Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ask Me If I’m Happy by Kimberly Menozzi


             Italy in Books - Reading Challenge 2011


  • Paperback: 492 pages
  • Genre: Romantic Fiction
  • Publisher: Amazon Digital Services 2010 and Good to go Press 2011
  • Source: eBook provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
  • Review Quote: "A wonderful debut novel by a talented writer.  Nell Dixon, author of "Animal Instincts"
  • A Favourite Quote: “The role that ancient mythology has in modern fiction is little appreciated, but nonetheless undeniable. All modern themes are merely re-workings of ancient tales and have been told around the fire since time immemorial…”
  • My Opinion:  I doubt I would have chosen to read this if left to my own devices. However I am so glad I had the opportunity to do so.




The June post with a list of books that the other people taking part are reading this month has already been posted. June Reviews


Ask Me If I’m Happy is a strong romantic novel strengthened by the setting and the use of the Italian language, which make this novel a perfect read, not only for fans of romantic novels but those who love all things Italian. The Italian presence is very evident and the author shares her flaws not just her beauty.

The two protagonists are Emily Miller and Davide Magnani they fall in love at first sight! I am not sure I believe in this actually being love when there is an instant chemistry between two people. I think love and true friendship is something that grows from those first attractions. It is not a simple relationship though as these feelings strike on the day Emily is leaving Italy to return to her native America, she thinks for ever after having had her heart broken by another Italian male. We all know that the path of true love is never simple and these two certainly have a rollercoaster of a relationship with coincidences, lies and hidden truths all getting in the way before Davide is able to convince Emily that Italy is where she should be.

Kimberley's writing is very realistic and her characters all feel very believable while her descriptions will make you feel you are in Italy. As I am not a great fan of too good to be true romance I was at times a little frustrated with their behaviour but I got caught up in the dream. I was a little surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did. I think it was because of the talent of this young lady in her portrayal of a modern love affair.

A very enjoyable choice for my Italy in Books - Reading Challenge 2011 this month.


Kimberly MenozziKimberly Menozzi – Facebook Photo.

An aspiring writer from the age of eight, American born Kimberly Menozzi began writing her first stories instead of paying attention in school. In 2003, she met, fell in love and married a year later  an Italian accountant named Alessandro.  She has lived in Italy ever since and in 2007,  inspired by her love/hate relationship with Italy the novel Ask Me If I'm Happy was completed in 2009.

Information for this post is with thanks to the following websites.

Amazon - Kimberly Menozzi

Authors Official Website

Facebook - Kimberly Menozzi



I also post these ‘Italy in Books’ reviews on my other blog

News From Italy

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn




  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Publisher: Tindal Street Press 2007, this edition 2008
  • Review Quote: ‘Part ghost story and part mystery, What Was Lost is an enthralling tale of a little girl lost, wrapped in a portrait of a changing community over two decades’ The Observer.
  • My Opinion:  Gripping and mysterious.
  • Awards: Costa First Novel 2007, Galaxy British Book Awards Newcomer of the Year 2008, Long listed for Man Booker Prize 2007.

    A double narrative that moves back and forth between the present and the past whilst revealing to us what became of the protagonist Kate. The action is centred around an enormous shopping mall which when the story opens in 1984 is where ten year old Kate spends much of her time. A bright girl but a loner, the mall has become her sanctuary from an unhappy home life. Her time is spent at playing detective,with the help of a stuffed monkey as an assistant. Her dream to have her own investigative agency when she is grown up. A neighbours adult son Adrian is her only real confidante, so it is no surprise that when Kate mysteriously disappears, blame is directed at him.

    The present is some twenty years later and a realistic study of how modern urban life can centre round a shopping mall. Scary thought and made me dislike such places even more than I already do, they are devoid of personality in my opinion. The mystery deepens as Adrian's much younger sister is now a young woman working in a record store in the mall. Through her friendship with a security guard in the centre she learns of the ghostly glimpses of a little girl, with a soft toy in her hand, that appear on the centres CCTV systems. The past and the mystery behind what really happened to Kate is eventually solved.

    A gripping and mysterious read that will make you laugh, yet also has the ability to feel strangely haunting.

    The video I have included is worth watching as Catherine O’Flynn explains where she got her ideas for this novel from without any spoilers.


    Catherine O’Flynn courtesy of Google Images.

    Catherine O’Flynn is British, born in 1970 and now lives and works in Birmingham, England.

    ‘What Was Lost’, was very nearly not published, receiving rejection slips from major publishers before she sent it to Tindal Street Press, a small publisher based in Birmingham. Since publication it has had great reviews, won awards and been translated into 25 languages. ‘What Was Lost’ was her debut novel, her second ‘The News Where You Are’ was published in July 2010.

