Monday, June 28, 2010

a second chance at youth.

I really enjoyed reading 29: A Novel by Adena Halpern. It was about a woman (Ellie) who had her 75th birthday and wished on a cake with only 29 candles ,(it was all that would fit) that she could spend one day being 29 again. Not exactly realistic, but extremely fun when her wish comes true and she wakes up as a HOT 29-year-old.

Halpern goes deep into Ellie's relationship with her 25-year-old granddaughter Lucy, who are very close, and share a lot in common even with such a vast age difference. They are both beautiful and love fashion, but what Ellie wants more than anything else is for Lucy to establish herself as a career woman BEFORE she settles down with man and starts a family. Ellie regrets marrying the first guy who showed interest (Howard), whom she is now wondering if she ever really loved. Halpern also takes us into the complicated relationship between Ellie and her daughter Barbara, who have communication barriers so high, they never took the time to understand one another.

Ellie feels as though she never really lived a full life, and is given a chance to live it differently for one day. What Ellie discovers about herself, her family and her friendships? I will leave you to find that out on your own.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Writing a memoir is even scarier than writing humor, you are letting people inside your life on such a personal level. It's like letting a stranger walk right beside you while you live your life, watching your every move. Matt Gallagher is a phenomenal writer, so he does have that going for him, and he's even a little funny. But what is so interesting about his experiences? What does he really have to say? Those of you who began reading his popular blog in 2008 have the answer.

A lot.

Gallagher brings us along on his journey through a 15-month deployment in Iraq. He is so real in his writing. He does not hold back, which is why his story is so appealing. We want the truth, and Gallagher gives us nothing but. Behind the scenes of this war, he had many responsibilities as a Lieutenant. He was constantly put in danger, making quick decisions with orders from superiors that were anything but clear. This book includes detailed day-to-day life as a soldier, exactly what it was like for them, (boring stuff not included). It was so interesting to read what modern day war is really like, we civilians have no idea what those fighting for our country have to endure.

Lt. Matt Gallagher's blog, Kaboom began in 2008. Two years ago. TWO years ago, people. This war story is as real as you can get. Welcome to the history books Lieutenant.

just a quick plug...

The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book, is not bluffing. They really do have in depth instructions on how to grow over THIRTY kinds of vegetables. Part of the reason why I never really got into gardening, (other than pure laziness) is because I don't know the rules. Catherine Abbott and Meghan Shinn have created an everything you need to know, guide to growing vegetables in your own backyard. What to do, what not to do, where to grow, where not to grow. Troubleshooting and information on growing organic veggies. It's healthier AND cheaper; and we can all afford to be a little more of both.

**to win a copy of this book, e-mail your name, address and this book title to:

Monday, June 21, 2010


Writing anything and calling it "humor" is setting yourself up for disaster. Everyone has different senses of humor, so you are not going to make everyone laugh. See, I think I'm hilarious, but I am sure a lot of you don't get me. You should really see my facial expressions, they help.

Ian Frazier (the genius that he is) decides one day that he will assemble a collection of funny writing, by funny people, edit it, and make it into a book - which he titled Humor Me: An Anthology of Funny Contemporary Writing (Plus Some Great Old Stuff Too). That way, if you hate it, he won't feel too bad about himself. Kidding Ian, the collection is rather amusing.

He includes comic stars such as Steve Martin and Jack Handey. The pieces are from the past thirty years, so many age groups will enjoy this collection. The 'some great old stuff too' includes Mark Twain and Elizabeth Bishop. If you like old funny, a little less old funny, and new funny, you will love this book because it is funnnnnnny. The entries range from sentences to pages, which makes it a phenomenal bathroom book. And you know you can always use a good bathroom book.


you have TOO MUCH STUFF.

I can count on my fingers and toes the number of people that I know who have a real hard time throwing stuff away. My Dad for one, he gets mildly obsessed with things. For example, he recently got into golfing, he now has three full sets of golf clubs plus dozens of random clubs that I can't trouble myself to know the names of. Dad, you only need one set of golf clubs - lets get serious.

