Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guest Post with author GVR Corcillo

Today I'm handing things over to author CVR Corcillo.
Let's give her a warm welcome.

My Top 10 Favorite Books and Why
GVR Corcillo

I love so many many many books. These are the ten that stay with me, close to me.

TEN: Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
One word: character. The story ends ambiguously – O'Brien never comes right out and says exactly what happens during the 11th hour derring do. But still, the reader knows what happened. There is only one thing that could have happened, because of how the characters are constructed and who they are.

NINE: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I've read and enjoyed this YA plot many times – a quirky free spirit breezes into the life of an average kid and changes that kid forever in profound and achingly lovely ways. But though there are many wanna-be's of the ultimate friends-turned-lovers plot, there is only one When Harry Met Sally. Well, Stargirl is the pinnacle of its sub-genre, second to none.

EIGHT: Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
I am a complete sucker for a good male-bonding story. Hoot won me over with its tale of how a good kid from a good family finds himself teamed up with a wild swampland boy as the two of them race against time to save some tiny owls from the merciless bulldozers of corporate progress.

SEVEN: Fool by Christopher Moore
This book made me jealous! I suffered serious author envy! Moore's brilliance is peerless as his prose gallops and flows and never lets up, giving a jaunty ride at break-neck speed. How can this book, overflowing with stupendousness, have come out of just one person in just one lifetime?

SIX: My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Steve Kluger has a way of striking you right on the funny bone or smack in the heart with one devilishly ingenious turn of phrase – and this book is packed with such turns!

FIVE: Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
When I first started writing She Likes It Rough, I had just started giving free rein to my voice, which is whacky and over the top. Would anyone get it, I wondered. Is it too crazy? Then I picked up Size 12 Is Not Fat and as I read, I could hear the angels singing. Meg Cabot got whacky! Her heroine narrated the loco thoughts in her head, expressed herself in ALL CAPS sometimes, and related life to pop culture. I wan't crazy after all! Or, if I was, I could still write palatable fiction – yay!!!

FOUR: Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart
Hands down, my favorite romance. Who the unexpected hero turns out to be, how he reveals himself and his love, and how the story progresses from there are so utterly delightful and spine-tingling that I need to indulge in this book every few years.

THREE: East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This is an excerpt from John Steinbeck's dedication to Pat at the beginning of East of Eden: “Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts. And still the box is not full.” I think this means we are all infinite in our capacity for good and bad, sorrow and joy. And when I read East of Eden, I feel that infinity, all those unanswerable questions. And Steinbeck also makes me feel that all that uncertainty is okay.

TWO: Why Didn't They Ask Evans?(The Boomerang Clue, American Title) by Agatha Christie
It's British mystery at its best, but what really makes me pick this one up again and again is the burgeoning relationship between Lady Frankie and Bobby. The world puts them on opposite sides of the tracks, but their pluck and incandescent affection assures that they'll do their bloody best to keep one another alive.

ONE: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Intense. Speare lets the story unfold, telling the reader nothing, but showing the reader everything. When I put this book down, the story keeps unspooling in my head as my imagination surges forth with the lives and stories of these vividly real characters – I don't want to let them go.

And that is the case with all my favorites: I don't want to let them go. For me, the hallmark of a good story is this: you cannot stop thinking about the characters and their lives even after you've finished the book. What stories stick with you? And isn't it a delicious feeling to know there are stories out there just waiting to get hold of you?

About the author:

With her Ivy League education, white trash sensibility, and pop culture savvy, GVR Corcillo delights in writing chick lit about characters who try not to trip as they valiantly march to their own bongo beat.

She didn't start writing right away. First, she worked in a greenhouse, a supermarket, a movie theatre, a potpourri-stuffing factory, an electrical fixtures plant, a book warehouse, a metal-perforating factory, a video store, several movie studios, a children's museum, a radio station, and a bar. She also taught high school in Watts and South Central Los Angeles.

But none of these fit the bill for what she always wanted to be when she grew up - a writer. So, she won some writing contests, hit the New York Times Bestsellers List with her first short story, and got a screenplay produced.

Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo, a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, lives in North Hollywood with her husband Ron, a television comedy writer. They are both New York Giants fans.

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A bit more about She Likes It Rough:

Contemporary / Chick Lit / Romantic Comedy
Date Published: July 2013

Can daring adventures with an adrenaline junkie give a daydreaming pushover the courage she needs in order to make her life count for something?

