Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Blog Tour of Breaking The Bank by Yona Zeldis McDonough & Guest Post for Booklovers + giveaway

I'm excited to be part of the Book Blog Tour of Breaking The Bank by Yona Zeldis McDonough. When I first heard about this book, a whimsical story of a young divorcee living in Brooklyn with her ten-year-old daughter who comes across an ATM machine that gives her free money that enables her to change many lives, I couldn't sign up fast enough! Doesn't it sound good?

Not only is Breaking The Bank largely set in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Yona McDonough is a Brooklyn resident herself! She's taken the time to chat with us about her favorite places in New York City. I asked her where she would take book-loving visitors from out-of-town. Without further ado, please welcome Yona Zeldis McDonough and her recommendations for places in New York City!


Favorite places in New York City for booklovers
by Yona Zeldis McDounough

Favorite places in NYC? I have so many! But if I were planning a trip for book lovers, I’d start off with the Strand. Dominating the corner of 12th and Broadway for decades, Strand is the mother of all used book stores. Miles and miles of books, books, books. Great poetry section; cool fashion section. Fiction section is mind boggling. And for the budget conscious (which today is practically everyone on the planet) there are tons of books for a buck. You never know what you’ll find and that’s the beauty of it. I liked this store so much I even gave it a small shout out in my new novel, Breaking The Bank. The protagonist, Mia Saul, visits the Strand; read about her experience on pages 92-94.

For a more uptown experience and vibe, I’d go to Argosy books on East 59th Street. In addition to the ample selection of first editions, there are scads of prints, illustrations from old books and other ephemera, just waiting to be bought, framed and cherished in your very own digs.

Two other not-to-be-missed book emporia are the swanky Rizzoli on 57th Street and the equally glam new Assouline shop inside the Plaza Hotel. But bookstores aren’t the only game in town.

Let’s not forget the grand dame of the Main Library, flanked by that pair of majestic lions and perched like a temple atop a wide flight of stairs on 42nd and Fifth; the incomparable collection (including nearly-impossible-to-find DVDs) at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the NYPL; the newly renovated main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

All that reading making you hungry? I’d recommend the restaurant atop Bergdorf Goodman’s, for its delightful, inside-of-a-jewel-box ambience and stunning views of Central Park or the Marie Belle Cacao Bar/Tea Salon, with outposts both uptown on Madison Avenue and downtown in Soho. I’m wildly partial to the chocolate rose tea (best iced) and the hand decorated chocolates that will delight the eye before totally conquering the palate.
Happy reading—and eating!


Thanks so much, Yona!! That's a wonderful introduction NYC. I love the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. Not just for the book collections and the staff but for the character and atmosphere in each of the branches. I used to haunt the 58th St, Yorkville, 67th St, Donnell and Midtown branches of the NYPL on a bi-weekly basis.


Mia Saul lives with her ten-year-old daughter Eden in a fourth floor rental in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It's a neighborhood that they love with Prospect Park, the green market, the public library, playground, stores and eateries. Ever since her ex-husband Lloyd left, things have been difficult and it's all Mia can do to keep her head above water. Her beloved Eden has gone beyond vegetarian: the list of things that she refuses to eat grows larger every day. Plus, Eden has been getting into fights and all sorts of destructive behavior. Between losing her job, looking for contractual publishing gigs, meeting with Eden's teacher, therapist and school principal, Mia doesn't have time to look for love or make any large changes in her life.

After difficult parent-teacher talk, losing the week's groceries, and beating herself up, Mia drops by a nearby ATM machine and where she receives a windfall of cash. Though she worries that there must be some mistake, she keeps some, splurges a little, and gives some away. And Mia starts to believe that her luck is changing.

Book Review:

Breaking The Bank is sure to give magical did-I-just-read-that?! moments. The people and places in Mia Saul's neighborhood easily become real. It's not hard to imagine ten-year-old Eden trying to control the changes in her life with a growing love of Barney's, imaginary vacations, and her growing list of boycotted foods. Or sharing Mia's longing for the camaraderie shared with her brother Stuart before he became the Park Avenue corporate lawyer with the house in Greenwich, a corporate lawyer wife and two sets of blond, long haired twins. Or frustration with ex-husband from Phillips Academy and Princeton who, hit with sudden yellow fever, has money for splurges but irregular child support.
Or growing fond of Mia's best friend, Julia, the generous and sage bartender with an extensive shoe collection. It's not just because I live in Brooklyn that the places and people that Yona'd described came alive for me, she paints a New York I would love to imagine living right under my nose. Tough, exciting, full of magic.

