Book Buzz: Paris for One & Other Stories

Was I happy to get my hands on Paris for One & Other Stories, the latest collection from best-selling author JoJo Moyes?

Mais oui!

Book Buzz: Paris for One

I’m an unabashed fangirl of Jojo Moyes and have eagerly awaited her every novel. One of my very favorites was the breathtaking story about love and loss during World War I, The Girl You Left Behind, but the two novels featuring of protagonist Louisa Clark in Me Before You and After You captured my affection as well  — not just me, but the rest of the world, too.

Good news for us … in January, another novel about Louisa’s journey, Still Me, will be released.

I can’t wait.

Paris for One & Other Stories

Paris for One is a novella and a billet doux to Paris, about a young woman who finds romance hiding just around a corner. It is a story as sweet and pleasing as a chocolate croissant.

Who wouldn’t sigh with consternation at the unlikely happenstance of Nell, a shy 26 year-old British girl finding herself alone in a city she’s never been to, and stood up by her hapless boyfriend? Who wouldn’t swoon over the dreamlike weekend that unfolds?  Nell meets a guy on a motorbike who whisks her through the streets of the city and opens her eyes to adventure.

Nell takes a chance with this stranger on this strange but enchanting weekend in Paris, and her life is forever changed.

Fans of Moyes know that she has a deep love for the city of Paris since it features prominently in her writing. Me Before You ends with Louisa in Paris, honoring Will’s wish for her (the visual of her sitting alone at the cafe is still with me); After You flashes back to Lou’s time in Paris as she starts her new life; and The Girl You Left Behind is set against the backdrop of Paris during World War I. With Paris for One, Moyes again presents Paris in all its alluring glory, and gives us a strong, lovable female protagonist who finds her true self in the City of Love

Moyes serves up the rest of this delicious meal with a collection of eight short stories, each one about ordinary people navigating the terrain of thwarted love. I particularly enjoyed “Between the Tweets,” a story about love going awry in the age of Twitter (and quite relevant to stories in the news these days).

This novella and short stories format is a departure for Moyes, but it works well. Fans might clamor for more as the stories end too soon, but it is a testament to Moyes’ talent that she leaves us hungry and yearning.

Who knows? Perhaps one of these will turn into a novel someday.

Are you listening, Jojo Moyes?

 

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Paris for One & Other Stories. Please click on the Books is Wonderful Facebook page and leave a comment. A winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of Paris for One & Other Stories from Penguin Books for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

 

 

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Happy National Authors Day

Happy National Authors DayWe love our authors, and today because it is National Authors Day they get an extra shout out. Are there authors who have changed your life through their beautiful words? There are for me, too many to count.

“A writer is a world trapped in a person.” — Author Unknown

Is it a coincidence that National Authors Day is the same day as the start of NaNoWriMo, the writing competition that spans the month of November? For all of those participating in that mad dash to 50,000 words, good luck! I did it three years ago and finished the first very rough draft of my novel.

But alas, an author — at least, a novelist — I am not. Not yet, anyway. Novels are approximately 80,000-100,00 words and undergo revision after revision after revision. I’ve been through two major revisions already and am not done yet.

“A word after a word after a word is power.” — Margaret Atwood

Authors should be recognized. As an aspiring one, I know how incredibly difficult it is, and producing a well-written tome is something to be very proud of.

Here is some interesting info from Scribd, the reading subscription service, offering access to the books, audiobooks, news and magazine articles, documents and more.

Scribd has analyzed its user data to come up with the most popular author in each state.

Here are a few of the key data findings:

  • Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) is the most popular author in America, claiming the top spot in 7 states. (I reviewed this book.)
  • Pop culture is King – Stephen King (ItThe Tommyknockers) is the most popular author in 4 states and Ernest Cline (Ready Player One) is the most popular in 3 states.
  • The Northeast wants to know What Happened, with New York, Maine, and Massachusetts each reading Hillary Clinton more than any other author.
  • Most Popular Genres – Personal Growth and Mysteries, Thrillers & Crime are indisputably the most popular genres across America right now.

Happy National Authors Day

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.” — William Makepeace Thackeray

Thank you, authors, for delighting us, inspiring us, drawing us in to worlds we never knew existed. Keep writing, keep creating, keep sharing! And perhaps we should all heed this suggestion:

“When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author.” — Sherman Alexie

 

 

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Halloween Audibobooks with Chills and Thrills

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.
The opinions and text are all mine.