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Skeketee, is a great book for helping people understand why they hoard, or in a lot of your cases, why a family member or friend hoards. The authors personally treat people who suffer from compulsive hoarding. Once you discover why you hoard, (there can be many factors), you can work on fixing the problem.

In the book they do explain that there is a ways to tell if you are a hoarder. There is a difference between hoarding and collecting. Lets go back to my Dad for a minute - It's considered hoarding when objects do not have any use anymore. My Dads golf clubs are extremely useful, but he still doesn't need 30. Hoarding is usually cluttered and not organized. My Dad keeps his golf clubs in his shed, where they are completely organized, which is a sign of a collector. Okay, Dad you win this round, I guess you are not as weird as I thought.

You may hoard and you don't even realize it. Frost and Steketee are completely non-judgemental and 100% here to help. To avoid an intervention of my own, I am going to work on cleaning out my closet. Stuff is real eye-opener, no matter how hardcore of a hoarder you are.

sexual adventures.

The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage, WOW. Roxana Shirazi wrote the most hardcore, balls to the wall biography I have ever read in my life. Even the title is gutsy. I walked into this story totally digging this girl, and left only liking her more.

In the first half of the book, you get to see the real Roxana. She was born in Iran during the political revolution. She takes you along on her journey from Iran to England when she was ten years old. She gives you a vivid look inside of her life. Like, mouth open in shock vivid. Like,' is she serious? I can't believe she's telling me this,' vivid. It's pretty extreme. Roxana gets as personal as one can get, especially when it comes to sex with notorious band members. She drops some serious names that you will undoubtedly recognize. Yeah, she may have been a little slutty, (don't judge) but I've gotta say, I've never met a slut quite as deep and profound as her. There is no blame or shame game, what happened, happened - and she wants us to know.

I think what really touched me the most about Roxana was her honesty. She is so much more than a groupie who kiss and tells, she is a woman who took control of her own life and made her own rules. I can respect that.

****to win a copy of this book e-mail your name, address and this book title to:

Friday, June 18, 2010


Okay, I am completely off base with whom I consider to be a young adult. I consider myself a young adult, because HELLO, I am young and I am an adult. Apparently teenagers, like 14-18 are young adults, which sucks because now I am 24 and a semi-old adult or something.

ANYWAYS, Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu is for you teeny boppers out there. I found it to be completely enjoyable, even though I am an old lady. It's about this sixteen year old girl named Lucy who has a dark, dark secret. No, it's not the usually horrors that you are probably guessing, no rape, no physical abuse, maybe some emotional abuse, but mainly her big secret is that her mother is a hoarder. Do you know what that is? You don't hear about them everyday because it's not like they are technically breaking the law or anything, they are just gross as hell. Hoarders do not throw out ANYTHING. It's kind of mental, they feel like they need to save everything because in their crazy heads they think they will use it again. They end up leaving it (unused) in some part of their house and it collects dust for FOREVER. This happens with everything they come across, so their houses turn into garbage dumps filled with crap they "treasure."

Lucy's mom is a freak like this. Her house has been a mess ever since her dad left them years ago. She has two older siblings who moved out as soon as they could, but she is sixteen and stuck until she is done with high school. She recently changed schools because people found out about her house and began tormenting her. In her new (public) school she has kept everyone at a safe distance so that they have no idea the kind of environment she lives in. Lucy is quiet in school, but things start changing for the better during Christmas break when a guy she likes asks her to a party. She goes home, all excited and finds her mom DEAD on the ground. One of the huge piles of crap fell on her and she didn't have her inhaler, so she died.

Lucy cannot imagine what people will say when she calls the police and the ambulance comes. She knows people will make a spectacle of her disgusting house, so she keeps the house cold and tries to get rid of the garbage in the main rooms. While she's cleaning she gets frustrated, she has to handle this all on her own. She ends up choosing to live up her last night as a "normal" teenager and goes to the party. Annnnnnd that's all I am telling you.

It's a good, clean book (for you mothers out there). Clean enough for your younger teens.

to cheat & be cheated.

