Monday, September 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - September 27


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 
I waited until Jane had returned to her office and closed the door before crawling under my desk and huddling there with my arms wrapped around my knees.
Mona rolled aside my chair and peeked in at me, her reading glasses dangling from her neck. "Vi, what are you doing?"
"From whom?"
"The world."
"Sweetheart, you're going to need to find a better hiding spot to accomplish that."
From Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles

Book Review: Aefle and Gisela by Libby Malin

Aefle and  Gisela by Libby Malin
Publisher: Istoria Books
Publish Date: July 26, 2011
Fiction, Romantic Comedy
 ASIN: B005DM323W

My Review:
My thoughts:  Aefle and Gisela is a classic romantic comedy of errors.  He thinks he's doing right, but he's doing all the wrong things.  She thinks she's right, but she's not quite right either. But somehow the two manage to get things right in the end, and that's all that matters.

It was a rainy weekend here on the coast of NC and my kids were at their grandparents, that meant hours of uninterrupted reading time, yay!  I spent my time curled up in my nice reading chair with my quilt, Diet Dr. Pepper and my trusty Kindle with Aefle and Gisela ready to go.  I was transported north of NC to a tiny town on the Virginia shore and to Baltimore to an esteemed college campus.  And I met two characters who would become important to me for the next few hours and who stuck in my mind for the next few days, Thomas (Timid Tommy) and DeeDee who seemed much larger than life (see the guest blog by Libby before this post to see DeeDee in action).  I laughed during this book, I felt for Thomas and the way he was bullied.  At times I wanted to tell him to man up.  At times I wanted to tell DeeDee to calm down, but the whole time I felt myself relate to both characters.

Though it was somewhat painful to watch their relationship grow in fits and starts, it was amusing at times.  Thomas was truly locked in his world of academia and seemed oblivious.  I know people like this so I understand there are truly people like this out in the world.  DeeDee however would not cut him any slack at times, and I understand, I'm sure it was frustrating feeling like he was talking down to her.  But ultimately they both start to learn from each other and the "a-ha" moments are beautiful.  Ms. Malin does the characterizations beautifully through the book, guiding them to that ultimate moment when they realize what they have been doing and how they can change a little without losing themselves and have the relationship they want.  It's pure magic.

The storyline is great and the secondary characters really help push the story along, the jilted groom, the lawyers in the suit, the other professors at the college, all have a role to play and they are great characters.  I truly enjoyed every minute of this story.  It was well plotted and kept my interest through the whole book.  I just can't say enough about this great romantic comedy.

If you are looking for a great afternoon read and enjoy romantic comedies then this is the book for you.  Great characters, great plot, all rolled into a book you can't put down, you'll want to find out exactly who this Aefle is and in the process get to know two great characters in Thomas and DeeDee.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:

Medieval History Professor Thomas Charlemagne thinks he's finally slaying the dragon of his "Timid Tommy" reputation when he responds to an outlandish dare at a bachelor party and stops a wedding the very next morning.

The only problem? He wanders into the wrong church.

That doesn't matter to bride DeeDee McGowan, however, who was having second, third, and fourth thoughts about saying "I do" anyway. She grabs the chance to leave her groom at the altar, dragging Tom with her.

DeeDee and Tom share a history, a fling more than ten years ago, before he went off to graduate school and started ascending the career ladder of academe and she took over her father's car dealership in sleepy Oyster Point, Maryland, building it into a coveted business treasure. Their reconnection sets sparks flying between them -- from the original passion that bonded them and the class differences that parted them.

Meanwhile, what started as a prank leads to serious legal issues for both Tom and DeeDee as the groom sues them, DeeDee countersues, and Tom is caught in the middle. Concerned that this distraction will affect his quest for tenure, Tom encounters an unsympathetic department chair eager to replace him with a renaissance expert from the UK and a women's studies professor committed to challenging the "validity" of Thomas's signature research into an obscure poetry-writing medieval monk, Aefle, and his lady-love, Gisela.

A comic romp blended with sharp satire, AEFLE AND GISELA delivers laughs and love as Thomas learns, along with his "little monk," that life outside the “scriptorium” requires him to find real courage at last.

