Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tempting Fate by Jane Green (audio)

Tempting Fate

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

From the New York Times bestselling author of such beloved novels as Jemima J, The Beach House, and Another Piece of My Heart comes an enthralling and emotional story about how much we really understand the temptations that can threaten even the most idyllic of relationships….
Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two teenaged daughters.  They have built a life together. Forty-three year old Gabby is the last person to have an affair.  She can’t relate to the way her friends desperately try to cling to the beauty and allure of their younger years…And yet she too knows her youth is quickly slipping away.  She could never imagine how good it would feel to have a handsome younger man show interest in her—until the night it happens.  Matt makes Gabby feel sparkling, fascinating, alive—something she hasn't felt in years.  What begins as a long-distance friendship soon develops into an emotional affair as Gabby discovers her limits and boundaries are not where she expects them to be. Intoxicated, she has no choice but to step ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention, never foreseeing the life-changing consequences that lie ahead.  If she makes one wrong move she could lose everything—and find out what really matters most.

A heartfelt and complex story, Tempting Fate will have readers gripped until they reach the very last page and have them thinking about the characters long after they put the book down.

My thoughts:
Aging is such a complex thing, we might think we feel one way until it comes time to test that theory out in person.  Gabby is comfortable and loves her husband, but the way some of her friends act and look make her feel old and frumpy.  on a Girls Night Out evening she meets a charming, younger man who shows an interest in her in a friendly way.  They exchange numbers casually and she thinks there is no way someone this successful is going to get in touch with her, but her does.  They are friendly and casual, acting as friends and her is aware that she is married, but she looks forward to his emails and texts just a little too much.  She starts to take better care of herself, buying new clothes and coloring her hair.  But they are just friends, he is just a friend she hasn't mentioned to her husband, but still just a friend.

Marriage is a complex thing, and it takes two really communicating to make it work.  Gabby always wanted a third child, but Elliot did not and when he makes a decision to have a vasectomy resentment starts to grow inside of Gabby.  More about the fact that he never even took the time to discuss it with her to see her side than from the fact that he went through with it, she had a dream of another baby and feels he took it away from her with very little thought.  So she feel flattered than someone ten years younger than she is finds her attractive and wants to spend time with her.

Friendship too has multiple layers.  Can you be friends with both sides of a couple when they split up or do you have to choose sides?  Can you support a decision that is not the one you would have made?  How do you continue to co-parent with someone you no longer cohabitate with?  How does separating affect the children and how much acting out is normal?

This story plays out in some expected ways and in some unexpected ones, but it shows that family does not always have to be related by blood and even sometimes the closest friend can fail us in a time of need, but we have to be open to the idea that there is a plan for us and everything will work out in the end, with some detours and roundabouts along the way.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312604189
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Pages: 384

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers

Diary of a Mad Diva

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Following up the phenomenal success of her headline-making New York Times bestseller I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me, the unstoppable Joan Rivers is at it again. When her daughter Melissa gives her a diary for Christmas, at first Joan is horrified—who the hell does Melissa think she is? That fat pig, Bridget Jones? But as Joan, being both beautiful and introspective, begins to record her day-to-day musings, she realizes she has a lot to say.
About everything. And everyone, God help them.
The result? A no-holds-barred, delightfully vicious and always hilarious look at the everyday life of the ultimate diva. Follow Joan on a family vacation in Mexico and on trips between New York and Los Angeles where she mingles with the stars, never missing a beat as she delivers blistering critiques on current events, and excoriating insights about life, pop culture, and celebrities (from A to D list), all in her relentlessly funny signature style.
This is the Diary of a Mad Diva. Forget about Anais Nin, Anne Frank, and that whiner Sylvia Plath. For the first time in a century, a diary by someone that’s actually worth reading.

My thoughts:
I put this on hold at the library before Joan died and had mixed feelings when my turn came up last week.  It was a fun, fast read with some funny jokes and some really mean ones, but what was morbid for me was all the jokes she makes about her own death.  Yes, she was eighty at the time she wrote this, so she knew she had way more years behind her than ahead of her, but it retrospect some of the things she wrote just seemed a bit tough to read now. 

