Book Report

Things have been crazy off-line for me and in the past couple of weeks quite a few writers have reached out to me about writing reviews of their books. Needless to say I’m thrilled they’ve found my corner of the Internet and I can’t wait to read and review these books in the new year.

However, there are four books I recently read and thoroughly loved that I’m going to share them in posts that are more PR than actual reviews so I’m going to share these PR pieces through something I call Book Reports. My first book report is for Courtney Maum’s novel Touch.

 

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Sloane Jacobsen is a trend forecaster for the millennial set. One thing Sloane forecasted was the “swipe.”

Hired by the company Mammoth to lead a conference on all things digital Sloane begins to notice a digital backlash. People are embracing the old school world.of living more analog, cherishing actual human contact with friends, family and community.

Will Sloane expose her findings at the conference even if it jeopardizes her career? And just as she’s dealing with this Sloane’s boyfriend Roman’s op-ed in the New York Times throws huge obstacle her way, one that messes with her professionally and romantically.

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Brag Book

Great news! Jeff Abraham, my contact person from Jonas PR told he loved my review of Rhonda Shea’s book Up All Night. He also said Ms. Shear appreciated my honesty!

But wait! There’s more several people have reached out to me about reviewing their books so look for these reviews in the upcoming new year! According to a few of them they found out about me from the website book blogger.com. Hmm, who knew?

 

Book Review: Up All Night-From Hollywood Bombshell to Lingerie Mogul, Life Lessons from an Accidental Feminist by Rhonda Shear

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I’ve often used the phrase “if so and so didn’t exist we’d probably have to invent them.” I’ve used them so often that it’s become a tired cliché. Note to self: Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to come up with a new phrase.

But I don’t have to apply this to Rhonda Shear. Shear is all about invention and re-invention. In fact, Shear is a potpourri of re-invention, a sex kitten who has lived nine lives, and will probably live nine more. And she dishes the dirt and tells her tale in her biography, Up All Night-From Hollywood Bombshell to Lingerie Mogul, Life Lessons from an Accidental Feminist.

During her life, Shear has been a New Orleans beauty queen and a struggling and striving actress who got to kiss Fonzie from the TV classic Happy Days.  Shear later became a stand-up comic and host of the popular USA network program Up All Night, fueling the fantasies of horny teenage boys, grown men and probably a few lesbians. Shear is also a hopeful romantic who found her way back to her teenage love, now husband, Van Hagen. And last but now least, Shear is now a successful “bimboproneur,” inventor of the Ahh Bra and other underthings, which she sells on HSN.

Life began very modestly for Rhonda Honey Shear born and raised in New Orleans. Named after movie star Rhonda Fleming, Shear’s parents, Jennie and Wilbur Shear, doted on little Rhonda and got her involved in dance lessons at a very young age. It was then and there Shear knew she was destined to stardom. She began to compete (and win) local beauty pageants. She also found the love of her life, Van Hagen and together they had a sweet but somewhat volatile teen-age courtship. After high school, Shear got a BA in communications from Loyola University.

After she received her degree, Shear moved to Los Angeles, where she tried to make it as an actress. She got parts in D-list fair but also got a role in Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs. She guest starred on quite a few TV shows like the aforementioned Happy Days, and shows like Cheers and Dukes of Hazzard. Shear. (But she also had to deal with a lot of #metoo issues from some unsavory types in the age before the “Days of Weinstein and Roses.”)

It was through these appearances Shear was able to hone her comedy skills, which inspired her to do her own comedy act. She spent plenty of time working at some questionable clubs but also did her act at iconic comedy showcases like the Comedy Store. She worked a lot with other comics like Gilbert Gottfried, but also developed a comedy act with other funny ladies.

But her teenage swain, Van Hagen, was still on her mind. Through the power of social media, she found her high school honey and once again they connected in a way not often seen other than in Hollywood romantic movies.

But Shear also had dreams of owning her own business and along with her new hubby, created a successful lingerie and lounge wear company, which after a few struggles is doing very well and is sold both via HSN and her website Rhondashear.com. One notable item from her line is the Ahh Bra, an actual comfortable bra!