Halloween Audiobooks with Chills and ThrillsShouldn’t the frost be on the pumpkin by now? Here in the northeast US it feels more like late June than late October. Nonetheless, the calendar says that Halloween will be here next week and preparations for this most fun holiday are underway.

But wait a minute. As I look around my house, I see the ghost of Halloween past. Now there are no Disney costumes hanging in the closet waiting to be whisked on for the school Halloween parade. I’m not tripping over cardboard skeletons or witches hats or scary monster masks strewn everywhere.

In years past, I would have purchased giant bags of candy for the neighborhood kids. Now, not a single Pop Tart can be found in the secret place I used to stash the bounty. The neighborhood kids have grown and gone, and the young kids now are savvy enough to have their parents drive them to a denser neighborhood where trick or treating is more efficient.

Boo. Make that boo hoo. I miss those days!

Halloween is just not the same when the kids grow up. As I wistfully watch our neighbors decorate their front yards with flimsy white cobwebs, I remember Halloween with a pang and hope that someday grandchildren will be around to let us partake in the fun again, starting with the serious discussions of possible costumes weeks before.

Maybe, too, I will introduce the kids to Halloween audiobooks, which make a fun holiday even better.

Halloween audiobooks for kids

For kids who are at that sweet spot of childhood where spooky stories and mock terror give them goosebumps of delight, there are so many audiobooks on Audible that hit the mark. When you’re carving the pumpkins, or selecting a bedtime story, or driving the kids home from school, you might enjoy one of these audiobooks:

Halloween Stories

Halloween Books With Chills and ThrillsAppropriate for K-6, this book is about a group of friends who have some spooky Halloween adventures.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Scary Stories of American Children

Halloween Books with Chills and Thrills

 

Grades K-3 will enjoy these sometimes scary, sometimes funny stories.

 

 

 

 

Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Halloween Books with Chills and ThrillsLeonardo thinks he is a failure as a monster because he is unable to scare anyone. Children ages 4-8 will adore this story with a sweet message about being loved for who you are.

 

 

 

In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories

Halloween Books with Chills and ThrillsAn “I Can Read” book, the content is just creepy enough to be scary but fun as well. The level is appropriate for 4-8 year-olds.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Stories

Halloween Books with Chills and Thrills

 

Written for children aged 5-7, this book has spooky stories to delight kids and adults alike.

 

 

 

The Halloween House and Other Scary Stories

Halloween Books with Chills and ThrillsThe three stories are “The Halloween House”, a cautionary poem about the dangers of trick or treating without obeying the rules, “The Nothing That Lives Under My Bed”, and “The Skeleton Inside Me”. Great for late night bedtime stories. Recommended for ages 5-7.

 

 

 

 

Do you have Audible? You should! If you don’t have Audible already, try it out with this free 30-day membership.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

The Life of a Book

The Life of a Book

The Life of a BookI have always been curious about the birthing process of a novel, especially when I finish one that I adore. How did this bundle of joy come into the world? What is the life of a book?

It starts with a gleam in the author’s eye, of course. What inspires her? How does she take a nugget of an idea and flesh it out? What sparks her imagination when she creates characters and a fictional world that draws us in?

Let’s say she completes the book and is lucky enough to find an agent who loves it and sells it. What happens next? As a novel travels through its own bookish birth canal, from conception through delivery, all kinds of things are happening behind the scenes that most of us are unaware of.

I’ve always been drawn to interviews in which authors can talk about their journey. And now, thanks to Penguin Random House, we can hear from selected authors about just that — as well as the book doctors and nurses critical to the book’s success.

The Life of a Book

Penguin Random House has a fascinating new interview series on its website called The Life of a Book that gives you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the publishing process from start to finish.

If you read my blog last week, you know that I was smitten with Celeste Ng’s latest novel, Little Fires Everywhere. With its absorbing plot, unique and multi-dimensional characters, and modern-day look at complicated issues, Little Fires Everywhere stood out as an exceptionally good read.

So I was delighted to find out that Ng is one of the authors interviewed in a podcast for The Life of a Book series.

I listened to Ng’s interview, and if you’ve read the book (or even if you haven’t) I think you’ll enjoy hearing her musings on different aspects of her writing process. For instance, you’ll find out …

  • Is she a planner or a pantser? (Pantser means a writer who doesn’t rely on an outline but lets her characters lead the way in the story development)
  • Why she chose photography as the artistic persuasion of one of her characters.
  • What she felt the hardest part was to write.

