Crazy Wedding Story Of The Week: Do My Entire Wedding For Free | Betches

Whether you hate the wedding-industrial complex, are a bride planning a wedding and want to feel better about your own demands, or just need something to read, we’re doing a new series where we share the craziest, most out-of-touch wedding story we found on the internet that week. Submit your own crazy wedding stories to [email protected] with the subject line Crazy Wedding Story, and we just might feature yours. And make sure to follow @BetchesBrides on Instagram and subscribe to our podcast, Betches Brides.

You guys know how livid I get when people suggest you do something for “exposure”. You know why? It’s never the legit companies and brands that will actually give you good exposure that pull this sh*t. They understand the value of work and talent. It’s always no-name brands that will offer to “expose” you to their 12 followers. Take it from someone who’s been there—any job worth the exposure would actually pay you. This upcoming story, though, is somehow even worse than your regular, run-of-the-mill, cheap-ass unknown brand looking for free work. Because it’s a cheap-ass unknown person who thinks YOU should pay for literally everything in her entire wedding. I know what you’re thinking, and no, she’s not even an influencer!!

The Set-Up

Today’s story comes from Reddit’s /choosingbeggars subreddit, where a total douche-monkey of a human posted the most asinine Facebook post ever. WHO is friends with this trash anyway to see this post, I ask you? It starts off like this:

Ah yes, a brutal reminder of why I hate the South. “Hi y’all!”—it’s like she’s already gearing up to pyramid scheme all of us. Why do I already want to punch this chick in the face? “I can lol I deserve it”! All I can think of is this:

Also what the f*ck is with all the typos? “Afe getribg”? Girl, with that kind of proofreading, you should be writing for BuzzFeed (ba-dum ching). All I can do with this so far is feel really badly for Mr. David. But of course we’re just getting started.

Mrs. David goes on to tell us that she got a free historic wedding venue because Mr. David’s godmother owns it. Cool, good for you, Glen Coco. She even says, “This means my wedding will be historical! Lol!” Oh yes, I’m so sure that one day children will study the dream wedding of Mrs. David in their history books. Lol.

The Entitlement

So because the estate is far away and they’re having their honeymoon in Dubai, Mrs. David reasons that she shouldn’t have to pay for a damn thing in her own wedding. Sure, sure. She already has a free venue but why should she pay for travel costs?

Or a photographer?

Or a caterer?

Or a dress?

Or music? Flowers? Seating? And BTW, it must be an orchestra, because “this will be classy”.

But don’t worry everyone! Because, and I kid you not, Mrs. David is starting AN INSTAGRAM SOON! So you will be, and again, I quote, “begging [them] for the opportunity” to work for exposure! Because obviously, Mrs. David will be an instant Instagram hit, making millions and paying you back for feeding probably 200 people in exposure!

I honestly wish I was kidding:

I’m not actually convinced this isn’t satire.

My favorite part is how Mrs. David demands that everyone be a professional (“not a hobby but getting PAID AS A JOB”) even though she isn’t willing to pay them at all. Does she not see the irony? Let me tell you, if anyone is willing to work for free for absolutely no reason, it means they can’t charge for their work. Meaning they aren’t paid for the work. Meaning they are not a professional, which by definition means being paid for said work.

Also, here’s what I don’t understand. They can afford a honeymoon in Dubai, but didn’t plan even a minor budget for a wedding? Don’t get me wrong, I can get behind the idea—I’d much rather go to Dubai then have a wedding—but then just… don’t have the wedding? They’re not even paying for a venue, or a dress, like I don’t understand how Mrs. David thought she’d have an entire wedding for free? Paid for by whom? Like, all of these people would have to pay out of their own pockets for these services, so that Mrs. David and her seven followers will give them exposure? I cannot comprehend this at all.

The Closing

Mrs. David then wraps it up:

Yeah, I’m sure everyone is just gonna jump right on that. While I’m so grateful to the Redditor who posted this, I’m a little salty that they included no comments. Like, the comments have to be absolutely amazing, right? What do you even say to something like this? I’ve got to acknowledge that this story seems fake, like that other viral wedding story that turned out to be a marketing ploy, but it’s more fun for me to act as if it’s real. I mean, people do suck, so you really never know.

All I can say is good luck to Mrs. David and her free dream wedding, and to Mr. David, I only have three words: Witness Protection Program.

