Category: Women’s Health

+Blog Book Tour+ Tower of Tears {Book No. 1: the McClusky series} by Rhoda E’ttore

Posted Friday, 12 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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Tower of Tears by Rhoda D’Ettore

Published by: Self-Published Author

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

 Official Author Websites: Site | @rhodadettore | Facebook

Converse via: #TowerofTearsBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Tower of Tears” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Rhoda D’Ettore, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

When I first learnt of this novel going on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I was a bit intrigued by the premise, as I have been reading quite a few immigrant stories of late, and this particular one interested me because the McClusky family was arriving in America from Ireland. I have newly defined ancestral roots to Ireland, and now that I know for a bonefide fact I descended from an Irishman, I have noticed my appreciation for reading about the Irish who came to America has increased tenfold. A bit due to the fact there is such a breadth of unknown factors and stories that are simply out in the void of the past; inches away from knowing anything further about this side of my family and perhaps even, the route they took to arrive not only in America but as settlers on land they chose to farm.

I was captured by this one particular family’s plight to forge their own future in a country so far removed from their own, and encouraged by their determined spirit to make it irregardless of what would come across their path! 

– quoted from my Interview of the author who is going to pen a series around the McClusky’s and giving us a bit of a taste of who they are inside Tower of Tears

+Blog Book Tour+ Tower of Tears {Book No. 1: the McClusky series} by Rhoda E’ttoreTower of Tears
by Jonathan West, Rhoda D’Ettore
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Chapter 1: The Voyage

Betrayal. Despair. Murder. Mystery. Romance. Blackmail. “If God be good, Mr. Landon will burn in the eternal flames of hell. If God be bad, he will suffer much worse.” In 1820, a young woman and her son leave Ireland for a better life in America. She soon suffers heartache and tragedy, while residing with family whom she has never met.

Unbeknownst to her, the family had already set her up with employment in a factory–a factory run by a lecherous man. This is the first book in a series that will follow the McClusky family while they become Americanized while face with the Potato Famine, the US Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author:

Series: McClusky,


Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by Self Published

on 25th May, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 308

Author Biography:

Rhoda D'EttoreRhoda D’Ettore was born in Woodbury, New Jersey, into a family of 5 siblings–which has provided her with plenty of comical material. She began working at the United States Postal Service at 25 years old, and over the past 15 years has accumulated many humorous stories about situations that the public never gets to know about. Her first ebook, “Goin’ Postal: True Stories of a U.S. Postal Worker” was so popular that readers requested it in paperback. Recently, she published the humorous “Goin’ Postal” in paperback along with another story entitled, “The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive”. Combining these two into one book may seem strange, as one is humorous and the other is a heart wrenching historical fiction, however, doing so proves to the reader Rhoda D’Ettore’s versatility.

Rhoda D’Ettore received her degree in Human & Social Services while working at USPS, has travelled extensively, and loves history. Over the years she has volunteered for several community service organizations, including fostering abused and neglected dogs for a Dalmatian rescue.

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The Irish & America as a new place to lay one’s hat:

D’Ettore honoured her Irish characters by allowing them to speak in a vernacular which would befit the era and the time in which they were living. I always appreciate the syntax of language and of dialect of characters who either originated from one country and moved to another, or simply lived within a country and culture other than my own completely. I like getting the proper sense of life being lived elsewhere and within historical fiction it is always nice to root around and see where a writer’s own research and heart for the story led them to create the essence of whom they are writing about the most. The Irish are represented well in the novel, as not only are the obstacles in their path representative of time appropriate events, but they are given that determined grit and reserved emotional life that is characteristic of their nature.

One of the bits I appreciated on the voyage was the close kinship Jane felt towards Anna; two women attempting to change the stars for their children and daring to see into the unknown beyond anything they could have dreamt. I appreciated she had someone she could connect too and of course, Anna is one of those pure optimistic spirits who can wiggle out a ray of light even when darkness threatens to supersede your thoughts! I even enjoyed how she turnt the supposed horrid news of an unexpected pregnancy (on Jane’s behalf) to a light of joy!