In The Heart of the Matter, author Emily Giffin gives readers an inside look into the very personal lives of married couple, Nick and Tessa Russo. Nick is a children's plastic surgeon and Tessa is a former teacher/current stay-at-home mom. The night of their seventh anniversary, Nick gets a call from the hospital and has to leave before dinner even arrives. It's not that uncommon, and Tessa is disappointed, yet understanding because of her husbands profession. Little does she know that when Nick walks into the door of a certain hospital room, he meets a woman that will change their lives, and their marriage forever.

Meet Valerie Anderson, single working (lawyer) mom of six-year-old Charlie who was brought to the hospital after falling to a fire at a birthday party. A party Valerie didn't want him to go to in the first place, but was trying to chill out her crazy mother antics. Charlie's dad is out of the picture, and Valerie pretty much keeps to herself. Her heart practically jumps out of her chest when she sees Nick for the first time. He is handsome, and he is filled with promises to fix her sons badly burnt face and hand. She is in love. Charlie is in love. Nick is MARRIED, yet still falls in love anyway.

The chapters go every other between Tessa AND Valerie. We get to see both sides of the affair story, which Giffin wrote about with such expertise, that you'd think her husband banged her best friend or something. Obviously she did her research. You can feel the emotion of both women so much that you ALMOST feel sorry for Valerie, who is the 'other woman,' remember. I actually really liked Valerie, but I also have questionable morals. All in all, I thought the book was really well written and realistic. I recommend it for married girls, 'the other woman' girls AND single girls alike.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

friendship you can relate to.

Okay, number one, I am an idiot. I literally just got done reading Nora Roberts', Savor the Moment, got to the end and noticed there is preview for the NEXT book in the series. I had no idea this book was part of a series, (The Bride Quartet) and I am soooo pissed that I read the THIRD book first. UGH. Not that I needed to read the first two, the book stood beautifully on it's own, I just feel like I missed out, and I HATE missing out. Bah.

I am not hugely familiar with Nora Roberts' writing, but I have to say, the dialogue was a little, slow. I loved the story, LOVED the characters, blushed at the many sex scenes, but at times the dialogue didn't flow naturally. I will not hold that against her (like I even have the right to), or the book, because I really enjoyed reading it. It was just something I noticed. Now that I am thinking about it, maybe each book is one of the four best friends' personal love stories. I haven't done any research, so don't think I am dense, but Savor the Moment was solely about Laurel McBane and her relationship. There are four books, and four best friends, and two of the girls were already engaged at the start of this third book. GENIUS. Now I really need to get a copy of the first two books.

Now on to the story....Laurel McBane and her best friends own a wedding planning business called Vows. Laurel makes the cakes/desserts, Parker plans the events, Mac takes the pictures and Emma does the flowers. They all live on the same property where the events take place. Laurel has been in love with Delaney Brown (Parker's brother) since she was a little girl. The story basically revolves around them and how their relationship goes from friends to lovers. It's a really sweet and sensual story.

I, of course only got to the steamy pages while spending time with my family at our cottage this weekend. That wasn't awkward at all. I strongly suggest you romantics read this book, but learn from me and pick up Vision in White and Bed of Roses first!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

one book, twelve short stories, five stars.

Brad Watson is known for his flawless character development. That's just one of the many reasons why I was anticipating his latest novella, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives: Stories. You may not realize right away how exceptional these characters are, they appear to be just like the rest of us; a hot tempered couple, a single mother, the products of broken homes. They are relatable, but you will soon discover how rare and special they are.

Watson has compiled twelve stories in this collection, each reflecting a unique voice. I really enjoy this compilation of short stories, especially with my busy schedule. I can pick it up whenever I have the time to read one. And yes, there are aliens.

a memoir of a runaway.

Some of you may have seen The Runaways (came to theaters March 19th) starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, who play real life rock and rollers, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. I have yet to see it, because I was waiting to read Cherrie Currie's memoir Neon Angel before I saw the film.

