Tag: paul matarelli

Review and Giveaway: All Roads Lead West by Paul Matarelli (closed)

A few months ago I was contacted by author, Paul Matarelli, about reading, reviewing, and giving away a copy of his new novel, All Roads Lead West. With summer almost upon me and no new books in my stack on the bedside table, I decided to give his book a go, and now you can as well! All you have to do is comment on this post and link to the giveaway on either twitter or your facebook page to enter to win an electronic copy!

All Roads Lead West is a recently published book, December 30th 2012, by new author, Paul Matarelli. He is a current New York native, living in Brooklyn, where his main character, Jamie Hayden also resides. Warning, this book is for adults only, full of drugs, sex, and other adult adventures.

All Roads Lead West by Paul Matarelli

His Summary:

How do you know when you’re supposed to stop what you’re doing and change course? I did everything they tell you to do: I went to college, got my degree, and landed a great job. I get wined and dined in the best restaurants New York City has to offer, I do the minimum amount of work that’s required, I take long lunches, I meet celebrities, and I negotiate multi-million dollar television ad deals hung over. If I continue on this path, I will become a wealthy corporate executive…and miserable. What they don’t prepare you for – in all of the canned speeches you hear about your future – is truth about what you’re getting yourself into. The truth is you will be dealing with disgruntled bosses, office politics, vindictive colleagues, and the crippling reality that you are going to spend the best years of your life chained to a desk doing work that will ultimately leave this world worse off than when you arrived. I’m Jamie Hayden, and that’s allabout to change.

My Summary:

When I first read Matarelli’s summary of the book I was intrigued. After all, so many people get caught up in the “rat race” of life. So many are swallowed up by the glitz and glamour of city life, the possibility of hitting it big, and I was curious to find out how his main character, Jamie Hayden, was able to step back from this life and ultimately decide to leave it. I agreed to read his book, and was looking forward to cracking it open when my summer officially started.

I was very excited when I received the notification from Barnes and Noble: “You have received a gift from Paul Matarelli”. I very easily opened up the book on my Nook and got to it. The intro definitely set the tone for the rest of the book, with a pot clouded mind, attempting to seduce a married woman, and on going trains of thoughts that I quickly discovered is typical of Jamie.

As I rounded out the intro I was wondering what this book was really going to be about, I got no sense of future change from this sex driven character, but the last line intrigued me: “I’m Jamie Hayden and I will be your guide through this story; or as I like to call it, my path to enlightenment”. This very direct statement to the reader was a shift from the sense of viewing Jamie’s life secondhand, through his mind. The shift in writing style and statement were enough to hook me, and keep me reading. I was intrigued by this possible “enlightenment”.

The remainder of the novel follows the 27 year old account manager working in the world of television, living in New York City, struggling to decide if New York is where he needs to be. Jamie narrates his tale of trying to find himself, while spending time experimenting with drugs, bar hopping, and sleeping with a range of women. While amidst this intense partying it’s difficult to convince himself to leave it all, after all it seems like any man’s wet dream.

After the intro I expected to read about more of Jamie’s “adventures”, I fully expected more experimentation with drugs and sexcapades, but I was looking forward to the moment that would snap him out of this somewhat unrealistic haze, and into real life. Thinking the other half of the book would be about him finding himself, his true passion, and actually heading west to pursue it, I read on.

After reading 3/4 of the book I realized this was not going to delve into Jamie’s journey west, but instead focus on the final month he spends in New York before leaving. In between the pot, cocaine, and acid use mixed with sleeping around, it did hit on three major events that pushed Jamie to realize it was time for him to leave his corporate 9-5 and try to find his true passion. With A Catcher in the Rye-esk undertone, Jamie spends his last weeks partying, free from responsibility to anyone or anything other than himself, until his eventual departure.

Going into the novel I had to adjust to Matarelli’s writing style. Essentially the book is Jamie’s ongoing train of thought, and often breaks away from what is happening and into thought tangents about past memories, opinions of people, and other unrelated asides. At times it got on my nerves, I wanted to stick to what was going on without getting caught up in the ADD mind of this eccentric character. However, by doing this Matarelli is giving you a true sense of the character. You are literally entering the mind of a drug and sex driven 27 year old man, which I must admit was a hard adjustment to make as a much more settled down woman.

At times I was also a little perturbed by how easily women fell for Jamie’s seduction. I felt the women were portrayed as somewhat one sided, and a bit shallow. But again, this is the interpretation and view of Jamie, and my interpretation is probably driven by my more “settled down” self, already married for three years at age 26. Overall the book was an entertaining read, a good book to take to the beach as a nice, quick, and naughty read. Matarelli has piqued my interest with this novel, and I plan to continue to keep up with his writing career. I am very interested to see what Matarelli writes next, perhaps he will pick up where he left off and give me the enlightened and changed Jamie I so desire.

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is comment on the post and link back to the giveaway through Twitter or Facebook, please include a link to your tweet or facebook page in your comment. The winner will be randomly selected using the plugin And the Winner Is… one week from today (7/22/13). Check out a trailer for the book here and an excerpt on Amazon here!

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Coming Soon: Book Reviews and Giveaways!

Visual-Journal-My-Escape

As a blogger I am often approached to review products, publish guest posts, and advertise for companies. This is an added bonus to something I already enjoy, however in the process I do a lot of nay saying. I refuse to present unrelated information or poorly written posts to my subscribers, and the general web browsing public. However, if something peaks my interest I gladly do a little research and decide if it is worth my time to write about it, and your time to read about it.

All of this comes down to my newest endeavor as a book reviewer. In the past couple of months I have been approached by four separate authors and publishing companies about review upcoming books. If you are a frequenter of my blog you should know by now that I am an avid reader and very supportive of tying the literary and art world together in and out of the classroom. Because of this, it was a no brainer to jump on board and offer something new to my readers. After all art, reading, and writing, are part of the same creative spectrum.