My Review of Tower of Tears:

As the story opens we are settling into the new life Jane McClusky is attempting to carve out for her three year old son Liam, her husband Thomas (still in Ireland), and herself – she quite literally embarked on a transatlantic voyage to the New World devoid of understanding the hardships and tribulations she would greet once she landed on American soil. She had conversed with her husband about the necessities and the monies she would need to survive living with her Cousins in Philadelphia, but as soon as the wind is back in her chest and rest has given her clarity of mind, her American Cousins who emigrated ahead of her are not as they appear inside their letters. She had a growing fear of this as she was never quite sure if they were as open as they seemed inside their conversations within the postal correspondences. She strove to leave behind the adversities which plagued Ireland at the time: short life expectancy, no forward motion of families as they were co-dependent on the crop yields per annum, little to no hope of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, and the worst of all — a constant worriment over the life your child will have as he’s reared through the hurdles of trying to survive Summer to Summer. The major crop was potatoes (of which I had known before I opened the novel, but hadn’t realise how dependent they were on its yield) yet the greatest hope any of the farmers had were to attempt a new life elsewhere, whilst leaving behind family, nationality and the certainty of self-identity.

D’Ettore is not shy from disclosing the lesser known facts of what such a life shift would entail to those who were brave enough to set sail. She gives you a bird’s eye glimpse at how harsh an immigrant life was for someone to forge as much as how everything changes from an accord you struck prior to your voyage. I always found it interesting studying history that there were always prejudicial misconceptions about immigrants and thus, direct consequences were faced in the work force. In this particular story we are seeing the point-of-view of the Irish, which interested me due to my own newly found ancestral roots stemming from the Emerald Isle; however, I have also read other stories about how Italians and Jewish families were equally displaced with unequal opportunities. I find all of our ancestors were hardened not only by the way in which life affected them, but how their lives were constantly challenged by everything they attempted to do in order to provide an honest wage.

The story shifts view from Jane’s new world in America to the life her husband Thomas was living without her back home on their farm in Ireland. A very typical situation starts to incur inside Thomas’s life; re-pleasant of loneliness and the insecurity of understanding his new role in his wife’s life. Unfortunately, I suppose I had hoped perhaps her husband might have held more honour inside his heart, as their love had such a strong bond to crumble due to distance of only a handful of months felt dishonest to the strength inside Jane’s own mind and fortitude to overcome their situation. Yet, this is a very honest interpretation of a family attempting to change their lives; not every family has an upward light shining to keep them on a path without strife in marriage.

I personally had to stop reading this novel between a rape scene of a pregnant woman and the murder of her abuser, which is a bit of spoiler but not the whole truth of the story. I felt the heinous attack on someone withchild was a bit too much for me to be included — it simply didn’t warrant to happen. I felt a more fitting scene would have been seeing the start of Jane’s affection towards Richard her Cousin in America. Her affection for him and his in return for her were being nurtured from the beginning when they first started to work together. There was already a story-line in place that would have allowed their love to blossom legally and affirmatively, so I am not as sure why the thread of story-line was pitched to take the route of severe emotional and physical abuse. It was quite shocking to read and it didn’t sit well with my conscience either. I could not continue because I simply could not find a reason to go forward as instead of finding a bit of light in the undertone of the novel, I felt the story was growing in oppressive anguish and upturnt devastation.

Fly in the Ointment:

A continuity issue arose when I reached page 26, as Jane is reflecting to her Cousin Richard as they are walking to work about her mother; in this scene she mentioned her name was Erin. Yet, on page 18 Erin is clearly the name of her sister, as she is having a flashback memory of when they were younger. Of course, she might have been named after the Mum, but I was a bit confused by the omission of knowing Jane’s Mum’s name. The few hiccups in proofreading I overlooked as I oft find a few here or there in most of the books I read. Continuity however is something I take a closer gander at as it can alter the perception of the pace and flow of where the story is heading.

