Saturday, 11 August 2012

What Romantic Reading Escapes Has To Say About TWD

Recently, I was sent a link to a review of  The Winemaker's Dinner, a book I co-authored with Dr. Ivan Rusilko. My first thought when reading this was... WOW! When I was able to form a coherent thought and wipe the tears from my eyes, I continued reading. Thanks to Kathy Womack and her blog Romantic Reading Escapes for the wonderful, heartfelt review of TWD. It is by far my favorite.

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An Erotic Tale with a Back Porch Feel

“She was a small-town girl from Colorado, and Ivan was a farm boy from Pennsylvania. Together they were a force to be reckoned with."

I’ve been looking forward to this book for months forever! The thirty days of foreplay had me writhing struggling in my wait for its release, knowing it would be epic. I was so enthralled with the prequels, I told all my book-lover friends [and even the non-book lover friends] that TWD was going to be the book to read. I even wrote a promo (There's a New Hero in Town), because of my excitement about the book I knew would be a best seller. Did it live up to the viral hype that spread over the internet so quickly? You bet it did!


Goodreads description:
The Winemaker's Dinner: Appetizers (The Winemaker's Feast)Recently named executive chef at one of Miami Beach’s hottest restaurants, Jaden Thorne is determined to make her culinary mark and fulfill her professional dreams. When Jaden is given highly coveted tickets to the ultra-exclusive Winemaker’s Dinner, she jumps at the opportunity to meet South Florida's wealthiest and most influential food and wine enthusiasts.
Jaden’s eyes are drawn to the VIP section even before the appetizers appear, but she soon finds herself thinking less about networking and more about the intriguingly sexy stranger eying her from across the room. After dinner, what begins as a light-hearted flirtation unexpectedly catapults into a night of explosive passion. But when morning dawns, Jaden leaves her sleeping Mr. Oh So Sexy behind, sure they’ll never see each other again.
Dr. Ivan Rusilko, a handsome, young physician, boasts an extensive resume’ and a well-established position on Miami Beach’s social scene. But despite his success and glamour, he’s routinely had to suffer uninspiring dates and doomed relationships. With a romantic heart, Ivan’s not the love-‘em-and-leave-‘em type. But when he awakens to find that the girl in the red dress has done exactly that, he resolves to find her--only if it’s just to ask why she left without even a kiss goodbye.
The Winemaker’s Dinner is a fictionalized erotic memoir inspired by the romantic triumphs and tragedies of Dr. Ivan Rusilko’s real life. Weaving fact with fantasy, authors Everly Drummond and Dr. Ivan Rusilko have gifted readers with a swoon-worthy flesh and blood romantic hero and the intoxicating bouquet only a heartfelt tale of passionate love can create.
My thoughts:

Although this is considered a fictional memoir inspired by Dr. Ivan's triumphs and tragedies in love, the lines between fiction and truth are blurred. The way the book is written, I assume there is more truth than fiction in Dr. Ivan's views and genuine feelings about life and love, especially when writing about his family, making this novel all the more endearing, heartfelt, and all the more real. Perhaps the names have been changed to protect the innocent [or guilty]? But, we all know what Dr. Ivan said about assumptions. “Assumptions, baby girl, are never right!” One thing I am sure of - and this is not an assumption - is that the book gave me a deeper insight as to who Dr. Ivan is. I love that the co-authors were able to do that, and it makes me like and respect the real, as opposed to the fictional [is there really a difference? I just don’t know!] Dr. Ivan all the more. Any author who can make me believe as a reality, fall into the story and know in my heart and mind that it’s real - all the while calling it fiction - has something special. That is my view of Dr. Ivan Rusilko and Everly Drummond after reading TWD.

I smiled, laughed, cried and exhausted myself through much of the book. The banter Ivan has with everyone he meets and his witty personality that is so common among ordinary people, introduced us to a celebrity who is...just an ordinary person who happens to have achieved success on a grand scale. Because of the blur between truth and fiction, it is difficult for me to discuss my feelings and opinions of the characters in this book, because of the indescribable idea I have of my tittle-tattle about a real person and how that character/person made me feel. With each passage read, I could only picture the real Dr. Ivan in my head, pulling me into the story all the more. But I will try to give credence to my feelings of the characters, hopefully without embarrassing myself.

The song title headings for each chapter set the stage for the excitement I experienced while reading. I moved from chapter to chapter seamlessly without stopping; I was so engrossed and invested in Dr. Ivan's and Jaden's romance. I love the little details, such as Dr. Ivan's grandmother’s denim chair brought from home, or the Pink Floyd shirt [one of my favorite all time bands], and his 'old-school' Jeep Wrangler, Betty. Dr. Ivan never left his roots behind him.

