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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Getting Skinny by Monique Domovitch (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Getting Skinny by author Monique Domovitch!

Author Guest Post

Hello Kathleen, 

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. Today, I thought I’d talk about reinventing myself as an author at the age of…let’s just call it retirement age and leave it at that. 

Somebody once told me that they had never known anyone able to reinvent themselves as easily as I have. I’d never really thought about it before then, but I guess she was right. I’ve had so many careers. And when I say careers, I don’t mean just jobs. I have had six major careers, my first as a model. In those days models were young, very young, and once they hit the big 3-0, they were put out to pasture. That career naturally segued into my next one, this time as a model’s agent, which I did until I sold my agency some years later. The next business in which I embarked was as an interior designer. I had a small boutique on a fashionable street in Montreal. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m originally from Montreal. My first language is French.) During that time, I was the victim of a financial con, a sort of mini Madoff—very, very mini—and I quickly came to the realization that I had to do something and fast, or I would never be able to retire comfortably. This is what sent me running to the nearest investing courses. If I was to recover financially, then I bloody well had to know how to make my money work for me. Well, it wasn’t very long until I pulled out my soap box and started preaching to all my girlfriends that they, and only they, were responsible for their financial security. And again, it wasn’t very long until one of them got fed up with my preaching and told me that if I wanted to give financial advice, then maybe I should do it as a career instead of bugging all my friends. That turned out to be an excellent piece of advice. I closed my decorating shop, went for an interview with a financial firm and was hired on the spot. 

You know how they say every cloud has a silver lining? Well, it turned out that my financial misfortune is what rocketed me to the attention of the media. When my story got out—successful career woman reinvents self as financial advisor after being bilked out of life savings—women’s organizations began asking me to come speak to their groups. By then, I was back on my feet financially, and my story gave hope to everyone who worried about money. If I could do it, so could they.

I was only two years into that career when TV came calling. The Women’s Network, called WTN at the time, needed an educational show to help women understand investing. And my next career was born. 

Even though I was successful at all these careers, I always felt as if I was on the wrong path. Somehow, I was living the wrong life. What I really wanted to do was write. But, by the time retirement began looming around the corner I was pretty sure I’d missed the boat. My husband—bless his heart—pointed out how I’d been able to change courses so often in my life, so why not now? I thought about it and decided, why not? Why couldn’t I become a writer now? Notice I said writer, not author. I never, ever imagined I could find an agent and get published, at least not at my age. 

But, here I am. Lately I’ve been swinging from the chandelier so often, I think my husband should secure it before it comes crashing down. I though the happiest day in my life was when I was accepted by an agent—until my first manuscript was bought. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. 

So, dear Readers, all of this to say, no, it’s not too late. Whatever you want to do, as the Nike ad says, just do it. If you follow your passion, the money will follow. 

All my best, 
Monique Domovitch

About The Author

Monique Domovitch lives with her husband and an ever expanding family of dogs. They travel extensively and she is never seen without her laptop. When is not writing or traveling, Monique is an avid baker.

Getting Skinny by Monique Domovitch ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

Getting Skinny by Monique Domovitch
Book 1: A Chef Landry Mystery series
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: February 4, 2013
Format: eBook - 222 pages / Kindle - 442 KB / Nook - 797 KB
ISBN: 1426895038
Genre: Chick Lit / Cozy Mystery

BUY THE BOOK: Getting Skinny

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

Book Description:

Owning a restaurant is as crazy for Nicky Landry as an alcoholic owning a bar. But despite having to cram herself into a body shaper to look decent in a dress, life is pretty good. She's throwing the party of the year for her graduating doctor boyfriend, Rob, who she's sure is going to propose—until his new girlfriend shows up at the party.

After ordering Rob to get his stuff out of her house and get lost, Nicky finds him faceup with her expensive Chroma knife sticking right out of his cheating heart.

As the prime suspect, Nicky is in hot water. And no matter how hard she tries to clear her name, her problems only mount. She's convinced she can solve the murder—if only she can figure out the identity of the skinny person seen walking away with Rob after the party.

Getting "Skinny" won't be easy for Nicky, but she never imagined it would be life or death…

Book Excerpt:

Sometimes a girl just knows.

