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LIFT AND SEPARATE: A Novel ~Marilyn Simon Rothstein

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

LIFT AND SEPARATE just fills the cup and spills over revealing a full life, which raises and supports an older woman’s journey through a rough cleavage of problems (could not resist!). The humor and one liners were worth the entire cost of the book and let us face it, when one is an older woman there will accumulate lots of problems and we all need a laugh to find uplifting results.

Marcy Hammer has been married 33 years and she enjoys being married.  She loves her children, Elizabeth a doctor, Ben a -junior in college, and Amanda a business and marketing person now working on the west coast.  Harvey Marcy’s husband, own a huge business – Bountiful Bosoms – and his major competitor is Victoria’s Secret.  Harvey knows lingerie and he wants the best in life, such as he wants a Leonardo Di Vinci motif on the master bathroom floor.  Marcy is very satisfied with her life and her workaholic husband, who secretly moves out and then tells her that he has been having an affair with a bra model.   Marcy loves being married – Did I already say that?

Dana, her good friend has many problems popping up in her life also.  Her twins are attempting to pick a college and her oldest son is getting married to a girl she does not like.   They share a nice banter and Marcy’s quick comebacks and quips make me envious of her ability to produce funny one-liners.

The house is too big.

Marcy’s mother falls from a stool and breaks her ankles and is hospitalized.  During hospital visits, Marcy discovers a new/old friend and they very much connect over parental illness. Candy has two parents dying and a philandering husband.  Marcy’s oldest daughter, the doctor, is trying to assist her in making decisions and is dating a married man.   Harvey and Marcy are on the same page with this relationship – no way.

There were some universal elements to the story and all the problems and it is important for mature women to find their own niche and maybe even their own house.  The managing of the stress makes for some very funny encounters and some very healthy solutions; great trial and error solutions.

TLC Book Tours and the Marilyn Rothstein sent me an e-copy of this book for review, it was a perfect read to start the year, I truly enjoyed the clear storytelling, the character’s dilemmas and Marcy’s sense of humor.  How much better life is when we help each other and provide the laughter.  Clever and delightful!  – LIFT AND SEPARATE.

“For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn Simon Rothstein owned an advertising agency in Connecticut. She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazines, and married a man she met in an elevator. Lift And Separate is her debut novel.” (Back of Book)

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

Monday, 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)

Clinton Kelly Facebook
Clinton Kelly Web

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A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING: A Novel ~ Ruth Ozeki

Monday, December 5th, 2016

A nearly perfect read, which came into my awareness with nearly perfect timing, and gave me a nearly perfect excuse to do nothing else except read; Exquisite.

The story begins with a 16-year-old girls voice saying:  “Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is?  Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.” This child’s story is compelling and sometimes funny and sometimes very difficult.  Nao is trying to figure out life and how to live it after having been living the “good” life in California and now whisked back to Japan in the dot com bust.   Her father is extremely depressed and it is affecting the whole family.  The guilt, the anger, the shame is difficult to understand and yet it draws one into the story.  The bullying and shaming that Nao must endure is horrific.

There is a second story that takes place on an island on the British Columbia Coastline.   Ruth, a writer, is wandering the beach and finds a “Hello Kitty” lunch pail in a heavy plastic shipping bag.  When opened the lunch pail contains a journal and a Kamikaze pilot’s letters and watch, it appears to be debris from the Japanese tsunami of 2011.  It is Nao’s journal and her story and history.

The story is also about the Zen experience of life as shared by Nao’s lessons from her 104 year old great grandmother, who is the mother of the Kamikaze pilot.  How can there be humor in such a story?  There is a great deal of humor in the story.  The characters on the island truly come alive and participate in the story.  Ruth and her partner Oliver are strong characters in their own right.  Fact and fiction twirl about as compliments to understanding the deeper issues facing each person-culture.  Is Nao still alive and well?  How could this person be tracked down and could they all be on the Internet?