Up All Night is composed of three parts, part one is about Shear growing up in the Big Easy, part two is about her life in Hollywood and part three is about her life in Florida with hubby Van Hagen and her life as a successful business women. These three parts are composed of chapters Shear calls lessons, lessons which include: Beauty Matters, Don’t Wait for Opportunities, Create Them and Love Has No Expiration Date.

Is this book perfect? Of course not. At times I found it a bit rushed and not fully developed. I wish Shear would have gone deeper into various phases of her life. At times, Up All Night just skimmed the surface. I wanted more cake, less frosting. Perhaps, Shear’s life would be better served through several volumes of her life story. But it’s very likely her publisher wanted to pack it all into one book.

Some of the advice Shear offers verges on Hallmark card clichés or something you might find on a bumper sticker or a fortune cookie (but then again, the advice is pretty good and I think Shear’s heart is in the right place-she really wants to be there for the reader).

Oddly enough, I found myself quite interested in her life as a beauty queen. This could be because I’m from the land of the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin, where women where cheeseheads, not tiaras.

And as a fledgling jewelry designer with a mad love for Martha Stewart and lesser known ladies of business, I gobbled up her tale about developing her business, coming up with the Ahh Bra, and other sexy and also comfy lingerie and lounge wear designs. And I appreciate how Shear shared the good, the bad and the ugly of running one’s business, how she made her mark on HSN and life as a lady mogul. When it comes to our breasts, ladies, I don’t care if you are an A Student, packing a couple of killer Bs, a tempest in a C cup or a cornucopia of riches, a comfortable bra is every women’s birthright!

Ultimately, I grew to like Shear and her brand of feminism. Feminism is often open to interpretation (not too mention misunderstanding). You can be a feminist in so many ways, and Shear more than proves it.

Book Marks

China opens coolest new library in the world!

The Book Thing in Baltimore, Maryland re-opens.

Harry Potter advent calendar!

Author Neil Gaiman on what tells a great story.

Actress Jenna Fischer’s latest role is as author and she has a book out called The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide.

Five reasons why local book stores are better than a city’s tourism organization.

Media icon Tina Brown has a memoir out.

Author Jeffrey Toobin is writing a book about the Trump/Russian scandal.

How one’s man of riding motorcycles inspired him to write books.

Six reasons to read translated literature courtesy of Writer’s Digest.

 

Writer’s Block

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So sorry for my absence. I’ve been battling the head cold from hell for a couple of weeks and for a few days I could barely get off the couch, let alone write a coherent book review or even post a graphic and novel image, meme or gif. After days of hot tea, orange juice and chicken soup made by moi (not to mention lots of naps), I finally feel a bit more like myself. So it’s back to reading and before long I will post some book reviews. I just finished two terrific books (one fiction, the other non-fiction) and hope to get these reviews up shortly. And this morning I started reading Ariel Gore’s latest literary effort We Were Witches, which grabbed me the moment I read the first sentence. This should not surprise me. Ariel Gore’s book Atlas of the Human Heart is one of my favorite memoirs. It sure kicks Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s whiny tome Eat, Pray, Love.

Brag Book: Tari Jordan Edition

 

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Tari Jordan, guest blogger over at these parts and blogging goddess over at Criminal Minds Fans got to interview Criminal Minds show runner Erica Messer. Tari asked some thoughtful and inspired questions and Ms. Messer answered them in a very intelligent, illuminating and entertaining way giving us a thorough take on how to make a TV show happen, what’s in store when it comes to Criminal Minds’ future, her very own career and what it’s like to work as a woman in television. I think you’ll really enjoy it and learn so much from this interview. I know I did.

Thanks Tari and Erica!

Book Review: Crafting With Feminism- 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton

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“We can glue it!” claims feminist and crafter Bonnie Burton. And as a fellow feminist and crafter, can I get an Amen? Or should I say an A-Women?

