Month: August 2018

First Line Friday #81

Mary Kay Andrews is one of my ‘go to’ authors and Beach Town is one of my favorites of hers!

Greer Hennessy needed palm trees.

Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance—a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino—which will be perfect for the film’s climax—when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who’s seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it’s too late and disaster strikes? Told with Mary Kay Andrews inimitable wit and charm, the New York Times bestseller Beach Town is this year’s summer beach read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

Blog Blitz: The Little Gate-Crasher

Today I am one of the blogs sharing my review for the blog blitz for The Little Gate-Crasher: The Life and Photos of Mace Bugen by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer.

Book Description:

Mace Bugen might have been an achondroplastic dwarf, 43 inches tall with an average size head and torso set on small, twisted legs—but that didn’t mean he was an idiot or a pushover. In truth, he was smarter than most; over the years, he learned to effectively turn what society in those days called a handicap into a powerful tool he could use to his advantage.

“When I was a kid,” he once said, “I’d ask myself, Why is that guy on the football team? Why can’t I be on the team? Why didn’t God give me the height so I could be the hero?”

“Then at some point I figured it out: I gotta do something special to let ’em know I’m me.”

In The Little Gate Crasher: The Life And Photos Of Mace BugenI remember my amazing great-Uncle Mace Bugen through his journey as a first-generation Jewish-American kid in working class Philipsburg, NJ to becoming the first celebrity selfie-artist—way ahead of his time.

Featuring vintage photos of Mace with his exploits, The Little Gate Crasher captures three decades of American pop culture, seen through the unique lens of Mace and his gate-crashing exploits.

Underneath his antics, we meet a complex man who continually defies others expectations and meets life on his own terms. Mace becomes a successful businessman and devoted son to his aging parents. But in his gate-crashing antics, we best get to see Mace’s unique combination of guile, cunning and sense of entitlement, which he used to engineer photos of himself with some of the biggest celebrities of his day. If people were going to stare at him all of his life, he would give them something to see.

The Little Gate Crasher features over 50 vintage photos of Mace with celebrities, athletes and politicians, including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Muhammed Ali, Richard Nixon, Jane Russel, Joe DiMaggio and more.


The Little Gate Crasher: The Life and Photos of Mace Bugen
Author: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer
Published: April 18, 2016
110 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: August 26, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Jessica’s Review:

You see a picture of Mace Bugen and think “I know him from somewhere!” He’s one of those faces you won’t forget, and not just because of his size.  Mace was an achondroplastic dwarf who did not let his small stature get the best of him, instead of blaming his height, he accepted it!  His size was the equivalent to a four year old. He was ahead of his time taking what we now know of as selfies with some of the biggest celebrities, politicians and sports figures  of his time! Sometimes the celebrities were willing participants; sometimes the pictures are blurry in his creative ‘photo-bomb’ attempts to get photos. He even got a photo with Former President Nixon and the man who would later develop the polio vaccine: Dr. Jonas Salk.

This book is more than just a picture book of a man with celebrities: we learn about him, his family (which includes the author) and his life in this biography.  The author, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is his great-niece and she put her heart and soul into this book. Mace may have been short in stature but his personality and antics were larger than life. This should be a book everyone should have, it would make a perfect coffee table book.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

Amazon UK


Moishe Morris “Mace” Bugen
June 12, 1915- October 31, 1982

About the Author:


Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is an experienced educator, author and speaker. At Jewish Learning Venture, she works as Director of Whole Community Inclusion and leads disability awareness programs for the Philadelphia Jewish community. Her most recent book The Little Gate Crasher, a memoir of her Great-Uncle, who overcame society’s prejudices about dwarfism to lead a remarkable life, was one of the national book selections for 2017 Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. Gabby writes for and edits The New York Jewish Week’s The New Normal: Blogging Disability and is also a featured Philly parenting blogger for WHYY’s newsworks. Gabby holds a B.F.A. in theatre and creative writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Contact Gabrielle:
Website
Twitter @gabkaplanmayer

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 **Win a paperback copy of The Little Gate-Crasher (US & Canada only)**

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A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness
Inspired by: An idea from Siobhan Dowd
Published: May 5, 2011

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Kim’s Review:

I have read many books that have made me cry. Some made my eyes wet, some made fat tear drops roll down my cheeks, some made me ugly cry . . . but only two books have ever made me ugly cry with sobs that I couldn’t stop: A Monster Calls is one of those books. I had seen it on shelves and on book sites, but I found it for super cheap at Ollie’s one day, so I snatched it up. I decided to read it two years ago when I was looking to fill time between books with something short and easy. Easy, my sweet aunt!

My mother-in-law had come for a visit and Ivan was about to get ready to go to work when I finished it. They both had to get up and leave the room, I was crying so hard. Poor Ivan never knows what to do when I cry and all Meemaw wanted was to say hi and see the flowers in our backyard! I wasn’t expecting to react so dramatically to this book. It broke my heart. But this was before I started reviewing for Jessica’s Reading Room so I decided to read it again so I could write a review: Bad idea. There are some things that I’ll have strong reactions to when I read or watch or experience it the first time, but then try again and handle it better the second time . . . yeah, not with this book! Ivan is just sitting there working on his Legos when he looks up and sees me break down completely. Poor guy just puts his head down and keeps working! 😊 When I finally get control of myself he asks if this is good kinda sad or bad kinda sad and the only way I can describe it is that it’s a feeling kinda sad. Y’all know how shallow I am.

I’ve always considered myself to be relatively unfeeling and emotionally stunted. Then between, Gerda Weissman Klein’s book All But My Life and The Book Thief, I’ve discovered that I’m waaaaaaaay too feeling! And this book brought out so many feelings, it’s not even funny. I can’t even talk too much about the story because it needs to be experienced. I don’t want to give away information that y’all need to read and feel for yourselves and I don’t want to ruin this book in any way. All I can say is that this book is perfect for a dreary day. If you feel emotional, but it’s all pent up inside, this book will help get it all out! I’d recommend this book for slightly older kids who have suffered. Had I known about this book when I was teaching, there are several kids I would have gotten copies for! Rainy days, moody days, PMS-y days, difficult days, days when you need perspective, days when you need to remind yourself that annoying people could be suffering, this book is perfect for them all! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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