Review: “If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?” By Gina Barreca

I’ve been reading Gina Barreca’s columns in my local newspaper for years. I love her brash attitude that reminds me so much of my own, her exasperation at injustices that no one should allow – no one!, and her talent for capturing just the right facet of a social issue to make a difference. 

 The dozens of essays in this book are tied together by section headings such as “I’m not needy; I’m wanty” and “If you met my family, you’d understand,” but more importantly woven together by the exploration of feminism.  

Barreca doesn’t bash men or bash women who like men. She doesn’t tell me I can’t wear pantyhose or I have to be pro-choice or I shouldn’t read smut. What I think Barreca says is that women should do what they do for themselves. For themselves! What a concept. If cooking for your husband makes you happy, do it. But don’t do it because he tells you to, because you feel worthless to him if you don’t, or because society tells you that’s all you have to offer if you’re a housewife. Get it? Read the book. You’ll get it. 

For me, it was nice that someone put a bunch of my thoughts into rational written form and then published it for all to read. For others, Barecca might not echo your exact thinking, but she will give you some food for thought. 



Review: The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

51SgHDOF15L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Ah, social media. For better or for worse, it’s part of our society, ingrained into our culture these days. Checking in at favorite restaurants, posting selfies at every opportunity…welcome to 2015. Sure, most of us post only the best of the best for the world to see. After all, who wants to read about the argument you had with your significant other? And why would you want the world to know about that, anyway?

But what if, with one quick status update and a fast click on the “post” button, you could change your path, rewrite history even? That’s the premise of this delightful new book cowritten by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

Kate has everything going for her. She has a demanding yet highly fulfilling dream job. She has two best friends who have been with her since childhood. And she’s getting ready to marry the man of her dreams in a wedding straight out of a fairy tale.

Everything comes to a screeching halt, though, when Max calls it off the day before the wedding. Kate’s devastated, and of course she goes on Facebook to share her heartbreak with her nearest and dearest friends. But something has happened. Kate discovers that she unexplainably has the ability to change the past, and the future, by simply writing about it in her status.

Her first order of business is to get Max back, so of course she uses her newfound power to go back in time, to the time before things went so wrong. She soon discovers, however, that nothing is without consequence. And there’s a ripple effect to everything. Each attempt to keep Max as her own leads to another unforeseen outcome, and Kate is left wondering if it’s truly possible to change her path in life, her destiny.

This was a sweet story, funny and witty while also serving as somewhat of a cautionary tale. The authors write with humor but at the same time address the issue of presenting a picture perfect life for the world to see. And it serves as a reminder that what you see is often not the true picture. That status update that’s full of cheer and happiness? It may not be telling the whole story. This story, though, is a perfect summer read!


Buy It Now: The Status of All Things: A Novel

Review: The Consequence of Revenge by Rachel Van Dyken

01 cons OH MY GOSH!!!!! MAX!!!!! I love Max. I mean, if you read Consequence #1, you met Max. He was the metrosexual best friend of Milo and would do anything for her. Even pretending to be her fiance, so she could get the man she loves. He went above and beyond the call of duty. However, after all he did, he was left alone, without a best friend anymore. And his friends were sick of his moping, so they decided to get him out of his funk.

However their way of helping is not his way. But really, who wouldn’t wanna be on a deserted island with 25 other single women?? Well…..Max. So he’s stuck on an island with the girl who turned him down, a goat, a gecko, and plenty of other women who make his insane personality almost seem normal.

This book was another hilarious installation in the Consequence series. I was cracking up. I loved how the other characters found their way to creep in the story and add to the madness.

I did feel bad for Max being surrounded by all these crazy people. However love manages to sneak in and we get to see the softer and sexier side to him. He was downright swoon worthy.

If you like romance books with plenty of laughter mixed in, and a dash or two of sexiness, then this is your book. Heck, this is your series!!


Be sure to grab The Consequence of Loving Colton so you can see what happens to Max and understand why his friends did this to him. You won’t be disappointed.

Then grab The Consequence of Revenge


Review: The Recently Deflowered Girl: The Right Thing to Say on Every Dubious Occasion by Hyacinthe Phypps

imageI am a huge Edward Gorey fan. I ran across this book when I was searching for anything and everything Gorey produced. His charming illustrations compliment the expert advice being given.

This is a twisted book of manners for ladies who have recently lost their virginity. The scenarios in the book help the reader with what best to say after the act has occurred. For instance, if a marimba player was the person responsible for taking her virginity, this might be the conversation and the lady and her musician might have:

“I’m terribly sorry, Harold, but my parents won’t let me marry you.”
He says, “That’s all right, baby. I’ve been happily married for years.”
“How did your wife get her parents’ consent?”

Other deflowering scenarios include losing the virginity by proxy, in the doctor’s office or by the elevator operator. Hyacinthe Phypps (aka author Mel Juffe) give sage advice on how to handle it all in a ladylike manner.


Buy It Now: The Recently Deflowered Girl: The Right Thing to Say on Every Dubious Occasion

Review: The Book of Bunny Suicides: Little Fluffy Rabbits Who Just Don’t Want to Live Any More by Andy Riley

imageHow could I resist a book that is endorsed by Richard Curtis (writer/director of Love Actually), Elton John and Hugh Grant?

