And you thought your mother was nuts. From hilarious drama to childhood trauma, ‘The Daily Janet’ chronicles author and comedienne Leanna Conley’s journey of being raised by a 1960s fashionista before the Devil had even heard of Prada. Janet is a chain-smoking martini enthusiast who swears like a sailor but dresses like Audrey Hepburn, and her erratic behavior has made for a sometimes stormy, but always loving, mother/daughter dynamic. Be prepared to laugh out loud at Janet’s antics and pearls of wisdom as Leanna hops on the tumultuous ride to adulthood. . .in one of Janet’s Cadillacs, of course.
From the moment I started this biography, I became completely engrossed, I forgot to go to sleep early as I originally planned. Leanna Conley is a natural born storyteller with a flair for the comedic, which I imagined she inherited from her mother, Janet.
Since I’m not one to read a lot of biographies, I had agreed to read this one expecting it to be just another biography with comedy here and there. I didn’t prepare myself for what lay in store. Janet is truly a wild, wise woman that you just can’t get enough of, no matter how you try.
The Daily Janet offers everything a good story requires: pain, drama, comedy and love. She’s a class act with a wild side. I highly recommend this extremely pleasurable read. You won’t be disappointed.
Sorry, I might be more or less absent for a few weeks but I’m planning on making some changes to my personal blog and I have a book being launched between Christmas and New Year (fingers crossed) so I’ll be running around (at least virtually).
I thought I’d leave you a light romantic comedy I read recently, just in case you needed something different over the holiday season. And Merry Xmas!
The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell
A hilarious new romantic comedy for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello from Anna Bell, the bestselling author of Don’t Tell the Groom.
Abi’s barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible. When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they’re a perfect match?
But there’s just one problem – or rather, ten. Abi’s not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she’s absolutely terrified of heights – not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town . . .
Completing the list is going to need all Abi’s courage – and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store . . .
Thanks to Net Galley and to Bonnier Publishing for offering me a free ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily have decided to review.
The plot of this novel fits perfectly in the category of chick lit or romantic comedy, and I could almost watch the movie in my mind’s eye as I read it. Abi , Bridget Jones’s spiritual sister, is suddenly dropped by her boyfriend of almost a year, Joseph (“the one”) and she’s desperate. She comes across his bucket list by pure chance and, clutching at straws, thinks that if she were to achieve all the items on the list (more or less) and share the pictures on Facebook, he would realise what a mistake he’d made and go back to her. Abi (and as we learn as we read, Joseph also) is not very adventurous. In fact, she’s worried about everything and scared of almost everything (especially heights). Her friend Sian, a fun character and a great contrast with Abi, doesn’t really like Joseph much, and her attitude to love is so different to Abi’s that she decides to lie to her and everybody else, and tells them that the list is her way to try and get over her break-up. On hearing that, everybody offers to help her. And, indeed, she needs all the help she can get.
The book becomes naturally organised around Abi’s adventures in trying to fulfil her bucket list, which go from pathetic to funny, passing from embarrassing. Apart from the events surrounding the ten items in the list, she’s also getting in trouble at work, at first through her own doing, and later bizarre things start to happen and she suspects that there might be foul play.
The novel is written in the first person from Abi’s point of view, and although she’s not the most insightful or reliable narrator, to begin with, and her weakness and her obsession with Joseph might make the reader cringe, eventually she does discover herself as a separate person and one capable of much more than she gives herself credit for. She is surrounded by a likeable supporting cast (and a few not so likeable when not openly bitchy) and through them, readers can appreciate that she is perhaps not the best at judging how she comes across to others. The author is also adept at giving us enough clues to allow us to make our own minds up rather than accept Abi’s biased conclusions, not an easy thing to do when the events are shown from a single perspective.
The writing is fluid and easy to read and although readers of the genre will probably guess what’s going to happen pretty much from the word go, the fine details are enjoyable, and there is a touch of intrigue to keep us interested beyond the pure romance. And for those who love romance, although we see Joseph mostly from Abi’s starry-eyed perspective and he is hardly a real person, Ben, who is almost too perfect to be true (other than by the tiny detail of having a girlfriend) is somebody easy to like and one to root for. And my bet is that you’ll like Aby by the end of the story and you’ll be wondering about the psychological benefits of bucket lists for yourself. I particularly appreciated the final words by the author who acknowledged there was a personal basis behind the seed of the novel.
In sum, a light and easy to read the novel, satisfying if you’re looking for an amusing and sweet read, with no erotica, and no shocking surprises. Great for those moments when you don’t want to test your brain and want a read that will leave you with a smile.
Thanks to the publishers, to NetGalley and to Anna Bell for her book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, CLICK and of course to keep reading and to have a great holiday season!
Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You Author: Lily Anderson ISBN13: 978-1250079091 ASIN: B017HNAHXW Published: Due out on 17th May 2016 Pages: 352
Genre: Young adult/ social and family issues/friendship (I’m not sure about the category used but…)
Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West–and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on—and they might not pick the same side.
