Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson

How do you get over being single even though you’re thirty-two and almost a spinster?

Young and single, you’re caught up in life’s routines, and suddenly you realize you’ve become a spinster. You lost track of time, and it’s starting to show.

What do you do?

Whose life doesn’t seem routine and drab at times? Sleep-inducing even, wouldn’t you say?

Read on to find out how Julia Dorning woke up and realized she’d been laundering her life in the spinster cycle.

32 Book Cover
Thirty-Two Going on Spinster

Routine Results

Julia Dorning epitomizes the unfortunate results of letting time slipping by into a comfortable routine. In 285 pages Becky Monson cleverly weaves together hilarious details of a mundane life. She keeps the reader laughing instead of yawning throughout her book, Thirty-Two Going on Spinster.  Ms. Spinster, Julia Dorning, writes in first person, diary style, as though she just woke up, and realized that clock had ticked a few too many times, and she had overslept her destiny.

“He (Julia’s doctor) actually told me that I should seriously consider finding someone and settling down and that my eggs ‘weren’t getting any younger.'”

Spinster Mind Candy
George Costanza

Many heroes and heroines are beautiful, young, athletic, and good at everything.  Like George Costanza, there is little about this star that is heroesque. She sleeps on the job, remains out of shape, lives in her parent’s basement, garners few marketable skills, and lives a dull life with no hopes that the future would change the course of her life.  When her boss and a new employee on tour find her scrambling to explain why she would be crawling out from under a table in the spare room of the office building where she works, the drama begins.  But oh so slowly, because this woman is no heroine.

Spinster Mind Candy
Amazon Best Seller’s Rank: October 30, 2017

Spinster Mind Candy – Predictable But Oh So Fun!

Of course, the reviewer of this novel, can’t tell you whether she lost her job or if she quit sleeping under the table in the spare room. If you want to know if she came up with a good excuse about why she was there, you’ll have to read the book.  You know there must be more hooks out for the male model-type, Jarod Moody, mid-thirties, ring-free, male. What you don’t know is how she tries to catch him. Like every other person on the planet, Julia also has more competition and complications at home than she does at work.

 In her own words, “I have a feeling it’s going to be harder before it gets easier.”

Her premonition is correct, or the book would meander into the boring category.  And boring, this book is not.

Everything about this romantic novel, even the first words, a definition of a spinster, is highly unexpected and unsettling.  The reader is like the poor kid that is just waiting in line to order lunch when his friend, playing the clown, comes up behind him and flexes his knees into the back of the daydreamer’s locked unsuspecting legs.  The action doesn’t topple the victim but throws them slightly off balance.  So does this book.

Reviewer’s Rating of Book One in the Spinster Mind Candy Series

Spinster Mind Candy
Four Star Rating
Spinster Mind Candy
Becky Monson

By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. An award-winning* author, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last… but it probably won’t.

*Winner: Readers’ Favorite Book Award 2016

To find out more of what Becky is up to, check out her Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeckyMonson

What Are You Waiting For?

Spinster Mind Candy

If you’d like to review or write a guest post for Always Write, contact me by email at tchistorygal@gmail.com

Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday

Confessions of a Media Manipulator

Trust me; you haven’t read a book like this one before. However, Tim Ferriss disagrees with me.  “Holiday is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results…this whiz kid is the secret weapon you’ve never heard of.”
–Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek

Spoken like a salesperson with a touch of conscience, Ryan Holiday unravels the internet marketing game he played. You won’t be able to put down his book, Trust Me, I’m Lying. It’s more than a great title.

Bloggers Are Powerful

When blogging started, bloggers did not know the power they wielded. Even Holiday didn’t realize the powerful game he played. He certainly did not know it would backfire on him. In twenty-four fast-paced chapters, Ryan weaves the argument that down home, backyard bloggers exert a powerful influence on the world.

Average bloggers and blog readers do not investigate deeply. They tend to believe what they read even if writers exaggerate. And writers do. Sometimes they lie.

Tryst Ryan. He knows. He did it. He lied to start a controversy. The contention led to high traffic and more clicks. Additional clicks resulted in more sales.

Be Careful What You Read and Blog

Trust Me, I’m Lying is a cautionary book. Ryan writes from an insider’s viewpoint.

Bloggers, desparate for traffic, comb the internet for delicious local news tidbits. When they find a good story, polish it, and publish it. Then, they credit you, Ms. Hobby Blogger as their trusted source. You published it. Obviously, you are honest and checked all your facts. If you did not, it does not matter. It will be old news soon enough.

Their mantra is to post often to keep their blog traffic soaring high. No time to investigate. No time to waste on the truth! Right?

You are happy, someone noticed you. They are happy because they got their job done.

But  Wait, There Is More.

