Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: Secrets to Happiness & Giveaway

Summary: Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you're still in love with the person leaving you. While her wounds are still dangerously close to the surface, her happily married best friend confesses over a bottle of wine that she is this close to having an affair. And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life--with Holly's ex!

Holly decides that if everyone around her can take pleasure wherever they find it, so will she. As any self-respecting 30ish New York woman would do, she brings two males into her life: a flawed but endearing dog, and a good natured, much younger lover. She's soon entangled in a web of emails, chance meetings, and misguided good intentions and must forge an entirely new path to Nirvana.

From the author of The Big Love, Secrets to Happiness is a big-hearted, knife-sharp, and hilariously entertaining story about the perils of love and friendship, sex and betrayal--and a thoroughly modern take on our struggle to be happy. -- Little, Brown & Company

I think I wanted to read SECRETS TO HAPPINESS by Sarah Dunn based on the cover alone. I mean, who can resist this adorable little puppy who looks so contest? I also had heard some good things about the author and her prior novel THE BIG LOVE; and I thought this novel sounded like the perfect, light read for the summer!

When I read the description for this book, I was thinking that this book would be more of a chick-lit book or at least a mature chick-lit type book. In a few ways, it did have some of the features that I've grown to expect in chick-lit books such as humor, a quirky main character, and romance troubles; however, I can say that SECRETS TO HAPPINESS was a deeper and more thought-provoking book than normal chick lit fare!

I thought Holly was an endearing character, although she certainly came with a lot of baggage. I was impressed with how Ms. Dunn developed her character, and I loved how complex she made her. I wasn't surprised to find that Holly had a lot of issues with men; however, I was surprised to see that the author included some conflict for Holly concerning her spiritual beliefs. I actually found myself examining Holly and her outlook on God, and I kept thinking about her insecurities and how they might be different if she just approached her life differently.

While I really liked Holly, there were lots of other characters who I didn't really appreciate quite as much. I think that their side stories definitely enhanced the novel and complemented Holly; and they did give me a lot to think about though. I think the author did a nice job of showing how different all of the characters were and how they were all ultimately looking to find happiness in their lives -- each in their own way. I think there is a really big message in this novel that each person needs different things to be happy and people have to chose to be happy -- it doesn't just happen. (Having said that, I didn't always find myself agreeing with all of the characters' choices.)

I was happy to see that there is a companion reading guide available for book clubs. The more I think about this book, the more I realize that it is a perfect summer book to discuss with your friends. It is a light, fun read while also touching on some deeper issues such as faith/religion, marriage, infidelity, friendship, and (of course) finding happiness. I think you will find a great deal to discuss, and I think it would be very interesting to hear my book club's thoughts about Holly and her friends.

Thanks to Miriam from Hachette for allowing me to participate in this book blog tour. Check out these other blogs participating in this tour:

http://nevernotreading.blogspot.com/
http://www.writeforareader.blogspot.com/
http://www.acircleofbooks.blogspot.com/
http://abookishmom.blogspot.com
http://bfishreads.blogspot.com/
http://zensanity.blogspot.com/
http://scribevibe.blogspot.com/
http://thereviewfromhere.wordpress.com/
http://www.iheartmonster.com/
http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/
http://hiddenplace.wordpress.com/
http://books-movies-chinesefood.blogspot.com/
http://thisbookforfree.com/
http://bookopolis.blogspot.com/
http://mindingspot.blogspot.com/
http://www.amberstults.com/
http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/
http://confessionsofaromancebookaddict.wordpress.com/
http://bookslovejessicamarie.blogspot.com
http://chikune.com/blog
http://luanne-abookwormsworld.blogspot.com/
http://www.foreigncircuslibrary.blogspot.com/
http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/
http://purplg8r-somanybooks.blogspot.com/
http://www.squidoo.com/bookcase
http://www.readingwithmonie.com/
http://enroutetolife.blogspot.com/
http://www.bookthoughtsbylisa.blogspot.com/
http://cindysloveofbooks.blogspot.com/
http://danys-san.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/darbyscloset
http://epicrat.blogspot.com/
http://thetometraveller.blogspot.com/
http://jennsbookshelf.blogspot.com/
http://www.linussblanket.com
http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
http://wendisbookcorner.blogspot.com/
http://booksiesblog.blogspot.com/
http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com/
http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com
http://everydayiwritethebook.typepad.com
http://booksandneedlepoint.blogspot.com
http://www.bookwormygirl.blogspot.com