Images: Fernanda Prado / Unsplash; Reddit; Tenor

Read more: https://betches.com/crazy-wedding-story-of-the-week-do-my-entire-wedding-for-free/

The War of the Roses at 30: still one of the nastiest comedies of all time

The brutal 1989 hit took a much-loved onscreen pairing, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, and tore them to pieces

Its easy to forget just how consistently, bracingly nasty The War of the Roses is, thanks in great part to the extravagant, and festive, studio packaging it arrived in, unwrapped in cinemas 30 years ago this month. It was fast-paced, glossy, Christmassy and, deceptively, it starred one of the most beloved onscreen couples of the 80s: Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Audiences were accustomed to seeing them bicker in the hit adventures Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile but their sparring was only ever of the screwball variety, a string of lighthearted quips signposting a Billy Ocean-soundtracked happy ending on the horizon.

At the end of the decade, they reunited to show us that happily ever afters are as fantastical as treasure maps and that early romance will more likely give way to seething resentment and sadistic violence. The film was a cruel R-rated footnote to their era of PG-13 flirting and it both shocked and compelled me as a child whose family was in the thick of a divorce at the same time. I didnt see it upon release I was five at the time but as it tore its way to the small screen, it became an early object of obsession. Each rewatch was met with a certain amount of parental displeasure, an understandable concern that I would blur the lines between what happened on screen and what was happening in real life

The War of the Roses unfolds as a cautionary tale, shared by the lawyer Gavin DAmato (Danny DeVito, the reliable third wheel in Douglas and Turners previous two capers and also playing director here) with a client seeking a divorce. Urging him to consider his options, he tells the story of the Roses, a couple whose marital bliss ended in disaster. They met great. They agreed on that, he says, while were taken back to a charming meet-cute as Barbara (Turner) and Oliver (Douglas) compete at an auction in Nantucket. The film leaps forward from the auction to the bedroom to their first apartment to their first house, the couple gliding from one rite of passage to the next, ticking every box that society has taught them to tick. Barbara becomes the perfect housewife, Oliver goes from associate to senior partner at his law firm and they have two cute kids, one boy and one girl.

Everything was working for the Roses, Gavin says. Let me restate that. The Roses were working for everything.

Because in Michael J Leesons exuberantly cynical script, based on the book by Warren Adler, hard work only gets you so far. The Roses were doing everything they thought they needed to do to be happy but it wasnt enough. Those cute kids grow up to be overweight and insolent. That grandiose house ends up feeling empty and alienating. Their relationship goes from fun and frisky to stale and stuffy. The cracks that start to show are initially relatable the annoying way your partner laughs, the rambling way they tell a story, the endless fucking snoring and the escalation is believably restrained. For a while. But the potholes they encounter culminate in more of a sinkhole, those niggling issues no longer fixable with just a brave face.

Barbara asks for a divorce. Oliver says no. Barbara wants the house. So does Oliver. Both stand their ground, refusing to abandon their much-loved home, and the competitive edge that brought them together on that rainy Nantucket day soon becomes the same thing that starts tearing them apart. Its the cruel irony of so many breakups and the film revels in this. As their beautiful house becomes a war zone, the ornament they playfully fought over years ago is brought back to be used as a cruel reminder of what they once had. Its the last straw that forces them into their final physical duel, which leads to their deaths.

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Photograph: taken from picture library

In this years wonderful, Oscar-tipped drama Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach similarly shows how divorce can bring out the worst in a couple, especially in one virtuosic show-stopping argument, but he also shows how humanity can still be maintained and, in a gut-wrenching final scene, how tenderness remains. In The War of the Roses, theres no such relief. As the crumpled-up couple lie dying on a broken chandelier, one thats crashed to the ground, Oliver reaches to touch Barbara, music swelling, but she pushes him off, a final, brutal rejection that remains one of the coldest endings I can remember in studio cinema.

Critics at the time were unsure what to make of it, unsure exactly how to enjoy watching a sprightly holiday comedy involving two big stars inflicting verbal and physical abuse on each other. In a mostly positive review, Roger Ebert nonetheless remarked: There are times when its ferocity threatens to break through the boundaries of comedy to become so unremitting we find we cannot laugh, while Janet Maslin praised its outstanding nastiness but worried that the ending took things too far.

It was rare in 1989 and arguably rarer now to see a film of this scale have the courage of its convictions, maintaining its dour worldview right up until the bitter and bloody end. Dark studio comedies tend to end with light in fear of scaring off the wider crowd needed to justify a hefty budget, but global audiences embraced The War of the Roses in all its filthy glory. It was a box office smash, making $160m worldwide (with inflation, that number doubles). And whats most revealing about its success is that it outgrossed both Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, a happy ending for a film so keen to avoid one.

But for all its critical and commercial wins at the time, it has not had the afterlife one might expect. In the years since, its cultural impact has been surprisingly slight and despite talk of adapting Adlers rather mediocre follow-up novel, The Children of the Roses, its the rare 80s hit not to receive a sequel, remake or reboot a blessing, Id argue. Its DNA can be felt, though, mostly in Gillian Flynns cynical marital thriller Gone Girl and its faithful big-screen adaptation, with the author herself naming Adlers source novel as one of her favourites. Whats fascinating, on my umpteenth rewatch this year, is just how cruel it still is, 30 years on, at a time when its much harder to shock. Its less the behaviour of the couple and more how it found its way into a film of this scale and gloss, uncensored, played for laughs.

As a child, I think I found something cathartic in its garish excess. It gave me the chance to laugh at a situation that was humourless in real life. As an adult, Im far removed from that experience, of witnessing my parents divorce, but closer to my own romantic history and theres something similarly fulfilling about witnessing the fall of the Roses. They act in ways that I would never but their relentless spite, right up until the finale, is oddly satisfying, a dogged commitment to not forgiving, forgetting or pretending that wounds have healed.

Its an untamed assault, a frantic, shameless race to, as Oliver puts it, the deepest layer of prehistoric frog shit at the bottom of a New Jersey scum swamp and, ultimately, a horribly convincing argument against matrimony. I remain unmarried.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/dec/05/the-war-of-the-roses-at-30-still-one-of-the-nastiest-comedies-of-all-time

Goodbye Homeboy by Steve Mariotti

Book Summary:

One sunny afternoon in 1982, a young businessman experienced a terrifying mugging in New York City that shook him to his core.

Tortured by nightmares about the teens who roughed him up, Steve Mariotti sought counseling. When his therapist suggested that he face his fears, Mariotti closed his small import-export business and became a teacher at the city’s most notorious public school–Boys and Girls High in Bed-Stuy.

Although his nightmares promptly ceased, Mariotti’s out-of-control students rapidly drove him to despair.

One day, Mariotti stepped out of the classroom so his students wouldn’t see him cry. In a desperate move to save his job, he took off his watch and marched back in with an impromptu sales pitch for it. To his astonishment, his students were riveted. He was able to successfully lead a math lesson for the first time.

Mariotti realized his students felt trapped in soul-crushing poverty. They saw zero connection between school and improving their lives. Whenever Mariotti connected their lessons to entrepreneurship, though, even his most disruptive students got excited about learning.

School administrators disapproved of Mariotti discussing money in the classroom, however. He was repeatedly fired before receiving one last-ditch assignment: an offsite program for special-ed students expelled from the public schools for violent crimes.

The success Mariotti had with these forgotten children—including coverage in the Daily News, The New York Times, and World News Tonight—inspired him to found the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth.

By turns tragic and hilarious, Goodbye Homeboy shares Mariotti’s flaws and missteps as he connects deeply with his troubled students, and woos the most influential people in the world into helping them–saving himself in the process.

Today, Mariotti is widely recognized as the world’s leading advocate for entrepreneurship education. More than one million young people from Chicago to China have graduated from NFTE programs, and NFTE counts Sean Combs, Chelsea Clinton, Diana Davis Spencer, and many more business, entertainment, and community leaders among its staunchest supporters.

As Goodbye Homeboy powerfully illustrates, a spark of hope really can empower us to overcome life’s greatest hardships.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2T2ibbH

Reviews:

“Steve Mariotti’s moving memoir is a call to action for anyone who dares to dream, and dream big! Steve’s entrepreneurial spirit led him from calming his contentious classroom and nurturing his students’ ‘street smarts’ to becoming the founder of a booming nonprofit. Goodbye Homeboy powerfully illustrates how Steve went from reaching one student to reaching millions with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).”

—Erin Gruwell, teacher and author of The Freedom Writers Diary

“Goodbye Homeboy truly captures Steve Mariotti’s amazing journey as a teacher and an innovator. It’s engaging, heartbreaking, hopeful, and ultimately triumphant. This is the story behind the entrepreneurship-education revolution!”

—Jimmy “Mac” McNeal, founder of Bulldog Bikes Worldwide

“Steve Mariotti is one of the great teachers of our time. In this deeply personal memoir, he describes how a bunch of high-school dropouts in the South Bronx helped him discover the power of entrepreneurship education. Goodbye Homeboy is a page turner—once you open this book, you won’t be able to put it down.”

—Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up and founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization

About the Author:

Steve Mariotti is the founder and former CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and an advocate for entrepreneurs worldwide. His previous books include the Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running a Business and An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto, which makes a convincing case for the power of entrepreneurship education to combat poverty, terrorism and totalitarianism. Mariotti is also the author of award-winning junior, high-school and college textbooks on entrepreneurship and small business management. He is a popular Huffington Post blogger.

In 1982, Mariotti left a successful business career to become a public high-school teacher in tough New York City neighborhoods like East New York, Bed-Study, and Fort Apache in the South Bronx. Frustrated at first by his rowdy classrooms, Mariotti discovered he could motivate even his most challenging students by teaching them how to run a small business. This experience inspired him to create NFTE in 1987 to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth, and empower them to create pathways out of poverty. Today, NFTE is widely considered the leading provider of entrepreneurship education to low-income youth worldwide.

Debra Devi is an award-winning author, journalist and musician based in Jersey City NJ. She has co-authored numerous books with Steve Mariotti, including The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business, How to Start and Operate a Small Business, winner of the Golden Lamp Award for excellence in educational publishing, and An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto. Devi’s book The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (foreword by Dr. John) received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. As a journalist, Devi has written for Investor’s Daily, American Banker, Crain’s New York, The Village Voice, RollingStone.com, Guitar World and more. An accomplished guitarist and singer, Devi performs internationally and received a proclamation from Jersey City for her contribution to the arts.

Barbara Taylor Bradford writing prequel to A Woman of Substance

Novelist says she returned to the story that made her name 40 years ago as she struggled to cope after her husbands death

Barbara Taylor Bradfords husband, Robert Bradford, always told her: Keep writing if anything happens to me, its your solace as well as your career. So when he died of a stroke this summer, it was natural for her to pick up her pen. But after 55 years of marriage, Bradford was surprised to find herself returning to the blockbuster novel that made her name in 1979: A Woman of Substance.

A prequel, Blackie and Emma, is due to be published next year, taking readers back before the start of her rags-to-riches bestseller with the story of Blackie ONeill, the closest friend of Bradfords most famous heroine, Emma Harte.

After Bob had died and I was alone, I was full of this idea, she said. In A Woman of Substance, Blackie is with Emma a lot, her best friend but we dont know what happens to him after he leaves Emma. So what did he do, did he have other women, did he have any scandals?

Bradford said that her husband was in hospital for only a week, thank God, [before] he sadly died. But while she was sitting with him in the hospital, she couldnt concentrate on reading: Youre just looking at the man you love unconscious.

She knew that writing a book would take her mind off things, but she was already under contract to write historical novel in her Falconer series, which would require substantial research.

I was sitting, my mind wandering, and I thought Thank God Ive got a book to write because I know hes not going to make it and Im going to be on my own, Bradford said. And then I thought Oh God I dont think I can write another Falconer because of the research It didnt frighten me but it was a bit daunting. Trying to imagine a book that would require less groundwork, inspiration struck: I suddenly thought I could write about Blackie.

Readers first met Blackie, played by Liam Neeson in the Emmy-nominated TV adaptation, as a young man of 18. At the beginning of A Woman of Substance decades before she is running a huge retail empire Emma is working as a kitchen maid at Fairley Hall in Yorkshire when she runs into Blackie on the moors.

Blackie and Emma will open five years earlier, with a 13-year-old Blackie orphaned in County Kerry. He leaves for a better life with his mothers brother in Leeds, where he becomes a navvy. HarperCollins said that it would reveal the true Blackie ONeill his tumultuous life, the obstacles facing him, the desire he has to throw off the impotence of poverty and move up in the world. Like his friend Emma, he is ambitious, driven, disciplined, and determined to make it to the top.

HarperCollins publishing director Lynne Drew said that when Bradford rang her and told her she was planning to write Blackies story, it gave her goosebumps. I could immediately hear the excitement in her voice, she said, and knew the fans would go wild.

Bradford was born in Leeds in 1933 and left school at 15 to join the typing pool at the Yorkshire Evening Post, becoming the papers first womans editor at 18 before moving to London at 20 to work as a columnist and editor on Fleet Street. A Woman of Substance took her two years to write, with the original manuscript running to 1,520 pages. Today, it has sold more than 30m copies around the world. In a foreword to the 40th anniversary edition, Fern Britton wrote that in force of nature Emma Harte, Barbara created a heroine who has inspired women for the past four decades inspired them to be courageous, break rules and follow their dreams.

