“Lift and Separate”–Review

41+3RiLE6kLAfter 33 years of marriage, Marcy Hammer is shocked and heartbroken when her husband, Harvey, the head of a global lingerie empire, says that he’s leaving her.  Although his clothes have been removed from the closet, Marcy still has high hopes that he’ll reconsider.  It’s just a midlife crisis, he claims.  After all, they’ve been married for a long time and they could work out whatever the issues are.  However, Marcy learns that Harvey has been having an affair with his much younger, 32DD fitting model.

While they’re technically separated, Marcy now has to figure out how to go on living without Harvey.  But how will she do it, she wonders?  She’s in her late fifties and feels it’s almost impossible to start over.  With love and support from her friends and adult children, however, she starts learning how to be on her own—even on occasions when she’s close to falling apart.

Along the way, though, Marcy is struck with more surprises and family troubles, including one involving her new, once-in-a-lifetime best friend.  Will she be able to handle it all, along with the fact that her marriage is ending?

This was a great story, with excellent narration, as well.  I enjoyed the humor in each chapter.  With one surprise after another, I thought, “This poor woman.  Isn’t she already going through enough?” While she’s trying to cope, Harvey constantly returns with a new excuse.  What’s Marcy to do?

I’m happy that the author, Marilyn Simon Rothstein, sent me this copy for an honest review, so now I can share it with you all.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

About the author:  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 magazine, and married a man she met in an elevator.

Marilyn received a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts in Judaic Studies from the University of Connecticut.

“Definitions of Indefinable Things”–Review

51GZ8uMd5rL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“My name’s Reggie. I’m seventeen. My worldview is that we’re all spiraling toward a vast and gaping obscurity we can’t escape, and if we’re lucky, we’re doing so alone. Also, I despise you. And by you, I mean the general human population.”

Reggie Mason believes that, as long as she doesn’t let anyone in, she can’t get hurt. It’s become her defense mechanism. During a quick trip to CVS to pick up her Zoloft prescription, she meets Snake, who happens to be waiting at the pharmacy for his Prozac refills. When Reggie actually lets Snake into her life, she seems to have mixed feelings for him. After all, Snake is smug, arrogant, and he can be a bit too forward. Needy, perhaps. He has an addiction to Twizzlers. And he’s an aspiring film-maker who wants to include Reggie in his work-in-progress. That’s just about everything that makes him attractive.

As the two get to know each other more, it isn’t long before Reggie finds out that Snake has an ex-girlfriend, Carla Banks—a popular queen bee and ex-childhood friend of Reggie’s—who is seven months pregnant. Now that the three of them are in each other’s lives, they endure an awkward journey of mental breakdowns, lame shopping trips, disappointed parents, boring proms, and one embarrassing birthing class. Throughout that journey, Reggie has to get to the bottom of everything that has led to her depression, and that even though—to her—people can be scary, they’re worth having in her life.

This story was worth the read, in my opinion. Oftentimes, I’d get annoyed with Reggie because of her constant mixed feelings toward Snake. She hated him, yet she loved him. He’d summon her and she’d go running to him, even though she swore they weren’t anything to each other. But I think that’s what made the story interesting. They both were struggling with their own problems and were in search of happiness, as well as trying to figure out what happiness was. If you love YA, check out this book.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*Definitions of Indefinable Things will be available on April 4, 2017.

*I received this copy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Whitney Taylor is an English and psychology major from Virginia, who likes to pretend she is a supermodel from New York City. This is her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter. For more info on the author, click here.

“Skipping Christmas”–Review

41mpsbst04l-_sx312_bo1204203200_Good afternoon, bloggers! I can’t believe it’s already the week of Christmas. I hope you all are enjoying some great books. I, too, am hoarding books faster than I can read them, but it’s worth it. Anyhow, after stumbling upon a recommendation for Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham, I immediately took an interest in reading it.

It’s a good plot.  With their daughter away in Peru doing work for the Peace Corps, Luther and Nora Krank have different plans for the holidays. Every, single year, they’ve spent hundreds of dollars on holiday festivities yet not much to show for it. Now that it’s the two of them, the Kranks decide it’s time to do something for themselves, for once.  Instead of spending money on all the madness of Christmas, they’re going to spend ten days enjoying the warm weather on a Caribbean cruise.  What a wonderful way to treat themselves, right?  Wrong.

Once word gets out that the Kranks are cancelling their annual Christmas plans, the entire neighborhood is angry.  While preparing for their upcoming cruise, the Kranks endure harassment, rumors, gossip, etc., but that still won’t stop the Kranks from packing their bags.  Until they are hit with another surprise, making everything twice as messy.

Rarely do I read holiday-themed books, but I enjoyed reading this one.  I was curious to see how far the madness would go.  Some of the neighbors were so annoying, yet I couldn’t help wondering what would happen next.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading and Happy Holidays!

“Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal”–Review

41okQLg0eoL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Why the title Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal?  Because each piece of prose is organized into classic subjects such as Social Studies, Music, and Language Arts.  Because textbook would accurately describe a book with a first-of-its-kind interactive text messaging component.  Because textbook is an expression meaning “quintessential”—Oh, that wordplay and unconventional format is so typical of her, so textbook AKR.  Because if an author’s previous book has the word encyclopedia in the title, following up with a textbook would be rather nice.

