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I HATE EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU: A Humorous Memoir With Fiction ~Clinton Kelly

January 23rd, 2017

Best known for his work on WHAT NOT TO WEAR and as the moderator on THE CHEW, Clinton Kelly is well regarded for his humor and style.  NET GALLEY sent me an e-copy of his new book I HATE EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU for review and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it – laughing all the way!

I have only had television in my life for the past year, and so I must say that this is my first contact with Mr. Kelly and it was wonderful.  All the New Yorker glam and then the early years of growing up on Long Island where he threw his “baby” sister up in the air to encourage her cheer-leading career, just started me laughing until I lost my cool sophistication and my tea leaked out my nose.   No eating while reading this one.

His essay about going to Sweden when he was worried about Ted Cruz winning the election made me want to join him. Clinton Kelly truly enjoys food and that was a very interesting part of each of the essays.  The language is often “off colored” and “sexy” and very east coast confident.  Throughout the book, the sex scenes are not detailed they are just suggested – No kiss and tell.  Mary his terrier pup must be having a spectacular life; they couldn’t choose Australia because there is a 6-month quarantine to bring a dog with you.  I learned a number of new things and what! A Mud Bath (Amazon called it ‘death by mud bath’) – well I never knew any of that!

In the essay about 1980s pornography and high school experiences, I was relieved to see that homosexuality was not as closeted as it was for my location and generation.  I have to believe that my days of high school had to be so much more horrid for the “gay” community than Kelly’s time even though it sounded fairly miserable also.

At a time where “hate” is truly surfacing in pure ugliness, I am hoping Clinton Kelly can keep folks laughing and sharing the more important moments of life. I believe when one can laugh and teach about life, one brings hope and joy to our flawed spaces.  I can highly recommend this book, be prepared for the language and lifestyle issues and I am sure you will laugh too when you read I HATE EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU.

“Kelly was born in Panama City, Panama, of Irish and Italian ancestry, and raised in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, New York. He graduated from Comsewogue High School in 1987. He attended Boston College and graduated with a degree in communications in 1991; he was president of Boston College’s University Chorale. After college, he attained his master’s degree in journalism, specializing in magazine publishing, from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1993” ( Wikipedia)

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FUDGE AND JURY: A Bakeshop Mystery ~Ellie Alexander

January 16th, 2017

“A delectable tale of murder and intrigue…This bakeshop mystery is a real page-turner, and we look forward to other in the series, just as tasty.” (Portland Book Review)

FUDGE AND JURY finds us in Ashland, Oregon in the most marvelous Bakery one can imagine, which is located just down the street from the Historic Ashland Springs Tower Hotel and the Shakespearian Festival Campus.   Ashland is one of the favorite sites on my list of best places to visit even though I have never seen a play or the Festival in my visits.  I have stayed at the Ashland Springs Hotel and eaten at the pubs after strolling through the wonderful downtown with its marvelous shops and lovely people.  Ashland is also known for it’s snow and ski adventures.

Juliet has moved back to her hometown with a broken heart.  She left Ashland to go to culinary school and then worked on a series of cruise ships where she met her husband Carlos, another chef, who omitted that he had a son and the discovery, was an undoing.   Our lead character has come home to TORTE her parent’s bakery; now run by her mom alone they are busy preparing for the March Chocolate Festival, the biggest Chocolate event in the Pacific Northwest.  The bakery is also getting a kitchen remodel with new ovens arriving and lots of painting and inventory.  Hands are busy and the rain is raining heavy and hard.

“Food is an expression of art and love.”

The book is part of a series and Alexander includes incredible descriptions of textures and smells of the lovely baking, coffee, and chocolate wafting through the building.  There is a cozy feeling to the whole adventure.  There is also a relationship theme to the story.  The workers at TORTE form an interesting group and community; it is evident that there is respect for each other and a joy in their efforts. They each experience the town’s citizens and good people as worthy of respect. At the chocolate festival, Juliet and her mother are encouraging to the other participants and assist the new entrants in their efforts.  It is this caring cooperative spirit that attaches to Juliet’s curiosity and questioning and assists in developing the solution to the murder!

This is a gentle read with some interesting problems to solve and certainly makes one want to read the next in the series and to eat some lovely food, especially chocolate.  Ellie Alexander has created a delightful read with FUDGE AND JURY.

A TLC Book Tours Book

“Ellie Alexander writes the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw.

Ellie is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.”

Ellie Alexander Twitter 
Ellie Alexander Facebook

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SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE: A Novel ~Nancy Star

January 9th, 2017

“An extraordinarily moving, beautifully written novel…I was riveted from the very first page.”  Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times best-selling author of ORPHAN TRAIN

SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE is a complex and funny read.  The characters in the Tangle Family just pull the reader right into the story and have a gripping hold as you laugh at their quirky thoughts and actions and as you are touched by their dysfunctions and fully actualized behaviors right to the sadness that they must not talk about or share.

