Skipping A Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

 

 

 

 

Summary ~ What would you do if your husband suddenly wanted to rewrite the rules of your relationship?

 

Dear Sarah,

Brilliant!  Your new novel, Skipping A Beat, is BRILLIANT!  I loved it from beginning to end and not just because I know you and have always rooted for you.  Because your storytelling and writing has grown and your skill in weaving characters, plot(s), scene, and magically wonderful detail is incredible. 

I am sorry I was unable to come up to Maryland for your first book signing on release day last week but it didn’t stop me from downloading Skipping A Beat onto my Kindle that morning and diving in feet first.  Julia and Michael are wonderful characters with so many faults and great aspects to their make up.  The history you created for them as individuals and a couple made them so real!  You were clever but not corny and the images created by your words leapt off the page and into my mind’s eye effortlessly.  Isabelle, Julia’s best friend, was rich in detail as well and her story did not fall to the wayside when the drama between Michael and Julia began to build.  I love that!  Julia needed Isabelle as much as she needed Julia and the affection you created between the two women is a reflection of my best girlfriend relationships which added a believability to even the smallest gesture between the characters.

Of course I must mention  my pleasure in the fact that the book is mainly set in yours and my hometown area of DC/MD/VA.  I continue to enjoy reading books set in an area that I feel I know well and yet learn something new about it through the author’s eye.  Julia finds peace and escape in a place called Great Falls.  I did the same in my late teens and early twenties between classes and theatre rehearsals at Montgomery College.  I could picture the large rock that Julia’s friend Noah could be found sitting on while playing fetch with his best friend and canine companion Bear.  The city became a character in Skipping A Beat that added to the story beautifully. 

Sarah, I am so excited for you and the accolades you have already and will continue to receive!  You’re writing has flourished and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year (not to rush things). 

Always a friend and fan,

Karen

{Rating ~ 5 out of 5}

Book Review ~ The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Summary ~ Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.

I was really excited to finally get a few days to read Sarah Pekkanen’s The Opposite of Me this week.  Reading this book was like coming home for me in regards to the setting and some of the characters.  I grew up in Silver Spring, MD which is a neighboring city of Bethesda in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C.  I used to work in Bethesda Row and got a kick out of reading a book that highlights landmarks and restaurants that I have been to, eaten at and driven by a ton of times.  The Opposite of Me introduces the reader to Lindsey and her high-octane life in advertising in New York City.  It’s a successful life that she leads but only in the work world.  Her personal life is empty of relationships with her family.  After a crazy day followed by an unfortunate evening, Lindsey finds herself home in Bethesda, Maryland with her tail between her legs.  Now we all know that life is what you make of it and that’s just what Lindsey does.  She starts fresh and learns more about herself, her folks and her twin sister than she ever knew before.  The relationship between Lindsey and her twin have been strained because of labels put on them by parents, teachers and life.

I chalk it up to coincidence that I read this book and am now planning on a visit to Pittsburgh with Hubby to see my little sister (two and a half years younger and an inch taller) in two weeks.  Sis and I have not been very close through our adult lives but now that Hubby and I are back in the States, I want to remedy that.  I am really excited about hanging out with Sis and BIL (Bro-In-Law) and seeing what their lives are like in P’Burgh.  Hubby and I haven’t been to their adoptive home town since their wedding in 2003.  We really liked the city and look forward to experiencing it even further on this trip. 

I really enjoyed reading Sarah’s debut novel, The Opposite of Me, and I hope you will give her book a chance too.  You’ll be glad you did!

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}

 

 

Author’s Can Be SOOOO Cool (and sometimes they don’t even know it)!

So, last night my friends Hillary and Amy joined me in Bethesda for a book signing.  Now this wasn’t just any book signing.  It was the publishing day for my new/old friend Sarah Pekkanen and her novel, The Opposite of Me.  Sarah reminded me that it was twenty-one months ago when she first contacted me via e-mail, while Hubby and I were still in Okinawa.  She asked me to please check out her new website for her upcoming book and tell her what I thought and if it needed any changes.  Me!?!  Who was I to tell and author what to do with her website?!  Well, I did and I learned that Sarah lived in Chevy Chase, MD and she was writing a work of women’s fiction.  Her website was really cool with chocolate and cotton candy pink hues and witty writing that made me laugh.  I signed up for her monthly newsletter that provided updates on her writing and her life.    

We kept in touch throughout the months so when I decided to fly to DC for one of my best friend’s wedding in November of 2008 I asked her if we could get together for coffee while I was in town.  Sarah agreed to the get together but her baby had other plans.  He decided he wanted to join the world at the beginning of that week so we didn’t get that original opportunity.  Let me tell you folks something.  Better late than never!  Last night we finally had the wonderful pleasure of meeting each other for the first time at Sarah’s book signing/reading/Q&A event at her neighborhood Barnes & Noble Bookstore.  

Amy, Hillary, Sarah & Me!

After the event she invited everyone to join her at a local watering hole across the street for chocolate-tinis (not my drink so I had a chocolate milkshake).  I am so glad we did!  Hillary, Amy and I got to hang out and talk with Sarah and her charming husband Glenn for over an hour total.  We talked about why Sarah’s book, being a brand new first release, wasn’t in hardcover (her publisher proposed that with the recession in place it would be better to make the price of the book cheaper), how she felt nervous but welcomed by her family and friends at her first event, how grateful both Sarah and Glenn are to famed author Jennifer Weiner for her support throughout the publishing process (they have the same editor) and numerous other things that helped us all get to know each other. 

The evening was a special and memorable one that I will never forget.  I am so grateful to be a book blogger/reviewer because of moments like these when the huge gap the reader sometimes feels between themself and the author dissolves and a friendship is born.  I am one lucky lady and wouldn’t change a thing about any of it. 

{Thanks to Hillary aka Library Love for granting me permission to post her beautiful pics!}