About the Author: 
Libby Malin is the award-winning author of romance, literary, mystery and young adult fiction. In an attempt to thoroughly confuse her reader fans, she writes comedy under the name Libby Malin and serious fiction under the name Libby Sternberg. Her first young adult mystery, UNCOVERING SADIE’S SECRETS, was an Edgar nominee, and her first romantic comedy, FIRE ME, was optioned for film. She lives in Pennsylvania, has three children and one husband, and confesses to watching “Real Housewives” shows despite enormous amounts of culture-guilt.


FTC Information: I received this book from the author/publisher for an honest review. 

Guest Blog: Writing the Politically Incorrect Novel by Libby Malin

Writing the Politically Incorrect Novel
by Libby Malin

Have you ever read Katherine Anne Porter’s novella Pale Horse, Pale Rider? If not, run out and buy
it right now!

No, wait! Buy my comedy, Aefle and Gisela, first! J

Porter tells a serious story (about contracting influenza during the 1918 epidemic), but it has a scene
in it that’s been rolling around in my head lately as I think of the themes I explored in Aefle and Gisela.

In Pale Horse, Pale Rider, the protagonist, Miranda, a newspaper society page writer, is being
pressured—bullied, really – to buy Liberty Bonds, which she cannot afford. After a man points out to her
that she could afford one if she paid for it “five dollars a week,” Miranda thinks to herself:

“Suppose I were not a coward, but said what I really thought? Suppose I said to hell with this
filthy war? Suppose I asked that little thug, What’s the matter with you, why aren’t you rotting in Belleau Wood? I wish you were…”

A few moments later, she finds her editor nearly in tears. She, too, was pressured to buy the
bonds. “My God,” her editor says, “they told me I’d lose my job.”

Miranda and her editor feel powerless. It would take courage to resist.

Porter handles the issue seriously and straightforwardly. In my Aefle and Gisela story, I take a
comedic angle, but the subject – courage in the face of overwhelming pressure to conform—is no less

In Aefle and Gisela, Thomas Charlemagne, a thoughtful medieval history professor (whose life work
has centered on an obscure poetry-writing monk, Aefle, and his lady love, Gisela) doesn’t even realize the subtle push to conform until he starts to swim against the tide, by accident at first and then by deliberate choice.

The accident occurs when he accepts a dare to stop a wedding back in his sleepy home town. Luckily (or unluckily) for him, the bride, DeeDee McGowan—a woman with whom he’d had a brief fling many summers ago—was having second thoughts about saying “I do,” and she grabs the chance to leave the altar.

Trouble immediately ensues as lawsuits fly back and forth between the bullying jilted groom and DeeDee, all involving Thomas as a partner to the “crime.” When word of his escapade gets to his department chair at the prestigious university at which he teaches, Tom’s tenure application becomes…tenuous. But Thomas’s bosses are really using his misadventure as an excuse to snub him because it turns out he’s been less than an enthusiastic team player on a number of issues, just barely conforming to the lockstep approach to life and politics shared by his professorial colleagues.

It’s not that Thomas is a rogue. If anything, he’s been somewhat apolitical and non-ideological until
the wedding caper. But once he’s involved with defending DeeDee, he suddenly finds his mind filled
with dangerous thoughts. Until now, he’s not even realized how uniform his peers’ views are. Here’s a
revelatory scene:

“She’s a nice diversion,” Beewater said of DeeDee. “But hardly a good influence.”

A good influence? Since when had Beewater turned into a Puritan?

Thomas didn’t have time to pursue the thread of conversation, though, because Beewater
was called into another group by a friend. As the department chair wandered away, Tom studied the crowd, thinking of Beewater’s comment.

They were all puritans in their own way. They dressed the same -- tan khakis for the men,
meticulously bohemian skirts for the women, expensive beaten-looking boating shoes or canvas sneakers on their feet. They ate the same organic foods and drank the same fair trade teas with wild honey. They drove the same Priuses. They taught from the same bible of secular humanism.  And they shunned -- sometimes with startling coldness -- unbelievers.