This a book of cartoons showing depressed bunnies on the verge of death or already dead. These cute bunnies may be depressed but they sure are inventive. Forms of suicide include being beheaded by a revolving door, being sliced into many bunny sections by a helicopter blade while jumping on a trampoline and getting run over on a luge track. There was an attempt that involved a seesaw, bowling ball and a colander that failed the first time but succeeded the second.

There are many cultural references in these cartoons too. There’s a bunny death with an Abba record. There’s one directly from a scene of The Wicker Man. Another involves Noah’s Ark and a game of Asteroids. Best of all, there’s a death inspired by Fatal Attraction.

If you like your humor a little dark, a little sick, you will love this book.


Buy It Now The Book of Bunny Suicides

Buy Its Sequel The Return of the Bunny Suicides

Review: I Could Pee on this: And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano

image“Her sweater doesn’t smell of me
I could pee on that”

This is a witty and hilarious book of poetry written from a cat’s perspective. The book is divided into four chapters: family, work, play and existence. In each chapter, each poem is a cat’s ponderings on that particular theme.

Yes, the poems can be silly. I mean, just look at the title of the book. But the poems are also insightful. After reading certain ones, you think “Truly, that’s what my cat is thinking when he/she decided to scratch my face.” Most importantly, reading this book will cause you to smile and smile and smile some more. And then you will laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

“Did you know?
Did you see?
Did you count?
How many times
I had to smack that moth
On your forehead
With my paw?
He’s dead now, though
Definitely dead
One more smack
You’re welcome”

You don’t have to be a cat lover to enjoy this delightful book. This is one my favorite gifts that I have received. When I read it, it makes me smile because not only am I thinking “that’s exactly what my cat does!” but I am also thinking of my thoughtful friend who gave me the book. Thank you, E for one of the best gifts ever!


Buy It Now I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats

Review: It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

imageAli Winters is having a rough day. She discovers that her boyfriend is cheating. Said boyfriend dumps her before she can dump him. She was living with her now ex-boyfriend, who didn’t renew the lease on the house, which now leaves her homeless.

Luke Hanover is not having a good day himself. He was in charge of the investigation of multiple murders, with the prime suspect being a prominent senator. The case ended with the death of the senator’s aide and the senator killing himself. Luke is using all of his vacation time to return home to Lucky Harbor and to be left alone.

Unfortunately, Ali is still at his house when he goes home. Feeling bad for her situation, he allows her to stay. Soon, he is helping her investigate who stole the 50K that Ali is accused of stealing. Also, he is dragged into investigating smaller crimes that his grandpa’s friends need help solving.

It is always fun to visit the small but lively town of Lucky Harbor. I enjoyed watching Ali and Luke circle each other and eventually give in to their lust. I liked seeing that lust develop into something more. Ali and Luke both have some baggage involving their families that they must overcome.

The outcome of the books in this sweet, funny and sometimes sexy series is always predictable but thoroughly enjoyable to read. There is sequel bait with Luke’s two friends, Jack, the firefighter and the mysterious, unseen, military man, Ben. I look forward to their stories and revisiting Lucky Harbor.

This is the 7th book in the Lucky Harbor series but it can definitely be read as a standalone. It’s a great entry to the series because it’s the start of a trilogy within the series. The next book features Jack and Ali’s friend, Leah.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.


Buy It Now It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor)

Review: Tested on Orphans by David Mamet

imageDavid Mamet is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning playwright. He is also an author, screenwriter and director. His multitude of works include Glengarry Glen Ross, The Verdict, The Postman Always Rings Twice and this little gem of cartoons.

Part visual commentary, part satire, part down right grown-inducing with some puns, the cartoons include ideas on movie sequels like Ghandi II famous first drafts and bumper stickers. As the book title suggests, this book can be offensive, so, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

When you open the book, a letter written by Mamet’s close friend Shel Silverstein is attached. Silverstein comments on Mamet’s potential as a cartoonist.


Unfortunately, this book is out-of-print. I hope that everyone takes the time to find this hilarious book. Below is a link to help you.


Buy It Now Tested on Orphans: Cartoons by David Mamet

Review: The Gashlycrumb Tinies: or, After the Outing by Edward Gorey

imageThis delightful mock children’s alphabet book tells the story of twenty-six children and how they died. It is told in rhyming couplets, accompanied by illustrations of their demise.

Edward Gorey is a writer and illustrator, famous for his whimsical, macabre humor and distinctive pen and ink drawings. Amongst his many works is the animated opening and closing segments for PBS’ Mystery.

If you have never read Gorey, start with this one. You will be laughing at death. Wouldn’t that be a great reply to someone’s question of “How was your day?/How are you doing?” “Wonderful/ Excellent/ Marvelous,” you will say. “I looked at death and laughed today.”

In closing, life is short. We don’t know how many years we have on this earth or how we are going to die. I do know that I do not want to suffer the fate of Neville.

“M is for Maude who was tossed out to sea”
“N is for Neville who died of ennui”


Buy It Now The Gashlycrumb Tinies

Buy The Compilation Amphigorey: Fifteen Books