Thursday, January 24, 2013

Audio Review: I, Rhoda by Valerie Harper

The heartwarming memoir from beloved, award-winning television actress Valerie Harper.Valerie Harper is finally ready to tell her story. In this, her first memoir, the beloved and award-winning television actress reflects on the role that made her famous—Rhoda Morgenstern on the groundbreaking series The Mary Tyler Moore Showand on the spin-off show Rhoda—and the pressures of helming her own sitcom, Valerie. From her childhood in New Jersey and upstate New York to the beginnings of her acting career as a dancer and chorus girl on Broadway—performing alongside stars like Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason—to her recent battle with lung cancer, Valerie shares the story of her life, both the highs and the lows, in this heartwarming memoir, filled with charming anecdotes about Betty, Lucy, and Mary, to name a few (Goodreads)

"We're going to make it after all...."

I really wasn't a Mary Tyler Moore fan. I was a freak and geek about Maude, Golden Girls, One Day at a Time and Alice. But my good friend, Cheryl, LOVES the show. I would have to listen to her love for it when we were living together many years back. I know it's going to be right up my alley so I finally requested the first season of the show from the library. 

Just because I didn't watch Mary Tyler Moore does not, however, mean that I don't love Valerie Harper. I was a huge Valerie (and then The Hogan Family) fan. Remember that show? I had to say yes to reviewing this on audio. I didn't expect reading it would be as fun as listening to Valerie herself narrate her life in her raspy, New York voice.

This was really sweet and fun. She dives into a little bit of her troubles with eating, her cancer scare and her troubles with some network folks over Valerie but overall, it's just a fun listen to her journey through acting. She starts us off with her love of dancing, her early years in theater, to network TV star, to movie star, to mom, and so on and so forth.

For all of the "celebrity" memoirs out there, this one was worth the listen. I liked that it wasn't filled with over the top drama or life lessons. Straight forward, simple with a little sass, just like Ms. Harper.

Thanks for Simon and Schuster Audio for sending me a copy to review. Click here for a listen.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under. (Good Reads)

Oh sweet day what a delightful book and indeed a perfect book to start this year off. I'm still taking longer to get through a book these days (see last year) but I really looked forward to getting back to this one. We received an ARC at work and it was placed in my mailbox. Turns out two other co-workers read it and loved it and thought I would too.  They are not young adult readers at all so it surprised them that they would enjoy it as much as they did.

The beat of this book reminded me  Fault in our Stars by John Green. It had the quick, right-on, back and forth dialogue of youth. I took to it because sprinkled in were references to the 1980s, MY youth. I liked that it didn't have the cell phones, the texting, the internet, the social media element that is so heavy in youth culture these days. It just had Eleanor and Park and their clunky fall into first love. 

Eleanor is a new kid in a new school. She comes back to live with her mom and her stepdad after being booted out a year before. Feeling like an outsider and an intruder in her "home", along with her siblings, she just tries to coast by, unseen. This is hard to do when you consider yourself to be "fat", tall and have enormous red curly hair. She meets Park on the school bus and he, being uncomfortable with his jerky friends picking on the new girl, offers up the only available seat, next to him.

This begins an awkward yet so dead on tumble into love.

Eleanor's life is unsafe, not easy to read at times but she allows herself, eventually to seek relief and happiness with Park.

This book was so wonderfully written. Easy to read, completely relatable, absolutely moving. Highly recommended. I swear it will find the success and following that Fault in our Stars found. It has to! 

Author Website: Rainbow Rowell
Purchase: Indie Bound
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding

There’s something deadly lurking in the shadows at Shadow Creek . . . Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely traveling companions finds themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be-divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancĂ©e, Jennifer. Val is dealing with unresolved feelings toward her ex and grappling with jealousy and resentment toward his younger, prettier new flame, a woman with some serious issues of her own. Brianne is sixteen and openly rebellious, caught up in a web of secrets and lies.