Call it intuition. Call it a sixth sense. Whatever. Somehow I just knew. The thing is, when a man gets ready to pop the question, he does a series of little things that give a pretty good idea of what he’s up to. The right woman—the clued-in woman, as my friend Toni would have said—picked up on them. Rob would propose tonight. I just knew it. And that was why I had to look amazing.

I looked at my nemesis, the scale, next to the bathroom vanity. I’d ignored it for weeks now, but it beckoned. Come, Nicky. Come see how much you weigh. I knew I wouldn’t like it but I couldn’t help myself. I had to find out. Even surrounded by non-weight-conscious men in chef school, I’d never quite relinquished the dream of being thin. I wanted to have a nice figure. To fit into a size eight. To look sexy for the man I loved. Was that so much to ask?

I peeled off my bra and panties, removed my watch and small stud earrings, then stepped on the scale. I held my breath as the dial spun. Back and forth it went half a dozen times, so fast the numbers were a blur. Finally it settled on…

“Argh!” Impossible. I refused to believe it. I had gained another ten pounds. Good grief. How’d that happen? I’d been so careful.

Oh, all right. I hadn’t been that careful. Only in my dreams did I stick to my diet.

But this was it. I was going to start counting calories. This time I really meant it. No more cheating. From now on I’d be good. I’d treat food preparation like wine tasting: taste and spit. Maybe a tiny morsel here and there to really check the seasoning.

Ten pounds more. How could that be? Maybe the scale was wrong. I crept back on and this time shifted my weight onto my toes. Occasionally this maneuver shaved off a couple of pounds. But this time the number on the dial climbed another few digits. Shit.

The problem was that I was a chef and, working in a kitchen, I had about as much chance of losing weight as an alcoholic bar owner had of staying on the wagon. With my self-control, my chances of winning the lottery were greater. Ten pounds. Well, that settled it. I was no longer voluptuous. I couldn’t call myself curvaceous or even queen-size anymore. There was one word for what I was and that was fat.

Jackie Chan, my Yorkshire terrier, came bouncing in. She skidded to a stop two feet from me and barked.

“Are you laughing at me? If you bark my weight to anyone, that’ll be the end of Jackie Chan,” I told her.

She tilted her head while she thought it over, then spun around three times and scooted out. Smart girl. She knew when to stay out of my way.

I picked up the dress I’d purchased four weeks ago. This dress was a miracle of engineering. In the store dressing room, I’d looked taller than my five-feet-four inches and pounds lighter than my…never mind. Why remind myself? And the color—cilantro green—was perfect with my strawberry blond hair.

Barely one month later, here I was, unable to pull up the damn zipper. This was a disaster. Rob’s party was in a few hours. And tonight, I just knew, would be the most important night of my life.

I looked at my dress again. Surely there had to be some way… Hold on. Don’t I have a body slimmer somewhere? I raced to the bedroom and rummaged through my underwear drawer until I found the spandex garment I’d bought a year ago. I’d seen it advertised on an infomercial in which the model wearing it shrank three dress sizes the instant she slipped into it. When it arrived in the mail a few days later, I tore open the package and crammed myself into the contraption, only to discover that it made me feel like an overstuffed cannelloni. Still, I had looked a bit smaller. It smoothed out my panty lines and ironed out the spare tire around my waist. But I could never have imagined actually wearing the thing. I might get gangrene from lack of circulation. Tonight, however, was special. I needed Rob to think I was the most beautiful creature in the world, and if that meant enduring the body slimmer for a few hours, then so be it.

I pushed my legs into the slimmer up to my thighs and pulled as hard as I could, squirming and wriggling until all my parts fit snugly inside. By now I was breathing like a steam engine. I tried the dress again, held my breath, pulled at the zipper and…it worked. Hallelujah. The dress was still snug. In fact, it might be better to avoid breathing altogether. But hey, I was wearing it.

The phone rang and I rushed from the bathroom, trying to determine where it was. The problem with the cordless phone and Rob was that he never remembered to leave the receiver in its cradle.

I set off for the living room where he left it nine times out of ten. Sure enough, there it was on the coffee table right next to the bowl of mixed nuts. I grabbed a handful and hesitated. Then I remembered that nuts are a healthy source of protein, and everybody knows protein keeps a person feeling full for a longer time.

I picked up the phone just in time to hear a hang-up. I glanced at the caller ID. Why was Toni calling? She knew I’d be at the restaurant in half an hour. Uh-oh. I pushed the redial button.