My plan is to post at least one review a month over the summer, and provide you with an honost review of each book. I hope your interest is peaked and you decide to pick up a copy for yourself, after all there is no better way to spend the summer than reading in a hammock or on the beach. I am also pleased to announce that each author was willing and excited to give me an additional copy to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Along with each review I will set up a giveaway you can enter to win your own copy!

Here are excerpts sent to me by the authors and publishers of the books I have been asked to review. They have a wide range in content from children’s books, to research based, to quirky stories. I have never limited my reading to one genre, and I hope you are open to exploring a variety of books with me!

Cozy Classics presents Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables by Holman Wang and Jack Wang

“Designed as developmentally appropriate abridgements for the very youngest of learners, Cozy Classics retell the world’s most beloved literary works in just 12 simple, baby-friendly words. Complemented by photographs of lifelike, expressive and simply stunning needle-felted figures and objects, Cozy Classics inject a sense of narrative into the baby wordbook—and revitalize the genre for young and old alike. For while there are only so many years one can spend learning to count to ten or the colors of the rainbow, the pleasure that is to be found in the works of literature’s greats, as any adult knows, is forever!”

Now, in April 2013, the brothers Wang expand the Cozy Classics repertoire with their takes on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace.

“From a very young age, children fall in love with characters: Barney, Dora, Cinderella,” says Holman Wang. “The Cozy Classics books foster a love of characters that will ultimately lead to the classics themselves. Unlike Barney and Dora, Les Misérables’s Jean Valjean and Pride & Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennett are characters that children will never outgrow.”

This will be the first of my book review series, and I am excited to discuss it with my friends and family who have children. I am very intrigued to see how such complex stories could be reduced to only 12 words. In addition I can’t wait to see the felt sculptures turned photographs used to illustrated the book and reinforce the idea behind the 12 words. Keep your eyes peeled for this review and giveaway at the end of May or beginning of June. To all you mommies out there, this could be a classic addition to your children’s library of educational books!

All Roads Lead West by Paul Matarelli

“How do you know when you’re supposed to stop what you’re doing and change course? I did everything they tell you to do: I went to college, got my degree, and landed a great job. I get wined and dined in the best restaurants New York City has to offer, I do the minimum amount of work that’s required, I take long lunches, I meet celebrities, and I negotiate multi-million dollar television ad deals hung over. If I continue on this path, I will become a wealthy corporate executive…and miserable. What they don’t prepare you for – in all of the canned speeches you hear about your future – is truth about what you’re getting yourself into. The truth is you will be dealing with disgruntled bosses, office politics, vindictive colleagues, and the crippling reality that you are going to spend the best years of your life chained to a desk doing work that will ultimately leave this world worse off than when you arrived. I’m Jamie Hayden, and that’s all about to change.”

This book will be my first novel review and read of the summer. This book sounds like an interesting perspective of the life and career attitude that is so prevalent in our society. When I read this excerpt I immediately begin to visualize a Wizard of Oz type scene, everything gray, black, and white, until Dorothy lands in Oz and everything turns to color. Similarly, this character seems stuck in a dreary world, a life he isn’t satisfied with, until he takes a stand against it. However, leaving me with the line “and that’s all about to change” keeps me in the dark, the black and white world, and I can’t wait to see where this character, Jamie Hayden, and the author, Paul Matarelli will take us. Look for the review and electronic giveaway (for your tablet, Nook, Kindle, or other electronic reading device) of this book in the middle or end of June.

Fun & Games By David Michael Slater

“The 1980’s: it’s the time of Dungeons & Dragons, banana clips, and Atari. Jonathan Schwartz is growing up in a family like no other. His sisters, Nadia, the dark genius, and Olivia, the gorgeous tease and temptress, manipulate Jon and his friends for their own entertainment.And his Holocaust survivor grandparents? Their coping techniques are beyond embarrassing. A disastrous visit to Jon’s class by his grandmother unhinges his famous father, setting off a chain of events that threatens to send the dysfunctional Schwartz clan up in flames once and for all. Fun & Games is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of faith, family secrets, betrayal, and loss—but it’s also a tale of friendship, love, and side-splitting shenanigans.”

This book peaks my interest in so many ways, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The quirky characters combined with interesting history is right down my ally. I love nothing more than a good character study, and this sounds like it is full of interesting characters. The book is set to be released July 20th, and I can’t wait to spend the remainder of June with my nose buried in this novel. Look out for my review and giveaway at the beginning to middle of July.

Studio City A Mile of Style by Joann Deutch

“Impeccably researched, erudite, and filled with unforgettable stories and pictures, Deutch’s book is a MUST-READ for anyone working in the film/TV business, anyone considering a career in the entertainment industry, anyone simply in love with Hollywood, and/or anyone hoping to understand Los Angeles’ past, present and future. 

Author Joann Deutch – a Studio City based lawyer who served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for over 15 years as the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary – tracked down the many untold stories which have left their mark not only on her community, but as well on Hollywood. A riveting and fascinating book that reveals the untold story of a more than often under-exposed, under-valued city and its rich and influential contribution to the film industry.”
I currently have three close friends living in Los Angeles, trying to break into the movie industry. Taking advantage of having a free place to stay, I have been to LA twice to visit, and like many people, was mesmerized by the glamor of the city. I’m looking forward to delving into this book and learning more about the history and inner workings of the complex city and industry that LA is. Look for the review and giveaway of this book in August!
I hope you are as excited as I am about these new books, and will be coming back for a chance to win a free copy of each one! Thanks for stopping by and supporting my blog!
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