Bradford finished the outline for Blackie and Emma a week ago, just before coming to the UK to promote her 34th novel, In the Lions Den. The 86-year-old said she will sit down to write when she returns to her home in New York, but planning Blackie and Emma has already helped her cope in the wake of her husbands death.

Bob was by my side at the beginning when I wrote A Woman of Substance, she said, and I felt compelled to tell Blackies story I rather like the idea of visiting Blackie again and inventing a life we never saw, and seeing Emma again.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/nov/22/barbara-taylor-bradford-writing-prequel-a-woman-of-substance

When We Were Brave by Karla M Jay

Book Summary:

In WHEN WE WERE BRAVE, we find a conflicted SS officer, Wilhelm Falk, who risks everything to escape the Wehrmacht and get out the message about the death camps. Izaak is a young Jewish boy whose positive outlook is challenged daily as each new perilous situation comes along. American citizens, Herbert Müller and his family, are sent back to the hellish landscape of Germany because of the DNA coursing through their veins. In the panorama of World War II, these are the high-stakes plots and endearing characters whose braided fates we pray will work out in the end.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2RaclUH

Reviews:

“When We Were Brave is not a novel about suffering, although suffering certainly makes up much of it. Rather, it is a novel about perseverance, the will to survive and push back against cruelty and death… It is what makes the novel exceptional and compelling.” -Daniel Casey, San Francisco Book Review

2019 Distinguished Favorites for New York City Big Book Award.
Jay’s (Speaking in Tungs, 2018, etc.) account is impressively ambitious, offering a sprawling view of the wages of war from three distinct perspectives. She ingeniously braids them into a coherent narrative tapestry, and along the way, she realistically describes the human degradation experienced by prisoners in the Nazi camps… – Kirkus Reviews 2019

Karla M. Jay’s novel When We Were Brave employs a dramatic triangle to create a highly-emotional, epic story of World War II, one that is as vivid as it is highly personal. Here is a moving, riveting tale that shows you how things once were–and how similar those times can feel to our own. Scott Lasser – Author of Say Nice Things About Detroit, Screenwriter for HBO’s True Detective Series

Great historical fiction teaches and entertains. When We Were Brave finds three little-remembered stories that beg to be heard. Told with vivid detail and meticulous research, these stories involve complex characters who demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit set against a backdrop of evil and tragedy. – Firoozeh Dumas, New York Times Bestselling author of Funny in Farsi, and Laughing Without an Accent

When We Were Brave is a vivid, heart-wrenching portrayal of holocaust years, as innocent victims grapple with loss, loneliness, and longing while the English and American forces fight against the Nazi army…The story is told from the perspective of three protagonists whose lives become entwined. The narrative is gripping and skillfully paced, and Jay’s depiction of her characters’ inner turmoil, hopes, fears, and mental anguish stir the reader’s heart. With complex characters and intricate plotting, Jay delivers a heart-wrenching, engrossing historical read. -The Prairies Book Review

2019 Silver Medal Winner, Readers Favorite Contest. Combining excellent historical research with a compelling storyline, the hard work of author Karla M. Jay really pays off the more deeply involved you become with the characters in her plot…As the plot threads and connections slowly come together, the conclusion marks the realities of war and sticks in your mind for a long time after. When We Were Brave is a highly recommended historical read.

“Jay demonstrates a mastery of emotion and landscape. The scenes are visceral, the dialogue is sharp and believable, and the narrators are immediately engrossing. For history enthusiasts, the level of detail, cultural accuracy, and research feels immersive. The world of the past spills out naturally, drawing readers into the relationships between these characters. When We Were Brave is a vivid portrait of a time and place with characters who are immediately recognizable.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★

Combining excellent historical research with a compelling storyline, the hard work of author Karla M. Jay really pays off the more deeply involved you become with the characters in her plot. I found Wilhelm’s story to be the most compelling … as a disillusioned SS officer trying to make things right for himself, and for the world. Jay really pays attention to the emotive aspect and motivations of all her characters, making them leap off the page with reality and endearing them to readers, which is what makes their hardship all the more harrowing to read about. As the plot threads and connections slowly come together, the conclusion marks the realities of war and sticks in your mind for a long time after. When We Were Brave is a highly recommended historical read.– Readers Favorite

Author Bio:

Raised in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania, Karla M. Jay has worked as a speech pathologist since 1982. When she is not home in Utah gardening or writing, she is traveling, trying to see as many countries as possible–in particular, those with good coffee, ancient history, and great beaches.

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #6

Got someone who loves fantasy and adventure in their life?

