Monday, October 29, 2012

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume: (In which I attempt to write a book review)

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume
by Lisa Rumsey Harris

About the book:
With her love of sweaters, goofy hair, and awkward manners—not to mention her family curse—Treasure Blume knows love is not in her future. That is, until she matches wits with Dennis Cameron, a divorced chef with a six-year-old daughter. Full of mischief, mayhem, and laugh-out-loud humor, this is an unlikely love story you’ll want to read over and over again!

Part where I talk:
Yeah, I have no idea what I'm doing.  This is obviously not a book-reviewing blog, so how did I end up in this position?  To make a long story short, I know the author as "Sister Harris" because she was my Honors Writing 150 professor a couple years ago.  We've stayed in touch ever since, and when I jokingly offered to write a review for her book, she took me up on it.  Actually, that's basically the whole story. 

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume is unlike anything I've ever read.  That sounds over dramatic, but it's still true.  I don't even know what genre it is, so I'm going to make one up and call it "adult fictional funny romance stuff."  I guess romantic comedy might be the same thing, but I like my description better.  The thing is, Treasure Blume isn't like other romantic comedies.  First of all, she's got this twisted family curse that makes everyone besides children and old people dislike her.  (Believe me, somehow it works.)  And second, it's an adult book without all the "adult" junk included.  And when I say junk, I mean sex.  It's like a Young Adult read, but for older people.  Wow, I'm really bad at this.

I also couldn't help but imagine Treasure as a younger, more awkward Sister Harris.  The image appeared, and it stuck.  People don't like Treasure when they first meet her, but if they give her the chance, they can learn to love her.  Although Sister Harris is my favorite professor and a mentor/friend, that wasn't always the case.  The first week of the semester I was actually scared of her, and I was not happy to be in her writing class.  Hey, in her syllabus she warned us that she could be an "arbitrary and capricious woman"--how else was I supposed to react?  Anyway, my opinion of her soon changed for the better, and I obviously think very differently of her now than I did initially.  So that's why she reminds me of Treasure.  Plus, they both have blonde hair.  For some reason, that really helps with the visual.

I'm kind of getting off topic.  Anyway, Treasure Blume is a quality read that's also funny and delightful.  (I'm pretty sure I've never used the word "delightful" in my life.)  I recommend it to anyone that has a heart and a brain.  So that's basically all of you.  I don't want to hear any excuses about lack of time or energy, because I read the whole thing in a few days in the midst of midterms, homework, papers, and work.  In other words, I don't know how to prioritize.  BUT it was totally worth it.  The release date is November 13th, and you can pre-order it on Amazon.  I did.

Now that I look back, the only summary is in the beginning section that I didn't even write.  So, I guess you'll just have to read the book. 

Best Q & A ever:
I wrote up a few questions for the author.  Her answers alone are testament to how funny her book is.

Q: What’s the best and worst thing about publishing your book?

A: The best thing is that now people get to meet my imaginary friends. Honestly, Treasure and Dennis and Grammy Blume have lived in my head for so long that it’s startling to hear other people (like reviewers) talk about them.  It’s surreal and crazy and fun, especially when people get it.  The worst thing is learning and understanding the publishing process.  I guess I thought that once the book was accepted for publication, my work would be done. How very wrong I was.

Q: Do your current writing students know of TB and are they going to read it? If so, is that weird for you?

A: The current students know that my novel is being released this November. They are invited to attend the launch party at the BYU Bookstore on Nov.15 from 5 to 7 (as is everyone else in the world), but I told them that they DO NOT have to purchase my book.  But you should come: we’ll have treats and giveaways and all sorts of fun stuff. As for weirdness, it’s weird enough that YOU read it. And that you’re interviewing me for your blog. Like right now. See? It’s weird.

Q: Did you name Kristen (one of Treasure’s fellow first grade teachers) after me? Because I’m just going to assume that you did.

Absolutely.  In fact, in the original manuscript, Kristen was a much bigger character. She was an Asian superhero who single-handedly slayed Bonnie B. Baumgartner , the evil secretary.  But somehow, my editor thought that Kristen was too powerful and blood-thirsty, so she demanded that I tame Kristen into the mild-mannered teacher you see in the book (Pay no attention to the fact that I had already written the book when I met you for the first time).

Q: Is Dennis (Treasure's love interest) a hottie? At one point he's described as having "pec muscles." I couldn't shake that from my memory.

A: I think so. He’s tall and muscular from hauling around all those big boxes of heat and eat meat products at the school. But it’s an unconscious sort of ripped. He doesn’t work out. He has a high metabolism, and he’s just blessed. In my head, he looks like a younger John Corbett (the guy from My Big Fat Greek Wedding):
(Hey, she included this photo, not me.)
Just picture him buttoning up the denim shirt, and slapping an apron and a hairnet on.  Now that’s hot.

Q: I heard rumors of a sequel...any ideas of when it'll be finished?

A: Right now, I’m immersed in my next big project: baby girl #3, due January 2013.  So far, the sequel is mostly in my head. But funny things are  brewing: love, betrayal, reality TV, Donnie Osmond, and Ostrich farming. My best estimate of when it will be done is . . .  not right now.

Q: How many ugly sweaters do you own? Would you make Treasure proud?

A: I own more than I should, especially considering that I buy them for a fictional character (Sidebar: you can read my confession about shopping for Treasure’s sweaters here: ). I hesitate to tell you more about my collection because I’ll just make you envious.   And Treasure would beam with pleasure if she showed up on “Ugly Sweater Day” in my classes: extra credit for the ugliest sweater. 

Here are some of the winners from a previous class. Of course, no one can match the sheer fabulousness of my  V-8 Sweater.

About the Author:

Lisa Rumsey Harris grew up writing stories and riding horses in Southeastern Idaho. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Brigham Young University, where she now teaches writing classes.  Lisa lives in Orem Utah, with her ancient Siamese cat, her husband  (who cooks nearly as well as Dennis) and her two adorable daughters. When Lisa began writing this book, her oldest daughter was in first grade. Her youngest daughter finished first grade this year. Check out her world at or on facebook under Lisa Rumsey Harris, author.


1. You can register  to win a free copy of The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume at GoodReads:

2. Or at the Book Bug’s site:  This contest is open until Nov.2:

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