Jaden's character tends to dominate the chapters in the book, and that's okay. I really liked Jaden and viewing the world (and Dr. Ivan) through her eyes. Jaden is a sweet country girl, yet she has a hidden excitement about her. When shy and embarrassed Jaden walked out on a sleeping Ivan after a night of unbridled passion, I knew that girl needed her head examined!! Self-image issues smissues! Who would leave that man without some sort of "make sure he remembers me" speech...gesture...note....something! Jaden also feels inadequate in the Miami social scene because she is just a chef. I wanted to smack her at that point, as I hold chefs in high esteem for personal reasons (my son is a certified culinary wizard who earned his title, Chef). Well, our sweet little Jaden with her low self-image comes into her own, gaining her self-confidence and more over time, thanks to Dr. Ivan; in fact, she turns out to be quite the seductress, unleashing that hidden excitement. Jaden is Dr. Ivan's "sweet new addiction." She is a career climber with big dreams of fame, but will her career dreams fall in the way of love...or worse, will it tear love apart? I feel as though I was transformed into Jaden, enabling me to feel everything that Jaden felt. I took possession of Jaden’s character. That is a great, but difficult, accomplishment for any author.

Now, let's talk about "Mr. Oh So Sexy." He is just that and a Mollydooker Carnival of Love all rolled into one. "Right now I’m just a guy…desperate for you to give him a chance. Nothing more." *Swoon* Dr. Ivan/Dr. Ivan's character (that line is still blurred) says some of the most romantic things and makes the most romantic gestures of any character I've read in a book. Perhaps, this is because in real life, he is really the romantic about whom he wrote? He is the small town, down-to-earth man whose roots never left his heart, and his heart never left his roots. His respect for women and how they should be treated is something to which other men should aspire. His gifts and romantic gestures astounded me. He is selfless [as shown over and again through the book], thoughtful, and knows how to worship the whole woman - not just worship her body - although the steamy sex even had me completely satiated. I'm pretty sure I went blind after a couple of passages. *blush* Where are all the Dr. Ivans in the world?! He is very deep in his thinking and has a genuine appreciation of everyone and everything, taking nothing for granted. He is sincere in his speaking some of the most romantic lines ever written in a book - he is so darn believable! Dr. Ivan for President, 2012!!!! I didn't see Dr. Ivan Rusilko, hero of TWD; I saw Dr. Ivan Rusilko, the man who chose to put his life exposé in print. His description of love captured in the pages of the novel and continued in the acknowledgements is nothing short of amazing...beautifully written and straight from his heart.

To Dr. Ivan: We all fall in love with our literary heroes...until the next literary hero comes along. However, Dr. Ivan, you are the real hero, and I can’t help but feel this is your true story. I believe that you portrayed yourself candidly and sincerely. For that, I wish you all the joy and happiness from all the readers who will fall in love with another literary character in you. Thank you for being my fictional boyfriend for a few pages in time, and I wish for you to find your "miracle" in life.

Most romantic moment: The words spoken when requesting a second date knocked me over in a swooning frenzy. Dr. Ivan swept me off my feet, and I wasn’t the one offered a second date with such special words and gestures! Or was I? I was so transformed into Jaden’s character in my mind, maybe I really did?

Favorite romantic moment: The heart costume scene was epic! Someone of Dr. Ivan’s caliber doing what most would find silly and embarrassing, actually gave us insight to the self-confident, fun, and uninhibited man Dr. Ivan really is.

Laugh out loud moment: I'm torn between the skeet shoot and Jaden's inability to remember Ivan's name....Igor? Really??

Moment of Angst: Chapters 32 and 33 had me sitting on the edge of my seat, pulling my hair, and crying my eyes out! I was breathing hard and fast. My breath could not keep time with my heartbeat, because my heart was pounding its way from my chest!

Books transcend our time and space. No matter how dynamic or static our lives become, we love for books to transport us to a place where wishes and dreams come true, an escape from reality. TWD is such a book, in which we are transported into Jaden and Dr. Ivan’s world as characters in his life story...the ups and the downs. This is not just an erotic or romantic story. There are strong messages to be received by the reader. "Life is short: Forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh." "Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened."

I have to admit that when it came to writing this review, it took a while to remove my heart from my throat…I assume that was the lump in my throat, because my heart was no longer where I left it in my chest. I needed time to collect my thoughts and return from whatever dimension I found myself. I’m still not sure I’m ready to share this review, because this book touched me in so many ways, making it difficult to find the words to express my opinions and feelings (you're probably thinking...not from the length of it! Ha!). This book introduces us to the romantic hero for whom every girl would give her plasma to gain his love. Even the acknowledgements in this book were beautifully written words describing love by Dr. Ivan and expressions of gratitude from Everly Drummond. Dr. Ivan bared his soul and exposed his life to entertain me, the reader, and I am honored to have shared a part of his life through words on a page. I give this book 5 stars and recommend it to those readers who want that little piece of Heaven here on Earth. Now, I will forever dream big, because I learned in a book that anything is possible.

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