Jun 11, 2009

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

Welcome to a Hachette Group Early Birds Blog Tour for Sarah Dunn's Secrets to Happiness.

"A lot of life, it seemed to Holly, was turning out to be just like that. You keep walking, and you keep breathing, and then one day you notice, again, the feel of the wind on your cheek." (Page 275)

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn focuses on the life of Holly Frick and each of the people she effects with her decisions and how their decisions impact her life in a gigantic web. From Holly's ex-boyfriend Spence Samuelson to Betsy Silverstein and her friends Amanda and Mark to her screenwriter/partner Leonard. Each of these characters is dissatisfied with their current lives and is seeking happiness and contentment in their lives.

"It was probably, primarily, mostly, the chemical hair straightening. Leonard had spent four hundred dollars to get his hair straightened with the new Brazilian hair-straightening chemical, and now it clung to his head like a wet washcloth and then spiked out at the ends down at the top of his neck, which was huge, due to the steroids he got from a pharmacist who ran an underground steroid ring out of his fourth-floor walk-up on Christopher Street." (Page 25)

Dunn has a great talent for description and character development. Secrets to Happiness delves into the various situations, emotions, friends, careers, and other elements in people's lives that they believe make them happy. Each of these characters experiences turns their preconceived notions upside down, leaving Holly, Spence, Betsy, and Amanda to make pivotal decisions.

"'I don't tell Betsy about my personal life.'

'Good. You know what? Don't tell anybody. Let's just keep this our little secret,' said Holly. 'And now I even sound like a child molester.'

'That's straight out of the handbook.'

'Page eleven,' said Holly. 'Right after the part where I lure you back into the back of my van with a box of kittens.'" (Page 21)

Overall, Secrets to Happiness reads well with a modicum of interruption from narratives that scope farther back into the lives of the characters. While some of these narratives, which mirror background checks for the characters, are well written, readers could find them distracting and unnecessary. Dunn is a talented women's fiction writer with a flare for dramatic and unconventional characters, and her ability to dig beneath the surface of these professional New Yorkers is uncanny.

Also Reviewed by:
Everyday I Write the Book Blog

Hachette Group was kind enough to offer 3 copies of Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn to 3 of Savvy Verse & Wit's U.S. and/or Canadian readers; no P.O. Boxes.

1. Leave a comment on this post about what makes you happiest about your life.

2. Become a follower of the blog or if you follow, let me know.

3. Blog, tweet, or spread the word about the giveaway and leave me a link here.

Deadline is June 18, 2009, at 11:59 PM EST

Don't forget my 2-Year Blogiversary Giveaway, go here for details.

72 comments:

windycindy said...

Watching my sons grow up and having a wonderful husband to share life with!
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

I am a fan/follower of your blog!
Again, many thanks!
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

"Tweet!"
http://twitter.com/cmh512/status/
2113347314.
Thanks a bunch..... Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me. I'm glad you enjoyed the book - I'm one of those who found those narratives distracting.

Anna said...

What the heck, go ahead and enter me. You seemed amused with the book when you were reading at the softball game, and these characters sound interesting.

For me, happiness = my family...even though they drive me batty from time to time. LOL

You know I'm a follower, babe, and I'll add the giveaway to my sidebar.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Jo-Jo said...

I think that spending time with my family and friends makes me the happiest!
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I'm also a follower...
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

abookinhand said...

I learned, finally, that I'm happiest right where I am wherever that is.

Bridget said...

Hi! Just posted this on Win A Book.

M. said...

when my baby smiles at me.

i'm very interested in quality women's fiction, the review sounds great.

i'm a follower!

M. said...

sorry - forgot to leave my addy:
mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

thanks!

Jo-Jo said...

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

nfmgirl said...

Happiness is owning my first house. I can do with it as I please without having to ask permission. I can paint the walls, change the floors, gut a room. Whatever.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I follow

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Lifestooshort said...

Happiness is my daughter :)

lavery328 at yahoo dot com

AmandaSue said...

This sounds like a great book and I have loved that cover ever since I saw it! One of the happiest things for me is spending time with my dog, it makes me happy to watch her play outside or to see how excited she gets over the littlest things, she always finds the joy and goodness in life and always knows how to cheer me up when I'm sad.
Thanks for the chance!
unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

AmandaSue said...

Follower thanks. unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

Lisa said...

Being friends with my parents and spending time with them as they get older is one of many things that make my life happy. Even though I'm one of those people who will be distracted by that narration to the past, I'd still like to read this book. Great review!

I also follow your blog on google reader.

lisamos64@gmail.com

scottsgal said...

Watching my boys grow up to become really nice men, traveling as a family and my wonderful hubby
msboatgal at aol.com

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

My family makes me the happiest, but a quiet day and a good book are a close second. :)

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I also follow!

ANovelMenagerie said...

what makes me the happiest is my home life with my twins & my GAZILLION pets (aka The Menagerie).

Please enter me.

Sher
A Novel Menagerie

RachieG said...

:) Things that make me happy...My puppy...my mom...books...work...fresh sheets...flowers...and kittens. :) Love 'em all!!

RachieG said...

I'm a follower!! :D

rachie2004 AT yahoo DOT com

mindy said...

right now it is knowing mom made it through another day minsthins at optonline dot net

jemscout425 said...

being a mom. nothing else compares
pksanddancer(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary said...

The wonderful adults that my kids have grown into, make me the happiest in life.

mamie316@sbcglobal.net

AmandaK said...