Downtown Press (September 8, 2009), 368 pages.
Courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of her website:

Yona Zeldis McDonough presently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and their two children and two small, yappy dogs. She has been "setting recent novels in her own backyard so to speak; Brooklyn has been a fertile ground in all sorts of ways." Learn more on Yona Zeldis McDonough's website at


To enter, please comment on Yona Zeldis McDonough's post, ask Yona a question or share why you'd like to win this book.

Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address and answer, no entry. The contest is limited to US only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on October 31, 2009.

Other participating sites:

Drey’s Library:
Found Not Lost:
The Brain Lair:
My Own Little Corner of the World:
My Reading Room:
All About {n}:
Bookin’ with Bingo:
Chicks with Books:
I’m Booking It:
My Guilty Pleasures:
Blog Business World:
Crazy For Books:
Libby’s Library News:
Jeanne’s Ramblings:
Just Another New Blog:
My Book Addiction and More:
That’s A Novel Idea:
Bookfoolery and Babble:
Booksie’s Blog:
So Many Books, So Little Time:
My Five Monkeys:
Chicks Love Lit:
Hers For The Reading:
Lit and Life:
Psychotic State:
Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews:
Book Magic:
Starting Fresh:
Keep on Booking:
Foreign Library Circus:

Thanks so much, Yona, Sarah and Pocket Books for this opportunity!


  1. What a great post. I've heard of and have always wanted to visit The Strand! Breaking the Bank sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing and the opportunity to win!

  2. Thanks for sharing this book and some great places to visit!


  3. I've been living in Brooklyn for 11 years now and live close to Park Slope. I love several of the places Yona Zeldis McDonough writes about in her post on favorite places in New York City, especially The Strand and Rizzoli's, two very different book stores but both very good places for books! I've never tried the tea salon she mentions and plan to soon. I usually opt for one of the many dessert & coffee shops or the popular cupcake places around NYC, but I love tea so I'm looking forward to trying Marie Belle Cacoa Bar/Tea Salon.

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

  4. Books and chocolate -- what's better than that?! I've visited Manhattan quite a bit, but never been to Brooklyn. One of these days, I'll have to hop the bridge! I'd like to read this book for the fantasy vs. reality element. Everyone likes to dream about what they'd do with a windfall, but what would it really, really be like? Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  5. What an wonderful post...makes me want to visit NYC tomorrow...please add my name to this fabulous novel giveaway. thanks.

  6. Literary Advocates Redefine Their World Without Books
    Read it at

  7. I grew up on Long Island - this looks like a fun read!

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  8. What a great story. I just love when books are set in places I know. I was born in Bay Ridge, but mother grew up in Park Slope.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  9. Why, oh why, do all New Yorkers have to mention The Strand? It makes me jealous every time it comes up! The premise for the book sounds fantastic. Please enter me.

    whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

  10. I'd love to read this! Thanks for sharing.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  11. I love the idea of the atm machine and all that money!!! haha...if only that would really happen in life right? makes the world go round, but i guess it would have it's disadvantages too. i would love to read this! thanks for the chance!

  12. I would like to read this book because it takes place in New York, I have always wanted to visit there. Please enter me. Thanks!


  13. I'd like to win this book because it sounds like an original story line.

  14. If I ever visit New York, I'm definitely going to The Strand. I just read Yona's bio and have a question for her. (Is she checking in to answer questions?) I saw that while she was at Columbia she took a writing course despite having been rejected from one during her undergrad years. I'm curious as to why she decided to try again; what made her stick with writing despite that early rejection?

  15. Who hasn't dreamed of having an ATM that would give you however much money you needed or wanted for that day? I think I am just too honest for that to continue I know I would have tell the bank

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  16. Going to The Strand is really a many bargain books to choose from. The NY Public Library Main Branch is a wonderful place to read and study ( an added bonus is the fact that Bryant Park is just behind it.) I love the Aztec Hot Chocolate at Marie Belle.

  17. a fabulous interview...makes me want to visit nyc today.

    karen k

  18. Boy finding a ATM machine that dispenses money is anyone's fantasy.

  19. Thanks for the great post! I'm planning a trip to NYC in December & will be taking Yona's tips into consideration as I plan my itinerary.