When a freak fast-food accident almost kills scaredy-cat Lisa Flyte, she decides it's time to get a backbone and really start living life! But how is a shrinking violet like Lisa supposed to get assertive all of a sudden after a lifetime of watching from the couch?

Jack Hawkins, that's how. When Lisa finds out that the outdoor extremist from her MBA classes needs a clueless urbanite to test his top-secret line of adventure gear for beginners, she gets the most outlandish idea of her life: she will be his undercover test dummy if he helps her become brave on their adventures in the wild.

They strike a deal. But can Lisa use her outdoor moxie to become the alpha hero of her everyday life? Will she find the grit to pursue a career she really wants or the nerve to stand up to her bullying family?

And will she get gutsy enough to go after Jack? He's a man who's not afraid of anything...except maybe of falling for Lisa.

GVR Corcillo’s debut chick lit novel, She Likes It Rough, was awarded Best Indie Book of 2013 by the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards. The romantic comedy also took first place in the Humor category. established the awards program to pay tribute to authors who are self-published or have had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press, or independent book publisher.

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And now, enter the tour wide giveaway!


  1. Jonel B., what a beautiful feature of my blog and book - you make me look so good! I thought I would have such a hard time narrowing my favorite book down to 10, but I found that when I let me head clear, I just let the most unforgettable books in my life drift to me- and the favorites I pick up again and again were crystal clear to me! Thank you so much for this opportunity to connect with readers and all sorts of book lovers! -GVR

    1. Aww. Thanks so much. You made it easy with your brilliant list, some of which I now definitely have to read. :) ~Jonel

  2. Hi Everyone! I am so happy to be here today talking about favorite books - mine and YOURS! Please chime in and mention books that have captured you! I will for sure comment back, because the interchange is my favorite part of blogging! I have a bad cold now, so I won't be online again until approximately noon Pacific time because I will be sleeping in to try to kick this cold - but I assure you I will be chatting with everyone who stops by! And if you are a blogger or author and you use or mention your full name, I will totally check out your blog and or book! Look forward to chatting about favorite books!

  3. And if you click on the picture of my books at the top of the post - yep! Those are my books from my bookshelf sitting on my bedspread- you will see a bigger version of the pic and you can really see how beat up the books are - because I have been reading them for decades! The Boomerang Clue doesn't even have its front cover anymore! Goodnight - be back Wednesday noon!

  4. It's funny...when I think back to some of my favorite books, they are the ones I read as a child (Charlotte's Web, Taking Care of Terrific by Lois Lowry, The Indian in the Cupboard). I read Gone With the Wind when I was 13 and fell in love with all things Civil War. I would say that book was most influential in my life. More recently (because it has been several years since I was 13), I read Twilight and was instantly drawn in. I read the whole series in 5 days and then re-read it. I can only hope to have that effect on people!

    1. Kathryn Biel! Great to see such a book lover and writer of books for other to people to love here at Pure Jonel! Charlotte's Web! "Wilbur never forgot Charlotte." That line has been getting to me since I was in second grade! A good story is a good story is a good story! I wasn't hooked by Twilight right away, but I liked Charlie and the Cullen family enough to keep reading. And Book 3 was the one that got me. And holy baloney what an awesome way to end it! I was blown away and very impressed! As for Gone With the Wind, let me just my middle name is Vivian because that is the confirmation name I chose when I was in 7th grade. I lied and told the priest that it was my Grandma's name so he would let me take it even though it was not the name of a saint. But guess why I REALLY wanted to take the name Vivian???

      Kathryn, your books are already weaving their magic spells on readers - isn't it the BEST feeling when you get a reader review and you know you brought them the joy that books have been bringing us our whole lives?!

      And readers, if you haven't dipped into Kathryn Biel's dramatic stories of life, love, and resilience in the face of all that love and love can do, check her out!

  5. I was a HUGE Agatha Christie fan when I was little. Hercule Poirot is the man! And while my older sister had her head stuck in the Little House on the Prairie series, I went for Anne of Green Gables. Anne is such a wonderful role model for young girls: smart, spunky and tenacious. Very much like Lisa in She Likes It Rough. Could there be a connection, GVR? :)

    1. OMG! Agatha Christie was my CONSTANT companion throughout middle school! Have you seen the BBC's Poirot's with David Suchet? Brilliant! I know the old ones (the best) are free on Amazon Prime. The ones in the eighties are MUCH better than the ones in the 2000's, I think. The ones in the 2000's try to "improve" upon Agatha Christie. As if! Love Little House books, especially These Happy Golden years - even in third grade I was a sucker for romance! Anne of Green Gables...she's a little piece of my heart, for sure! Marched to her own bongo beat - she made her own mistakes, her own decisions, and her own path in life.

