the very end.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired then and remain inspired to this day by the novelists I admire, some of whom are: Richard Ford, John Irving, Philip Roth, Donald E. Westlake, John D. MacDonald, Carl Hiaasen, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, and many others who blow me away with their style and story and heart and wit.

What is special about your book? What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

I think what makes McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication special is its sense of humor. The book is funny. I mean, readers are telling me they’re laughing out loud. Kirkus Reviews says the novel is “…gloriously self aware…” and I think that’s about right.

 

Have you published any other books? Do you plan to publish more?

Laugh Riot Press has published the second book in my PI series, McCall & Company: Swollen Identity, and also published a standalone, Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench, a romantic Hollywood sex comedy. In a few months, LRP will publish another standalone, a wild caper called Let There Be Linda, which editor DD Rankin has labeled a “sick and twisted tour de force.” And later this year, Laugh Riot Press will publish the third McCall & Company novel, which I am writing as we speak.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author photo

Rich Leder

Novelist—Screenwriter—Publisher

Rich Leder has been a working writer for more than two decades. His screen credits include 18 produced television films for CBS, Lifetime, and Hallmark and feature films for Paramount Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, and Left Bank Films.

Laugh Riot Press has published his four funny novels: McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication; McCall & Company: Swollen Identity; Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench; and Let There Be Linda.

He has been the lead singer in a Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach, an indie film director, a literacy tutor, a PTA board member, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a commercial real estate agent, and a visiting artist for the University of North Carolina Wilmington Film Studies Department, among other things, all of which, it turns out, was grist for the mill. He resides on the North Carolina coast with his awesome wife, Lulu, and is sustained by the visits home of their three college kids.

GET IN TOUCH WITH HIM THROUGH:

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BLOGGER NOTE: I’m almost finished reading the book. I will post my review soon and I’m so excited to do so! Also, the ebook copy of this book is currently free in Kobo, iBooks and Barnes &Noble (I checked just now). I don’t know for how long so go and download it now. ^_^