So much to say and so little space to say it! I just realized how much I had going on at the original "From the Cheap Seats" and decided to start a little cousin blog. This blog will focus on book reviews and writings of a more creative nature.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Book Review and Giveaway: The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker

Emerald Pointe
364 Pages
Available at Amazon

You might be inclined to dismiss this read as yet another foray into the multitude of stories that has collectively become known as Chick Lit, a term that that I feel dismisses stories told by women about women as being shallow and hackneyed.

Some "Chick Lit" stories may be considered light, fun and easily digestible while lying on a beach or sipping tea in the backyard. There are also stories that challenge the intellect and the soul (my Ben and Jerry stories--yes, you must read them while clutching a pint of Cherry Garcia). Other stories reach deep inside and pull at your heart and make you reconnect with long-lost emotions (tissue, please). Some stories have a little bit of everything. Trite. I think not.

I believe Becca Thorton, wife, mother, Bunko player and the not-so-likable protagonist (don't worry, she has a few redeeming qualities) in Leah Starr Baker's first novel, would agree.

Becca is a wife, mother, Bunko player, and a woman of faith. She has traits that many of can relate to even though we may not wholeheartedly like. The story unfolds on a game table with a few dice where Becca's friends gather and share laughs, tell stories and sometimes, long after the last die has been thrown, open up and share the raw and sometimes gut-wrenching details of their lives. From chronic illness and infertility to loss and infidelity, the challenges each of the Bunko Babes face are ones with which readers will connect.

Becca is flawed, which can be hard for readers to digest being that she is the central character in the novel. She comes off as selfish and self-centered at times, which is why many readers may find they connect with Becca's colorful cast of friends more than Becca. Although Becca's attitude may irritate some readers, there is a payoff (albeit rather late in the read). Readers learn first-hand of her stuggles with a chronic illness as Becca ultimately travels a road of personal redemption.

The easy banter, peppered with snappy comebacks, between the women, the engaging conversations with friends, Becca's accounts of her illness, truthful revelations, highly emotional and intense scenes between friends, and the ever present Christian influences make the novel a little more than a light beach read.

Leah Starr Baker is a first-time author and although the story is awkward and predicatble at times, there is little doubt that the author will grow into her writing as well into her characters. I'm eager to see what's next. Hmmm...maybe The Domino Dolls? Just sayin'!

GIVEAWAY---On a personal note, although this contemporary Christian meets chick lit novel is not my usual fare, there were a few characters with whom I truly connected. Some of their stories resonated with me long after I finished the novel. Which is why I would like to share this book with you. As an English teacher I am quick to give books away to family and friends. I love sharing stories and watching as other connect with them as I do. By the way, has anyone seen my copy of Arranged Marriage?

To win a SIGNED copy of Leah Starr Baker's novel The Bunko Babes, simply leave me a comment. Oh, but wait! There's more. In the spirit of the novel (and my review) you must share with us your most annoying trait. Please, not "I pick my nose" or "snap my gum." Dig a little deeper. Are you OCD to a fault? Do you have a tendency to talk over your friends? Do you tell stupid jokes, ALL THE TIME? Whatever it is . . . spill.

The winner will be announced on August 1st. Good luck!!!

This book review has been brought to you by Blog Stop Book Tours.


Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

My worst fault: I am brutally honest. This tends to get me in LOTS of hot water with friends.

Cecily R said...

I talk too much. Meaning I talk over my friends and too loud. It happens in groups when I'm nervous. And in one on ones when I'm nervous. Or not. I just talk too much.

And as long as I'm admitting things, I haven't mopped my floor in a week. That's pretty annoying too. :)

Bunchy said...

Well, if you read one of my recent posts, you would realize that I am the only normal person in the world, and that I have no strange or annoying quirks. I guess the one annoying thing I can think of is that I HATE being late to anything, so I plan to arrive anywhere at least half an hour early, which means we tend to spend a lot of time driving aimlessly around trying to kill time, or stuck sitting in the car waiting. It makes my husband crazy.

Roger said...

I tend to be a little less serious than I should, which means people don't always 'get' me

Cathy C said...

Hmmm My annoying trait - only one as I am sure I have many!
When I get something in my head that needs to be done I want it done now - Not later - Not tomorrow - No next week - NOW. Drives Hubby Crazy!!


Colleen said...

That book sounds really good. One of my fav "chick-lit" books is "Goodnight Nobody" (Jennifer Weiner), but this sounds like it will hit me "just right", too.

Most annoying trait and/or worst fault: I have major abandonment issues and am very very needy and clingy...to the point where I end up driving people away with my neediness because I'll say or do something that comes off as completely desperate or paranoid. and that then feeds into the clinginess...it's bad and it annoys me, too.

Lori said...

hmmm my most annoying trait... is I come across as a know it all because I'm strong willed and opinionated!

Marmarbug said...

Hmmmm. My worst fault? Just one???
I talk. A lot. I am loud as well. I can't help it.

Anonymous said...

sadly, i tend to fault my hubby for doing things that i tend to do myself. i am working on it, seriously...