Stephanie Perkins meets 10 Things I hate About You in The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, a fresh, romantic debut from author Lily Anderson inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.
Body of review:
Much Ado About Nothing’ for YA in a school for gifted kids. A quick-fire delight.
Thanks to Net Galley and to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
When I read this book was a modern take of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing for young adults I could not resist. It’s one of my favourite Shakespeare’s comedies and it’s had pretty good adaptations to screen. I am very partial to Ten Things I Hate About You and I hoped this would be as good if not better.
Told in the first person, this novel’s narrator is Trixie (Beatrix, of course), who is a fiercely intelligent and feisty shrew. She’s a geek, loves comic books, TV series (Dr Who among them), and attends a school for gifted youngsters, that is a fascinating ecosystem, with its own rules, its fights for top position and ranking, and it’s aristocracy (all based on merit, intelligence and hard work). Her two friends, Harper and Meg, are also very clever but very different to her in their unique ways (Harper, who is kind to a fault, lost her mother years back and her family life is fairly empty despite the money, and Meg’s psychologist parents seem to track any behaviours that might fit in some theory or other, and she is always trying to classify friends and actions around her as if they took place in a lab). Of course, there would be no school without boys, and Trixie has a long-term enmity with Benedict (Ben), who shares many of her hobbies and dislikes but who can’t open his mouth without aggravating her. Everybody but the two people involved know the pair are a perfect match, but making them see it proves a hard task. Students start getting suspended and they don’t realise at first that behind exams, essays, tests, balls and functions, there is somebody messing up with pupils’ results with dramatic consequences.
The characters are as clever as is to be expected from the school they attend, and at their age, they know everything. Their references to both pop culture and Culture with capital letters are flawless, witty and make for a great read. The dialogue is fast, clever, and funny (I must confess to laughing out loud quite a few times), and appropriate to the age of the characters. Although they are clever, they are also young, naïve, and at times very innocent and that makes them plausible teenagers. They are friends of their friends, they confront serious moral issues (for their age) and they are articulate, wholesome but sometimes mean.
I remember talking about a young adult book to a reader who told me he couldn’t remember having met girls as clever as the ones in the book. Well, I did, and although perhaps the interests might vary depending on the person and the era of our school years, I appreciate a young adult book where the young protagonists are clever, study, and care for each other. And are very funny too.
I thoroughly recommend this book to anybody who likes high-school young adult novels (I have no doubts adults will like it too), and I’m sure people who enjoy Shakespeare and pop culture references will have a field day. And I look forward to more books by the writer.
What the book is about: High school, studies, friendships, young love and a wonderful Shakespeare adaption for young adults.
Book Highlights: The geeky and pop culture references, the wit of the characters, a book about young people where they actually study, and wonderful and clever dialogue.
Challenges of the book: I think not many readers will get all the references, either high-brow or pop cultural ones, but I don’t think that will diminish the enjoyment of the story.
What do you get from it: A fun version of a Shakespeare comedy, where young people are intelligent, funny and friends of their friends.
What I would have changed if anything: I’m not sure of the category it’s included in, but other than that…
Who Would I recommend this book to?: I don’t think it’s necessary to be a fan of YA books to enjoy this novel. If you like the film ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’, I’d definitely recommend it. It made me laugh out loud and I can’t say that of many books.
Ratings: Realistic Characterization: 4/5 Made Me Think: 4/5 Overall enjoyment: 5/5 Readability: 4.5/5 Recommended: 5/5 Overall Rating: 5/5
Buy it at: Format & Pricing: Hard Cover: $10.79 Kindle: $9.99
Not long ago I met an author, one of the best I’ve come across in a one on one way ever, through another great author Dan McNeil. I’ve read and reviewed her book, and you can read the review on LWI by clicking here. What did I say? Read it, but I warn you, if you know my normal reviews and ratings…you will be shocked. Her name is Jasmine Aziz. Her book is:
First of all, I think people would like to know how in the world you got into the world of selling vibrators. I think that is somewhat important regarding your book. And in addition, how did you get out of doing that?
Well it isn’t exactly something your Guidance Counsellor in school tells you that you were born to do so no one was more surprised than me when I ended up doing door-to-door dildo sales. I went to a party (my first) with my girlfriend and the consultant that was presenting the products was stiffer than the toys on the table. She made everyone uncomfortable. Naturally, coming from a long line of sales people, I did what I know how to do best: make light of the situation to put everyone at ease. The consultant told me to keep quiet but at the end of the presentation, five women I had never met before came up to me to ask me if I could help them choose what to buy. I can’t be sure what made them come to me for guidance but I sensed I was on to something. That, or it was the “Sex Crazed Loon” shirt I was wearing.
There is an amount of honesty in your book that takes courage. How many times did you stop writing or have doubts and who helped push you to complete the project?
