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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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THE BRIDGE LADIES: A memoir ~Betsy Lerner

Monday, May 9th, 2016

“This is the best book about mothers and daughters I’ve read in decades, maybe ever.  I just loved it, related to it viscerally, kept calling up my daughters to read passages aloud to them.  It’s about – in addition to Bridge, of course – mother-daughter conflict, the desire to love and be loved, aging and loss, discovery and renewal.  Betsy Lerner is a beautiful, achingly honest writer, and THE BRIDGE LADIES is at once heartbreaking and hilarious, uplifting and profound.”  (From the cover, Amy Chua, Yale Law professor and author of BATTLE HYMN OF THE TIGER MOTHER)

I just fell into BRIDGE LADIES hoping it would be as wonderful as AND LADIES OF THE CLUB an historic fiction novel, I also adored and have read 3 times.  BRIDGE LADIES is much more contemporary and it truly is a memoir worth reading for most mothers and daughters.  Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending on the advanced readers copy for review.

For 50 plus years, a group of mothers have come together every Monday to enjoy lunch and play Bridge for the afternoon.  The author had a fairly “rocky” relationship with her mother over the years and now in her forties wanted to change up that parental/child programing and find a new wave of connection.  Lerner is very open about her life with her friends but the Bridge Ladies are not as open and there is some speculation among the children about the ties that bind these 5 women and hold them together.  They do all belong to the same temple in New Haven, Connecticut.   Lerner begins attending the Monday lunch/game and interviews the woman each in turn.  She interviews the children and for some of the group – husbands.

Included in the story are Lerner’s Bridge lessons that she begins taking and her detailed descriptions of other players and the culture of Bridge.  She shares with us her need for further counseling sessions to assist in the transformation of her relationship with her mother.

I could certainly relate to this read, as my own Mother for over 50 years belonged to a group called P.E.O., which owns a college and supports this project and women’s education all over the United States.  There is a bond and a lot of getting out the best dishes in this group also.  There is a bond of caring through their focus.  I am sure my Mother would have loved reading THE BRIDGE LADIES.

About Betsy Lerner
Betsy Lerner is the author of The Forest for the Trees and Food and Loathing. She is a recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Poetry Prize, an Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize, and the Tony Godwin Prize for Editors, and was selected as one of PEN’s Emerging Writers. Lerner is a partner with the literary agency Dunow, Carlson & Lerner and resides in New Haven, Connecticut.
Find out more about Betsy at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. (From TLC website)

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THE CHRISTOS MOSAIC: A Novel ~Vincent Czyz

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Batten down the hatches and get set for a spectacular read and thrilling adventure in the same league as the DAVINCI CODE and other well written conspiracy theories. An imaginative romp through the serious efforts of theological pursuits, Dead Sea Scrolls and the Life of Jesus theorists; includes car chases and foreign locations.

“Author Vincent Czyz takes the reader through the backstreets of Istanbul, Antakya (ancient Antioch), and Cairo, to clandestine negotiations with wealthy antiquities smugglers and ruthless soldiers of fortune, to dusty Egyptian monasteries, on a nautical skirmish off the coast of Alexandria, and finally to the ruins of Constantine’s palace buried deep beneath the streets of present-day Istanbul. “ (Amazon’s page)

Drew, an expat living in Turkey is working to get back with his ex-wife.  He is a Biblical scholar who majored in Literature in college.  He connects with Kadir, a dwarf antiquities dealer on ‘the street of used books’ in Istanbul who is with Zafer, an ex-military special forces operative, working together to retrieve a newly discovered Dead Sea Scroll and another parchment, which will change history and the Christian Church; making this team a tremendous amount of money.  There are a significant number of people who do not want these scrolls to be made public or have them given to the academic sphere.  Drew is valuable to the team as he assists their efforts and shows them how to get the scrolls to the academic world/rightful owners and also for them to make lots of money.