After the first ring, Toni’s voice came through, sweet and reassuring. My suspicions were instantly aroused.

“Everything over here is under control. You have nothing to worry about, so take your time,” she said, using her pacifying voice.

“Thanks, but I was just about to leave. I should be there in about fifteen minutes.”

“Why rush? Take the rest of the afternoon off. Take a long bath. Do your hair. You don’t have to show up until just before the guests.”

I knew that tone. Something was definitely up. “What’s the problem, Toni?”

“Problem? Who said anything about a problem? I swear, sometimes you really are paranoid. Just because I want to make things easier for you…”

“Cut the crap. Something’s up and I want to know what it is.”

Her voice came back with less honey and more whine. “It’s not really a problem. We can always get something at the bakery up the street.”

My heart sank. I so did not need this right now. “You know Skinny’s will never serve goods from a bakery. Give it to me straight.”

She sighed. “It’s the lemon curd for the meringues.” Pause. “It scorched.”

“Oh, no.” A vision flashed through my mind—dozens of perfect little meringue nests lined up in rows, every one of them filled with a brown glob of goo. What would that do to our reputation? Our reputation would be cooked.

I glanced at my watch, wondering how fast I could get to the restaurant. It was already three o’clock. The curd needed four hours to cool before being poured into the meringues or everything would turn into a sodden mess. Even if we had enough lemons, this was cutting it awfully close. Maybe if we took our time serving the appetizers, then delayed serving the main course by a few minutes…ten minutes here, fifteen there. We just might pull it off.

“Do we have any more lemons?”

“Just enough for the seafood.”

“Damn.” I thought quickly. There was no time to stop at the grocery store. “What about limes? How many do we have?”

“Maybe a dozen or so.”

I allowed myself a tentative sigh of relief. “Skinny’s on Queen will be serving a new specialty tonight—lime curd meringues.”

“Lime curd meringues,” Toni registered the alteration as she slowly repeated my words. “Perfect! See? I knew there was nothing to worry about. As they say, all’s well that ends well.”

“Get Charles to make the curd, and tell him not to stop stirring for so much as one second,” I told Toni, holding back the few choice expressions on the tip of my tongue. “I’ll be there as fast as I can. If I see even one dark speck in that curd, there’ll be hell to pay.”

I hung up, spinning between being weak with relief and spitting mad. Why was it that nothing ever went smoothly?

I stormed off to the bedroom, removed my dress, carefully strung it over its padded hanger and slid it into a garment bag. Should I extract myself from the body slimmer? I could put it on later with my panty hose and three-inch heels. That way, I would feel comfortable while I cooked. But getting into the stupid thing was a challenge worthy of a contortionist. Better not attempt it in one of the restaurant’s three-by-three stalls. Instead, I slipped a pair of black pants and my new mango T-shirt over the torture garment and checked myself in the mirror again. Yep, even in my everyday clothes, I did look slimmer.

In the bathroom, I scrambled around under the sink for my makeup kit. What the hell? Pill bottles. What was Rob thinking? He couldn’t just leave bags of pills lying around. What if Jackie got into them? He deserved to get hell for that…

Wait. Hadn’t Rob said something about bringing antacids from the hospital? He was a sweetie, always taking care of me. I picked up one of the plain white plastic bottles. No label. How strange. Some generic brand. I was stuffing the bag back under the sink when I dropped it, scattering dozens of bottles all over the floor. Shit. That was clumsy of me. Every time I was in a rush, I turned into butterfingers.

I picked them up, threw them in his bag and resumed rummaging until I found my own. A few minutes later, I was freshly mascaraed and lipsticked. I was ready to go when I noticed an errant bottle on the floor. I picked it up and blindly grappled under the sink for Rob’s bag and threw it in with the others.

“Jackie,” I called. “Come on, girl. Time to go pee-pee.”

Jackie came skidding over, her little paws skating on the hardwood floors. Jackie weighed less than four pounds but there was nothing small about her personality. She scampered after me to the mudroom behind the kitchen.

“Want to go out?” At the word out, she began to spin. Around and around she went. I cracked up. “Stop chasing your tail, Jackie. You’re smarter than that.”

She gave me a dirty look and scooted out through her doggie door. I waited the required few minutes until she ran back in.

