Book Review: Mimi Plus Two, by Whitney Dineen

WARNING: This contains SPOILERS for The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan (reviewed here). If you have not read it yet, go back and read it now! (We promise you’ll enjoy it.) Good news is that it isFREE for Kindle through May 6th.

Mimi Finnegan is back and funnier than ever!

Mimi has it all. She’s marrying the love of her life, about to have his baby and is moving into the house of her dreams.

Things couldn’t be better! Until her wedding, that is, when everyone toasts to her perfect life.

Not one to tempt the fates, Mimi is sure her loved ones are jinxing her future happiness. Enter pregnancy drama, aristocratic in-laws and catastrophic postpartum depression. Mimi’s journey is hilarious, heart-warming and borderline insane. Hormonal hell leaves her questioning her husband’s origins, prepping for the end of the world and wondering if her sanity will ever return.

This book is for every woman who understands that love, laughter and tears are the very foundation of being a wife, mother and daughter-in-law. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)


Sara Steven:

After reading The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, I didn’t think it could get any better. I was wrong! Mimi Plus Two is fun, honest, and completely candid, taking us into the larger-than-life world of Mimi. She’s the best friend I’d love to have in real life!

While reading Mimi’s journey this go around, I couldn’t help but picture a young Lucille Ball. Granted, Mimi is a smidge taller than the incomparable actress, but her comedic timing, her personality, everything about her was played to utter perfection. Even amidst the chaos she’s created for herself, within her own mind, what shines through the most are the funny moments, the silver linings.

While there are a few scenarios going on in Mimi’s world that I’m not able to relate to, I felt as though I could still identify with her, as a wife and as a mother. Also, I thought it was great that there are realistic, true to life issues included that can can be part of being a parent. I think so many of us feel as though we have to put on a brave face and can’t admit when we need help. As charmed as Mimi’s life appears, she also seeks guidance, and isn’t afraid to do so.

I felt Mimi Plus Two was the complete package, with a little bit of everything to keep me entertained, engrossed, and enlightened. A great read!

Melissa A:

It was great to be reunited with Mimi and her family. It was like we had never parted. That’s because Whitney Dineen gives some recaps from what happened in The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan. Mimi is just as quirky and entertaining as she was in the previous book. I laughed out loud many times from her shenanigans. I agree with Sara’s Lucille Ball comparison.

When you read this novel, you need to think of it as farcical. Everything is big and some improbable scenarios take place. You also have to keep in mind that Mimi is filthy rich and you need to be okay with that. Anyone else in Mimi’s shoes (the very expensive kind) having the same thoughts and feelings she did would not be able to act on them in the same way without going completely broke. The part where her husband paid a fortune for watermelon when it was out of season, just because Mimi had a craving, was just a small example of this fact.

There were definitely things I could relate to, even though I might not want to admit some of it. Other aspects seemed a bit far-fetched, or made me even more paranoid than I have been. Having said that, there are some darker parts to this story that were not present in the previous book. A lot of the time while reading Mimi Plus Two, I kept picturing Whitney as Mimi. Perhaps this is because she put so much of herself into it.

Overall, it was an entertaining and enjoyable read and I hope for a third book. I do want to warn women who are currently expecting or who have just recently given birth to hold off on reading until they aren’t feeling as emotional. I’m just glad I read this five YEARS after having my last child, even though it’s hard to ever turn off the emotions once you become a mother.

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

I’m Not Down with the Sickness

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Given the week my fellow bloggers and I have had, I decided to give us creative license in venting life’s frustrations.  

Moving to Arizona had been a dream of mine for many years. It always felt like this proverbial carrot dangling precariously in front of my face, just within my reach yet unattainable.

And now, here I am! Right where I want to be! But I haven’t been able to enjoy it, not nearly as much as I’d like to, because in the nearly ten months of living in this beautiful, sun-filled state, I’ve been sick five times.

I’m not talking about cute little sniffles, either. Sneezes, a cold. Something I can breeze through. I’m talking about down and out nasty viruses, which always leads to a near and dear friend of mine, Mr. Bronchitis.

The first time it happened, I figured it was a fluke. We’d just moved, there was a lot of transition. A long drive, sleepless nights at random hotels. A breeding ground for germs and illnesses. I caught a cold. It always starts out innocently enough, and then BOOM!