Karen MEG said...

Sounds like a great read!

Um, yeah, once I get talking, I'll tend to put words into people's mouths and not let them finish their sentences. Like I'm inherently psychic and know exactly what they're going to say. 95% of the time I'm right (yeah, I'm modest too ;)) but it's no less annoying,

...so the hubs tells me. He's the only one with the guts to tell me to shut it before I trample over his words.

HRH said...

Ugh. I would make a list, but I am not very good at lists. Probably the most annoying thing is that I have a tendency to say the wrong thing at a very sensitive time. My brain has a hard time not just saying what I think and sometimes it just isn't appropriate..at. all.

Kristen said...

The book sounds interesting, and of course this Bunko Chica would love a free copy.

One (b/c seriously there are more than one) of my worst traits is that I can be really bossy. I blame it on years of teaching and telling others when they could or could not use the restroom, but it spills over to my personal life, and I don't think it is so fabulous.

There. I have been outed. Now I will continue to work on keeping me in check.

Fingers crossed on the book!!

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

MWF: The worst one.. Oh my. I have so many! ;-)

Okay.. I'm going to go with... Not cooking at home enough. Yep. That's it!

just jamie said...

Great review. Honest, yet compelling. I particularly like your description of "chick lit."

As for my flaws, how much time do you have? Heres the deal, I'm a good Mom, but not the best wife. I know it. I don't dote on my husband, give back rubs out of kindness, or cook special meals after a long day. Sad, huh? I'm working on it. Mothering comes natural to me. Overtly loving an adult ... not so much.

Anonymous said...

My worst fault, I'm just a smidge obsessive, but not like I used to be. LOL

Fantastic review! Thanks so much.

By the way, Leah is available for comments and questions at Blog Stop Book Tours today and tomorrow. Go say hello. :)


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I talk to fast. My Dad says I have verbal diarhhea.

I think he means that as a compliment!

Hallie :)

huddtoo said...

Annoying trait per my hubby? Or annoying trait according to others? hehe

My hubby cannot stand that I always play with my hair/head. I just mess with my hair, running my fingers thru it, rubbing them on my head. Is that a bad trait?? It's harmless to me. ;)

I talk a lot, I feel like I interrupt to much, but no one has ever said that. I do try to watch it, honest!

I had to chuckle at the OCD part, does it count that while I do like everything in it's place, and will move something if it's not where I want it, if you were to see my cabinets of canned goods, you'd think I'm the wife in "Sleeping with the Enemy"...yep, the labels all facing the same way, the soup cans all stacked with the same types of soups (tomato with tomato, etc) all in neat little rows.

Kellan said...

Hey girl - thanks for the review and the giveaway. My most annoying trait I would have to say is that I am OCD and always straightening/moving/fixing/fluffing/shining/folding - something and it drives everyone around me crazy. Hope I win - Kellan

Wendi said...

Seriously....how many annoying traits do you want to know about?
I have many.
I talk too much.
I interrupt.
I pop my gum.
I chew on the inside of my cheek.
I am bossy.
I like things done right.
Which is MY WAY.
I have severe OCD tendencies.
I alphabetize everything.
I straighten everything.
I label everything.
I am a list maker.
Do you need more examples of my annoying traits?
I have more... I think I need therapy.
Thanks for helping me realize that.

LiteralDan said...

My most annoying trait... there are so many to choose from, sadly.

I'll take your catch-all of "OCD to a fault". It is a many-headed serpent of faults, one of which gave me my nickname.

One of my obsessions is entering contests, because I want cool free stuff. Does that count?

Killlashandra said...

My most annoying trait would have to be the fact I over think everything. If there is an easy way to do something, that's good. But I'll think about several other more complicated ways to do the same thing before deciding on the easy thing. Drives my husband nuts. ;)

Nap Warden said...

I don't know if this counts as a fault...but I'll tell you anyway...I have an irrational dislike for buttons. I even hate typing the word! I don't buy clothes with them, it's all zippers and pullovers. I know, I'm a nutter:P

Leah Starr Baker said...

Wow! What a response to the possibility of winning a copy of "The Bunko Babes". I am honored. Thank you Laski for writing such a kind review. All I can say is that I loved writing this story and I am thrilled to be able to have each of you read it. I still can hardly believe that I have a book in print, for sale and now available on Kindle as well.

Many Bunko Blessings,

Leah Starr Baker
author of "The Bunko Babes"

Elizabeth said...

well, my worst trait is not a total habit but it can get really annoying...the occasional total obsession of what people think about me, my parenting, my personality...then i am very dramatic about it with my husband...like I said, not a total habit, but definitely happens enough to be annoying!

Angela said...

My worst fault.... I am a huge procrastinator. I have little notes all over the place of things that never get accomplished. On top of that I tend to have piles of clutter...nice and neat, but clutter nonetheless. Whew...that feels better.

Jules said...

Okay, I have all the traits listed so far and (sob) more. Right now though I procrastinate and prefer to be online as opposed to doing things like clean the house. Sad, I know....... yet true.