The writing is extraordinary, the story line is perfectly linked and there are no dangling particles when you come to the last page.  I finished the last page and the acknowledgements, the interview with Star and went right back to the first page and read it again.  The story is wrapped around a song about a brother with SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE and the strangely dramatic mother who believes she is an actress. The second reading gave me a new opportunity to understand a narcissist’s ability to hold a family together, to love and be kind, while every third sentence is a lie or a fantasy.

Ginger is a worrier, a school nurse, a perfectionist, who teaches night school classes about Danger, and is the one in charge of protecting her siblings.   12-years-old

Mimi is the controller; quick and decisive.  Very high energy and gets the job done. 10–years-old

Charlie is the sports loving brother. 8-years-old

Callie is the innocent wanderer, who is gentle and loving; asking tough and strange questions of the people around her.  6-years-old

Sully, or Dad, is an entrepreneur for ‘seconds’ or damaged Toys.

Glory, mom, is a huge personality who really is unable to cook, and whose ideas and words permeate the household and the children’s lives.

You will not soon forget these children or these adults.

Julia, Ginger’s 17-year-old daughter, is thinking about leaving home, it is in the middle of teenage/mother stress that she learns that her mother does not know where her sister Callie is and that they have been estranged for a long period of time and that all three sisters had a brother, who died in an accident.  This discovery knocks the balancing act of silence right off its pedestal and the whole story begins to untangle.

TLC Book Tours sent me this amazing book for review.  SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE is a worthwhile read and some fine humor.

I invite you to read SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE – The Family Like No Other.

About the author:
Nancy Star Website
Nancy Star Facebook
Nancy Star Twitter

“Nancy Star is the author of four previous novels: Carpool Diem, Up Next, Now This, and Buried Lives. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, Family Circle, Diversion magazine, and on the web. Before embarking on her writing career, Nancy worked for more than a decade as a movie executive in the film business, dividing her time between New York and London. She has two grown daughters and a son-in-law and now lives in New Jersey with her husband.” (TLC)

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SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW: Another Wonderful Novel ~Catherine Ryan Hyde

January 2nd, 2017

Catherine Ryan Hyde is a master storyteller- SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW is proof that her stories get better and better, all 30 of them.  She has over 50 short stories in major publications and awards upon awards for her artful writing.    I have had the good fortune of reading and reviewing three of her most recent novels within the past year.   Most people would recognize Catherine Ryan Hyde by her magnificently successful story PAY IT FORWARD, which was made into a very successful movie staring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey.  Her writing is often cast as Young Adult, but I cannot think of a single adult I know who would not enjoy these coming of age stories and the look at adults though youthful experience and questions.

Most of Hyde’s stories seem to include horses, dogs and adventures that problem-solve and add meaning.  The adults in her stories make a number of discoveries that are life changing for them also.  The main characters often have high levels of responsibility and are cast in a lonely position, which clarifies their situation and allows the characters to get what they need to recover or grow.

Pete does not know that his father is psychologically and physically abusive because it seems to him that all the fathers that are in his community are so inclined.  His father is just going way beyond in his abuse and making Pete’s life impossible for success or sitting down after the whippings.   Pete is trying so hard to do the right thing and find favor and love from his only remaining parent.  He feels responsible for helping a dog that has been hit by a car which costs him a friend and delivers him a new friend and several adults that he can trust.

The story begins in 1959 when Pete is 12-years-old and beginning summer vacation from school.  His father has been injured on the job and is home on Workman’s Compensation and maybe abusing the pain medications and certainly alcohol.

Dr. Lucy is a physician who lost her son to pneumonia during a painful divorce. Dr. Lucy now rescues racehorses, which are not fast enough and dogs that no one wants any more.  She lives alone in the countryside in a house given to her by her father.  She has closed herself off from the community as this Texas community has made being a practicing female doctor an impossibility in 1959.  The community is extremely closed minded.   Here is where the story adds being against “Negros” and the hostile environment that is created.  The Doctor and Justin, Pete’s new friend, have very different value programing than what Pete has experienced in his life, and yet there is an attraction and the resonation of the new values within Pete.

SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW has many levels of discovery and very well written dialogue. The adults must explain many things from the meaning of words to telling the truth in a protective manner.

I would read this book again.  It made me think about current hatred and racism being expressed in our culture at this time.  I made me think about how one brings about new thinking and acceptance of others; it maybe only through one person at a time.

SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW is an excellent read, and I have purchased a copy for the son of my new neighbor.

A TLC Book Tours review book.

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