      Now Anne, she reminds me of another heroine I've read...spunky, making her own mistakes, making her own decisions...oh yeah, Sydney!! Sydney from your French Twist is a hoot, and I cannot wait to see what further mischief she gets up to in the JUST RELEASED French Toast!! This series is chock full of quirky madcap romance! Check it out!

  6. You are too kind, GVR! Thanks for the mention. ;)

  7. Hi Geralyn - what a fantastic reading list :) Y'know, it's really interesting reading what people have been inspired by - I was a HUGE Mary Stewart fan in my teens. Touch Not The Cat is one of my faves, too. Her writing style has (sigh) dated - never thought I would say that - but the plots are fantastic! Love her work. :) And I'm thrilled to see I'm not the only one :)

    Can't wait to get into your book, Geralyn. I'm a huge chick lit fan and yours by all accounts is one of the best. Go YOU! Best Indie Book 2013, no less!

    1. Mam, I forget to hit reply when I reply. I replied in a separate comment, Maggie Le Page!!!

  8. Maggie Le Page! Indie author from New Zealand!! I mention New Zealand because I first became fascinated with NZ when I was a kid and read Touch Not the Cat! The dream of ninety mile beach...
    Thanks for the kudos about Best Indie book! But we share some accolades, too, with Glynis Astie, to boot! We've all made it to the 2nd round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest - woo-hoo! On pins and needles about announcements for the next round Monday - eee!
    Not at all surprised your sassy, straight-talkin' Heat of the Moment Thing made it! So good!

    1. Yikes! Is it next Monday? I'm trying not to think about it, but I keep remembering you with your little phone alarm, set for the exact time of announcement last time... !!! ;)

      You should come visit me in NZ :D Ninety mile beach is a gorgeous part of the country, but there are so many other gorgeous spots. Hmm. Make sure you come for a good month or two... we'd have a blast!

  9. Oh what a fabulous post GVR!! I've read "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" a million times. I love that book and until I read "Wings of a Dove" by Elaine Barbieri, it was my favorite! I think the first time I read "TWoBP" was in 4th grade....and for years (!) I was the only one to check it out of the library! Not even kidding. Thanks so much for sharing your favorite books!


    1. Did it again! I replied in a separate comment below :)

  10. Heather McCoubrey!!! Do you still read Witch? My good friend Matt got me a nice hardcover of it and an audiobook of it read by Mary Beth Hurt for Christmas a few years ago. My friend Matt is a total fanboy, but he KNEW what was most dear to me :) Now, about once a year, I listen to Witch in my car. (I drive A LOT for my day job) I first read Witch in 5th grade :) Never read Wings - is that the same story as the movie with Helena Bonham Carter? So cool about the library - what is even cooler is that you can walk into any library in the country and they have it:)
    Thanks for stopping by! I know you are hard at work on edits on your next novel! And To Love Twice took alot of brilliance and talent, so I know you are a busy busy bee! Check out To Love Twice if want a romance that sweeps away the echoes of tragedy...What a slew of awesome reviews!!!

  11. Thank you for the list! I have been so delighted with your suggestions in the past that I will be seeking out editions of these books. Of course, I have read Hoot at your suggestion, and East of Eden is one of my top ten, or twenty, or thirty. How on earth could you choose? Currently I am reading Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, and I highly recommend it. I loved the first one, Wolf Hall, which gives readers a kindlier view of Thomas Cromwell than writers in the past have done. But the second book is even better. Both won the Mann-Booker, and it is easy to see why. And Geralyn, your book is a treasure to me. I enjoyed every moment I spent with your well-drawn characters. Thank you for all the effort it took for you to give your readers so much pleasure.

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy!!! So good to see you!!! Bringing readers pleasure is my mission in life - probably because books have meant so much to me throughout my life, especially when I was a kid. I can even remember as a 4th grader talking over and over and over to my friend Rachel about Nancy Drew vs. Trixie Belden! (We liked TB better!) I like your book suggestions, too! How did I choose - the first ones that came to me when I thought of books I love until I had ten-and I knew which would be the top four, no question. Just this evening, I was thinking - ooh, what about Poisonwood Bible? Darn! I didn't mention The Memory of Running! The world of books is infinite and divine :)