    Information used in this post is with thanks to the following websites.

    YouTube - Catherine O'Flynn

    Wikipedia - Catherine O'Flynn

    Tindal Street Press - Catherine O'Flynn

  • Thursday, June 16, 2011

    A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks



  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Publisher: Vintage Books 2010
  • Source: Gift from another Bookcrosser
  • Review Quote: ‘A vicious satire on modern life’. Daily Telegraph 
  • My Opinion:  Very different from his previous books.

    This is the eighth and most recent novel that Sebastian Faulks has had published and differs from his normal style as it is the first one set totally in the present day. It is therefore impossible I feel to praise or criticise in comparison to his other novels. It stands alone as a contemporary novel from this diverse author of literary fiction and is a very interesting study on modern day life. Themes we have all been affected by in recent years terrorism, banking and greed.

    Set in London,over a period of just the seven days in the week before Christmas, following the lives of seven protagonists. What a motley collection of characters they are a hedge fund manager, a Polish professional footballer, a young lawyer, a student, a journalist book-reviewer, a schoolboy and a Tube train driver. The latter whose Circle Line train joins these characters lives together. The novel is a complex study of modern urban life and the reader is able to see the effects of society on these characters long before they can.
    In the end though they are all forced to accept the reality of the world we live in.

    A Week In December is both a humorous and frighteningly realistic portrayal of the modern day world.

    Man with curly brown hair, grey-blue irises, and a short beard. He is wearing a white shirt with the collar open and a jacket.Photo from Wikipedia.

    Sebastian Faulks CBE (born 20 April 1953) is a British journalist and novelist.

    There is a very interesting article on A Week In December  to be found on the authors official website here 

    Links to other posts I have written about Sebastian Faulks and his novels

    LindyLouMac's Book Reviews: Sebastian Faulks

    LindyLouMac's Book Reviews: Engleby by Sebastian Faulks

    LindyLouMac's Book Reviews: Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks

    LindyLouMac's Book Reviews: Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks

    Information for this post is with thanks to the following websites.

    Sebastian Faulks – Wikipedia

    Sebastian Faulks - Official Website

  • Saturday, June 11, 2011

    The Alchemist by Paul Coelho


                        Product Details

  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Publisher: Harper Collins Edition 1999
  • Source: Gift from another Bookcrosser
  • Review Quote: ‘Coelho’s writing is beautifully poetic but his message is what counts..He gives me hope and puts a smile on my face’ The Express.
  • A Favourite Quote: "Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," the alchemist replies. "And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."
  • My Opinion:  This fable reinforces my philosophy that in this life one should try to overcome difficulties to follow your dreams.


    A modern classic which was first published in 1988 in Portuguese, which has since been translated into seventy–one languages, making it the most translated book by a living author. It has sold more than sixty-five million copies in more than one hundred and fifty countries, making it one of the best selling books in history. 

    The Alchemist is not a complicated story, just a fable with a message about overcoming difficulties to enable you to follow your dreams. It is the story of Santiago a young shepherd from Andalusia who dreams of travelling the world in search of treasures. In his travels to Tangiers and Egypt he meets people with wisdom to impart, including an Englishman from whose books Santiago first learns about alchemists. Later he actually meets an alchemist who teaches him that the reason we remain unfulfilled in our lives is caused by the fear of failure.

    This novel appeals to so many people as its outlook is so optimistic, telling us everything is possible if we really want it to happen.  Everyone wants to think that the things we aspire to in this life, but never thought attainable may just be so after all. Therein  I think lies the secret of the success of this best selling novel.

  • This video I found on YouTube is an excellent introduction to the book without any spoilers.

  • "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

  • paulabraconnot


  • Paul Coelho

  • Paulo CoelhoPhoto from Facebook

  • Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 24th 1947 more information about his life can be found either on Wikipedia or his Official Website Paul Coelho.

  • What an interesting man this author is, while researching him  I discovered some facts about him that made me realise what a well admired personality he is.

    1. He is a Peace Messenger for the UN

    2. He has over 5 million Facebook fans.

    3. He has 1,678,557 followers on Twitter and follows just 90 people, including Lady Gaga.

    4. The Paulo Coelho Institute  gives help to the underprivileged and ostracized members of Brazilian society, mainly children and the elderly.

    Information for this post is with thanks to the following websites.

    Wikipedia - Paul Coelho

    Wikipedia - The Alchemist

    Paul Coelho - Official Website

    Paul Coelho – Blog

    Paul Coelho - Facebook Page