Thursday, February 26, 2009

"To My Senses" by Alexandrea Weis



This is my first official book I have ever received directly from an author. As a new blogger, this was a big deal for me! I am grateful to Alex Weiss for her generosity, and for presenting the opportunity to read and review such a wonderful book. Although this novel may officially be classified in the romance genre, don't let that get it in the way. From a broader perspective, we are also presented with a story of self-discovery, loss and healing, corporate treachery, and the pervasive essence of pre-Katrina New Orleans.

Our narrator is Nicci Beauvoir, a young New Orleans lady, born into money but not particularly fond of the baggage that comes with it. Nicci is modern, independent, beautiful, smart and, if I may say, a bit of a butt-kicker. I loved her from the moment I met her. If you've ever listened to the lyrics of "Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson, you've got a good idea of what Nicci is all about. She's studying to become a nurse, but we get the sense that this really isn't her dream in life, just a practical answer to being self-sufficient. She's also not all that interested in developing a serious relationship either. Nicci doesn't have the time or patience.

Her walls are dismantled, however, one evening at a social event. She meets David Alexander, a painter and a plaything to the rich, over-botoxed Sammy Fallon, her father's corporate arch-enemy. The connection between Nicci and David is immediate, intense, and soon develops into a full-fledged love affair. David is the quintessential bad boy...he drives fast, he has an accent (yeah baby), he wears killer Armani suits, and is passionate about life. Specifically, he is very supportive of Nicci pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. The two split up as suddenly as they get together (for reasons I will not reveal), and Nicci walks away jaded, hurt and pledging something close to abstinence. Against her better judgement, she is soon dragged into a relationship with a conservative, controlling, fuddy-duddy doctor who will never fill the shoes of the dashing David. Nicci sells herself short for awhile, before coming to her senses.

Although secondary to the plot line, we are also given a delicious peek into the old money of New Orleans. Over-involved parents raise their daughters to marry money, and their sons are assumed to take over their father's businesses or are ensured the best education money can buy. There are black-tie parties, debutante balls, body parts bought and paid for, and plenty of alcohol to ensure a good fight or two by the end of the night. It's good fun.

Probably the biggest debate you will hear about this book is the way it ends. I knew, from prior reviews, that there was a twist, and I thought I was armed and ready for it. Well, folks, I was not. But neither was I disappointed. If there is one thing that brings the enjoyment of a book crashing down around me is predictability. I hate it. I don't necessarily want a happily-ever-after ending...that's just too easy. I want to be surprised. I like to be left with something I can swirl around in my mind for awhile, like a glass of good Pinot. And what I was left with, after finishing "To My Senses", was this doctrine, which I happen to believe in. People come into your life for a reason. They may bring joy or pain. Either way, you learn from them, and they enrich your life and make you a better person. Bravo, Alex Weis! You hit a home run.

13 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

Sounds great! Did the author contact you directly after reading your blog? I've never had an author send me a book, or read an ARC - I think I'm a bit too blunt to attract publishers!

Melody said...

I'm sure there'll be more ARC coming your way, Sandy, after reading all your wonderful reviews!

This sounds like a good read. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Jackie - I entered a giveaway on Anna's blog (Diary of Eccentric) and did not win. Alex still contacted me and wanted to forward a copy of this book to read. I was pleasantly surprised!

Melody - I think many bloggers get ARCs through Library Thing, which I have resisted joining. I have a finite amount of time and if I add one more thing to do, I will implode! Either way, yes, I would love more ARCs! Hopefully, the authors can find me!

farmlanebooks said...

I'm torn between wanting ARCs and reading books I want to read. I think I really just want ARCs from authors I love! I have joined Library Thing, but don't use it very much. I haven't managed to get an early review book from them yet, but there is one I really want this month, so I've got all my fingers crossed.

C. B. James said...

Hey, your first ARC. Congratulations. They've been a very mixed bag for me. Some I have enjoyed and some have been a real slog to get through.

If you publish your interviews at Amazon and Library Thing it will help you get more ARC's.

Beth F said...

Super review!!! You'll be at the top of all the ARC lists after this one!

Carrie K. said...

This sounds really good - your review has me intrigued!

Sandy Nawrot said...

James - I know, you told me awhile back that ARCs would come with Library Thing, but I've never pursued it. I am maxed out on the time I spend on here, and I am afraid that will put me over the edge!

Beth - I hope so! I'm not sure if they come on the merits of good reviews or not.

Carrie - don't let the romance thing turn you off. It is fabulous. Even better, there is a sequel coming later this year and CANNOT WAIT for it to come out!

Matt said...

I'm not familiar with the book nor the author, but it does warrant a good read.

Check out TLC Book Tour. They're looking for bloggers to host virtual book tour with the author. You review a book and post it on a designated date. I'm going to host a virtual book tour stop on The 19th Wife in May. :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Matt - I will check that out. I've seen the virtual tours and wondered how you got in. Although I think its going to be awhile before I'm reading another book, with Gone With the Wind next up!

Dar said...

Great review Sandy. I'm so happy that you had the opportunity to receive this book, review it and love it. That makes it all worthwhile.

Serena said...

I'm happy to hear you received your first book from an author. way to go...great review by the way...this book is in my tbr pile...I got it from Diary of an Eccentric's giveaway.

Anna said...

Great review! I loved your description of the fuddy-duddy doctor. Too funny! Yup, I wasn't ready for the twist, and it didn't make me happy, but it was a great ending to the story.

(Sorry I'm late to this post. As you know I'm really behind in my blog reading, but I'm moving through the posts slowly but surely!)

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric