Tag Archive | Relationships

Review of It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort


About It’s Okay to Laugh

Twenty-seven-year-old Nora McInerny Purmort bounced from boyfriend to dopey “boyfriend” until she met Aaron—a charismatic art director and comic-book nerd who once made Nora laugh so hard she pulled a muscle. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and had a baby boy while he was on chemo. In the period that followed, Nora and Aaron packed fifty years of marriage into the three they got, spending their time on what really matters: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, each other, and Beyoncé. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms. The obituary they wrote during Aaron’s hospice care revealing his true identity as Spider-Man touched the nation. With It’s Okay to Laugh, Nora puts a young, fresh twist on the subjects of mortality and resilience. What does it actually mean to live your “one wild and precious life” to the fullest? How can a joyful marriage contain more sickness than health? How do you keep going when life kicks you in the junk? In this deeply felt and deeply funny memoir, Nora gives her readers a true gift—permission to struggle, permission to laugh, permission to tell the truth and know that everything will be okay. It’s Okay to Laugh is a love letter to life, in all its messy glory; it reads like a conversation with a close friend, and leaves a trail of glitter in its wake.

This book is for people who have been through some shit.

This is for people who aren’t sure if they’re saying or doing the right thing (you’re not, but nobody is). This is for people who had their life turned upside down and just learned to live that way. For people who have laughed at a funeral or cried in a grocery store. This is for everyone who wondered what exactly they’re supposed to be doing with their one wild and precious life. I don’t actually have the answer, but if you find out, will you text me?

My Review

One strong woman’s journey through loss and life. Purmort shares her life openly along with views, lessons, relationships, parenting, leaving you chuckling and teary eyed.

Purmort isn’t afraid to expose her vulnerability, she’s raw and brutally honest. I admire her candor and ability to express emotions with ease. Nothing was sugar coated, Purmort struggled and stumbled yet she found her way. Questioning her decisions and choices while trying her best, other times applauding her decisions. Life isn’t easy, no handbook given as Purmort emphasizes in her book, no doubt you will find yourself identifying with her many times throughout her story.

My only gripe, to many F-bombs and GD’s. So tired of constantly hearing and reading the imfamous four letter word, whip out a thersaurs people.

Inspiring story of life and survival when blindsided. Honest, funny, most of all shared from the heart.

About Nora McInerny PurmortNora-McInerny-Purmort-AP

Nora McInerny Purmort was voted Most Humorous by the Annunciation Catholic School Class of 1998. It was mostly downhill after that, but she did get to spend three glorious years married to Aaron Joseph Purmort (aka Spider-Man). Her work has appeared on Cosmopolitan.com, Elle.com, and the Huffington Post, and in the Star Tribune. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her son, Ralph. They really like it there.

Find out more about Nora at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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Publisher: Dey Street Books (May 24, 2016)


Review: The Artisan’s Star by Gabriella Contestabile w/ Giveaway

The Artisan's Star

Florence is a favorite destination of mine. Needless to say being transported to this vibrant energetic artesian city was delightful. The lush descriptions added to an armchair travel experience regardless if you are revisiting or hoping to inhale Florence at some point in time, you’ll find yourself enjoying every ingredient the author provides of this magnificent city.

I adored reading of the intricacies in creating a perfume along with the business in general. Perfume is alluring and intriguing, I appreciate a narrative delving into the fragrance industry.

Travelogue more than story, which was fine with this reader. The author also did more ‘showing’ than ‘telling’ which led to an abundance of descriptions bordering on tedious. Make no mistake the details were appreciated but after a while becoming somewhat overwhelming.

Character development was lacking. I prefer to bond experiencing a true connection with characters, I was disappointed I felt nothing for these characters. If Contestabile fleshed out the players more perhaps I would have felt a warmth, as is I felt nothing, vapid. Also the numerous characters were a distraction along with digression in subject matters and conversations – a bit chaotic. On more than one occasion the narrative veers off track leaving the peruser stranded.

Italophiles, an interest in the origins of perfume, undoubetly will find this book entertaining. Despite my misgivings I completely enjoyed my time immersed in rustic Florence.

About the book:

Elio Barati’s perfumery shop in Florence marks its entrance with a mosaic star. This shop immerses Elio in the artisanal world he loves, but he harbors a regret. As a young man he created a full-fledged perfume of jasmine, iris, and cypress at the renowned Ecole des Parfumeurs in Grasse—a fragrance his idealism and stubbornness boxed away before ever bringing it to light.

A second star now brightens Elio’s life, his daughter Romina, an artist. She has her father’s unrealized talent, a precise and intuitive sense of smell. She’s also inherited more challenging traits of Elio’s: unbridled ambition and an insatiable wonder for the world.

But changes ripple through modern-day Florence. Artisan traditions wane; and when Romina tells her father she has no intention of running the family business Elio fights to hold on to the Florence he cherishes. Confronting the lost opportunities of his youth, Elio is thrust into this journey by five spirited women: his Greek mother, Elena; his mentor Palma; his soul mate, Marina; his astronomer wife, Sofia; and finally his beautiful artist daughter, who like the city of her birth, shows him how tradition and modernity can and must co-exist.

Now he must alter his own path by harnessing the transformative powers of the fine and artisanal arts.

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Meet the Author:Gabriella Contestabile 2

Gabriella Contestabile is an author, educator, and owner of SU MISURA JOURNEYS, a boutique travel company connecting people to the artisans of Florence. She emigrated, with her parents, from Italy to New York City in 1959. In her pre-writer life, she worked as a foreign language teacher, management development specialist, and fragrance/cosmetics executive. Gabriella is a strong advocate of the arts, of multiculturalism, and of social justice—a passion inspired by reading Dickens and Dante at a very young age. She has been an active volunteer with Dress for Success for over eight years and is a member of the Slow Food NYC Food and Farm Policy Task Force. She lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, her daughter, her mom, and a furry Shih–Tzu named Oreo. ‘ The Artisan’s Star’ is her first novel. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, also set in Italy, and a screenplay.

Connect with Gabriella: Website ~ Twitter ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Su Misura ~ Facebook


5 winners will each receive one print or ebook copy of The Artisan’s Star, a $10 Amazon gift card and a perfume sample. (Open to USA & Canada) Ends May 16

Excited to be included in the tour for Gabriella Contestabile’s The Artisan’s Star. Be sure to click on the Italy Book Tours banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you Italy Book Tours!

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Review: Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother by Hollie Adams w/ Giveaway

Things You've Inherited From Your Mother

• Paperback: 172 pages
• Publisher: NeWest Press (May 2015)

Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother is a riotous assemblage of found objects, Choose Your Own Adventure-style in jokes and useful facts about mice. In her startlingly funny first novel, Hollie Adams takes the conventional wisdom about likeable literary heroines and shoves it down an elevator shaft.

Following the passing of her mother, Carrie, a thirty something year old tries to salve her loss but somewhat spirals out of control in a rather hilarious manner.

“Inevitably, there will be only one black item in the box: a figure-flattering skirt that falls just above the knee. Funeral perfect. It is a little tight going on but zips up almost all the way. Your shirt will cover the exposed bit of back flab you’ve been calling your lumbar loaf. If only that flap of skin had a zipper, you’d never have to carry a purse.”

Coping is proving to be a challenge for Carrie as she provides the reader with plenty of laugh out loud well timed moments. We all handle grief differently and you will discover Carrie’s method is questionable while providing chuckles. One could refer to her grieving process as somewhat destructive, however, anyone suffering a loss will empathize and understand Carrie’s unconventional acceptance to a degree.

Quick read, more than a few laugh out loud moments, but I’m confident readers will be on board or jumping ship with this love it or hate it novella.

Adams possesses a comedic gift, memorable debut.

Hollie AdamsAbout Hollie Adams

Hollie Adams is a Windsorite living in Alberta, where she teaches writing and literature. She has studied creative writing at the University of Windsor and has a PhD in English from the University of Calgary. Her writing has been published in several Canadian periodicals including Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review,Carousel, The Windsor Review, and Filling Station, and online at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother is her first novel.