My book group chose this book and so it is apart of my own library.  The other members of the group discovered that there was a reader’s play of this story being performed in the city and they bought tickets and went to the performance.  We cannot stop talking about this book and we all agree that there is perfection in the writing of this story, which makes it a huge recommendation and a must read for so many people I know.    I just had to share it with you

Bursting with symbolism, a story for our time – full of topics to discuss; breaks the barriers and expectations of traditional thinking.

Ruth Ozeki Webpage
Ruth Ozeki Twitter

From the website:

“Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest.Her first two novels, My Year of Meats(1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. Her most recent work, A Tale for the Time-Being (2013), won the LA Times Book Prize, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and has been published in over thirty countries. Ruth’s documentary and dramatic independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country. A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ruth was ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City, and is currently the Elizabeth Drew Professor of Creative Writing at Smith College.”

“Tantalizing”– The Washington Post
“A spellbinding tale.” – O, The Oprah Magazine
“Fractures Clichés” – ELLE
“Delightful.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Terrific”– The Seattle Times

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LOVE LITERARY STYLE: A ROM-COM NOVEL ~Karin Gillespie

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Gotta! love whimsy when it is well-played and just delights at every page turn. LOVE LITERARY STYLE is a romantic – comedy with some excellent tongue and cheek for the world of publishing and hope for the Great American Novel.

Aaron Mite is the serious author in the story-very serious.  He only writes literary novels and only wants to be publishing at one publishing house.  His father is a professor emeritus at a university and also a literary critic, and has been so negative about Aaron’s writing that Aaron discarded his first novel all together.  Although they live in the same town, father and son rarely connect and when then do it is a sullen, dark experience.  “Get your Ph.D. son and teach.”

Aaron takes his desire to write and heads to a Writing Colony in Georgia for a retreat and hopefully for success with novel number two.

Laurie Lee is a recent widow from a very small town in Georgia and is working as a librarian assistant near Atlanta.  She loves romantic – comedy or Rom-Com as she calls it and studies all the ways that books are published and how to make it big time.  She has a web page and self publishes all her stories there and offers words of wisdom hoping someone will write on her blog or read her books.  She enters contests and figures out ideas that might just go far, except her writing style is weak and she does not have the depth of knowledge or literature to build her ideas upon.  She has some wonderful ideas, and the stories have twists and turns, but the writing is lacking and weak.

One of those contests Laurie Lee wins and she goes tuition free to a Writing Colony in Georgia to write her great novel.  Her best friend thinks her writing would be better if she was actually involved in a romantic fling.

The writing colony thinks the scholarship has gone to a top of the line writer because of a typo in their application process.

Aaron Mite and Laurie Lee’s cabins are right next to each other at the retreat center. Here is where the story comes alive with lots and lots of possibilities.  We also have the deceased husband and the grumpy, sullen former girl friend to apply to the story line.

Next we are swept into a movie deal and a publisher picking up the novel and getting them to press.  For Aaron the door opening is demanding too much of what he does not want to be doing – he wants to write his next novel not sell and promote book number 2 – that is his agents job.  Laurie Lee does not want a ghostwriter to correct her writing because then the book will not be hers and the movie business is tedious and not fun.  The story at this point just kept me chuckling for the rest of the way through with the clever little ins and outs of the way life often goes and how the formulas for writing rom-com are played out.

This was a TLC Book Tour read and it was just delightful and very entertaining and worthy of good words in the review.  Thank you TLC for sending this along to me.

Yes, I do think that folks now days not only need to write the book, but they also have to market and sell it with style and panache.

About Karin Gillespie

Karin Gillespie is the author of the national bestselling Bottom Dollar Girls series, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year, Co-author for Jill Connor Browne’s novel Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big Ass Novel. Her latest novel Love Literary Style was inspired by a New York Times article called “Masters in Chick Lit” that went viral and was shared by literary luminaries like Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Rice. She’s written for the Washington Post and Writer Magazine and is book columnist and humor columnist for the Augusta Chronicle and Augusta Magazine respectively. She received a Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2016.

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Karin Gillespie Website

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