Monday, October 5, 2009

Breaking The Bank by Yona Zeldis McDonough Tour & Review& Giveaway

Sarah at Pocket Books has set up a Blog Tour for Breaking the Bank by Yona Zeldis McDonough for today. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the book to review AND received a guest post from Ms. McDonough...Let's get started.

First I would like to welcome Ms. McDonough to my blog. She was kind enough to provide me with a description of Breaking the Bank
and how she looks at the "magic" of the story.

Magic. See, it got your attention, right? My new novel, BREAKING THE BANK, involves a bit of magic: the main character, Mia Saul, has run into a spell of bad luck. Her husband has left her for another woman, she loses her job in a big corporate take over, she's forced to move to a crummy, downscale apartment and her daughter is acting out all over the place. But when Mia encounters an ATM in her neighborhood that first gives her money it neither records nor debits, and then actually begins communicating with her, it looks like her luck is about to change. Or is it? Is the "magic" she stumbles upon a force of good or of evil? That's what Mia has to find out, and as her creator, what I had to find out as well. My other two novels, THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS and IN DAHLIA'S WAKE, were both very rooted in the real, the tangible, the here-and-now. BREAKING THE BANK, with its slight whiff of magic, was a departure for me and I wasn't sure I could sustain it. But I was open to the possibility of magic, not in a literal sense, but magic as a metaphor--for feeling special, chosen and uplifted. Magic is what breaks the downward spiral of Mia's life, but magic may in fact be another way of describing the irrepressible faith in ourselves that we all need to just keep on putting one foot in front of the other. Magic? Maybe. Or maybe not. You decide.

My review:

I adored this story (Not that it is an "adorable" book it is a little deeper than that). What I liked is that is was completely different than what I have been reading lately. It had a nice, easy flow with a meaningful story. And, I haven't read a book with a similar premise before - an ATM handing out money to one chosen soul.

Mia is definitely down on her luck. Her husband, the love of her life, left her for a woman he met while shooting a documentary. He is sporadic with child support and visiting their daughter Eden. Yet, somehow, Mia is the one making all the mistakes. Eden can't cope with the divorce or with having an on and off dad and has begun acting out at school. Mia tries to parent, but knowing the situation doesn't press too hard. She comes across as uncaring and "hostile" to the teacher. Mia wants Eden to have a relationship with her father, but damn if she doesn't want to either kill him or roll into a ball and die every moment he actually comes around. Not to mention he tends to treat her like an failing idiot when he is the one who failed their marriage. And, lately people have been using the term "bitter" to describe her when they are upset. She only has temporary contract jobs and the money is definit
ely not good. Neither is the rundown apartment she has had to move to with Eden. Oh, then there is that family intervention. Yes, Mia is down on her luck.

Maybe somehow the ATM knew. When Mia requested $100 a little extra popped out with it. The receipt didn't show it and neither did her bank account balance. Well, it seems like it just might have been a lucky break until it happens repeatedly. At one point something so over the top amazing happens that Mia knows the ATM is targeting her. Maybe she should be freaked, but she isn't. Well, she is freaked about having all the extra money and getting caught, but not by the machine. Instead she feels special. She takes that feeling and wants to pass it on to others in less fortunate situations. Extra tips for a cabby, large bill drops in the bucket of the homeless guy, etc.

Mia's luck gets a lot worse before it gets better, but she meets some great people along the way. Fred, who she has always known but is just starting to notice. It seems as if Fred is lifelong partner material, but Mia just can't figure out if she is ready. He seems to adore her and she likes him but it all a bit overwhelming. Fred's mom Bev who relates to magic in a way that Mia needs at this point in her life. She knows that many would find her crazy, but Bev reads the cards and sees her heart. Patrick, her cellmate-yes I mean as in jail, is intense. He awakens desires in her, and he believes in her in ways others cannot. He shows Mia how to feel again. Each character was vital to the story in their own way. They each allowed Mia to grow and change in ways that were desperately needed.

So, the question still remains. Is the ATM magic? My opinion is that it is. To me it seemed guided by a bigger force. A force there to help Mia live her life again. And all those bad times she goes through are part of the plan to ensure she meets everyone she needs to to put her future in place. Sometimes we all just need that one moment of feeling alive or of feeling noticed to take away the hard times taking over our life. You know what I mean - that wake up call to realize it can get better or that maybe your relationship ending was for the best. Breaking the Bank chose an ATM and a few other magical moments, but really it can be anything.


Pocket Books is allowing me to give away 2 copies of Breaking the Bank. The contest is open to U.S. residents only.

To enter simply leave a comment telling me what you would do if the ATM gave you extra cash. Make sure you include your email address.

I will take entries until 11:59 pm Central time on November 5th. Good luck!

Check out the other sites featuring Breaking the Bank today!

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: Share


  1. What a wonderful review. I really enjoyed it.

    What would I do?

    Probably hold on to it for a certain amount of time (to make sure I won't have to give it back). Then spend some and donate some.
    I like to live by the principle "if you get, give."


  2. Dont enter me as when you draw your winners I will be out of the country and am not sure how much internet access I would have. Honestly? I would take the money in to the bank and let them know. Its just the way I am wired. :)

  3. I think my windfall, if I ever get one, is committed to paying off the kids' student loans, and ours, and then.... well, retirement might be nice. (How bit a windfall is on offer?)

    sdeeth at msn dot com

  4. I think I would put it in a sock for a while to see if I got "busted" and then if after a few months I would take a portion out for some "shopping therapy" and use the rest to pay bills.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  5. I'm looking forward to reading this book - thanks for the chance to win a copy! If the extra cash came from the ATM, I'd turn the money in. If it was a "legitimate" windfall, I'd pay some bill, buy a new car, and a house!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  6. I think that I would return it to the bank...this sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

    karen k

  7. Please enter me. Thanks for the chance. This would be tough, but I would give it back. Don't forget, many banks have cameras. I would be way to paranoid.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  8. I'd have to take it inside the bank to return it. God sees all, knows all!

    I would love to win this book.
    readingatthebeach at gmail dot com

  9. I'd return it ASAP!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  10. If the ATM gave me extra cash I would take it back to the bank because I would want the same done for me Thanks

  11. I'd have to return it, I wouldnt want karma to come back and bite me in the butt

  12. If the ATM spat out a bunch of cash, I would be thrilled to death, BUT I would still end up taking it into the bank, because I am definitely going to err on the side of good things happen to good people, and I would also hate to think that there was some error that might have made me rip off some poor soul of their life savings.

    Thank you for the awesome review AND giveaway!


  13. Looks like an interesting book!
    I guess I too would take the money back to the bank and tell them about the mistake. I would just feel too guilty taking it! Thanks for the good review!
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com