Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Work For Hire by Margo Karasek (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Margo Karasek, author of Work For Hire!

Author Guest Post

I started writing Work For Hire completely by accident. Here’s the short of it:

When I graduated from law school—yeah, I thought being a lawyer was a good idea, even though I always dreamed of being a novelist—I finally decided to take the plunge. I quit my cushy law firm job to write . . . a historical spy thriller. Yup. You read that right: a historical spy thriller. I was born behind the Iron Curtain and stayed there until shortly before the Berlin Wall came down, so—trust me—I had some good material to work with. And I was determined on perfection; I would research every fact to guarantee accuracy. Of course, that required a lot of time—and money—because most of my research had to take place in the archives of ancient European capitals. I had to dish out hefty cash for all the old paper documents. Meanwhile, I also had to somehow pay my rent. So when a part-time tutoring opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it. Hey, what could be easier? I could research, write full time and make lots of money just working a few hours a day. Perfect.

But, like for my protagonist Tekla, things didn’t turn out quite as I had expected. You see, when I stepped foot in the house of my first client, I really felt like I tumbled down Alice’s rabbit hole and ended up in a world I never imagined could exist. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I had to deal with kids who spent more money in one night out than I made in a whole month . . . and that was when I worked as an attorney. They went on glamorous trips, shopped for clothes straight off the runways and lived in the most amazing locations. Balenciaga. Prada. The Hamptons. Nobu. Privet jets. I was enmeshed in a vocabulary so completely foreign to me. Of course, at first, I was completely dazzled and awe-struck. This new world I was experiencing was so exciting; it was like living a television show or a movie. Hello Sex and the City! But, then, I started noticing the cracks beneath the gilded surfaces: the broken families and, often, morally questionable decisions. I guess I got to see first hand the price that some had to pay to live in extreme privilege. And I started thinking. Here I had the makings of an amazing story—heck, I didn’t need to make much up because the truth was far more outrageous than fiction—and I was plucking away at history, when the present was so much more interesting.

So I took a step back and just started putting some words on paper—err, computer screen. The plot for a new book kind of poured out of me, and it was so different from anything I had ever worked on. Tekla’s—the main character’s—voice was so strong to me that I had to let her speak in the first person, even though I always worked from the third person point of view. I found her funny and misguided and sometimes even frustrating. But I liked her, and her story. And a couple of chapters in, I finally realized I was writing a chick lit novel. That took me back a step, because even though I devoured chick lit as a reader, I never envisioned I’d be capable of writing such a book myself. But, there you have it: Work For Hire came out this past May. And, yeah, I’m still plucking away on my historical spy thriller—in my spare time—because, for now, I am just having too much fun writing women’s fiction!

About The Author

Margo Karasek decided to be a writer the instant she finished reading her first novel as a kid. She loved the possibilities and freedom in observing and writing about everyday people, whose experiences--through her words--could make a lasting impact. This passion led her to NYU, where she earned a journalism and anthropology degree, with the highest honors. But since she couldn't figure out how writers made a decent living, Margo went on to law school--where she had a blast. Unfortunately, actually practicing law was nowhere near as fun as learning about it in school, so Margo took the ultimate plunge: she quit her cushy law firm job to become a full-time novelist. And, to help make ends meet throughout the process, Margo also began tutoring for some of the wealthiest, best known families in New York as a side-gig. The latter job gave her some powerful ideas for her first novel. Margo currently lives in Queens, New York with her husband and their two children, and is busy working on her next book.

Margo Karasek ~ Work For Hire ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

Work For Hire by Margo Karasek
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Self-Publishing
Publication Date: May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback - 326 pages / Kindle - 445 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 147936407X
ASIN: B008600RF4
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Work For Hire

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Tekla's law school career couldn't be any better. She has top grades. She's on Law Review. She's a frontrunner in a mock oral argument with a sweet prize: a judicial clerkship. One problem, though: Tekla has no more money to pay for school. She needs a part-time job. Fast.

Luckily, her roommate has just the solution: help two uber-wealthy prep school teens, the twin son and daughter of a billionaire Wall Street short-seller and a world-renowned model turned fashion photographer, with their schoolwork, and earn $150 an hour. Plus, enjoy an additional perk on the job, in the form of a gorgeous photo assistant who happens to have his eye on Tekla.

Easy money.

Well, not so much. Within days, Tekla's job begins to unravel. In a world of super-wealth and high fashion, Tekla finds herself surrounded by a peculiar cast of players: two teens whose self-destructive behavior becomes ever more erratic, a father whose ambitions for his son constantly test Tekla's notions of what is fair and ethical and what is cheating, a mother whose emotional negligence borders on abuse, and a gorgeous man who may or may not be what he appears.