When DeeDee’s red figure appeared in a corner of a room, Tom beamed with recognition.
Her dress was a scarlet A in this crowd, a bold statement of sin against their rigid creed.

I have to admit to choosing the academic setting for this romp because it was a target-rich
environment to satirize. We’ve all read news stories of feckless professors spewing a bunch of nonsense,
and, if you have children in college or recently graduated yourself, you know that there’s an awful lot
of tomfoolery masquerading as scholarly work that takes place on most campuses. In fact, as I noted at
the end of Aefle and Gisela, my daughter and her college roommates used to play a game where they’d
make up titles of doctoral dissertations, trying to top each other in ridiculous pomposity. She aided me
immeasurably by constructing the titles of Thomas’s papers and co-writing faculty meeting scenes.
(And, before any readers get upset, I try to balance these satiric rhapsodies with similar ones aimed at
DeeDee’s “rugged individualism.”)

I also couldn’t resist getting in a gentle poke at college writing professors who are so absorbed in the
world of what’s known as “program fiction” (writing programs, that is), that they don’t help their students
learn how to break into commercial fiction. I’ve blogged about this particular bugaboo of mine, if you’re
interested. (If you check out that post, sign up for the Istoria Books mailing list while you’re there!)

Anyway, whatever your own personal ideology or outlook on the world, I hope you enjoy Aefle and
, a book that deals with a serious topic in a humorous way –standing up to bullies— eliciting smiles
at the same time it raises questions. You can buy it for Kindle, Nook or other e-readers!

And, by the way, it was a great joy to e-publish this book. As an author, I felt a tremendous sense
of freedom, knowing I didn’t need to worry about whether an agent or editor would shy away from the
project because it was too “political.”

Please feel free to email me at Libby_Malin (at) Hotmail (dot) com! I love to hear from readers.

Libby Malin is the award-winning author of romance, literary, mystery and young adult fiction.  In an attempt to thoroughly confuse her reader fans, she writes comedy under the name Libby Malin and serious fiction under the name Libby Sternberg. Her first young adult mystery, Uncovering Sadie’s Secrets, was an Edgar nominee, and her first romantic comedy, Fire Me, was optioned for film. She lives in Pennsylvania, has three children and one husband, and confesses to watching “Real Housewives”
shows despite enormous amounts of culture-guilt.

Visit the author’s website at:
Visit the Istoria Books blog to read an interview with the author by her alter ego:

 Thanks Libby for the great guest blog!  Stay tuned for my review of Aefle and Gisela later today (a hint: I loved it!)

In My Mailbox - September 26

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

I had a great mailbox week - it was a slow start, but the end of the week kept my mail lady, the ups man and the fed-ex guy very busy and me very happy! This week to keep the post shorter I have added links to Goodreads if want the summary.

Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves 
From Publisher (Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance)
Release: September 27, 2011
Review coming October 5

Home Sweet Home by Bella Riley (GCP, Forever)
From Publisher (Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance)
Release: September 27, 2011

 Too Wicked to Wed by Cara Elliot
From Publisher (Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance)
Release: October 25, 2011 
Review coming November 2

Becoming Me (Diary of a Teenage Girl #1 Caitlin) by Melody Carlson
Glass Road PR tour - October 11

Wishes & Stitches by Rachael Herron
From Publisher (William Morrow)
Release: October 11, 2011


 Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos
 From Publisher (William Morrow)
Release: October 4, 2011

 REAMDE by Neal Stephenson
  From Publisher (William Morrow)Release: September 20, 2011
 The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
From Publisher (Tor Teen)
Release: September 27, 2011

 The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy
Litfuse Publicity Group Tour (October 24 - November 10)
Release: October 4, 2011

 Baby, It's Cold Outside by Susan May Warren
Litfuse Publicity Group Tour (October 14-28)
Release: October 1, 2011


The Last Blind Date by Linda Yellin
From Publisher (Gallery Books)
Release:  October 4, 2011
Review: October 3

 Survivors by James Wesley Rawles
From Publisher (Atria Books)
Release: October 4

 Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff
Won from Smexy Books
 Release: September 6, 2011

 What did you get in your mailbox this week?