It took me six years to complete the book because I wasn’t sure I could face the potential wrath I was expecting from my extended family. But I had spoken to too many women and men that I felt needed the story so I forged forward. It was actually a fateful trip to Las Vegas that propelled me in the right direction. It was there that I was told I wasn’t “sexy” enough to get free tickets to a club. That made me stop and think, well, what is the definition of “sexy” anyway? It was that concept that helped me string the book together. Now if I ever go back to Las Vegas I’m just going to wear a copy of my novel and we’ll see who gets the last laugh.
How many strange men have proposed to you since the book came out?
Are you proposing? 🙂 If so, then only one 😉 Just kidding!
One thing I believe that makes the book so easy to read and perhaps become comfortable with is the humor. Where did the stories told about the sexual explorations and the disasters resulting come from? (I still laugh at the burning man scene.)
I’m often asked how much of it is based on my own adventures but the truth is, they were inspired by my protagonist Leena herself. I’ve always believed that one of the best ways to tackle difficult topics is through humour. When you are relaxed and laughing, you are more likely to be receptive to information. You don’t even realize that you’re learning something. I personally think laugh lines are extremely sexy too!
Why did you write this book? Your storytelling is great. You could easily have written a romantic comedy of the more traditional type but you chose this one. Why?
Well, thank you! In fact, I am trying my hand at a romantic comedy as we speak! The main reason I wrote “Sex & Samosas” was because I needed a way to purge my own feelings after a very bad breakup so I started writing them down. As I continued with my adult toy parties, I started to realize that other people had the same issues and insecurities that I did and that this was a story that so many others would find relatable. Page after page my personal bitterness and angst gave way to the fiction that unfolded. It’s not necessarily cheaper than therapy, but writing the book helped me work through some very difficult issues.
What has been the public reaction to the book?
I’m really blessed with the reaction. I frequently get emails and notes from people telling me that they not only loved the book and have loaned it to everyone they know, but that they have learned something from it or changed their lives as a result. No author could ask for more than that, I think.
What have men said to you about the book?
When they’re not proposing to me…more men have told me that they love the book because it has helped them to understand how a woman’s mind works. There is a voyeuristic quality to being in Leena’s head all the time that helps them to empathize in ways they couldn’t before. Some have even told me that it has helped them improve on their relationships and pick up women in the book store. It’s all good. Just name the baby Jasmine, is all I say!
I enjoyed the cultural aspects you discussed in the book. I think those parts might be the most surprising to people and maybe in some cases the most informative. Was there an intention of putting that in the book or did it just happen?
That was the starting point of the book actually. Leena and I both struggled with finding balance between two opposing cultures and asserting yourself comfortably in both. She has to find her footing and learn to love herself for the hybrid of cultures that she is as I had to when I was writing it.
What do you have to say or would say to people who say you wrote a sex book and you’ve gone against what a “proper” person should do?
If you’re going to be a suck, then at least read my book so you know you’re doing it right.
What did you want to convey to readers with this book?
My message is simple: if you can’t love yourself, don’t expect anyone else to. And that masturbation is healthy and natural. Sure, I can’t see my hand in front of my face and I have the hairiest palms on the planet, but I know better than anyone else how to please myself and that’s all that matters.
Give me your best sales pitch to get me to buy this book.
Buy my book: there’s sex in it.
Kidding again! I realize my novel isn’t for everyone so when people ask me what it’s about I tell them it’s a funny journey of self-discovery that just happens to have a bunch of vibrators in it.
When can we expect the next book to come out?
There’s the trickiest question of them all. I’ve been really busy and not able to finish my follow up memoir about the four years I sold adult toys, though the frame of the story is complete. It’s only now that I’m beginning to wonder if it should be a television series (Netflix, I’m talking to you!) instead. So I’m going to pursue that first before I head back to finish it as a novel.
Where can you connect with Jasmine? Well, she’s made it easy. Drop a hat and you’ll likely find her, and that’s as it should be with a future star of the publishing world. First go and buy the book!
Click here to find your preferred method. Jasmine has them all listed for you. @JasmineAziz www.facebook.com www.goodreads.com Jasmine on LinkedIn.
Want to discover more about Jasmine? Visit her website, JasmineAziz.com.
Ronovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.
“Amazing! These two authors did an amazing job by combing their talents to bring a wonderful story. The story was written so unbelievably well the characters fine tuned.”~Five Star Review
“Both styles come together to work in devastating fashion. James writes from the London base, making his character Archie Pope real, cocky, and likeable. Isabella is created from the Italian-American side, and it would be easy to say that Miss Kahele wrote all her lines.”~Five Star Review
“J. Kahele and James Duncan together, wrote this fantastic book!! I would describe it as adventurous, dangerous, funny and romantic. The book is a love story with a twist, with Archie an English gangster, and Isabella the daughter of an Italian Godfather type from New York. Both Archie and Isabella knew nothing else, because they had lived in this lifestyle from a very young age!!!! Both wanted more!! both wanted a way out. This adventure romance takes these two and their families back and forth to and from New York, London, and Hawaii, with a lot of action, gun fighting and hiding out!!!”~Five Star Review
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