I know a number of stars were hurt or upset by the jokes she told about them, there was even a disclaimer in between June and July about how this book was mostly a work of fiction and humor and should be read in such a manner, but joking that stars are gay or fat didn't always feel like it was made in the pursuit of fun.  That said, the book did have me laughing at times especially when she writes about herself and her family and leaves the critique of others alone.  Her vacations and chauffeurs and other passengers on planes brought smiles and laughs.  It was great that she was able to spin everything into a humorous situation, even not being able to find a man to date or having copious amounts of plastic surgery on a regular basis.  Her book reminded me at times of Chelsea Handler's latest book, perhaps because they both spent at lot of time on planes and on vacation in other countries, but also in the way they both use humor in their lives and writing.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425269022
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/1/2014
  • Pages: 304

Monday, September 15, 2014

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (audio)

Peter Pan

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The character of Peter Pan first came to life in the stories J. M. Barrie told to five brothers -- three of whom were named Peter, John, and Michael. Peter Pan is considered one of the greatest children's stories of all time and continues to charm readers one hundred years after its first appearance as a play in 1904.
The adventures of the three Darling children in Never-Never Land with Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up. Illustrations compiled from late nineteenth and early twentieth century editions of the book.


My thoughts:
I have never read Peter Pan so I checked it out in audio form from the library.  Amazingly enough, it followed the Disney movie version very well.  There were no surprises and  no real revelations either.  I think we all have those moments when we would rather not be grown up and responsible, but I love how Wendy realizes that at some point it has to happen and it is not the end of the world.  The rest of the boys don't seem to end up quite as happily as she does.  I also never go the sense that they were gone for quite as long as they were in the books, that their parents were waiting and hoping for their return for months.  Peter seems even more selfish in the book, with the way when they play pretend games he views them as just as real as reality, as if being in Neverland has causes him to be unable to differentiate real from pretend.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Gareth Stein (audio)


Overview from Barnes and Noble:

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

My thoughts:
My habit of never reading a synopsis, back cover or inside flap of a dust jacket makes reading and listening to books even more interesting, I had thought this book was going to have something to do with bike racing.  Not sure what I saw or read that made me think that, but I was surprised when I found out that the racing referred to was car racing.  Not in a bad or good way, just a sort of general surprise.

Hearing a story told from the perspective of a dog was a nice change.  A lot of the miscommunication people create in trying to be polite or avoid hurt feelings was taken away because Enzo told the story as he saw it, with his own emotion, but he saw things as they were without the circling around that people sometimes do to be polite.  Enzo loved Denny and felt some jealousy and resentment when he met and married Eve, but he loved their daughter Zoe and came to accept Eve. 

Denny dreams of making it in racing, but still works at a garage as a day job.  He can sometimes be gone for long periods of time and Eve's parents are less than thrilled with their daughters choice of husband.  Events come into play that are so frustrating to watch play out.  The truth can be an important thing and not everyone uses it as they should.  Their was pain and heartbreak and love and loss and joy and happiness, as there are in all lives.  Enzo is there for all of it, watching, participating and helping. 

Along with his participation in family life, Enzo also has an ongoing tension with the crows and a fear of the crazy zebra inside us all.  Through it all life lessons are related to driving, where ever your eyes go the car goes- where you look there goes your life.  Think about where you want to be and look that way, stop being so focused on the right  now that you lose sight of your goal.  If you focus on the wall you are going to crash, look ahead and have faith.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062349538
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/16/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Garth Stein
Garth Stein is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain (and its tween adaptation, Racing in the Rain), How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, Raven Stole the Moon, and a play, Brother Jones. He is the cofounder of, a nonprofit collective of sixty-two Northwest authors dedicated to fostering a passion for the written word. Garth lives in Seattle with his family and his dog, Comet.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Before Your Dog Can Eat You Homework, First You Have to Do It: Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog to a Young Boy by John O'Hurley (audio)

Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to DoIt: Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog to a Young Boy

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

From the New York Times bestselling author and his dog more woofs of wisdom
In his first book, John O'Hurley wrote of the many life lessons he'd learned from dogs'lessons that carried him from the New England woods of his childhood to his life today as an award-winning actor, composer, and writer amidst the bright lights of Hollywood. Now, in Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It, John once again finds himself seeking the wisdom of a canine companion. After years of parenting pets, last December, he became a father to his first child, William. Along with the many new joys of being a dad, John faced a new set of challenges and it was Scoshi, his wizened white Maltese and faithful confidant for nearly two decades, who, at every turn, pointed the way.

At once poignant, profound, and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is a one-of-a-kind celebration of the joys of parenting pets and children alike, and further testament to the enduring wisdom of man's best friend.