Book Summary:

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2svFjnu

Reviews:

WINNER of the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Fantasy

“Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall was rollicking good fun! Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the /Homas Wildus series and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.” – Seattle Book Review

“Volke carries readers into a darkly engrossing world with a passion that makes Knightmare Arcanist satisfyingly unique and hard to put down. Readers looking for a magic-based quest fantasy will find this story compelling and nicely written, with strong characters propelling action which is often unexpected and revealing.” – Midwest Book Review

“A spellbinding first installment of what promises to be an addictive series, Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerizing story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.” – ManyBooks

“Richly crafted and laced with wry humor and intriguing magic, Knightmare Arcanist is a page-turner.” – The Prairies Book Review

Author Bio

Shami Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.

Aye-Aye Gets Lucky – Endangered & Misunderstood Book 1 by Terri Tatchell

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #5

Book Summary:

Join endangered and misunderstood AYE-AYE on his quest to win back the hearts of the people of Madagascar after his mischievous pranks get him banned from his favorite village and labeled bad luck. Luckily for AYE-AYE, he meets a new friend who shows him first-hand how unpleasant being scared can feel. Armed with a little empathy and compassion, it doesn’t take AYE-AYE long to figure out that being kind and helpful is the best way to turn his luck around forever. On the surface “Aye-Aye Gets Lucky” is about a misunderstood lemur finding a way to win the love of the villagers, but look deeper and it’s a story about empathy, self-acceptance, community and second chances.

Book Link – https://amzn.to/2Pdazzk

Video Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEJ3k7zGerY&t=19s

Review:

Aye-Aye is a small lemur who loves to play jokes on people, but his jokes are not much fun. They are mean jokes and often really scare the people he is playing the jokes on. Aye-Aye has big yellow eyes and long, sharp, crooked fingers. He is a pretty scary looking guy for people to see. Little children might be especially afraid of him when his would sneak up and wave his creepy hands at them. Aye-Aye has an ulterior motive. When he frightens people, they often throw food at him or drop it on the ground. Aye-Aye loves to eat, so this is a perfect result for him. But his antics get to be too much for the people in the village, and they ban Aye-Aye from the village and pass a law that says he cannot come back because Aye-Ayes are bad luck. It is not much fun for Aye-Aye to be all alone outside the village with no one to play pranks on and with no good food. He tries to think of ways he can get the village to welcome him back, but all he can think of are pranks and more pranks. Then a flying fox comes on the scene and teaches Aye-Aye a lesson about how it feels to be truly scared. Aye-Aye vows to change his ways and to find a way to get the village to accept him back. But is it too late? Can he ever gain their trust?

Author Terri Tatchell has written a truly engaging story that will keep youngsters entertained while teaching them an important lesson, but that lesson is well-hidden in a beautifully-written, rhyming text with perfect meter that will roll off the tongues of the adults reading the book aloud. There are a lot of funny touches that will have little ones giggling and keep them engaged. Aye-Aye is a fun character that kids will like and will root for as the story is read. The bright illustrations by Ivan Sulima are chock-full of delightful details that will keep youngster’s eyes on the pages searching for all the fun they can find. The charming illustrations really complete this story wonderfully. In addition, there are a couple of pages of back-matter that convey many interesting and important facts about Aye-Ayes and about Flying Foxes, which are endangered species. In addition to the facts, there are drawing lessons to allow youngsters to try their hands at drawing these two animals, and five ways to help the Aye-Aye to survive. This book is a terrific addition to any library, personal or public, and will become a favorite in a hurry.

San Francisco Book Review

Reviewed By: Rosi Hollinbeck

Author Bio:

Terri Tatchell is a Canadian writer known for her Oscar and BAFTA nominated work on ‘District 9’. Her love for animals and allegory have united in the creation of the ‘Endangered and Misunderstood’ series, giving the underdogs of endangered animals a lyrical voice filled with laughter, adventure and relatable themes.

Inspiring love and conservation for the endangered animals you’ve never heard of.

Endangered & Misunderstood is an ongoing series of picture books that takes a different approach to the serious subject of lesser known endangered animals, with an emphasis on laughter, adventure and relatable themes.

Proceeds from the sale of each book go directly to help the conservation of the featured animal.

Heart to Beat by Brian Lima MD

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #4

Book Summary:

Success is not reserved for the smartest or most talented—it’s earned by those who want it the most. Heart conquers all and the triumphant always go all in, never settling for anything less than their best effort.