The next level of news reporters, see the story, trust that bigger, high traffic blogger, repackage the story again, and off it goes to the online warehouse of news stories. at Huffington Post or some other big name online news source.

Then someone reports a mistake. Oops! Someone’s life or business got smeared or ruined. Sorry! By this time, the old news lies buried in a graveyard under a pile of multiple blogs. Most people don’t go back to read the original, corrected story.

Trust Me; This Book Makes an Impression

I can’t tell a joke because I can’t remember the punchline for two seconds, but I will remember this book and the stories inside for years.

If you blog, you need to read it. You won’t necessarily like everything you read.

Other Readers Opinions

One reader called his stories chilling. Another thought they were merely “compelling.” I wonder what the exposed marketing strategies compelled the reader to do. Kirkus Reviews wrote that Holiday’s book was disturbing and “more than a dyspeptic diatribe.” My vocabulary increased more from reading the reviews than from reading the book. I don’t think I could have waded through 270 pages of dyspeptic diatribe. Do you?

Tucker Max profited from Holiday’s marketing techniques. “The strategies Ryan created to exploit blogs drove sales of millions of my books and made me an internationally known name.” And we bloggers had a part of that game, according to both Max and Holiday.

Don Rakeshaw stated Holiday’s thesis as “modern blogo-journalism is hopelessly broken.” Meet another new term to me, “blogo-journalism.” Like President Trump, both Holiday and Rakeshaw had words to say about “fake news.” “The stories on sweatshop blogs cannot help but be fake news.” So if you run a sweatshop blog, you just made the news. OK, that was fake. 🙂

My Recommendation

Ryan Holiday does not need my endorsement, for his book, but maybe you do. I would not have known about it without Jon Morrow. You got the word from me unless you’re taking Jon Morrow’s course, too. Tell me if you buy this book because I recommended it – because I found every chilling detail of the blogo-journalism story compelling.

About the Author

Trust me
Ryan Holiday Trust M, I’m Lying

“Ryan Holiday is a media strategist for notorious clients such as Tucker Max and Dov Charney. After dropping out of college at nineteen to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians. He is currently the director of marketing at American Apparel, where his work is internationally known. His campaigns have been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube, and Google and written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker, and Fast Company. Holiday has written four previous books, most recently The Obstacle Is the Way, which has been translated into seventeen languages and has a cult following among NFL coaches, world-class athletes, TV personalities, political leaders, and others around the world. He lives on a small ranch outside Austin, Texas,” or maybe in New Orleans. (from the Amazon biography)

Additional Books by Ryan Holiday

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Dinner at Homesick Restaurant: Book Review

Book Review Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

Homesick Restaurant
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

This award-winner is one of three to be nominated for a Pulitzer Award.

A Functional Book about a Dysfunctional Family

Memory is not particularly linear – it is associative, repetitive, subjective and porous. But the writer needs to convey disorder and dysfunction without making the novel itself disorderly or dysfunctional. Dana Spiotta

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is anything but disorderly. In Anne Tyler’s favorite book, the reader meets a dysfunctional family raised by a single mother, Pearl. The story unfurls like a flag in a gentle breeze, from the perspective of each character in the household, starting and ending with Pearl’s death.

Tyler stated “I’m so attached to the characters, I still miss them, even all these years later. Like the reader, Tyler is “addicted to the sensation of living lives I would not experience in reality.”

Each Character Shares His or Her Perspective

The daughter in the story, Jenny says that “marriage is like a disaster movie; it flings people together and exposes their true characters.” The tornado of Pearl’s struggle to cope with the pressures of raising her children alone trap Cody, Ezra, and Jenny in a never-ending whirlwind. They survive the story in their unique way. Ezra, Anne Tyler’s favorite character, built his life around his dream, the Homesick Restaurant.

In the beginning, a dying Pearl reminisces over her life. The reader meets her lean, rangy love, Beck. The smart young fellow with wavy black hair “paid her compliments that made her uncomfortable till she could get off alone in her room and savor them.” Against her parent’s wishes, she married the man six years her junior. Immediately following their marriage, they moved away from her family. The reader senses her disappointment as the necessary move never allowed her to “enjoy her new status among her girlfriends.”

They moved often. After six years, the couple started building their family. Pearl was thirty-six. Over the ensuing years, Cody, Ezra, and Jenny complicated her life with doctors and school transcripts. In the process, she lost contact with her extended friends and family. Anxiety puckered her forehead. Then Beck left. Pearl felt “she was sinking in at the center…”

Issues that started early seemed to plague the characters throughout the book. Cody tried hard as a child to please his father. He remembered his younger brother Ezra with a touch of jealousy.