Two winners will have the opportunity to enter to win a copy of Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US/CA residents only. Ends 5/12/15

Excited to be included in the tour for Hollie Adam’s Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother. Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell w/ Giveaway

A Reunions of Ghosts

• Print Length: 400 pages
• Publisher: Harper (March 24, 2015)

“The sins of the fathers are visited on the sons of the third and fourth generations.”

I’m not a fan of dark comedy, however, this book possesses merits worthy of praise.

Mitchell expertly blends historical fiction with dark comedy. The two combinations seem odd but I assure you Mitchell crafts quite a narrative with memorable characters.

The historical reference and notable figure centers around Fritz Haber, the inventor of chlorine gas, as well as his first wife, Clara Haber. Using the Haber’s gives merit and a level of high interest to the entire story along with the three sisters and their ‘family curse.’ The novel forces the reader to ponder coincidence or fate, science or universe. Personally I enjoy a narrative leaving me lost in thought, mulling heavy topics and subject matter, I am certainly given much to consider with this provoking narrative.

I completely enjoyed the three sisters. As you become familiar with their personalities and individual stories, their unbreakable bond, and deep love for one another, you wish they weren’t fictional characters, having tea with this trio would be entertaining at the very least.

The narrative reads rather ombré alternating from lighter moments thru darker moments, darker moments to lighter moments. Despite the doom and gloom plenty of mirth makes an appearance expectedly and unexpectedly.

Fascinating, mysterious, perfect for a group discussion, an imaginative literary family saga.

 About A Reunion of Ghosts

Three wickedly funny sisters.

One family’s extraordinary legacy.

A single suicide note that spans a century …

Funny, heartbreaking, and utterly original, A Reunion of Ghosts is a magnificent novel about three unforgettable women bound to each other, and to their remarkable family, through the blessings and the burdens bestowed by blood.

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Judith Claire MitchellAbout Judith Claire Mitchell

Judith Claire Mitchell, author of the novel The Last Day of the War, is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she directs the MFA program in creative writing. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Judy has received fellowships from the James A. Michener/Copernicus Society, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and elsewhere. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, the artist Don Friedlich.

Find out more about Judith at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

To enter to win a copy of A Reunion of Ghosts please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 4/21/15

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Judith Claire Mitchell’s A Reunion of Ghosts  be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 17 April. Thank you TLC!


The Godforsaken Daughter by Christina McKenna w/ Giveaway

The-Godforsaken-Daughter_McKenna-200x300・Paperback: 360 pages
・Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 17, 2015)

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When Ruby Clare’s father was alive, they happily toiled together on their small dairy farm in Northern Ireland. Since his death seven months ago, Ruby—thirty-three years old, plain, and plump—has become a veritable drudge for Martha, her endlessly critical mother. Then comes the day when Ruby finds her late grandmother’s old suitcase in the attic. Among its strange contents: a slim, handmade volume called The Book of Light.

McKenna delves into the subject matter of deep dark secrets, faith, grief, redemption and love with plenty of enthusiasm.

We meet three varying characters dealing with loss as their paths intersect. Each backstory differing yet parallel in the end.

Set in Ireland circa 1980’s, you are privy to snapshots of landscape along with the culture, and political strife. A small farming hamlet is depicted as well as city life. Religious differences are referenced. You have a strong sense of community in this quaint little town nestled a distance from the city.

The narrative is bursting, however, McKenna manages it well. Essentially three threads are introduced as well as their players seamlessly. Their converging becomes clearer as the story progresses. With diversity throughout the triple threads I felt it was rather clever and added texture.

All the characters are well drawn, you know of their vibrant personalities and idiosyncrasies. Ruby tugs at your heart, you hope she stands up for herself and when she shows promise you’ll be cheering her on. The magnitude of her grief is felt and you are affected by her tremendous loss. Jamie is sweet and you hope he sets himself on track again. Paddy and Rose are nothing less than charming.

As you turn the pages familiarizing yourself with characters and their trials you find yourself absorbed. Quite a moving story, it’s subtle packing a powerful punch. Rather unique, lacking predictability, as it pulls together you will find yourself captivated. A wonderful story touching on family, love, faith and learning to move forward, dealing with loss.