As Tekla struggles to hold onto a job that takes more time and energy than she ever anticipated, her own school life begins to suffer. She makes an enemy of a professor who seems to want nothing more than to bring her down. And he's succeeding. Soon Tekla's life is a paradox: without her high paying part-time job, she can't afford law school; but with it, she'll surely flunk out of school.

Book Excerpt:

“What exactly, Miss Reznar, do you think you are doing?”

I stood in front of Mr. Lamont’s desk and stared at his annoyed face. His tortoiseshell glasses perched on the tip of his nose. He glowered at me like a put-upon headmaster who had to deal with yet another disruptive student, except nothing about Mr. Lamont’s office—not the surely priceless artwork or the one-of-a kind antiques—reminded me of school. Certainly not the sort of schools I went to.

So what exactly was I doing here, standing like a petulant child called to task for her misbehavior?

I shifted my weight from foot to foot and glanced down at the pink bowtie below Mr. Lamont’s chin and the matching socks on his feet.

I really wanted to snicker, but I didn’t, because I unfortunately knew the answer to my own question.

Xander’s essay. Or, more specifically, my reluctance to write it for him.

When Lisa called insisting I see Mr. Lamont immediately, I knew what I was going to be in for: a scolding. 

“Well?” Mr. Lamont demanded and lounged back in his chair.

The leather of the massive executive chair engulfed his small frame. Napoleon must have looked the same on his throne.

I rubbed my palms against my leg, shifted from foot to foot again, and ogled the club chairs next to me. Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to just slide into one and give Mr. Lamont a piece of my mind: That it was rude of him to keep me standing while he sat, because for all his wealth and power he was no emperor, and as for Xander . . . Well, I was trying to actually teach him how to write and I didn’t exactly feel comfortable doing the work for him. And shouldn’t he—Mr. Lamont—be grateful—because writing was an essential life skill?

But the words hovered at the tip of my tongue, unsaid, and I remained standing.

“I’m tutoring your children?” I offered instead, sounding weak and pathetic.

Mr. Lamont snapped up straight in his seat and leaned over the desk.

“That’s right!” He banged his fist on the mahogany surface for emphasis. “You should be tutoring my children. That means helping them with their homework—none of this experimental teaching crap. I am not paying you to waste time, and Xander does not need another writing instructor. That’s what I pay his school tuition for. So please do your job, and leave others to do theirs. And now, if you’ll excuse me.”

He sat back in the chair, fixed his glasses firmly on his nose and picked up a stack of papers.

Clearly, as far as he was concerned, I was no longer in the room.

Too bad I couldn’t actually disappear just as fast as his attention had.

My Book Review:

Work For Hire 
Work is the story about a young law school student named Tekla, who is faced with a financial dilemma ... she needs money to pay for law school expenses and dorm rent. With an extremely tight budget, Tekla finds herself unable to afford any added expenses. Her friend Ann suggests that she move back home with her parents and commute to school. Tekla doesn't want to move back in with her parents because of her overbearing mother. Tekla's roommate Lauren suggests that she get a part-time job tutoring, she gives Tekla the name of her aunt, Patricia Jacobs, who owns a tutoring business. After interviewing with Ms. Jacobs, Tekla is placed with the very wealthy Lamont family. The Lamont's have two troublesome teenage twins named Xander and Gemma. Tekla finds her integrity constantly being put on the line when the Lamont children and their parents make it clear that they expect a lot more from her than just tutoring. Tekla finds it hard to turn down some of the demands placed upon her. She doesn't always make the right decisions or choices, which puts everything she aspires to be at risk for a family that seems to take advantage of her at every opportunity. Tekla's world is turned upside down: her school work is suffering; she's having a hard time with a professor; and a cute guy is attracted to her ... can she get her life back on track before she flunks out of law school?

Work For Hire is a fast-paced entertaining story written in the first person narrative and set in New York City. The reader follows Tekla's trials and tribulations of trying to attend law school while working as a part-time tutor to a wealthy family's troublesome teenage children. Tekla is constantly battling one crisis after another, she is pulled in so many different directions, it's a wonder that she doesn't lose her mind!

This is the debut novel for author Margo Karasek, who weaves a charming tale loosely based on her own personal experience of attending law school and working part-time as a tutor.

This humorous story has a lot of law school, job and romance drama that Tekla has to deal with as she travels down the crazy path of life. With a quirky cast of characters, engaging dialogue and interactions, Work For Hire is an enjoyable read that will tickle your funny bone.



  1. Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! I agree it was an intriguing book. I had always wanted to go to law school, so the story really peaked my interest. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.