That first time (and like all the others times following it), within a few days the cold moves into my chest. I can’t breathe. There’s a lovely rattling sound emitting from the depths of my lungs. Breathing hurts. Coughing is imminent. I go to the doctor,  who tells me nonchalantly that I’ve got bronchitis. (Of course I do. I knew it before I even stepped foot into the urgent care clinic). Sometimes I leave with a script for an antibiotic, depending on how long I’ve let the bronchitis go, and whether it’s bacterial. Other times I leave without a script, having to wait out the virus, but it’s always the same.

I’m sick. Yet again.

The fourth time, the urgent care doc (a different one than the ones I’d seen before) recommended I try to manage my allergies. He felt there’s a direct correlation between my allergies, my exercise-induced asthma (another lovely new side-effect to moving to a new climate that my body seems to reject) and the viruses that are insistent on kicking my ass.

I left with a recommendation to up my vitamin C, D, take zinc, keep using my loratadine, use an organic desert specific allergy spray, spin around three times and then clap twice, nod my head four times while dancing a jig (he never really said that I should do any of those things, that’s me being sarcastic). Anyway, I had this new regimen in place to keep myself healthy, and then guess what?

I got sick. Again!

The fifth time. You know, it’s a long process in getting healthy after you’ve been sick. Really, it’s like a two week period of healing, because you figure you’re down due to a cold, that turns into bronchitis, with a cough that lasts for a long time, sometimes up to two weeks. It’s annoying, it’s obnoxious, it’s depressing. Enough was enough! I was ready for answers!

So, last Friday I sought them out at an allergist/immunist office. I figured if anyone could help me, an allergist/immunist could. The doctor who assisted me (the cutest thing, by the way, in a polka-dotted short dress, heels, jean jacket and a summer hat) tested my lungs, heard my sob story, and was certain that I have allergies that have sprung up from my move here.

And why wouldn’t I have that problem? Arizona isn’t really known for its air quality. It’s one of the worst, actually. My doctor theorized that when I go for morning runs (something I haven’t been able to do much of, given how sick I’ve been, but when I can, I do), I’m opening up my lungs to all that’s around me. The blossoming trees and flowers. The bad air. The dust. The pollen. Which probably explains why I usually end up wheezing during or after a run, blending into my asthma, which then leaves me vulnerable.

Very vulnerable. Add the allergies, and you’ve got a breeding ground for trouble. Throw in a virus, and I’m all out screwed.

I’m now the proud owner of a sinus rinse bottle, to flush out the toxins and allergens from my nose. I’m also on Flonase. I have an inhaler, to be used at least thirty minutes prior to a run. I’m still taking my vitamins, and the loratadine. I never thought I’d have to use this kind of stuff to manage my health, yet here I am.

The doctor wants me to have an allergy test done, to see what’s troubling me. I’m still on the fence, since it’s obvious what’s troubling me are outside allergens, and I can’t really control that, no matter if I pinpoint what exactly I’m allergic to. What am I going to do, live the rest of my life indoors? I can’t have that. I won’t have that. I’m hoping by trying to control the way my body reacts to the allergens, with the new tools (medicine) I’ve been given, I’ll keep trouble at bay.

She also mentioned the possibility of my becoming acclimated to the environment out here, that my body will get used to the world around me. I really hope that will be the case. In the meantime, I’ll be diligent in doing everything I can to keep myself healthy, because I swear, if I get sick one more time…. I may try spinning around three times, clapping twice, nodding my head four times and dancing a jig!

My first marathon
I miss these days…

 

 

The Big Lead, by Libby Kirsch

Stella Reynolds is new to the job, new to the state, and new to making mistakes in front of thousands of people, but that’s exactly what she signs up for when she takes a job as a TV reporter in the mountains of Bozeman, Montana. Being on live TV in a small town has never been so funny, until Stella covers the town’s first murders in years.

When the prime suspect’s girlfriend enlists Stella to help clear his name, she uncovers another shocking crime that could expose a handful of powerful insiders.

Who is honest, who can’t be trusted, and who committed the murders? Stella is on a tight deadline to find out. Can she help free an innocent man, or will the real culprit get away with murder? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

One of my favorite things about The Big Lead would have to be the incredible characters who make up Bozeman, Montana. Stella suddenly finds herself amidst some really interesting coworkers and even neighbors, lending in to the perfect chick lit mystery. Whether she’s dealing with her super obnoxious, Oscar the Grouch-like neighbor, Janet, or the beautiful, acerbic co-anchor Vindi, Stella attempts to take it all in stride. Even when John, her hunky competition, shows interest in her, she tries hard to fight against what her heart is telling her, choosing to follow her head, instead.