As a leading heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Brian Lima’s life story is a testament to that mantra. He’s living proof that slow and steady still wins the race, and that the American Dream is alive and well. He persevered through countless challenges growing up in a Cuban immigrant family and defied the odds every step of the way. To fulfill his impossible dream, Dr. Lima opted for the road less traveled, enduring nearly twenty years of rigorous education and surgical training at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world.
In Heart to Beat, Dr. Lima shares the lessons learned throughout his improbable rise to the pinnacle of success in the medical field. He breaks down the keys to advancing well beyond your comfort zone and perceived limitations, regardless of your field of interest. No dream is too far-fetched and his Heart Way approach to life will help unleash your full potential and surpass your wildest expectations!

Link – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-to-beat-brian-lima/1134214090?ean=9781950892358

Review:

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this debut book, a cardiac surgeon recounts his successful medical career and offers a guide for readers wishing to achieve triumphs in their lives as well.

From the beginning, Lima proclaims his hope to inspire people from “all walks of life,” not simply aspiring doctors. Throughout the book, he details his personal history to reveal how he overcame obstacles. After his parents and siblings fled Cuba in the late 1960s, the author was born in Kearny, New Jersey, in 1976. At an early age, he was motivated to work harder in school after he watched a friend, also from a family of immigrants, win multiple awards at their eighth grade graduation. By high school, Lima focused on academics as well as athleticism, excelling in football. His devotion to the former was how he gained acceptance to Cornell University. He recalls that he accomplished this feat with a strong work ethic. He then stresses the importance of continuing to work hard even after finding success, citing “constant motion, growth, and development” as essentials. Another key element is gravitas, which in this book essentially means being consistently levelheaded under scrutiny or pressure. This links with later points, such as remaining ambitious in the face of self-doubts and conquering fears of failure. While much of the volume involves the figurative heart, Lima allots the final pages to the literal one, discussing the “rapidly evolving field of advanced heart failure” and providing tips on promoting a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Lima deftly blends a useful guide with an absorbing autobiography; he doesn’t concentrate excessively on either one. The hardships he faced in his own life will likely elicit readers’ sympathies, including losing both parents and his family’s initially seeing his older brother’s schizophrenia as satanic possession. Although clichés at first saturate the book (“in it to win it”; “eyes on the prize”), they gradually subside as the account progresses. The author writes in an easygoing language that doesn’t condescend to readers. He’s instead humble (asserting that his above-average intelligence is not innate but the result of persistent studying) and occasionally self-deprecating (wryly mentioning his “critically acclaimed writing”). As a result, his criticisms of social media and the current culture of “safetyism” don’t come across as contemptuous. For example, he notes that the latter may adversely affect readers’ ambitions if they are too wary of taking risks. Lima playfully incorporates the volume’s main theme of putting your heart into what you do. Chapter titles, for example, typically consist of wordplay (“For the Most Heart, Gravitas is Essential”). He even includes a “handy mnemonic” for recalling the specific points of the subtitle’s “HEART Way” (Hard work; Eager or Entrepreneurial; Aligned; Resolute; Thoughtfulness). There are instances of repetition; despite a chapter on avoiding complacency, Lima repeatedly returns to this notion throughout the book (for example, doing the “bare minimum” or “just enough”). Nevertheless, the work’s short length prevents the reiterations from becoming too conspicuous.

Helpful advice from a keen, assertive, and relatable physician.

Author Bio:

Dr. Brian Lima is a cardiac surgeon, associate professor of surgery, and recognized authority in advanced heart failure. He has published nearly 80 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and presented at numerous national and international medical conferences. As the surgical director of heart transplantation at North Shore University Hospital, Dr. Lima helped launch the first and only heart transplant program on Long Island. Dr. Lima completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University and was awarded a Dean’s Full Tuition scholarship to attend Duke University School of Medicine. During medical school, Dr. Lima spent a year at Harvard Medical School’s Transplantation Biology Research Center as a Stanley Sarnoff cardiovascular research fellow. He then completed his general surgery residency training at Duke University Medical Center, and subsequent heart surgery training at The Cleveland Clinic, where he was awarded the prestigious Dr. Charles H. Bryan Annual Clinical Excellence Award in Cardiovascular Surgery

Rosa by Barbara de la Cuesta

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #3

Book Summary

“There were little sins and big sins, and if you committed too many little sins you were more likely to go on to the big ones. Some sins you did in your mind and then, sometimes, you went on to let yourself fall into them.” Darkly witty and compulsively readable, Barbara de la Cuesta’s novella lets us into the private life and secret thoughts of Rosa, an undocumented home health aide grappling with menopause and her unruly body, unexpected romance, grown children who alternately worry her and fill her with pride, and how life is confronting her with everything she has ever denied herself or hidden away from. Rosa is a natural storyteller, insightful in hindsight about her own motivations and unflinching in her willingness to look at the girl she was and the woman she has become. Rosa is a daring, funny, and emotional story about a woman moving her life out of the margins and into the sun with the power of confession.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/37Yjayi

Reviews:

Rosa is a magnificent display of empathy, a chance to see through the eyes of those who are all too often dismissed with either disdain or pity. Rosa – the woman and the novella – does not ask for any of our pity. She does not ask for understanding. She only presents herself and her story, and what we make of it is up to us.