“All right Ezra … Just don’t get carried away like Cody here did. …There was no one as clumsy as Ezra. …It seemed his attention had been caught by a cloud formation over to the south. … (Yet, his) arrow (not Cody’s) sped in a straight, swift path, no arc to it at all. As if guided by an invisible thread… It split the length of the arrow that Beck had already jammed in and landed at the center of the bull’s-eye, quivering.”

Pearl and Beck’s children turned out in a way that society would approve, acceptably successful, which pleased Beck. He could not see that under the surface of their successes, their hearts and souls were frazzled and not knit all the way through. Tyler portrays neither Beck nor his wife, Pearl, as evil people. Their behaviors toward each other and their children left scars and scandalized readers. Pearl never quit loving Beck, nor did he stop caring about her. The children lived through the book long enough to make their own mistakes, and not replicate their parents’ mistakes. Ezra dedicated his restaurant to what might have been the unexpressed desire of each of them, homesick.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Beck did not give a satisfying answer about why he left them at the beginning of the book. One reviewer stated that the end was “strong and not saccharine.” Strong probably meant the reader wanted more. Tyler did not answer all of my questions. Even so, I finished Homesick Restaurant, understanding the deserting father, in a way I did not expect.

For those, like me, who came from a broken home, this book brought a measure of understanding and forgiveness for the humanity of my parents. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant helped me understand why some men and women need to escape from home and the oppressing responsibilities. They are forgivable even though they justify leaving with pathetic excuses.

As adults, most of us realize that it is almost impossible to quit loving someone you are meant to love no matter how much hurt has passed through your heart on their account. Furthermore, parents or other loved ones can not be what you expect or want them to be no matter how hard they try. They can only be themselves just as each of us can only be who we are.

Homesick Restaurant
Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler (born October 25, 1941) has published 20 novels and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for Breathing Lessons. Her best known of which are Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982), The Accidental Tourist (1985), and Breathing Lessons (1988). Because of her believable quirky characters and accurate details about their inner lives, she has also won many prestigious awards. She writes about the American family celebrating the unremarkable Americans and the ordinary aspects of their everyday lives. Growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, she now lives in Baltimore, Maryland and is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

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Book Review Ben & Me: by Cameron Gunn

Don’t Read This Book If…

It was years ago but I remember sitting in the airplane with all the lights out but mine, trying not to laugh out loud. You know the feeling when the giggles you can not control gurgle out of your nose and you start coughing. I did not expect that immediate reaction while reading a biography about Ben Franklin.

One of the nine reviewers suggested that readers should not read Ben & Me on a plane. She said, “I spent most of the book, smiling, chuckling or laughing out loud. In fact, I am fairly certain that I annoyed the other passengers on my flight. But it was worth it.”

Forget her advice. Instead, I listened to my friend, Jamie Beck who recommended that I should read it as soon as I could. I bought the book at the airport and dug right in as the wheels of the plane left the ground.

In the first paragraph of the prologue of his essay, Cameron Gunn asked his wife “If I were an animal, what animal I would be, and “she hit me with sloth” … Surely she meant to say shark…or stallion.”

“Franklin abhorred sloth…I felt Franklin fixing me with his steely gaze across almost three hundred years of virtuous history. It was an inauspicious beginning…”

Like Ben, Cameron Gunn developed a graph to chart his successes and failures. Black dots marked his transgressions as he marched through the virtue-seeking weeks.

Cameron Gunn

Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues

Gunn determined to test Ben Franklin’s thirteen virtues for himself and scribed his experimental thirteen weeks in Ben & Me From Temperance to Humility. He blamed his wife’s choice of animal identities on Ben Franklin.

Of course! Why not?

Cameron Gunn had some false starts in Ben’s “program” of self-improvement using his thirteen virtues. Ben defined virtues as temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. I’ve listed them in case you want to experiment as well.

Channeling his “inner Sun Tzu,” Gunn promised an honest portrayal of his virtue-seeking journey. He exposed his failed attempts admitting to drunkenness instead of the desired temperance.

One reviewer got bored with Cameron Gunn veering off his self-improvement course. How do you could get bored when he shares important lessons he learned from his dog?

“If a dog vomits or has diarrhea outside the house repeatedly, it will almost certainly vomit or have diarrhea inside the house.  … Once your vet bills pass $5,000, your vet will treat you very much like part of his family (without giving you a family discount).” And #8 “Never mock pet insurance.”

A+ Vocabulary

You can’t help but enjoy Cameron’s fabulous lexicon. He described himself as Thickening (waist) and Thinning (hair), both “T’s seem like harbingers of doom.” It’s good to read this book on Kindle. You can press words like “maw” if it doesn’t ring a bell and you can’t figure the word’s meaning from contextual clues like we teach elementary students to do.