It Takes a Village

I moved on to the interview with Virginia Smith, Senior Editor at Penguin Press, who spoke about the value of a team. Contributions from editors, cover designers, publicists, marketing experts all add up to make the book shine in every way.

Assistant Director of Publicity Juliana Kiyan explained how the publicity strategy for a sophomore novel differs from that of a debut. Her job is to spread book love among a targeted but widespread audience: readers, booksellers, the media and, of course, fans of Ng’s first novel. Sales Manager Megan Sullivan described the fun of getting to read galleys (uncorrected proofs) months in advance so she can start creating a buzz long before the novel is published.

Jaya Miceli, the cover designer, shared what she looks for in cover art; how it must relate to and capture the mood of the writing.

You can find all this on Penguin Random House’s blog, The Perch, along with interviews of other authors and publishing professionals.

Happy reading!

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Book Buzz: Little Fires Everywhere

Book Buzz: Little Fires Everywhere

As I raced toward the explosive conclusion of Little Fires Everywhere, I simultaneously couldn’t wait to find out what happened but dreaded finishing this extraordinary read. You know that feeling, right?

I loved Celeste Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, with every fiber of my being. It was a captivating story of race and prejudice and family dynamics, and it went on to win a ton of awards and made Ng a respected new voice in fiction.

Patiently, I waited for Ng’s sophomore novel to be released.

The wait was worth it, people.

Little Fires Everywhere is, well, brilliant.

Book Buzz: Little Fires Everywhere

 

Little Fires Everywhere

The story of two families in Shaker Heights, Ohio — Mr. and Mrs. Richardson and their four children, the “haves,” and Mia Warren and her daughter, Pearl, the “have nots,” whose lives intersect for a brief period of time and everything changes collossally for both families.

Elena Richardson is the matriarch — a Shaker Heights native whose expectations for her life followed a prescribed formula, just as the community itself had been one of the first planned communities in the U.S.

All she wanted was marriage, children, career, and a lovely home. And it pretty much worked out that way.

But then, Mia and her teenage daughter Pearl arrive on the scene. Looking for an affordable place to live, they rent a small house owned by the Richardsons. Mia is an independent thinker, an artist on the side; she needs to work several low-paying jobs to make ends meet. Pearl is a shy but friendly girl,  and is embraced by the Richardson family and spends most of her time hanging out with them.

In short order both mother and become more than tenants: each of the four Richardson children is drawn to these women, and Elena Richardson employs Mia as a part-time housekeeper.

Elena  is curious about Mia’s past, and feels prompted to nose around when Mia becomes intimately involved in a child custody case involving a friend Mia has met at one of her jobs.

The friend is a Chinese mother, Bebe, who abandoned her infant during a time of duress. The infant is given to the McCulloughs, friends of the Richardsons, who had struggled with infertility for years and were on an adoption waiting list. Now the baby is a year old, and the McCulloughs have assumed this child will be theirs forever.

But then Bebe reappears, and wants her daughter back.

The case divides the community, as well as the Richardson family. I won’t say more, because I don’t want to spoil it. Coincidentally, the novel I reviewed last week, Lucky Boy, had the same theme. In both books it is dealt with so compassionately and even-handedly. I admire both authors for being able to find compelling voices on both sides of an emotional issue.

Ng’s characters are so well drawn, each unique and credible, and truly, Shaker Heights itself must be counted as one of the protagonists. Shaker Heights, Ng’s hometown, was  planned with the best intentions and idealism, and although successful in some areas, it nonetheless is beset with the same race and class issues faced just about everywhere else.

I am sure that Little Fires Everywhere will have the same phenomenal success of Ng’s previous novel. Already, Amazon has named it a “Best Book of September 2017.”

And I sure hope Ng is working on her third.

 

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Little Fires Everywhere. To enter this giveaway, click on the Books is Wonderful Facebook page and leave a comment. US addresses only, please. The winner will be randomly selected.

 

I received a copy of Little Fires Everywhere from Penguin Press for an honest review, which is is the only kind of review I write.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Book Buzz: Lucky Boy

A hauntingly beautiful story and so achingly relevant for these times, Lucky Boy held onto my heart and still has it in its grasp.
Book Buzz: Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy is the story of two strong women: Soli, a teenager fleeing her native Mexico for a better life in northern California, and Kavya, daughter of immigrant Indian parents now living with her husband Rashi in upscale Berkeley — whose lives crash together in a torrential storm of love and loss.