I have an extra copy of SECRETS TO HAPPINESS to share with one lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me why this book looks good to you. To double or triple your chances, just spread the word by either blogging or tweeting about this contest with a link back to this post. I will accept entries until Friday, June 26th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you in the U.S. or Canada only. Good Luck!

53 comments:

Meghan said...

Oh no, I had no idea I was in on this blog tour and I don't think I even have the book! Time for a spotlight post I think.

You did make it sound good though, so if it's lurking somewhere in my house at least I will like it!

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me. I thought you would like this book more than I did. Great review.

Pam said...

I think it sounds like a fun read and the perfect book for the beach. Plus, I love the cover!

melacan at hotmail dot com

Karlie said...

It sounds like a great beach read. Please enter me.

Aimala said...

Just looking at this book makes me feel happy! The cover is fantastic! I hope to win the book but even if I don't I'm going to read it very soon! It also sounds like an entertaining, lighter read, perfect for the beach or bed time!
Thank you!
Amy
Aimala02@yahoo.com

Nancy said...

I just noticed your book club pick for next month. It was awesome, I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing your write-up on People of the Book. On my TBR pile I have another of her books, March. Thanks for all your posts, I really enjoy your blog site!

tetewa said...

I enjoy reading new authors, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

Bridget said...

Hi! No need to enter me. Just posted about this on Win A Book.

Gwendolyn B. said...

I like books that are uplifting and, you're right, who can resist that cover? Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

holdenj said...

Please enter me too!

I liked your review, especially the fact that the book, which on the surface seemed to be a chick-lit beach read, turned out to be a little deeper form of fiction.

Plus, I have a beagle--everytime I see a picture of this cover, I smile!

Thanks so much for the opportunity to win!

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

Gwendolyn B. said...

Here's my tweet: http://twitter.com/ASeaOfBooks/status/2132215393

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Amber said...

Holly sounds like a very endearing character and I just love the beagle on the cover! Huge "awww" factor.
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Beth F said...

Don't enter me. I'm glad you liked this one. It really wasn't for me.

gaby317 said...

Great cover!

The book sounds like a fun read. I can just picture the scene where Holly gives a friend advice about her love life with Holly's ex! Your review makes the book sound even better - that it's more thought provoking than the usual chick lit novel. Please count me in.


gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Serena said...

no need to enter me, but I agree there would be a lot to talk about in a book club! I didn't always agree with these characters either, but overall it was an ok read for me.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I can't resist a book with such a great cover. THanks for the giveaway!

shhhimreading(at)hotmail(dot)com

scottsgal said...

This looks like a fun read - bringing a male dog into her life - a woman after my own heart!

msboatgal at aol.com

Toni said...

No need to enter me. I enjoyed the book as well. I do think there were some deeper issues that the characters were facing and dealing with. I like reading all the reviews.. good and not so good. It opens up good book discussion.

Jo-Jo said...

I want to read this book because I enjoy books that deal with deeper issues...and I also love the cover! lol
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

bridget3420 said...

I really want to read this book because it sounds like a feel good book.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

Linked on my sidebar

http://bridget3420.blogspot.com

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

chey said...

Hi!
It sounds like a great read.

chey127 at hotmail dot com

J. said...

Stumbled upon your blog while I was searching for blogs about book clubs! (it is terribly hard to find a local book club for 20-something-year-olds!)

I would grab this book off the shelf because of the cover... then I'd turn it over and have to read it because it seems like a quick relaxing read for the summer sun.