The story turnt out to be a bit more brutal and absent of what I was hoping it would yield — there are moments where violence and even violation of a person’s rights has plausible appeal, but for some reason I simply felt there were a few too many circumstances alighting in Jane’s life for her to overcome. Every chance she tried to stand on her feet, something else was taken away from her. I also thought it was a mis-step not to include Anna as an anchor for Jane; there was an absence of aligning Jane with a circle of support from the beginning. And, the family she believed she was welcomed into with open arms was a deceptive web which rankled my joy a bit because I had believed this was a story which was going to go in one direction but found it headed in the opposite instead.

As this is not a comedy of errors, it is a historical fiction rooted in historical fact, and I was just a bit disappointed that one or two threads of narrative were explored, but not all of them combined. I could have even foreseen an issue with Jane’s boss as it is well-known women were not always treated equally or fairly throughout history in employment; but it is the lengths of which her life unravells and how it unravells that left me feeling uncomfortable as I turnt the pages. I was disheartened as I had hoped this would be a multi-generational saga centered around a family I would enjoy reading as the series continued.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBlog Book Tour Stop,
courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Virtual Road Map of “Tower of Tears” Blog Tour found here:

Tower of Tears Virtual Tour via HFVBTs

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See what I’m hosting next for:

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in CanvaHistorical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

{SOURCES: Book Cover for “Tower of Tears”, Author Photograph of Rhoda D’Ettore,  & Author Biography were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Jorie asked to host the author ahead of reading the novel as she is most keen on Jane Austen & the sequel authors who give us such a wonderful joy to read their literary muse after being inspired by Austen herself; she was most happy to receive his replies from the Interview through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours via the author himself.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Friday, 12 September, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Abortion, Adulterous Affair, Blog Tour Host, Domestic Violence, Feminine Heroism, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Immigrant Stories, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights

+Blog Book Tour+ The Dreamosphere by Laura Stoddard

Posted Sunday, 20 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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The Dreamosphere by Laura Stoddard

The Dreamosphere Blog Tour by Cedar Fort

Published By: Sweetwater Books ( ),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)
8th July, 2014
Official Author WebsitesSite | Facebook | Twitter |
GoodReads
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Page Count: 208

Converse via: #TheDreamosphere

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort since I participated in the “Uncovering Cobbogoth” tour. This blog tour will be my second hosting for Cedar Fort & Sweetwater Books! I received a complimentary copy of “The Dreamosphere” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A Short Excerpt:

“What do you think happens to your dreams after you wake up?”

Gwen shrugged distractedly, too disoriented by her sudden arrival in the remarkable setting to focus. “I dunno. They disappear?”

The unblinking gray eyes of her young companion flashed as she leaned forward. “Incorrect. Every dream you’ve ever had still exists. All of them. They reside in a dimension called the Dreamosphere. It’s where we are right now, as a matter of fact. Each dream basically exists as its own world, or dream-orb. There are thousands and thousands of them, connected like drops of dew on a gigantic spider web. Every dream you’ve ever had, Gwen. They’re all up here. And you can visit them any time you want.”

Tabitha, the enigmatic child who shares this information, has some even more shocking news. Gwen’s dreamosphere is in danger. Someone has been hacking into it—destroying her dream orbs, erasing pieces of her past, and affecting Gwen in more ways than she realizes. Together, Gwen and Tabitha travel through the outlandish landscape of Gwen’s dream worlds to find the person responsible. What will happen to Gwen when all her dreams are gone? What critical clues lie within the pages of her dream journal? And what does Edgar Allan Poe have to do with it all?

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Laura StoddardBook Synopsis:

What if dreams don’t disappear when we wake up? Haunted by her younger sister’s death, and her unwitting role in the incident, 11-year-old Gwenevere Stoker takes solace in the Dreamosphere—a dimension where all dreams still exist. But when someone begins destroying her dreams, Gwen must find the culprit—or risk losing all her happiness forever. Bask in the mystery and imagination of dreams in this touching, funny, mind-bending children’s tale that encompasses themes of grief, friendship, family, healing, and grand adventure!

Author Biography:

Laura Stoddard was born in Idaho and spent her formative years running amok in the great outdoors. She received her bachelors degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. After being rejected from the masters program for creative writing she decided that she didn’t need a masters degree to tell her she could write, so she started really dedicating her time to finishing the story she’d started months earlier, with the goal of writing a complete novel, and getting it published. The result is her debut novel, The Dreamosphere, for which her own vivid, bizarre, and incomprehensible dreams provided the inspiration. Laura is an adrenaline junkie and will try anything once–or twice–or maybe three times. She can already check whitewater rafting, going down in a shark cage, and skydiving (three times) off of her list. Oh, and getting Lasik. It was five minutes of terror. She enjoys hiking, rowing, reading classic literature, embarking on new adventures and hobbies, volunteering regularly, and spending time with family. She currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz.

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The fabric of the dreamosphere:

The Prologue provides a bit of a cursory view into the webbed network of Gwen’s dreamosphere, a world in which nothing is quite as it appears (true to the nature of our dreamscapes!), and yet, there is a beguiling presence of a half man, half vulture bird-like entity that is starting to cause an undercurrent of primal fear. His presence is clearly laced with malice towards Gwen, and her dream world; yet what has triggered his focus and aggression on her particular dreams was not yet revealed as this merely was providing the framework for where Gwen goes whilst she’s dreaming. Her companion Tabitha is quite the hoot, a shapeshifter who is able to transform her body and language as she walks through the dream’s individual orb of existence. I presumed the dreams are contained in an orb of memory – a particular space where the entirety of a dream can exist without harm of disappearing.

As the story progresses the intricacies of how the dreamosphere and the world of dreams co-exist is explained. Part of the dream sequences reminded me of the wild imagination of Terry Pratchett from the Tiffany Aching sequences within the Discworld universe. The interesting bit for me is how Tabitha takes the shape of a squirrel in Gwen’s living reality but can be seen as a young girl (a composite of Gwen’s real-life friend from living on the farm) inside the dreamosphere adventures. She has a most curious nature and I would wager an even more curious story of origin!

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Posted Sunday, 20 July, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Journal, Light vs Dark, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Shapeshifters, Siblings, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

+Book Review+ Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner : A #histfic coming-of age story!

Posted Friday, 18 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 7 Comments

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 Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner

Go Away Home Virtual Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Rising Sun Press, 1 July, 2014
Official Author Websites:
Site | @CABodensteiner| Facebook | GoodReads | LinkedIn

Available Formats: Paperback Page Count: 382

Converse on Twitter: #GoAwayHome, #GoAwayHomeBlogTour, & #HFVBTBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Go Away Home” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Rising Sun Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner Book Synopsis:

Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.

Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.

GO AWAY HOME is a coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

Author Biography:Carol Bodensteiner

Carol Bodensteiner grew up in the heartland of the United States, and she continues to draw writing inspiration from the people, places, culture, and history of the area. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society. She is the author of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, a memoir. Her essays have been published in several anthologies. Go Away Home is her first novel.

 

Mid-West America : Americana as a setting:

I grew up reading a heap of Children’s Literature and Classical Literature for Young Readers which dealt with the Heartland of America, as much as the life on the frontier whilst America was just starting to sprout wings as settlers moved further West from the East. I also was fortunate to settle into stories which developed a positive outlook and relationship of the Native American tribes between Canada and America; not always focusing on the war between the settlers and the Indians, but rather stories which enriched the notion that oft-times a truce of peace and an alliance in trade was able to be transacted. What always fascinated me by the hearty life of ranching and farming, is the ordinary joys that whispered into the hearts and minds of those who lived aplenty off the land they worked, harvested, and grew families upon. Even in Native American cultures and societies there was a pure sense of honour and pride knowing that what you could either hunt or grow could not only sustain your own family but your neighbours and community.

My own ancestral roots include farmers and workers for civil rights and liberties, which is why I was thankful to see Aunt Kate and her suffrage movement work included in this particular story. The quality of food from farm to fork (or plate; there are two ready phrases in use nowadays) cannot be compared to industrial methods, and I am happily a locavore and have been for most of my days. The convenience of purchasing locally grown foods in places outside larger cities is still a means to an end to achieve, but the idea of lowering our footprint and supporting local farmers is at the core of my being. The best way to impact the economy is in direct support of local producers of food, commerce, and supplies. I also appreciate settling into stories where there is an ‘other age’ quality to the story-telling, where life was not bent against the wheel towards working one’s soul into an early grave, but rather, the work which was done was in effort to create a better living for yourself and those you took care of. To give industry to the hours of daylight and mirth to the hours that waxed into the moon.

Communication was limited (for the most part) to postal mail – letters and the correspondences exchanged between family and friends alike was not only a convenience but a lifeline built between everyone. In my own childhood, I came to appreciate the joy of sending and receiving letters quite readily; a tradition that I carry forward today. My eyes always glisten with a bit of eager happiness when a writer includes samples or full passages of the ‘letters’ being sent back and forth between their characters. In Go Away Home, the letters are warm reminders of how special a connection is to be kept and how dear the conversation is to those who send and receive postal mail.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Friday, 18 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Bread Making, Child out of Wedlock, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Iowa, Locavore, Mid-West America, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Prior to WWI, Sewing & Stitchery, Siblings, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The House of Elliott, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Suffrage

+Book Review+ Getting Waisted: A Survival Guide to BEING FAT in a Society that LOVES THIN by Monica Parker (a comedic memoir)

Posted Wednesday, 28 May, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Getting Waisted by Monica Parker

Getting Waisted by Monica Parker

Published By: HCI Books () 1, April 2014
Official Author Websites Getting Waisted Site | Main Site | Twitter
Available Formats: Trade Paper
Page Count: 288

Converse via: #GettingWaisted

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Acquired Book By: Whilst attending #LitChat (@LitChat) a literary salon on Twitter where writers and readers come together to promote a healthy exchange of dialogue pertaining to books, we part company feeling better for the meeting. Conversations surround the book each author who visits #LitChat has recently published. On this particular day, #LitChat was not quite the experience I had expected as the tides turnt against its principles. The outcome for me was to seek out a way to contact the author personally to offer my condolences and apology for what she experienced in a forum of what had been up until that moment a joy-filled experience. I also contacted her publicist who found me via Twitter. I thus contacted #LitChat and due to the response from my enquiry I felt that in time I could return but I would remain vigilant and cautious if the same circumstances were to arise again. No one has the right to supersede the joy of people who come together for a literary conversation.

Out of my correspondences with Ms.  Parker & Ms. Chan, I was offered to receive a complimentary ARC copy of “Getting Waisted” direct from Ms. Parker’s literary publicist Darlene Chan (of Darlene Chan PR) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I likewise opted to Interview Ms. Parker as a follow-up Guest Post Feature.

My Interest in Getting Waisted:

I was originally interested in visiting with Ms. Parker via #LitChat, because the book caught my eye and attention when I saw she was an upcoming guest author during the weekly twitterverse chat. Specifically, because I have faced my own struggles with weight gain & weight loss, like most women who enter their twenties and then thirties, our bodies change and life can become more stressful than when we were younger. I have always maintained my happy spirit and found joy in the everyday irregardless of where I was in my weight loss, as part of what helps you lose the extra bits you no longer wish to keep is to keep your attitude positive. I was endeared to listen to her talk and share her own story as I liked how she was being honest and frank about her own experiences.

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Monica ParkerAuthor Biography:

Monica Parker (Los Angeles and Toronto) is an actor, writer and producer in theater, television and film; most notably she co-wrote All Dogs Go to Heaven. She was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, until the age of 13 when she immigrated with her parents to Toronto, Canada. Monica is currently starring in her insightful and funny one-woman show, Sex, Pies & a Few White Lies, which premiered in 2010. Monica has just completed two features already under option, and has a recurring role on Syfy’s “Defiance.” Monica lives with her longtime husband and saint, Gilles.

Synopsis of the Memoir:

Monica Parker bridges the divide between serial dieter’s guide and memoir, taking readers on a hilariously funny yet bumpy ride from chubby baby to chunky adult.

In Getting Waisted, Monica begins every chapter with a diet she committed to and reveals how much weight, money, and self-esteem she lost, and then how much weight she gained when she fell off the wagon. She shares her fears and frustrations – when Mr. Right appears out of thin air, will she run back to the catalogue of Mr. Wrongs out of fear? She reveals society’s prejudices against overweight people: “No one tells a short person to get taller, or a tall person to get shorter, but fat people hear about their bodies all the time.” From living large in a sub-zero world to jumping into the dating pool without causing a tidal wave of angst, Monica learns that when you stop buying what the “diet devils” are selling and start liking yourself, life is far more rewarding. Readers will laugh and cry as Monica realizes that while she thought it was her body that was in the way, it was actually what she kept in her head that needed adjusting.

Ultimately, Getting Waisted is an inspirational look at life through society’s warped fun-house mirror perspective, but Monica’s reflections tell the real tale: everyone is always under construction and we are all flawed, chipped and dented, but that doesn’t mean we’re not interested, vital and sexy.

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Parker has written a no holds barred autobiographical memoir with poignant truths at every turn of her disclosure of how from her conception and birth to the present day she has learnt that the best way to feel empowered is through self-acceptance and radiance of joy. Her life is anything but typical as her half-siblings were kept distant due to World War II, whilst her parents were at odds with each other for most of her growing years. She lived in more countries than I have travelled to thus far, and her ability to transition and adapt to each new school, living environment, and work life is a nod to her strength of character. Yet, her life had darkness shading around the fringes of joy, as she did not get a nice entrance into the dating scene as most her age had enjoyed. In fact, whilst she was sharing the pain of what she lost in that moment of domestic violence, I felt the most emotional by far of what I had read up until that point.

Parker puts her heart in the ink and breathes a lifeblood into her words. She’s a straight-forward writer who tells you how she’s lived as much as how far she’s come from what she has survived. She’s a woman who has lived a heart-centered life, always striving to seek a foundation of love, joy, and happiness which were elusive to her as a child and young adult. Food became the filler for her emotional aches and anguished heart, but it was not only serving a replacement of what was absent, but as an extension of hiding from facing hard truths which I think for anyone in her position would not have been something to face alone.

Bullied for her weight and appearance since she was in grade school, I understood how she felt on that level, as although I was bullied for other reasons, anyone who has gone through the teasing of their peers can sympathise with another who walked the same path. Bullies always think they are the smarter ones and the ones who deserve to reign superior to others simply because the people they are bullying are different. A bit more creative and the out-of-the-box thinkers who challenge the bullies to realise they do not know everything they presume. And, perhaps that is the problem. Bullies are the ones who feel inferior because they cannot accept that someone whose perception has a creative bent might understand what they cannot conceptualise. However the case may be, I personally attempt to highlight books in all walks of literature which knit together dialogue on the bullies and the bullied. To help encourage the trend to end and to let all children grow up without the heartache Parker and I knew ourselves.

As you move forward in her memoir you start to see how the butterfly emerges and takes a grace note of confidence as her wings start to catch under her and guide her forward. I enjoyed reading about her trials, her tribulations, and her muddled path towards sorting out life and how she wanted to elect to face what would come along. She takes a crisp look at everything in her past, and paints a strong visual image of a woman who was in the process of knowing who she was all along. She doesn’t apologise for her frankness (nor should she), and she has this quirky sense of humour stitched into the fabric of her memories. Her own rhythm is set to humour, and she never fails within the chapters to get you a tickling of your funny-bone whilst at the same time endearing your heartstrings. She finds a balance between what she had to overcome and what she enjoyed experiencing as she lived.

I greatly appreciated the chapters where Gilles starts to come forward, as I denoted that he was a catalyst of change for her all the way around. Gilles was able to see her in a way that others had not previously, and it was through their growing admiration and love to be with each other that warmed my heart! She was finding true happiness in such a beautiful way that it was a joy to read their journey towards their union. I especially thought it was wicked that she kept in bits and bobbles of their differences. Between her Scottish roots and his French, as there were moments of great folly to be read.

Getting Waisted is an honest memoir from a woman who is fearlessly confident and has such a warm spirit that you can read her essence straight off the page! I appreciated spending time with her, and getting to see how the avenues fused together for her to welcome in motherhood and the next chapters she would pursue. Start to finish, I would have to lament that the first half is more dramatic and the second half is where the cocoon is shed and she is free to fly. I am so very thankful to have had the honour of reading her story, because her story is everywoman’s story on the level that we each have to resolve our own body image in a way that celebrates our individual self-confidence.

A notation on why there is not a Fly in the Ointment attached here:

Being that Ms. Parker is a stand-up comic and a full-fledged comedienne, I already knew that on some level she might have a more colourful way of reflecting on certain parts of her life as much as how she elected to present the stories or antidotes of her past. Therefore, I did mark off there are instances of ‘vulgarity in literature’ inside this book, but I did not go as far to say that that would prevent me from reading her memoir, as foresaid, I understood the writer a bit before I picked up the book on the level that most comics have strong inflictions in how they communicate their humour as much as their personal stories.

Personally, this is one I have the hardest time sorting out which comic to watch as I tend to be aligned with the comics of the past (think Dean Martin’s Roasts era OR Lucille Ball) where the flavourings were clean and the language was not as strong as it was whilst I grew up in the 1980s. At least it was not a contribution to the skits, the roasts, or the set-ups in the routines. I have many fond memories of “I Love Lucy” right alongside “The Carol Burnett Show”, as Dean Martin followed suit lateron. I did want to share one of the reader’s observations of her book, as I grew up on his comedy in motion pictures being a child bourne on the cusp of one decade in exchange for another (1970s/1980s):

My dear friend Monica Parker, the hilarious humourist, Mother hen to me, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’ Hara, John Candy – all of us when we started out in Toronto, has written a book about truly finding yourself, being content with who you are and developing an enduring sense of self-esteem.

by Dan Aykroyd {quoted from the Press Kit}

I grew up knowing of Gilda Radner, but along with Mr. Aykroyd, I was always fond of Catherine O’ Hara & John Candy. I am not in the habit of publishing outside reviews and opinions when I compose my own thoughts on the books I read on Jorie Loves A Story, but in this one instance (and there could be others in the future) I felt it was kismet to discover that part of my own living past is inter-connected a bit with Ms. Parker’s. The actors and comics mentioned are not merely names on a page, but honest to goodness people I grew up watching on camera! They had the ability to make me laugh as much as they emoted out such a strong carriage of emotion to make me cry. Their depth of range never left me, and I to this day celebrate what they left behind as legacies in motion picture. I also know their work in film is only one-half of what they gave of their art, but for me, it is the portal in which I knew them.

I am going to conclude this review with a tweet that is a full summary of the heart message of Getting Waisted:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, Quote by Dan Aykroyd and Book Cover were provided by Darlene Chan PR and were used by permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 28 May, 2014 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Diets & Dieting, Indie Author, Journal, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Vignettes of Real Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Weight Loss, Women's Health