Author Shanthi Sekaran is so seriously good at telling this story that you fall in love with both of these women — vulnerable, passionate and loving — even though their motivations are in stark opposition to each other’s.

Lucky Boy brings to light the struggles of undocumented immigrants thrust into a society so different from their own, where the norms and routines are true culture shock. They live in constant fear of being caught and sent back to their homeland that they had fled for good reasons. The only way to survive is to stay under the radar. Not make eye contact. Be invisible.

Lucky Boy is also about the heartbreak of infertility. Having known friends who have gone through this, I felt the anguish of Kavya and Rishi who have a wonderful life but are denied the one thing they want more than anything.

Soli survives a harrowing journey from Mexico and locates her cousin’s apartment where she will stay. The cousin is shocked at Soli’s appearance. She is dirty and gaunt from the trip, but she is also unwittingly pregnant. Nonetheless, she finds work for Soli as a housekeeper for a wealthy Berkeley family where she is treated well, even given paid leave when it is time for the baby to be born.

However, circumstances intervene and suddenly the cousin is being deported and Soli is sent to a detention center. Her infant son is taken away from her.

At the same time, Kavya and Rishi are desperate to conceive a child but in spite of lengthy and expensive fertility treatments they have not been successful. They decide to become foster parents, and as fate would have it, Soli’s baby boy comes into their welcoming arms.

Soli tries to survive the horror of the detention center, deprived of decent food and living conditions and repeatedly raped by guards. Barred from talking to a lawyer, she does not know where her son is and if she will get him back.

While Soli languishes at the detention center, Kavya and Rishi embrace parenthood and begin to forget that it is only temporary. They are in denial that their baby has a birth mother who is fighting to get him back.

Such an engrossing story with multi-dimensional characters, Lucky Boy would be a perfect choice for a book group because there are so many issues to ponder over. Immigration, motherhood, privilege … this novel will open your eyes to injustices in our broken system.

There could not be a better time for us to become enlightened.

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Lucky Boy. Please leave a comment on the Books is Wonderful Facebook page and a winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of Lucky Boy from Putnam for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

 

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Not Giving a F*ck

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.
The opinions and text are all mine.

Who is Mark Manson, and why has he written a self-help book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life?

Not a Ph.D, not a therapist, Manson is a regular guy in his 30s who started writing a blog in 2007 for his own enjoyment. His funny, irreverent style and refreshingly blunt philosophy caught on with the masses; hence, his book became a best seller.

Not Giving a F*ck

I am not typically drawn to books in this genre, but with a title like this one, I had to check it out. I downloaded the audiobook from Audible and listened to it while doing stuff around the house last weekend.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Note: There are a sh*tload of f-bombs throughout. Let this be a warning if you are listening to the audiobook as I did.

Manson contends that the lets-all-feel-good-about-ourselves mindset we’ve been spoon fed for years is just wrong. We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we’re not in a constant state of happiness, well, there must be something wrong with us. Not true!

The self-love philosophy that encourages us to buy more, earn more, be more, actually serves to remind us of what we are not, what we have failed to be — why haven’t we reached those higher plateaus? Realizing we’re not good enough, we try even harder, get more neurotic, tear our insides to shreds, and become less happy, not more.

Manson believes that the more we pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied we become, the more we give a f*ck, and the vicious cycle continues.

Giving too many f*cks is bad for your mental health. As Manson says, we’re here on earth for a short time. The key is to not give a f*ck, and you may find that when you stop trying so hard, things start to fall into place on their own.

What the f*ck is wrong with coming in second?

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F*ck positivity,” Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f*cked and we have to live with it.”

When everyone on the soccer team gets a gold medal for just showing up, it does our kids no favor in the long run. We think we’re protecting their feelings, but pretending everyone is extraordinary is perpetuating a myth. The truth is there are winners and losers among us, and that is often isn’t our fault. It’s just the way the cards were dealt.

It is unrealistic to think that things will always turn out the way we want. What makes us stronger — and happier — is dealing with adversity.

Manson knows from whence he speaks.

Like the road not taken, Manson says, it was the f*cks not given that made a difference in his life. He quit his job in finance after six days to start an internet business. He sold most of my possessions and moved to South America. No f*cks given.

F*cks should be given about the important things. That said, the art of prioritizing the important things in life is not an easy process. Over the course of our lives we identify the most meaningful components and eventually discard the things we thought were important but really aren’t. We ultimately realize that we can’t give a f*ck all the time because then we will be disappointed when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would.

A benefit of aging is realizing when to give a f*ck.