This is an interesting, humorous read, which I finished in three days.  It’s an insightful memoir of the author’s life, filled with random insights, memories, and moments.  Included are some drawings, charts, and diagrams.  In a way, I see this book as a diary.  In fact, it may have inspired some new writing ideas for me.  I’m happy for having the opportunity to read this book.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal will be available on August 9, 2016.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Dutton Books, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes for both adults and children.  She has written more than thirty children’s picture books, including Little Pea, Spoon, Exclamation Mark, Duck! Rabbit!, Uni the Unicorn, and I Wish You More.  Amy is a contributor to public radio, YouTube, and TED.  She resides digitally at whoisamy.com and for real in Chicago.

“Drag Teen”–Review

51uPedQ0VaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When life gets ugly, don’t wig out.  Drag it up.

This is the story of JT, an high school student who’s lived with a lifetime of insecurities and fears he’s doomed to live in Florida forever, working at his family’s gas station.  High school is coming to an end, yet he can’t afford to go to college.  His anti-supportive parents, including his part-time job, can’t pay for a tuition.  What adds to his insecurities is that his boyfriend, Seth, seems to have it all together and has a bright future ahead of him.

Just when he thinks he’s run out of options, JT learns of an opportunity from the Miss Drag Teen USA pageant in New York City, which will offer a full scholarship to the winner. Although JT wants to do it, he has a fear of failure, especially because he was booed off the stage during a school talent show.  But it is Seth who gives JT that push he needs.  After being convinced, JT, Seth, and their best friend, Heather, embark on a road trip to the Big Apple.  No matter how complicated it all becomes, JT is determined to become the next Miss Drag Teen and win his ticket to freedom.

This was a great story.  I enjoyed the whole idea of a road trip and the excitement of entering New York.  I’ve never been to New York, but I hope to see it, one day.  What I also liked about the story was Seth’s positive attitude.  He believes that, no matter, anything is possible.  Well, I won’t spoil anything for you, so I’ll just encourage you to get a copy of this book.  Feel free to post your comments.

Drag Teen, by Jeffery Self, will be available on April 26, 2016.

Happy reading!

*I received this advance copy from Scholastic, Inc., in a giveaway, for an honest review.

About the author: Jeffery Self is a writer, actor, and vlogger.  He’s appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, including 30 Rock, Desperate Housewives, and 90210.  Drag Teen is his first YA novel.  You can check him out on Twitter.

“The Portable Veblen”–Review

41jgJbfo7eL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_An exuberant, one-of-a-kind novel about love and family, war and nature, new money and old values by a brilliant New Yorker contributor.

Set in Palo Alto, California, The Portable Veblen is the story of family, career, and values.  Veblen—who was named after the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen, who coined “conspicuous consumption”—is engaged to Paul, a doctor who specializes in brain trauma for military veterans.

While their engagement is in danger of collapse, Veblen is dealing with the burdens of her narcissistic mother, as well as her institutionalized father.  Meanwhile, Veblen is taking on temp work, including her being a freelance Norwegian translator.  Paul, too, has to maintain his sanity while dealing with his inattentive parents and disabled brother, at the same time, while working toward a device which is supposed to minimize brain trauma.  The invention lands him a deal with the Department of Defense.  Because of the deal, Paul’s ambitions are soaring, as he is promised fame and fortune.

As the wedding day is approaching, Veblen and Paul have to deal with their dysfunctional families, career paths, and a charismatic squirrel.  At the same time, they both have to ask: How do we stay true to our ideals?

Although I liked the idea of the story, it didn’t work for me.  I didn’t dislike it; however, it could have been better, in my opinion.  I feel there were too many conflicts and flashbacks.  Veblen has her quirks, especially her obsession with communicating with squirrels, but it didn’t really catch my attention.  However, I did like that there was a bit of Norwegian in some parts of the story.  I’m fascinated with the language and I’m studying it, little-by-little.  In the meantime, I’ll give this book three stars.  Perhaps you’ll feel differently about the book than I, so feel free to check it out.

The Portable Veblen will be on sale, on January 19, 2016.

*I received this Advance Reading Copy from Penguin Random House and Shelf Awareness for an honest review.

About the author: Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of That Girl and MacGregor Tells the World.  Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize anthology.  She received her MA from Stanford, was an assistant fiction editor at The Atlantic, and currently teaches creative writing at Stanford’s school of continuing studies.

“Not Cool”—A Review

9780804138550Behind every awful, dangerous decision lurks one evil beast: THE COOL.

Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War On You, by Greg Gutfeld, discusses issues of everyday life and the choices most people make, in order to fit in with society.  …From what we wear and what we eat to what we smoke and who we poke, pop culture is crafted and manipulated by the cool and, to Greg Gutfeld, that’s Not Cool.

In this book, you’ll read about how the cool want to enslave all.  The cool try to convince you that:

1. If you don’t agree with them, no one will like you.

2. If you don’t follow them, you will miss out on life.

3. If you don’t listen to them, you will die a lonely loser.

Gutfeld, however, shows the reader that it’s cool to just be ourselves, to not change who we are just to be accepted by those who’d never give us the time of day.  He shows the reader the ideal of cool—building businesses, protecting freedom at home and abroad, taking responsibility for your actions, and letting others live their own lives as they please.  One of the lines I’ve kept in mind is: “It is a mistake to worry about how others view you.  ‘Other people’ are like images created in your mind.  It’s only your desire to appease or please or impress them that makes them meaningful.”

I’m happy to have had the opportunity to read this book.  There really is no harm in being ourselves and going after what we want—and being passionate about it, of course.  After my reading this book, I’ve realized that I’m not part of the cool and I’m definitely okay with it.  Read on to find out what I mean.

About the author: Greg Gutfeld is the cohost of The Five and Red Eye on the Fox News Channel.  He also is the author of The Bible of Unspeakable Truths and The Joy of Hate.

FTC Disclosure: I received the book from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.