If only it were that easy, after the murders occur. There’s no clear-cut evidence to point to any one person, especially not the man who Stella feels has been falsely accused. Soon, she sets out on a wild goose chase, only leading her further into danger. There’s a lot more behind the little town of Bozeman than meets the eye, much to Stella’s chagrin. She wants to do the right thing, yet she’s thwarted at nearly every turn!

I had such a fun time reading The Big Lead! It’s not often a mystery can stump me, leaving me wondering who the culprit is. I really was guessing until the very end, only adding to the intrigue. That is a true testament to how well this novel was written, completely keeping me on the line from page one!

Originally reviewed for Chick Lit Central

My Sons, Writers. Part Deux.

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, it’s a free for all. We can write about whatever we’d like, catch up on any posts we weren’t able to complete, take a break, even, if we’d like to.

So, I went through some old posts of mine, finding the ones I felt would make for an adequate update post. There were a few contenders, but nothing that really stood out for me. The one I kept coming back to, was one I’d written regarding my oldest son.

He was seven at the time. A budding author. I was so proud of him, proud of the way he presented his story to me, the way he smiled yet looked a little vulnerable while he waited to see how I felt about his writing. Since that day, his desire to write has waned and waxed on a time or two, yet he always comes back to short stories, writing a few chapters and eagerly awaiting my critique. I wish I could be that forthcoming when it comes to my own stories.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

His creations border a little on the science fiction side, sprinkled with a dash of horror and action/adventure/fantasy. Maybe he’s creating a new genre that none of us have heard of, yet. Or maybe he’s highly influenced by the Star Wars/Hobbit/Alien movies (he’s never watched Alien, before, so I’m not sure where the fascination for it comes from). Whatever it is, it’s the one time I’m not actively trying to monitor his screen time. He works online, using Google Docs, just like his old mom. A chip off the old block.

And his younger brother? He’s working on it, always working on it. He has to do whatever big brother is doing, but I don’t think he gets it yet. However, the other day when he suddenly had a craving for ice cream cake (my kids are sweet hounds, just like me) he wrote this:

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It says: “Chocolate at the top. Ice cream at the bottom.” Just in case I didn’t remember the concept of the ice cream cake.

It’s only the beginning. I imagine a day where my two sons will collaborate on something, creating a masterpiece that will become a huge bestseller. I may be dreaming big, but I’m their mom. That’s my job.

Sort of on an unrelated note, yet not entirely edging away from my topic this week, this commercial totally reminds me of my sons. Any mom of two (or more) boys can probably relate to this, too. As confirmation, my oldest agreed that it was totally the sort of relationship he has with his little brother, which makes me grimace a little (I see a lot more bickering in my future) but makes me smile, too.

 

Choose Your Own Love Story, by Ilyse Mimoun

Face it––love is a crap-shoot. Say no to one guy and you might miss out on your soul mate. Say yes to another and you might find yourself in the middle of the world’s most awkward threesome. This book grants you the ultimate dating fantasy: a do-over!

Choose Your Own Love Storyputs YOU in the driver’s seat and lets you make over 50 choices and pick from 20 possible endings. Will you make out with sexy, brooding Zack, the mayor of red-flag island? Or will you settle down with Anthony, a gentle plumber with restless leg syndrome? If you don’t like where you end up, go back and start again!

How will your story end? Are you ready to find out? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

One of my favorite genres, when I was a kid, were the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. I loved having the power to go whichever route I chose to, even if that meant an utterly disastrous ending, which I had quite a few of those experiences. Not knowing what the outcome would be was one of the perks.

That’s the sort of premise you’ll find with Choose Your Own Love Story! Cleverly executed and very unique, this book allots for any and all scenarios when it comes to matters of the heart. For my own journey, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pursue one of the bad boy characters. Since it’s totally fictional (I mean, I am a happily married woman), why not go down a darker, crazier road than you’d ever entertain in real life? I have to say, I was surprised by the outcome I had. I totally thought one of my decisions would end up entirely different than it had! That’s a large part of the appeal. You never really know what’s going to happen, even when you think you’re choosing the “right” option, or the “wrong” one, for fun.