“Sit pretty.” I held up a liver treat and her bottom hit the floor with a thump. That was one thing Jackie and I had in common—we’d both do anything for food. “Good, good girl.” Jackie snapped it out of my fingers, and in a flash it was gone.

“Hey you, didn’t anyone ever tell you to chew at least twenty times before swallowing?”

She looked at me as though I’d lost my mind.

I often wondered what people would think if they heard me talk to her. I could have entire conversations with Jackie and I was sure she understood. After three years, I read her body language as clearly as words.

I put a wee-wee pad down in front of the back door. Who knew at what time I’d be back tonight? I gave her a quick kiss and left.

Outside, I was greeted by a bright and sunny day. A perfect June day. A perfect day for a proposal. Every time I thought about it, I got another rush.

My new neighbor was staring at me from his living room window. He and I shared a common wall. Since the man moved in three weeks ago, all he seemed to do was loaf by the window. What a weirdo. Toni, of course, thought he was cute, but then Toni thought all men under forty were cute. This one looked thirty, thirty-five. Certainly too young to sit around doing nothing all day. What was his story? Didn’t he have a job?

He smiled and I turned away, pretending not to have seen him. I threw my garment bag over my shoulder and marched off at a brisk pace, praying that the lime curd would turn out perfect. Limp meringues wouldn’t exactly impress a roomful of Rob’s friends.

Why, oh why, couldn’t life be straightforward, even just occasionally? Despite the less-than-great things, like my weight and the threat of lifeless meringues, I knew I had it good Here I was—twenty-nine and I already owned my own business. I had a great girlfriend. Toni was not only a close friend and my business partner, but she’d also bankrolled our restaurant.

I had a little house on Shaw Street in the Queen West area of Toronto. Few would describe the house as beautiful, even after dozens of gallons of paint and countless hours of sweat equity. But my home, as unpretentious as it was, was mine, and I loved it.

Then, of course, there was Rob. Lucky me.

My Book Review:

If you are looking for an entertaining cozy murder mystery, then Getting Skinny is the book for you! In the first book of A Chef Landry Mystery series, author Monique Domovitch weaves an intriguing tale written in the first person narrative that follows the trials and tribulations of Nicky Landry, when her world is turned upside down with the murder of her cheating boyfriend, Dr. Rob Grant, and she becomes the main murder suspect. When the police don't bother to look for other suspects, it's up to Nicky and best friend/business partner Toni to investigate the case on their own.

Getting Skinny is an entertaining and fast-paced mystery that will keep the reader guessing the true identity of the killer with a long list of suspects and clever clues sprinkled throughout the book. And even when the reader discovers the identity of the killer midway through the story, figuring out the motive for the murder takes over, and keeps the reader turning the pages until the reason is finally revealed. And if that isn't enough to whet your appetite, this book has some yummy recipes included that will make your mouth water!

The cast of characters is a quirky group that will keep the reader in stitches. You can't help but love Nicky, she is a charming and witty girl, but she has low self-esteem due to her weight issue. Best friend and business partner Toni is a supportive friend, who has a larger than life personality. Then there is Mitch, Nicky's weirdo new neighbor, who watches her every movement from his living room window. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Nicky's adorable Yorkie pup, Jackie Chan, you can't help but fall in love with this dog and it's crazy antics.

If you want a quick fun read on a lazy summer day, pick up a copy of Getting Skinny, it's a satisfying cozy mystery that won't leave you disappointed!

Getting Skinny is the first book in A Chef Landry Mystery series.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card 

Contest Dates: June 24 - July 15, 2013

Everyone who leaves a comment on Getting Skinny by Monique Domovitch ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Getting Skinny before July 15 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

June 24 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
June 27 – Pause Time – Review & Guest Post
June 28 – Bite My Book – Guest Post
June 28 – Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and More – Guest Post
July 1 – Evolved World – Review & Excerpt
July 2- I Heart Books – Guest Post
July 3 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
July 9 – Oodles of Books – Review
July 9 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews - Review, Guest Post & Excerpt 
July 10 – Free eBooks Daily – Q&A
July 11 – The Broke Book Bank – Guest Post, Q&A & Excerpt
July 12 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
July 13 – Lavender & Camomile Press – Q&A
July 15 – Chick Lit Plus – Review


  1. Replies
    1. This was a fun story to read, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.