About Christina McKennaChristina-McKenna-219x300
Christina McKenna grew up on a farm near the village of Draperstown in Northern Ireland. She attended the Belfast College of Art, where she obtained an honors degree in fine art and studied English in postgraduate studies at the University of Ulster. In 1986, she left Northern Ireland to work abroad. She has lived, worked, and painted pictures in Spain, Turkey, Italy, Ecuador, and Mexico.

To enter to win a copy of The Godforsaken Daughter please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US/CA residents only. Ends 3/14/15

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Christina McKenna’s The Godforsaken Daughter, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 13 April. Thank you TLC!


The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos w/ Giveaway

The Precious One

Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 24, 2015)

A novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight.

I thought this book was good, I know the general audience diagrees and feels it is outstanding, obviously I am the minority.

Several sensitive subject matters are addressed. The cast is lively and diverse. The writing is liquid gold, just flows from each page. Weaving several plots is accomplished seamlessly.

The areas I found problematic – the heavy topics introduced didn’t have the weighty closure called for, a big no no for this reader. If you are going to broach sensitive topics please follow through with appropriate consequences, solutions. Glossing over meaty issues isn’t the way it should be done, at least in my eyes. As is the issues are utterly predictable and impractical. The level of predictability is incredibly high. The stereotype for homeschooled children is typical and often a misnomer, I know, my son was homeschooled by yours truly and was a social butterfly as most homeschooled children are. Willow grated my nerves, her behavior was childlike especially for a 16 year old.

A good read, perhaps I approached it more seriously than I should have, you decide how it suits your rating spectrum.

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Marisa De Los SantosAbout Marisa de los Santos

Marisa de los Santos has published three New York Times bestselling novels for adults, including Love Walked In and Belong to Me, while David Teague is the author of the picture books Franklin’s Big Dreams and Billy Hightower. Saving Lucas Biggs is their first joint venture. Married for over twenty years, Marisa and David live with their two children, Charles and Annabel, and their Yorkies, Finn and Huxley, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Connect with Marisa on Facebook and Twitter.

To enter to win a copy of The Precious One please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 3/31/15

Excited to be participating in the tour for Marisa de los Santos’ The Precious One, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 8 April. Thank you TLC!


The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly *Giveaway*

image• Paperback: 304 pages
• Publisher: Lion Fiction (January 27, 2015)

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Colom had the perfect childhood, the much-loved only child of a church pastor. Yet he wakes screaming from dreams in which his sister is drowning and he can’t save her.

Instigative narrative along with pestilent and disarming characters. Quite an intense read leaving you emotionally spent. Kelly creates a novel engaging the reader, bringing on numerous questions as you place yourself in the position of the characters and their delicate circumstances. Impassioned, the secrets dark and deep, very well done.

Kelly certainly succeeded in frustrating this reader to no end. It was challenging being a spectator, so many times I wanted to crawl through the pages and shake sense into a few people as well as wrap my arms around them providing comfort, taking on their many burdens and acute pain. David – his presence is felt even though his appearance is infrequent. He frustrates you as well as begs empathy for his behavior good and bad. Fiona, my goodness I felt her pain, her joy, she touched my heart. As a mother I related to all the bittersweet moments this woman, wife, mother dealt with. Colum, fragile yet a sturdy young man entering your heart and burying himself there. His journey is stalled and you hope he finds his way through the rough terrain.

The narrative slowly gains momentum, secrets revealed, decisions questioned and finally all is exposed and the plot hits its apex head on. The secrets are plenty, catching you off guard.

A story exploring the danger of secrets and their affect on the family. Emotionally gripping, undoubtedly profound. Complex piece of literature, looking forward to reading more of Gerard Kelly. Highly recommend, excellent selection for reading groups – loads to discuss.

About Gerard Kellyimage
Gerard Kelly is a well-known speaker and author of fourteen books. He and his wife live and work in France and co-founded the Blessed Network, a movement of young leaders committed to God’s mission on mainland Europe.

To enter to win a copy of The Boy Who Loved Rain please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 2/25/15

– Must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Ends 2/25/15

Excited to be participating in the tour for Gerard Kelly’s The Boy Who Loved Rain, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 19 March. Thank you TLC!