Friday, June 28, 2013

The Blasphemy Box by Mandy Behbehani-Review and Q&A with the author!

Can we all agree that divorce is horrible? I think we can. When Maddy's husband leaves her for a woman half her age, she doesn't lie down in her own self-pity, she decides to embrace the situation-by creating a blog. Come on ladies, we've all seen The First Wives Club, have we not? I think the saying goes, "don't get mad, get even?" Well, Maddy decided that she wasn't going to take this lying down. She set out to begin anew, and that's just what she did! Is it tough to be a middle-aged divorcee? You bet it is! Divorce at 50 does not mean that life is over, it just means that you adjust to your situation in a way you never thought you would. A truly enjoyable read, that has you rooting for the main character, and her triumph over a set-back.

My Q&A with Mandy:

1. What's your best advice for a happy marriage? In other words, how can we avoid the same pitfalls of the MC?

I don't think there is much my heroine could have done to avoid having her husband leave her for some other, younger woman. But as a general note, I do believe the key to a happy marriage is to remember why you got married in the first place. Because if you forget that, you might as well forget everything.

2. How did you come up with the idea for the book? Any personal connections?

I know no one who went through a divorce like the one Maddy and Steven experience. Most of the people I know are still married or divorced amicably. I basically made everything up.  That’s why they call it fiction! The inspiration for the book, however, was to some degree a personal one.  I saw myself aging and didn’t like it one bit! I saw my options diminish, my choices become less palatable. The attention I once had attracted, I did no longer. And who’s going to hire a woman after she hits 50? I felt as if I had become invisible and believe me, every single woman I have talked to about this says the same thing.  But life doesn’t end when you hit 50, and I guess I wanted to write the story I wanted to read, a tale of a nice, educated woman’s midlife divorce and successful quest for love, to say, simply, that as we women age in this youth-mad culture, our husbands may leave us, and we might not get that job that once would have been ours, but that doesn’t mean our lives are over.  Just because bad things happen, it doesn’t mean good things won’t.

3. What inspired you to become a writer? 

I can’t answer that question. It’s like asking a seamstress why she became a seamstress or a painter why he became a painter. The intricacies of the human brain are so marvelous and so mystical I cannot track them, but I would have to say that I have loved words from the moment I began to read at age four and I haven’t stopped  reading since. Writing is the twin to reading, and somewhere along the way, I was drawn to it, and, thankfully, discovered I’m not too bad at it!

4. What were last two books you read that you loved? 

I just finished a novel about Mary Todd Lincoln which I thought was wonderful, and before that I read about six or seven non-fiction books about the Lincoln assassination, and the hunt for and trial of the conspirators. In England, where I grew up and was educated, we don’t study American history so all this was fascinating reading.

5. What is the hardest thing you've ever done? 

The hardest thing I have ever done is to not give up.

Author Bio
Mandy Behbehani grew up and was educated in England. Her first short story was published when she was twelve and she has been scribbling away ever since, as a journalist and now a novelist. She holds a degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and, over her career, served as West Coast correspondent for Women's Wear Daily and W magazine, as an on-air reporter at KTVU-TV and, for a decade, as the fashion editor and features writer for the Hearst San Francisco Examiner where she won awards for feature writing. Her work has been published in a variety of publications including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Town & County magazine, the San Jose Mercury News and Travel & Leisure magazine.
She lives in California, and, when she's not in front of her computer, she can be found reading a good book, and hiking the open space that surrounds her home with her yellow Lab, Lalou.

Connect With Mandy!
twitter handle: @mandyscribeista

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Read Baby Read: Summer Reading Edition

Are you looking for some great books to take with you to the beach? I know I'm always on the lookout for great books that will keep me captivated as I soak up some rays, and enjoy my vacation. I'm prepared to give you a list of great books to pack in your beach bag!

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
I just finished this book yesterday, and it will be one that I run around town telling everyone to read! This was Priscille Sibley's debut (yes, debut) novel, and it was a beautifully written book about the struggle between life and death. What if you wanted to be taken off of life support, but your husband disagreed? After Elle McClure falls from a ladder, she is pronounced brain dead, and clinically dead. The life support machines are keeping her alive, and her husband Matt refuses to turn it off. The struggle that this husband has is with himself, his family, and friends. No one, save for a few people, believe he is doing the right thing by keeping Elle alive. Years prior to her accident, Elle and her brother Christopher had watched her mother, dying of breast cancer, rot away in a hospital bed kept in their living room. She spent nights writhing in pain, and Elle knew that was not the way she ever wanted to die. In fact, she made sure of it. However, Matt has another reason for keeping Elle alive. 
This book is a must-read! I just devoured it, and this is one of those books where you are sad it is over. I didn't want it to end. Well done, Priscille! a five-star read!   

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

I am part of a group of the most wonderful people online, and this was our Book Lovers Unite book club selection for June, and it did not disappoint. The story takes place at a prestigious private school in New York, and it has undertones of Gossip Girl, but think Gossip Girls meets Mean Girls. A double dose of bad behavior, and privileged white kids! It's super juicy. 
Here is the scoop on the book: Amelia dies under mysterious circumstances, and this book takes you on a wild ride to find out what happened to her. Was Amelia murdered? Her mother is caught up in trying to resolve her death, and uncovers little by little the real truth about what happened to Amelia. You will be SHOCKED by the ending! It was a page turner. 

Finally...the best book I never read!
The Light Between The Oceans by M.L. Stedman
I'm calling this section, the best book I never read because this book has been recommended and loved over and over, and one of my friends used all caps in a text, and told me I must read this one. So, I'm including it in a list of books you should be reading over the summer with me! I took this synopsis from Amazon so you have an idea what the book is about. After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a days journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a babys cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a gift from God, and against Toms judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and stick around, because The Lake House post is coming up! (it includes a giveaway).

Happy Reading