The book is very intelligent and Drew is continuously studying his college classwork, purchasing new historic works and thinking through what he is learning.  His curiosity is very keenly attuned and he pulls together some amazing concepts and intellectual discourse.  The story is also about relationships and emotions working towards saving the marriage and the manipulations of truths by violence, anger, and deceit. We are within the study of how to get to the core of basic human interaction and the core of an historic study to identify the beliefs and the “realness” of the story that one is experiencing.

I enjoyed this fast paced book from start to finish and it was quite a challenge to recall the hours and lessons of graduate school, where I was delving into church history and theology as it relates to the stories, which promote our confessions of faith and serve our belief systems.  What makes a person challenge or change their minds or act in new and different ways?  How do individuals love and find their deepest truths?   Well versed in traditions and full of imagination and fictionalizations, THE CHRISTOS MOSAIC is an intense and high-powered encyclopedic read.  I would read it again.  Better than the DAVINCI CODE.

TLC Book Tours sent me an advance uncorrected proof of this book for review.  I thought it was great and I so enjoy stories that activate the mind and make one think; producing new ideas, affirming possibilities.

From TLC books about the author:

“Vincent Czyz is the author of The Christos Mosaic, a novel, and Adrift in a Vanishing City, a collection of short fiction. He received two fellowships from the NJ Council on the Arts and the W. Faulkner-W. Wisdom Prize for Short Fiction. The 2011 Truman Capote Fellow at Rutgers University, his stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, Shenandoah, AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, Tin House (online), Boston Review, Quiddity, The Tampa Review, The Georgetown Review, and Skidrow Penthouse, among other publications. He spent a total of nearly a decade in Istanbul, Turkey before settling in Jersey City. His work often deals with the existential themes found in art, myth and religion, dreams, and primal ways of perceiving the world.”

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TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE: An Isaac’s House Novel; A Story of Promises ~Normandie Fischer

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Ms. Fischer is quite a storyteller and TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE is right up there on the list for good reading.

When TLC Book Tours   included TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE on the review list, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review another of Normandie Fisher’s books.  I wanted to know if BECALMED was an isolated great read or if this good storyteller had another tale, which provided entertainment and great words.  I was not disappointed in the least and I still wish to read more of her stories in the future.

Yes, This book is a Romance and also an interesting story.  Fischer’s books are not dumbed down and certainly not “bodice rippers”.  The book is full of good descriptions and finely tuned dialogue.  There is a great deal of truth about what the characters are thinking and how they handle each situation.  We are treated to some politics and unrest in the Middle East and even a murder that creates a mystery.

Rina Lynne is a young lady of the South and has lived in Morehead City, North Carolina all of her life.  Her mother died young and her father is over-protective and very strict.  When she finishes school and her father dies, she decides to put her fiancé and her wedding on hold and take on a bit of adventure.  Her first stop is Italy for a language class and maybe a cooking class.  She purchases an unwieldy suitcase that makes her beginning travels interesting.

Tony, an Arab American, assists Rina with her suitcase and becomes a part of the story as he is also taking the same language class as Rina.  He is using his vacation time from his Engineering firm to be a sort-of spy for his Israeli cousins.  On the train, there is a murder and the intrigue and mystery begins.

“…global, sophisticated, and intriguing with an exotic setting.  A girl seeking one last trek before she marries.  A guy conned into espionage by family.  They enter each other’s worlds and life becomes colorful, fascinating, and oh so dangerous.  Beautifully written, adventurous, and smart.”  -C. Hope Clark, award-winning author, The Edisto Island Mysteries and Carolina Slade Mysteries.

An Excellent Read.

Normandie Fischer:
In this romp through Italy and the Middle East, Normandie Fischer combines her love of all things Italian and her fascination with the cultures and cuisines of the Middle East, an interest fostered when she studied sculpture in Perugia and lived among Arab students.  She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on board their ketch, Sea Venture, to care for her aging mother, who now sails with them whenever the opportunity arises. (Cover)

Normandie Fischer Website
Normandie Fischer Facebook

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