And, unlike real life, if you goof up the first go around (or multiple go-arounds), you can always start over and try a different adventure, no harm, no foul! There are so many options to choose from, too, which certainly keeps things interesting. You can take the road less traveled, or choose a more straight laced approach. The best thing is, it’s entirely up to you.

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Please. Please. Please. Send Me Envelopes!

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise asked us to write an open letter to someone or something, which fit perfectly with a beef I’ve got against my financial institution, Centris Federal Credit Union.

Overall, I haven’t had many issues with Centris.  I opened an account with them over a decade ago, and for most of our banking relationship, it’s been smooth sailing.

Then I moved to Arizona.

It’s hard to have a financial institution outside of the state you live in. The move here had been riddled with kinks. A check that wouldn’t clear because Centris put a hold on it, thus putting a hold on our entire account. Money wasn’t coming out, or going in. Long wait times, when calling customer service.

The kinks were smoothed out, given some time. The months have passed by, uneventful.

Then, I ran out of envelopes.

Centris has postage-paid envelopes, for mailing deposits. The main branch address is listed right on the front of the envelope, too. I was given a handful when I’d gone in to change my address, the teller giving me her word that banking out of state with Centris wouldn’t be an issue. Plenty of other members do it. And, here you go! A fistful of envelopes, just for you.

I’ve contacted Centris four times, asking for more envelopes. Maybe this is a cheap move on my part, but my husband occasionally consults for a prior employer of his, and they always pay in the form of a check. Or, we’ll accumulate random checks for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I don’t want to use a stamp that will cost me nearly fifty cents every time I have checks to send. I don’t want to use my own flimsy envelopes. I want to use the ones specifically created for this very purpose, from my bank. Postage paid.

The few times we attempted to use the remote deposit capture app through Centris (where you take a photo of the check, and it magically deposits into your account), the app has never worked for us. Not once. There’s no way my prehistoric phone circa 2009 could do the job, but my husband’s super fast, super Smart phone couldn’t even break the code. It won’t work.

Every time I call and speak with a Centris representative, I’m told that someone will put envelopes in the mail for me. Every single time. And every single time, this simple task never comes to fruition. Weeks will go by before I contact Centris, again, requesting the envelopes. I’ve asked politely. I’ve been firm. I’ve been forceful. I’ve replayed my sob story and indicated on more than once occasion that even though I’m promised envelopes, they never get to me. Still, nothing.

If I currently lived in the Omaha area, I’d walk right into the lobby of the bank, grab a handful of those precious envelopes (I know exactly where they are), and leave. But I don’t have that luxury. I’ve thought about asking a friend to do it for me. A recon trip, yet I feel guilty, because no one should have to take time out of their busy lives to run an errand for me, when it’s super easy for the person (or persons, maybe this will become the next “how many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb” joke, but in my case, it’s “how many Centris employees does it take to mail envelopes to a valued, long-term, good standing member) to throw the envelopes into a slightly  larger envelope, and mail them to me!

I’m giving it until Monday, Centris. Monday. Then, expect a phone call from me, yet again. This will be my fifth time contacting you. I’m a glass is half full kind of gal, and I’m holding out hope that Monday will be my lucky day, that you’ll come through for me. Please. Pretty please? With sugar on top?

Written in the Stone, by Ryan Hall

I felt as though Written In The Stone was a bit of an enigma. What starts out as a story pertaining to a man who doesn’t feel he’s lived up to what life has handed him, ends as a story about perseverance and family. Thrown in the mix is Ethan’s background. He’s had to live with a horrific experience that has thoroughly tainted his potential for happiness. I got the feeling that he’s decided the best way to deal with it, is to carry on and do his best to suppress the traumatic memories, yet when tragedy strikes again, it only reopens the wound.

Even amidst the chaos, Ethan soon discovers corruption within his past. There is a lot more going on than what he’d ever imagined, which is hard for him to wrestle with or to even believe. Not only within the folds of his family, but within the horrific experience he’s tried so hard to move past. He’s been given an opportunity to blow the whistle and release everything Pandora’s box has held onto, but he knows in doing so, all hell will break loose.

What I liked the most about “Written” is how frank and honest it is. Through Ethan’s enigmatic behaviors, I was in his head. He brought me into his world, and I got to see him transition and grow, even when life threw him curve balls. It would be interesting to see where he ends up, how he deals with it, and what life has in store for him and for his family.

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

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