Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister

In Tracie Banister’s sophomore novel, In Need of Therapy, she introduces us to Pilar Alvarez, a South Beach based psychologist that has her own set of issues to handle.  Not only is her Cuban family a little crazy, but she has three muy caliente men in her life.  What is a single lady to do but have a little bit of fun?

If you read Ms. Banister’s debut novel, Blame It On The Fame, then you already know that she has a knack for weaving a tale that will suck you in with characters that are as vividly brought to life on the pages as the hot locations that they are playing in. The character of Pilar is so completely adorable with her quirks that you are going to eagerly keep turning the pages to see what happens next. And you are going to be enamored with three very different men that are all vying for a spot in Pilar’s life (and heart) – Her cheating ex, Victor, that vows he is ready to change for her as he makes one grand gesture after another to try to reclaim his position in her life; Hot lifeguard Mitch, who is unfortunately a patient as well; and fellow psychologist Ford, who has an adorable moppet of a son and a wedding ring firmly in place on his finger.  You add a scandal causing sister, a fun best friend, and an over-bearing mother, who just wants her daughter to get married, and you have quite the story.

This review took me almost two weeks to write.  Not because I couldn’t think of the words to use to praise the book, but because the review was beginning to sound like a squee’ing fan girl.  However, I think all the “squee” in the world is appropriate for In Need Of Therapy and would happily recommend this book to everyone that I know. Two books in and Tracie Banister has proven that she has what it takes to keep readers entertained for many years to come. 

Author Bio:  An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play that she penned (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she, also, starred in and tried to direct the production.) Her dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, Tracie decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Her debut novel, the Hollywood-themed Blame It on the Fame, was released in January, 2012. And she followed that up with the fun summer read, In Need of Therapy.  

Barnes & Noble:

About the book:

Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can't stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she's left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

How a diary helped an author create - Guest Post by Tara Thompson

As a diary keeper myself, I love this guest post by Tara Thompson! It really speaks for what happens when your secrets and your private thoughts are stolen from you and I love how Tara overcame that and turned it into a successful career for herself.  I hope you enjoy this as well! 


I learned to write by starting with the words “Dear Diary.”  My private journal was a comforting, understanding friend to whom I could confess every thought and emotion, especially those I wasn’t quite comfortable sharing out loud.
My first diary was a gift, given to me when I was five and just learning to spell.  It was pink, with a heart-shaped lock and a tiny key that was more decorative than practical.  I treasured that little book, filling it with doodles and writing my name, the alphabet and whatever words I’d learned in school that day, filling it until there were no pages left. 
Over the years the look of my diary evolved, sometimes it was just a composition notebook left over from the school year.  But my reliance on it remained steady, and I found comfort in transforming an empty page into a mass of words, no blank spaces allowed.
Until that comfort was stolen from me- literally.
During an afternoon playdate when I was twelve, one of my friends (and I use that term loosely) stole my precious diary, and a hundred dollars of babysitting money I’d been saving up to buy Christmas presents for my family, right out of my desk drawer.  She didn’t keep her theft a secret.  No, the brat taunted me with snippets of my own words the very next day.  She was a bully, back when ‘bullying’ was just an accepted right of passage.  Since it didn’t happen on school grounds, sharing the matter with school administrators wasn’t even a consideration. 
I was more upset to lose my diary than the cash.  Realizing that my personal thoughts and insecurities could be stolen and used against me, especially by someone I trusted, was truly devastating.   But I learned an important lesson that day- that money is replaceable but privacy is priceless. 
Fast forward two and a half decades, and I now know it was something of a blessing.  First, it allowed me to shut the door on a friendship that might have led me down the wrong path.  That girl, a thief really, went on to have drug and alcohol problems in high school and beyond.  I don’t think she ever made it to college, and from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, has made a mess of her life.  And I quickly found a set of supportive, loyal, kind friends with whom I’m still incredibly close.
Secondly, it inspired me to find creative writing outlets beyond the personal monologues I had previously relied on.  Instead I began creating characters who had the same dreams  and fears that I did, and then set them free in a variety of situations.  It was equally comforting but because they were fictional, no one knew what part, if any, of my stories were true.  Fiction writing was so enjoyable, and still is, that I never felt the need to write in a diary again. 
Would I go so far as to say ‘thank you’ to that bully... definitely not.  But I do love karma!

 Author Bio:

I am a married thirty-something with three awesome kids and a sweet, workaholic husband.  We had two dogs but about the time I was feeling completely overwhelmed, they abandoned my chaotic house for doggie heaven (for their sakes, I hope no children are chasing them anymore).  In my former life I attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before giving up on both.  I thoroughly enjoyed my twenties and am quite content settling down to a much quieter life in Suburbia, USA.  For me, writing is a much welcome respite from the reality of running to the bus stop, pediatrician, food store, gym, soccer games, tennis lessons, etc. etc etc.  My family and I recently moved from Garden City, Long Island to Wilton, Connecticut and couldn’t be happier.
About the book:

NYSSA, internationally renown supermodel, is accustomed to turning heads. As a young girl, her flawless face attracted the wrong kind of attention. She escaped an abusive father and successfully navigated life’s seedy underbelly to become a runway renegade, although not without leaving her share of enemies behind. Lately she’s caught the eye of....

STEVE, handsome hometown hero and soon-to-be Governor of Texas. Unfortunately he’s already married. As Steve publicly dumps his perfect, former Miss Texas wife for Hollywood’s latest ‘It’ girl, his state faces the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Will he be able to turn things around, or is he too embroiled in his political sex scandal? His good friend and business partner....

DEMETRI, sexy hedge fund manager, is at the top of his professional game and tries to save his friend from near financial ruin. Yet he’s distracted by Steve’s new girlfriend, who just happens to be Demetri’s old flame. Years ago, Nyssa ran from him and he’s never forgotten her. But why is he still interested? Demetri’s dating....

AISLINN, a woman as brilliant as she is beautiful. Enjoying all the perks of having a billionaire boyfriend, she’s falling fast for Demetri and has no idea that she might be the one getting played. Although she bets big on Wall Street, the largest casino in the world, nothing is more risky than giving her heart away.

In this fun, juicy, glamorous novel, no one is exactly who they appear to be...
And all of them are heading for a MELTDOWN.

Who will rise from the ashes?
Buy the book!