We reach maturity when we learn to only give a f*ck about what is truly f*ckworthy.

As we grow older, we come to accept who we are and not aspire to some unrealistic version of ourselves. This is liberating.

I hear this from many of my contemporaries. We no longer need to give a f*ck about everything. We reserve our f*cks for our friends, family, our passions – this is as it should be. Happiness will come as we adjust our expectations of life and accept who we are.

Everyone will have pain, but avoiding it or denying it will just bring more pain. Happiness comes from not avoiding problems, but solving them.

So what the f*ck can we do about it?

Manson says to get real about our limitations — own them and accept them. It’s not wrong or weak to acknowledge our fears and faults; it’s actually empowering. Avoiding the truth leads to unhappiness, but if we can tackle our fears straight on we will actually find happiness through the resilience to deal with them.

Like “don’t sweat the small stuff,” not giving a f*ck can be liberating.

What in your life do you not give a f*ck about?

 

 

Do you listen to Audible? If not, you should! Try it out with this free 30-day trial membership.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Book Buzz: I’m The One Who Got Away

Book Buzz: I'm The One Who Got Away

With scorching honesty infusing her gorgeous prose, Andrea Jarrell looks back at her unconventional childhood in this brave coming of age memoir, I’m the One Who Got Away.

Book Buzz: I'm The One Who Got Away

I’m the One Who Got Away. The title itself is bittersweet. Jarrell did get away, finding the normalcy in love, marriage and parenting as an adult that eluded her as a child.

But did she really get away?

Her past caught up with her in a blinding moment, when the brutal murder of an acquaintance in the small community where she, her husband, and two children had once lived evoked a visceral response. It wasn’t just the horror of the crime and the loss of an innocent life; she flashed back to her own experience as the child of a possessive single mother and the mercurial, frustrated actor father who was in and out of their lives.

The murder victim, a single mother named Susannah, was someone Jarrell knew through their children’s preschool, a mom whose son was the same age as hers.

Although they had been casual friends, Jarrell had always felt uncomfortable in Susannah’s presence. Susannah’s life was centered on her son; the two were inseparable. Just like Jarrell and her single mother had been. The two of them against the world. “Just we two,” her mother often reminded her.

The murder is the catalyst that forces Jarrell to revisit her own relationship with her parents.  Her bright and adventurous mother was married at 16 to a man whose insecurities and alcoholism were a constant threat. Jarrell’s mother loved her husband but loved her daughter more, and with the escalating abuse she knew there was no other solution than for mother and daughter to flee.

Jarrell’s mother, in her youth both valedictorian and homecoming queen, had aspired to be a photojournalist or graphic artist and was offered several scholarships. Instead, she married a man who turned out to be toxic. She never went to college. Throughout her life, Jarrell questioned her mother’s choices, especially when she let her father back in their lives. Would this be her future, too, putting her dreams on hold for a man who held her back?

Eventually, she comes to terms with her past. Her mother did what she could with the imperfect cards she’d been dealt. She didn’t complain about the trajectory of her life, but made the best of it with no apologies.

The loving, complicated relationship between mother and daughter is truly the backbone of I’m the One Who Got Away.

Jarrell’s life would turn out to be different, but not without its stumbles. That’s what life is.

Not simple, or perfect. But if we can choose the best of what we had, what worked really well, and pack away the worst of it in an old cedar chest in the attic to be examined when we need a reminder, we’re the artisans creating the future that we want for ourselves and our children, which is exactly what Jarrell has done.

As she says at the end of the book,

“… I’ve learned again that I can’t go over, under, or around, and I can’t turn back. No matter how high or rough the surf, going through every stage is where the living is.”

 

I received a copy of I’m the One Who Got Away from She Writes Press.
The text and views are all my own.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Book Buzz: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

Book Buzz: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

So how could a bibliophile not pick up a novel entitled “How to Find Love in a Bookshop?”

Of course I did.

Book Buzz: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

How to Find Love in a Bookshop

Here is my observation about novels with bookshops. They have a sprinkle of whimsy and magic throughout. Any why not? Bookstores are … were … filled with wonder and enchantment. Generations following us may never know the delight of browsing in a bookshop, losing any sense of time and space while paging through new titles, and admiring the art of beautiful covers.

Veronica Henry’s How to Find Love in a Bookshop is set in the Cotswolds in England, a magical place in and of itself, where Emilia has returned following the death of her father Julius to salvage the bookshop he ran for years.