What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated. She was half-expecting it to be the trip from hell, but what she never could have predicted was that this impromptu little excursion (Good Reads)

Yes, there is something deadly lurking in the shadows of Shadow Creek but really it's not that terrifying.  Joy Fielding is one of my favorite mystery thriller writers and I practically read every book she puts out. I am short a handful. She is not the best out there but I have a soft spot because of the impact one of her earlier novels had on me, See Jane Run. I LOVED that one. But after a lunch with my pal Cheryl, who also loves Joy's books, we have determined that her books are staying the same and we as readers are changing. Even though we still "enjoy" them, they are not as WOW as they once were. 

Mostly because that the underlying plot to them all is "helpless annoying woman becomes super kick ass hero and saves the day". Same idea, different plot, different location, different mystery.

She can still weave  tale and most of the time they are on the creepy side and you definitely hate the bad guys and root for the good guys. This one was no different. I hated the daughter, Brianne; was a bit annoyed at the mother, Val but rooted for her, nonetheless and I was charmed my the circle of friends that surrounded them. The bad guys were so easy to hate. I wanted to punch them in the face early on.

Overall, don't dismiss Joy. She's got her comfort book-a-year down. I will still read her. I just may not get AS excited as each year comes along. Though it would be cool if you could blow my mind, Joy, one of these years. Just sayin' (See Jane Run again perhaps?)

Author Website: Joy Fielding 
Purchase: Indie Bound
Challenge: 2013 A-Z Mystery Author Challenge

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Audio Review: Motherland by Amy Sohn

Rebecca Rose, whose husband has been acting aloof, is tempted by the attentions of a former celebrity f lame; Marco Goldstein, saddled with two kids when his husband, Todd, is away on business, turns to anonymous sex for comfort; Danny Gottlieb, a screenwriter on the cusp of a big break, leaves his wife and children to pitch a film (and meet young women) in Los Angeles; fallen sanctimommy Karen Bryan Shapiro, devastated by her husband’s infidelity and abandonment, attempts a fresh start with a hot single dad; and former A-list actress Melora Leigh plots a star turn on Broadway to revive her Hollywood career. As their stories intersect in surprising ways and their deceptions spiral out of control, they begin to question their beliefs about family, happiness, and themselves. (Goodreads)

Oh sweet honey on the rock was this book shallow. I like my trash as much as the next gal but, man, these characters needed a slap. I liked Prospect Park West, Sohn's earlier book featuring the same neighborhood and some the same characters. I can't remember if it was before I had a child though. It seemed everyone in this book was either bothered, burdened or anxious about their children, which resulted in them being bitchy spouses, cheaters and substance abusers. Oh and not to mention CONSTANT COMPLAINERS. Yowsa!

I think I may be over this a bit. I couldn't look past the drinking while taking care of your kids or having quickies with strangers while your kids napped in the next room. Call me a prude but that's just rude!

Anyway, the narrator was right on in her bitchiness and maybe that added to my dilemma with it all. She had the tone. You know the tone. The snotty, whiny, "Who me? The world doesn't revolve around me?!" tone. Ack. 

I listened to it all however. I did. It was shocking and I had to see how it ended. This  book, in my opinion ,would be suited for the chick lit crowd, perhaps or those that want the cliche fluff. Not a whole heck of a lot of substance. Sex, Drugs, Infidelity, repeat.

Format: Unabridged Audio
Source: Brilliance Audio
Author Website: Amy Sohn

Happy Reading (or listening) and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Audio Book Challenge

Because I absolutely loved audio books this past year, I will enter this challenge but it will probably be my one and only.

Lover Level: 12 Audio Books

Check out the Challenge here.

Happy Reading and listening, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

2013 A-Z Mystery Author Challenge

2013 A-Z Mystery Author Challenge

I am going to continue this again this year because I love seeing what my friends and readers are reading in one of my favorite genres.

I only read a handful of mysteries last year but really enjoyed the ones I did. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn blew my mind! Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding was also really fun!

This challenge pretty much runs itself. I thank my three very loyal readers and posters (you know you who are!) for doing such an amazing job last year with this challenge. 

I'm not going to state any goals for myself but really look forward to seeing what folks read this year.

A-Z represents the LAST name of the author in the mystery, thriller, suspense, cozy, noir, etc. genre.
Read as many or as little as you want.
Post your links here for your Challenge post and your reviews!
Challenge Runs January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013
Have fun!

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child