There was no surprise ending in Ben and Me. It was just one funny story after another for thirteen lessons. The only thing people wrote was, “This was hilarious.”

It was.

Amazon Biography

Cameron Gunn

“Cameron Gunn is a lawyer, prosecutor, and author. His love of history, desire to be a better person and a surprising amount of free time, given that he is the father of three young children, led him to follow in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin. Impressed with the idea that Franklin attempted to achieve moral perfection through a self-developed thirteen-week course of virtues, Gunn decided to try it himself. The results, while only marginally successful, led to Gunn’s first published book, Ben&Me. He continues to live with his wife, three daughters and two emotionally disturbed beagles in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.”

Historical Book Reviews

Team of Rivals

Widow of the South

The Worst Hard Times – The Great American Dust Bowl

Hilarious Book – Do Not Wash Hands in Plates

Thank you to  Happy Meerkatreviews for permission to publish your review on Always Write.

“The Happpymeerkatreviews is a website/blog filled with book reviews (plus other bookish stuff), poetry written by Cat and a selection of interesting and different articles (also written by Cat).”

Have you written a book? You can ask Cat to review your book.

Wash Hands
Do Not Wash Hands In Plates

 Please check out her review submission details by going to the Contact/Request Review page.

Here’s another book review for #ComedyBookWeek.  Thank you to Barb Taub for the free copy I downloaded of this book ‘Do Not Wash Hands In Plates’ by Barb Taub.  This is a great and very funny travel memoir, here is my review:

Once upon a time, years ago, three best friends Barb, Janine, and Jaya decided to leave the US from three separate locations and meet in Europe. Thirty-five years later they decided to recreate the feat by all meeting in India from three different locations around the world. After successfully meeting the three of them set off on an amazing Indian adventure filled with elephants, temples and lots and lots of food!

Do Not Wash Hands in Plates is a hilarious travel memoir. Right from the introduction I couldn’t help but laugh and I knew this book would keep me entertained. The book isn’t very long but packs a lot into its pages. Each chapter has a funny title which makes you want to read on. Unlike some travel memoirs that focus more on the places tourists visit, this book is firmly all about the experience the three friends have.

Journeying through India they visit many locations such as the Taj Mahal and there are some lovely pictures of these monuments but it’s not this I really enjoyed reading. What I like most about this book is actually the story of traveling between the different locations and the other things they got up to such as their trip to the marketplace, the interesting rules of queuing in India and the copious amount of food on offer that just has to be eaten!

The book has lots of great pictures with great captions next to them and you even find out where the title of the book comes from. There is nothing offensive in this book unless you consider an account of Delhi belly as offensive. Overall I really like this book, the writing style is so easy to read and Barb Taub has you laughing at every turn of the page. The only downside to this book is the short length, I would have gladly read through a travel memoir twice maybe even three times as long! Apart from having me laughing this book has taught me a little about India too and has actually made me want to visit and try parathas!  A great read for anyone interested in a funny travel memoir.

Rating: 5/5

Review published on amazon UK, click here

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Author’s website: http://barbtaub.com/

Book Description:

Once upon the Land Before Time (or at least before mobile phones), my two best friends and I decided to leave the US from separate locations and meet up in Europe. To everyone’s shock, Janine, Jaya and I pulled it off—mostly because we went to Luxembourg, a country so small the odds in favor of chance street encounters were almost 100%, but also because Jaya was carrying the BS, a blue suitcase so enormous it took up approximately a third of the country’s square footage and was visible on satellite images. We couldn’t possibly miss.

It took over thirty-five years before—in a combination of optimism and failing memories— we recklessly decided to repeat this feat. Hey, we reasoned, now we’ve got smartphones, better credit ratings, wheeled suitcases, medical insurance, and the ability to drink legally. Just to make it more interesting, this time we chose to meet in India, where the odds against the three of us actually linking up were approximately a bazillion to bupkis.

This is the story of three women eating our way across India in search of adventure, elephants, temples, palaces, western toilets, monkeys, the perfect paratha…and the kindness of Indian strangers.

My next #ComedyBookWeek review will be on the 22nd July, until then why not check out the #ComedyBookWeek Website to see what else is happening!

Author Bio from Amazon

Wash Hands
Author Barb Taub

In a former life before children in need of luxuries like food and college, Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. When Child #4 joined her research staff, she veered toward the dark side and a career in human resources. Now an expat living in one corner of a castle with her prince-of-a-guy and the world’s most spoiled AussieDog, she enjoys travel, translating from British to American, and collaborating with her daughter Hannah on the Null City series.

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Additional Books By Barb Taub

Don’t Touch (Null City Book 2)

 Tales from Null City (From the World of Null City Book 3)

Round Trip Fare (Null City Book 4)