When it comes to crafting and feminism I don’t know what came first for me? Crafting or feminism? Perhaps it was the same time. I had my first feminist-related click moment when I was five years old and been crafting ever since my mother gave me my first box of Crayolas and I designed clothing for my paper dolls. Both feminism and crafting has allowed me to express myself in so many ways, and a constant refuge in my life in times of triumph and tragedy.

So imagine my utter delight when I found Ms. Burton’s book Crafting With Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy. I quickly picked it up and the moment I opened it up I just knew I found a true treasure for creative crafters and fierce feminists alike.

For the most part, most of these projects are inexpensive and fairly easy, so most crafty types, whether experienced or novices can do them. And no matter your crafting style, you will find at least one project you will want to do.

Into needle crafts? Most likely you will be drawn to Feminist Badges of Honor, Em-broad-ery Hoop Art or  Next-Gen Feminist Onesies.

You can decorate your lady lair with with Peace and Equali-tea Aromatherapy Candles, a Grrrl Coat of Arms or Strong Female Prayer Candles featuring the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Detective Olivia Benson or Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek. Of course, these characters are just suggestions. You can pick you own feminist faves. Mine? The Bad Ass ladies of the BAU from Criminal Minds.

As a fashionable feminist I delighted in the Queen Ring Bling and Super Heroine Wrist Cuffs. And you can  crash the glass ceiling with Girl Band Cassette Business Card Holders and a “Male Chauvinist Tears” coffee mug.

After hours, end the day with Drinking Dames Flask and eat some nibbles off of Food For Thought Plates.

As for other potpourri for defying Patriarchy? Crafting With a Feminism is a primer in making Heroes of Feminism Finger Puppets, Monster Week Tampon/Pad Cases, All Hail the Queen Crowns and Power Panties.

Burton also provide a list of crafting needs. Most likely you have most of this accessories, but they include such things as beads, glitter, fabric, hot glue gun, Mod Podge, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, a sewing kit and X-acto knife.

Like me, Burton is a big fan of Crafternoons and she has some great ideas on how to make your Crafternoons the place to be. She includes ways to plan a Crafternoon including ways to making them really entertaining.

When it comes to music Burton offers selections like Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill, Q.U.E.E.N by Janelle Monae (featuring Erykah Badu), Cherry Bomb by the Runaways, Respect by Aretha, and Typical Girls by the Slits. Some of my picks? Invincible by Pat Benatar, Sisters Are Doing It By Themselves by Annie Lennox and Aretha and Ladies First by Queen Latifah and Monie Love.

When should you have your Crafternoons? Burton provides some key lady-friendly dates including Galentines Day, February 13th inspired by Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, International Women’s Day on March 8th, the birthday of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (the Notorious RBG) on March 15th, Glitter Day, which is the second Saturday of January and June 11th, International Yarnbombing Day.

Watch some feminist-minded films like Advanced Style, Persepolis, Bend it Like Beckham, Real Women Have Curves and 9 to 5. My picks? Impromptu, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry and The Legend of Billie Jean (because “Fair is Fair!).

Now one can’t always craft; one must also read books. Burton suggests books like Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Craftivism by Betsy Greer and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. To this list I’d like to add Backlash by Susan Faludi, Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day, Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters and Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris.

Crafting With Feminism also provides tips on crafting for change, teaching others and how to make crafting a money-making venture.

This book is slim, but is big on projects, ideas, and practical advice. Burton writes in humorous, down-to-earth fashion. Crafting With Feminism is a welcome addition to feminist-minded crafters and feminists alike.

 

 

Book Marks

 

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Puke. We do not need more Fifty Shades of Grey books.

Book examines why tycoons do not belong in the White House.

The most overlooked YA novels you should read according to Kirkus Reviews.

Library to take down racially insensitive Dr. Seuss mural.

Daily Mail claims Bill Clinton threw out Hillary Clinton’s book. In related news, Chicks on the Right cackle with glee over this report.

Hatchette Book Group shutters Weinstein Books imprint.

Great podcasts for book lovers.

What type of journal should you write in according to your writing style. I got dot grid.

Book on the Woman’s March in early 2017 will be published early next year.

Oscar-winner Viola Davis to write next Corduroy book.