Waking up every morning and seeing my family makes me happiest. It shows me that I have another day to spend with them!

orchestratenoise0726[at]yahoo[dot]com

A Reader said...

My two labs --Maggie and Ashley. Everyday when I come home from work they greet me like I am a rock star. They make my day!
Thanks for the giveaway!

kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

A Reader said...

Follower (liane66)

A Reader said...

Posted on my side bar under current giveaways.
http://metroreader.blogspot.com/

texasheartland said...

Being with my twin sister makes me the happiest because I know that no matter how old we are or where we are, we will always be together.


texas_heartland84[at]yahoo[dot]com

Belinda M said...

It makes me happy to know that I am surrounded by wonderful friends and a fantastic family who love me and that I feel the same for them

bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com


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

Belinda M said...

I follow

bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com


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

Jess said...

Family makes me happy. I'd love to be entered in your giveaway. jessica(at)fan(dot)com

Pam said...

My family makes me happiest - I have a wonderful husband, 2 beautiful children, fabulous parents and a great brother too. I'm really lucky.

I'm a follower

melacan at hotmail dot com

olympianlady said...

My life is made happiest by my mother. She always encourages and supports me in whatever I do.

I'm subscribed to your blog.

Thanks!

tiffanyak1986(at)hotmail(dot)com

wendy said...

what makes me happiest is when I am surrounded by my family.

madamerkf at aol dot com

Dar said...

Don't enter me Serena, just stopping by to read your post. I didn't mind this book at all except for some parts that I thought it could have done without. Of the characters I really only liked Holly and the dog but I think if you read the book for what it is, you'll like it. I'd read more by her. You can peek at my review here.

Heather M said...

My daughter makes me happiest! Thanks

hmahan_0529 @ yahoo dot com

Heather M said...

and I follow you! Thanks

Gwendolyn B. said...

Just being alive so that I can continue to enjoy it all - especially my family - is what makes me happiest!
Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book - that makes me happy, too!

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Gwendolyn B. said...

I'm a Follower!

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Gwendolyn B. said...

Here's my Tweet! http://twitter.com/ASeaOfBooks/status/2134487013

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Toni said...

Hi there. I enjoyed the book.(don't enter me). When I first started reading I realized that there were some deep issues with the characters. I think I enjoyed the book drama over my own life drama that week so I just kind of read the book with the lighter side of my personality. In re-reading some of the quotes on the tour today I am reminded of heavier passages that might pluck nerves. However they didn't happen to pluck mine at the time. I enjoyed the distracting narratives for some reason. Great review and give away.

Belinda said...

Sitting in the kitchen with a nice cup of coffee and talking to my hubby while watching the outdoor birds feed and play makes my happiest.
Thanks!
1bmore @ gmail . com

nfmgirl said...

I blogged it:
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/2009/06/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-06-13-09.html

Sarah Z said...

My daughter makes me happiest - most days :-)!
Thanks
Sarah
believedreamcourage (at) gmail.com

MOMFOREVERANDEVER said...

mrs.mommyyatgmaildotcom
family makes me happiest most of the time

count me in

Everyone have a great week!

Carlene said...

Coming home from work and be greeted by my Chihuahuas make me happy.
Thanks
Carlene
iluvreading(at)verizon.net

Carlene said...

I am a follower.
Thanks
Carlene
iluvreading(at)verizon.net

Rebecca Cox said...

I work for a University and it makes me happy to be able to help the students and see the Light come on in their eyes.
I follow your blog on Google reader.
rebecca.cox@charter.net

Nicole D. said...

What makes me happiest about my life is my family - my wonderful husband and daughter.

Allison said...

My tiny poodle Mason, when I come come and he is so excited his whole body wiggles!
allygotts567[at]hotmail[dot]com

Allison said...

I am now a follower!
allygotts567[at]hotmail[dot]com
Thanks!

Neas Nuttiness said...

My husband, my kids, my grand kids, my dogs, my friends!

Thanks

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Neas Nuttiness said...

I became a follower - thanks.

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Rebecca Cox said...

I have been trying to tweet at ccqdesigns, but seems that Iran has twitter all a twitter and locked up. I will keep trying.
rebecca.cox@charter.net

Marie said...

Being with my kids is what makes me happy :-)

marielay@gmail.com

Marie said...

I am a follower.

marielay@gmail.com

Neas Nuttiness said...

I blogged about it here:

http://libslibrary.blogspot.com/2009/06/book-giveaways.html

Thanks

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Mary said...

Just being with my husband and children makes me happiest.

meah56 At gmail DOT com

Mary said...

I'm a follower!


meah56 AT gmail DOT com

Mary said...

I blogged about this giveaway in my sidebar:
http://bookfan-mary.blogspot.com



meah56 AT gmail DOT com

CherylS22 said...

My close family ties makes me happiest about my life.

Thanks,
megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

CherylS22 said...

I follow

megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

Beth said...

Spending time with my kids makes me happy.
bthgordon at yahoo dot com

Lee said...

With such busy lives, spending time with my children and husband all together makes me very happy.
chinook92(at)gmail.com

FOKXXY said...

My son, My Jack Russel and my close family make me the happiest in life. I love them all!

ssummmer(at)gmail(dot)com

stacybuckeye said...

My husband and my dog and cat!
stacybooks at yahoo

etirv said...

Watching TV really makes me happy!
delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

etirv said...

I subscribe via google reader!