Joan Jett and Cherie Currie came onto the rock scene a little before my time, okay the mid 70's was A LOT before my time, not to make any of you feel old. This minor age difference does not turn me off from wanting to learn more about the teenage rock stars these women used to be. Currie's memoir is so honest and gritty. She was basically this rebellious child punk rocker who took the world by storm as The Runaway's head singer. There was no supervision, which lead to drugs, alcohol and a lot of darkness. Life was not even close to light and fluffy for this Cherie Bomb, it was filled with horror stories that will shock you.

This book gives us the inside details on the sex, drugs, rock and roll and recovery experienced by Cherie Currie and her band mates, who all grew up much too fast in a world that was much too wild.

the last child - john hart.

Thirteen-year-old Johnny Merrimon lost everything in a matter of a year. He lost his twin sister, Alyssa to an abduction, he lost his father to the guilt and he lost his mother to drugs. His perfectly normal life completely fell apart.

Though his family has been torn into pieces, Johnny cannot stop searching for Alyssa. His best friend Jack saw her taken into a van, and he refuses to give up hope that she will be found. Johnny is not the only one who cannot let this abduction case go, Detective Clyde Hunt is determined to solve this case, especially when another local girl goes missing. Finding the true perpetrator becomes an obsession for them, I am feeling tense just writing about it.

Join Johnny and Detective Hunt as they piece together the evidence in this strange mystery. The Last Child will leave you guessing (wrong), there are far too many twists and turns to assume what will happen at the end. The best kind of mystery. Enjoy, my Sherlock loving friends.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

eating clean.

As I have mentioned, at BookExpo America in NYC last week I got to meet a lot of really great authors, one of them was Tosco Reno. Many of you may have already heard of her and her extremely popular Eat-Clean Diet system. For those of you who have, she is just as beautiful in person as she is in the pictures that are in her The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! book.

Losing weight is very mental. In Tosco's book you learn about the many ways that eating clean helps your body BESIDES just making it slim. If you think about it that way, it could be easier to stick to this lifestyle. Eating clean helps your skin, hair and teeth. Those three things are extremely important to us in our appearance whether we are skinny or not. It also helps make your eyes healthy, including the dark circles and bags and even the color.

The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! shows you how to start the process of eating clean. What to buy, what to eat, what to drink, and even how to keep up your lifestyle change in social situations and while traveling. Tosco also gives us a program so that we know when to eat to best fuel our metabolisms. It also has great recipe ideas for those of you who have a hard time creating your own meals. The book even has testimonials and questions to Tosco from actual readers. Summer is already here, now is the perfect time to make the change to become healthy.

Social situations are the hardest part of staying healthy. I am a very social person, I like to drink, I like to go out to eat with my friends, and when I am trying to lose weight I feel as if I can't even be around people who have unhealthy eating habits. There has to be a way to maintain relationships AND eat clean. Learn to control yourself, or incorporate what you have learned into your social life and be a good influence on your friends and family. Go for walks, rent kayaks or paddle boats, play a sport or take a Pilate's class. Tosco mentioned in her book that she turns a birthday party's focus away from the food and on to the activity. Have a bowling, swimming or roller blading birthday party for your kids. There are many ways to be social and stay fit.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

you say useless, i say fascinating.

I have always loved knowing random facts. When I have to ride in a taxi or am stuck next to a stranger on an airplane, I like to have something to talk about. (Yes, I am THAT annoying person that you hate). Francesca Could and David Haviland have a great book coming out in a few weeks called Why Dogs Eat Poop. Basically it's a book filled with useless information about animals and their natural lives.

The book is broken into several categories, for example there is one with facts that you will find truly amazing, and one with facts that will make you throw up in your mouth a little. But I mean who DOESN'T want to know how slugs have sex or which bird is a real home wrecker? Be honest with yourself, you want to know. They actually have some interesting facts as well, like do animals get depressed? Can dogs really smell cancer?

You will find these answers and more when this book comes out on June 10th. ** To win a copy of this book BEFORE it comes out, e-mail your name, address and this book title to!