Thanks!
Jenna
papajm25(@)gmail(.)com

Annie said...

I, too love the cover!


I'd like to read this book; it sounds great and who isn't looking for the happiness path?!


Thanks

nancyrobster@gmail.com

Annie said...

Tweeted


http://twitter.com/greeeneyedwhwom/status/2148713883


Thanks


nancyrobster@gmail.com

Sue W. said...

Each time I saw this book on various blog sites, I loved the cover and therefore wanted to read the book. Now I have read some reviews, I would like to read it even more. I like Holly's character and want to find out more about her.
roylsue(at)telpage(dot)net

Sue W. said...

I posted this giveaway on my blog at:
http://gourdcrafter.blogspot.com/

roylsue(at)telpage(dot)net

Sue W. said...

I subscribe by e-mail.

roylsue(at)telpage(dot)net

Belinda M said...

It sounds like a great summer read. Please include me in the giveaway

"Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
CoolCanucks.ca"

Book Butterfly said...

The cover alone as enough to catch my eye! It's so sweet. The story sounds really uplifting. I linked this on my sidebar at http://butterflybookreviews.blogspot.com/

And twittered on it too!

Kim
bookbutterfly9@gmail.com

The Giveaway Diva said...

i'm not even going to lie,i love it for the cover! that dog is soo cute and happy!!!

kathemc(at)gmail(dot)com said...

Sounds like a great summer read, and I want to know about the dog (hilariously, more so than I do about the man). LOL!

olympianlady said...

This book looks good to me because I like the sound of the plot, with the break up, drama, friend dating the ex, and so on.

Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!

tiffanyak1986(at)hotmail(dot)com

Carlene said...

I think the cover is the best. I gives you that feel good feeling. Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Carlene
iluvreading(at)Verizon.net

Lily said...

I really want to read this book, because it sounds like a fun novel, a breath of fresh air, something I can crack open on the patio and let my mind drift away...

These types of books let me escape from the busy-ness of daily life.

Thanks for the giveaway! My gmail is Lillian.Y

Anita Yancey said...

I would like to read this book because it sounds so interesting, and fun. Please enter me. Thanks for having this giveaway.

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Heather said...

Any book with the word 'happiness' I'm game to read, + I've heard wonderful things about her first book!

heatheranne99 at hotmail dot com

S. Krishna said...

I enjoyed this one as well. No need to enter me though!

Jo-Jo said...

I blogged about your contest here.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Ken said...

Everyone can be happier - me included.

Misusedinnocence said...

Because sometimes you can judge a book by it's cover. ;)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

CherylS22 said...

I think that this would be a good summer read - and, I love the cover!

Thanks,
megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

Victoria said...

I'm always looking for secrets to happiness! :)

Thank you!
victoriah40@yahoo.com

minishoes1 said...

I LOVE the cover! This would make a great summer read!It sounds like a fun read too. thanks! jacquecurl1@gmail.com

etirv said...

I'd like to enter, thanks!
delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

dag888888 said...

Please include me, thank you.

janetfaye said...

I like to read books about happiness.

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

Kohinoor said...

The dog on the cover looks like he is smiling which in turn makes me smile. Smiles are free, so always hand them out!

sardonic28@aol.com

Colleen said...

I would love to read this, because it sounds as though the main protagonist and I share some life experiences! And it looks like it has some potential for our book group when it starts up again in the fall. Please enter my name in your drawing, and thank you very much!

bkgobbler@aol.com
Colleen Holt

heatherzilla said...

I love the book cover and it sounds like a good book.

Aimee said...

I loved The Big Love so I can't wait to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the contest! acirucci(at)gmail(dot)com

ossmcalc said...

I would love to have a copy of Secrets to Happiness as I am going through a difficult time in my life mainly due to my health. I need to find some way of bringing happiness back into my life.

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

Marjorie said...

I would like to read this book, I
rely on reviews and thought it was
pretty good.