—Manhattan Book Review, five-star review

Author Bio:

Barbara de la Cuesta lived a number of years in South America, and has long been a teacher of English as a Second Language and Spanish. Out of this experience came her two prize winning novels, The Spanish Teacher, winner of the Gival Press Award in 2007, and Rosa, winner of the Driftless Novella Prize from Brain Mill Press in 2017. Fellowships in fiction from the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation, and the New Jersey Council on the Arts, as well as residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, The Virginia Center, and the Millay Colony, have allowed her to complete these novels. She has also published two collections of poetry with Finishing Line Press, and her collection of short stories,The Place Where Judas Lost his Boots, has recently won The Brighthorse Prize for short fiction.

Adjustments: A Novel by Will Willingham

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #2

Book Summary:

By turns thoughtful and hilarious (even, inexplicably, both at the same time), this deeply Midwestern book quietly unfolds a vision for how to navigate in a world where we can’t always resolve things.

It begins with an old man’s call to the insurance company to get a minor house repair covered. Once the adjuster shows up, a journey both tender and tough is set in motion. These men need each other in ways it will take time to discover.

To complicate matters, the adjuster also needs (and is needed by) his aged landlady Pearl Jenkins. Theirs is a friendship both fraught and kind.

When the latest “outsider” from Minneapolis shows up to this small Dakotan town, with her non-approved hybrid car parked right across from Pearl’s house, the cast of characters is almost complete.

Just add the generous appearance of colorful minor characters the adjuster works with and serves in his work (none of whom, arguably, are truly minor) and you’re holding a delightfully satisfying book that, while it has you laughing, manages to quietly delve into the ways we bring people in and shut them out—on the job, in the town, or at the threshold of our hearts.

As much as the characters have a relationship with poetry and story (and they do), it is also a profound book about naming both the things that have held us back and the things we want, to move us forward—a book about choosing life.

Book Link – https://amzn.to/2DJMP0u

Review:

In Will Willingham’s “Adjustments,” Will Phillips is an insurance adjustor, working in the plains, hills, and valleys of South Dakota. He lives in a room of what was once a mansion but is now more of a boarding house. He has a give-and-take relationship with his 70+ landlady, Pearl Jenkins, who is part friend, part mother, part judge, part advisor, and full-time matchmaker who usually cheats at cards. So far, Will has resisted the matchmaking and gone along with the card cheating.

Will’s work, like most work, involves a daily sameness. After a few years, insurance claims become similar. A fire is a fire, and Will can usually sniff out when it was accidental and when it isn’t. Same thing for a stolen truck; even doctors are known to report a truck stolen when it’s time for a replacement. Will investigates a fire claim; the house is owned by a man unmarried to the woman and her children living with him. Will knows how this will end – the house will be replaced or rebuilt, the man will get a new girlfriend, and the woman will find herself and her kids homeless.

It says something about Will that, even as he sees the sameness, it doesn’t numb him to people’s anguish and pain. It may be that Will is still dealing with his own, even as he masks it from himself. That mask begins to fall when he investigates a claim by Joe Murphy, a 73-year-old widower originally from Chicago. Joe and his wife had moved to the area when Joe retired from the fire department in Chicago; his wife had grown up in the area and wanted to go back. After her death, he stayed, and Joe senses something in Will that needs to be reached. Hoe begins to try to reach whatever it is in Will through literature and music.

It is filled with humor and poignancy, insight and emotion. The reader sees into the soul of an inherently decent man who knows he’s broken and has found a way to live with that, until he can’t.

Adjustments is more than a good novel; it is a fine novel. It is, simultaneously, moving and real and surprising and true. We see ourselves and our personal histories and, like Will Phillips, we bear scars. This is a story about what matters, and it’s told beautifully well.

Author Bio:

Will Willingham was a claim adjuster for nearly 20 years, helping people and insurance companies understand loss. Now, he trains others to do likewise. When he’s not scaling small buildings or crunching numbers with his bare hands, he occasionally reads Keats, upside down.