Called Nightingale Books, the quaint and dusty bookshop had been tended with care if not financial acumen. Julius was devoted to his beloved books and also to his customers who became his extended family. With his notion that “a town without a bookshop is a town without a heart,” he created a comfortable space that encouraged lingering and schmoozing.

When he passed away, Emilia — and the townspeople who adored him — were struck with the magnitude of his loss. Emilia vows to maintain the cherished bookshop in her father’s benevolent style, but struggles with the overwhelming debt he had unknowingly accrued. And as property developers circle her like hawks, having to shutter the doors for good becomes a grave possibility.

It is the cast of wonderful characters in the town that truly is the heart of this novel. We come to know and connect to the patrons of Nightingale Books who stop in to get recommendations for their next read … or ask for help in selecting a gift … or simply share their own stories.

There is the wealthy lady of the manor who hides a painful secret, and her daughter whose wedding plans are thwarted by a devastating car accident. There is the single dad desperate to do right by his son through introducing him to books. We get to know the painfully shy young chef who can’t bring herself to approach the man she secretly has a crush on, and the mum of a baby who offers free interior design advice to upgrade the shabby room of the shop.

This is a community of folks that values its local bookshop and its owner, and each other, through the ups and downs of daily life. These human connections that arise from a shared love of books are not to be found, sadly, when simply ordering a book online.

Are there shocking twists and turns? No. Is there murder, intrigue, and violent car chases? No. That’s not what this novel is. Picture yourself in a comfortable chair sipping tea (of course) on a lazy day with a cat on your lap.

That’s the feeling you’ll get when reading this novel.

 

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of How to Find Love in a Bookshop. Please leave a comment below, and a winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of How to Find Love in a Bookshop from Viking for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Kevin Hart Shines in His Memoir, “I Can’t Make This Up”

Kevin Hart Shines in His Memoir, "I Can't Make This Up"

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.
The opinions and text are all mine.

If your typical day is like mine, you spend a considerable amount of time in the car. Whether it’s getting to work and back, running errands, shuttling kids to activities, or visiting family and friends, you are behind the wheel a good part of the day.

I find myself flipping from music to talk shows to news, anything to distract me from the boredom of sitting in a traffic jam. Fortunately, there is another option: listening to an audiobook on Audible. When I want to catch up on a novel I’ve missed or discover a new author, I can search through Audible’s vast selection of titles and come up with the perfect choice for the moment.

These days, I often find myself needing to tune out what is happening in the world. I yearn for a selection that will take me away. Something that will make me laugh.

And laugh I did, all the way through Kevin Hart’s funny and heartfelt new memoir, “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons.”

Kevin Hart Shines in His Memoir,

If you are familiar with Kevin Hart, you know he is an accomplished actor and stand up comedian, as well as a successful businessman. His meteoric rise to fame is all the more admirable because of his humble beginnings in North Philadelphia.

North Philadelphia both then and now is a tough neighborhood besieged by drugs and violence, and Kevin Hart’s family was not immune to the temptations on the street. As he describes, he was born an accident to a father who became a drug addict and was in and out of jail. His older brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother, although well meaning, was strict to the point of being abusive, beating him with whatever she could get her hands on, whether it was a frying pan, a belt, or even one of Kevin’s toys.

Now how can all the above be funny? Kevin Hart turns tragedy into comedy, and listening to him narrate the book is like attending one of his stand-up concerts. His delivery is what makes this audiobook superior to the written version, in my opinion. You feel like you have a front row seat to his comic genius.

Not that the written version is any less funny. Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review. “[An] emotion-filled memoir full of grit and humor…Inspiring and thoroughly entertaining, Hart’s memoir brings his readers into his hilarious universe of stories and philosophy.”

In addition to all his other talents, the man can write. And what makes this particular memoir stand out for me is not just the funny stuff, but also the life lessons Kevin Hart shares from the bumps in the road. He is introspective, humble, down-to-earth and philosophical. He could have succumbed to the drugs and crime in his neighborhood. He could have grown up angry and rebellious.

But that is not the way he is wired. He chose to find meaning from the life lessons at every turn that helped him forge a way out of the poverty and violence and into a career that has made him adored by millions of fans.

Although this was not written as a self-help book, Kevin Hart’s memoir is truly motivational as well as funny as hell. His message is that we all have challenges that can be overcome through determination, and using laughter as a coping mechanism never hurt anyone.

 

 

Do you use Audible? If not, you can try it out with this free 30-day trial membership.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Start