My thoughts:
O'Hurley shares his advice for his newborn son through "letter" his old dog and first child has left under the foot of a stuffed elephant in the nursery.  Everything from, worms for fishing work better if you roll on them first to you have to do your homework before the dog can eat it.  Mostly though, O'Hurley is showing that as much as he knows that his old dog, Scoshi, will not live to see William grow into a child who can play with him, he himself worries that as a father he will not be there to see William through his adulthood.  He wants to make sure his son knows that he is loved and one of the most important things in life is to be true to oneself and to do what makes you happy.  Don't be too worried about money or too cavalier with it, but treat it with respect and believe that if you are careful it will be there, no need to hoard or to overspend.  And most importantly, spend time with the people you love because they matter more than anything else in your life.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452289819
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176

Meet the Author

John O'Hurley
John O’Hurley is the host of NBC’s The National Dog Show. He is well-known for his award-winning role as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, and as the ultimate champion of Dancing with the Stars.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (audio)

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. 

Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

My thoughts:
Third time is the charm, I started this book twice before this, but the due date at the library always came up before I finished it and it was never able to be renewed.  This time I tried it on audio and listened to it in a couple of days.  It brought up a lot of good points for both men and women and about changes that still need to be made in the workplace and in our minds to encourage a better future for everyone.  Pitching a new client and asking to use the restroom, only to find out that the man who has worked at this site for months doesn't know if there is a women's room or if a woman has ever been at a meeting there in the past year, being the first person to suggest expectant mother parking at Google, being brave enough to set hours that are family friendly and advocating for oneself and others are all example Sandberg uses. 

Not only do women shy away from tooting their own horns, but they are looked at worse than men if they do.  They are damned if they do and damned if they don't/  I loved the story about four powerful women who ate lunch together regularly and then talk up each others achievements, so they advocate for one another and let people know about the great thing they are each doing, but without falling into the bossy, arrogant unliked woman trap.

How does society go about changing the perception of women with power and start judging them the same way men are judged?  How do we make fair family medical leave for both men and women that doesn't come with unfair repercussions?  How do we allow women and men to be comfortable with their family decisions and what works for them, who stays home or doesn't stay home, how long a maternity or paternity leave is taken and how do we stop judging each other? 

How do we all learn to come to the table together and sit together and accept one another, to find a mentor or become a mentor to someone regardless of gender, to make sure the best person for the job gets the job without prejudice?  I am afraid that there is still so far to go, but I hope that as our children come into the work force that changes have been made and continue to be made so they can have a whole world of opportunity open to them and not just bits and pieces of it.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385349949
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/11/2013
  • Pages: 240

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (audio)

Big Little Lies

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Check out the #1 New York Times bestseller Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, called “a surefire hit” by Entertainment Weekly.

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .
A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

My thoughts:
This was a fun, twisty read.  Some of the story takes place chronologically, but through out the book there are snippets and reactions from less front and center characters about what happened at the parents night out fundraiser.  You know someone is dead, but no one seems to know exactly how it happened and the name of the person who has died is not revealed until very near the end.  I found myself hoping for a certain character to be the one to meet the oncoming demise, but at the same time I very much hoped it wasn't some of the other characters for one reason or another and very much feared it was going to be a certain one.

It starts in a small, beachside town in Australia, at kindergarten orientation day.  One experienced mom of three, whose youngest is starting school, one mom of twins and one single, very young mother meet on the first day and become friends.  The veteran mom, Madeline,  tells all about the school politics involved in the PTO, what to do and what not to do and the whole hierarchy of parents.  Celeste seems distracted and confused, but as a mom of twins with boundless energy everyone accepts it without looking for any other cause and Jane, a young single mother new to town, desperately wants to fit in without making waves.  Then a girl accuses Jane's son of having choked her and he denies it and things start to happen.

How can we teach children to tell the truth when adults are just as apt to tell lies in both big and small ways and is there really a big lie and a small lie?  Is it lying to not tell the truth because a friend asked you not to?  As secrets from the past and the present are told and revealed, each character has to come to grips with who they are now and where they are going from here and how honest they are going to be.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399167065
  • Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
  • Publication date: 7/29/2014
  • Pages: 480

Meet the Author

Liane Moriarty is the author of five novels, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, and the best-selling Three Wishes and The Husband’s Secret. The Husband’s Secret reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list, was a number one bestseller in the UK, sold close to two million copies worldwide, has been optioned for a film, and will be translated into more than thirty-five languages. Moriarty lives in Sydney with her husband, son, and daughter.