Book Review: Love Like The Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

Love Like The Movies by Victoria Van Tiem on Mandy Boles: Life Between BooksTitle: Love Like The Movies
Author: Victoria Van Tiem
384 pages, Published by Pocket Star
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Buy The Book: Amazon

In this irresistible romantic romp, movie fanatic Kensington Shaw is thrown into love—Hollywood-style—when her gorgeous ex presents a series of big screen challenges to win back her heart.

What girl wouldn’t want to experience the Pretty Woman shopping scene? It’s number two on the list. Or, try the lift from Dirty Dancing? It’s number five. One list, ten romantic movie moments, and a handful of shenanigans later, Kenzi has to wonder…should she marry the man her family loves, or risk everything for a love like the movies? (Summary provided by Pocket Star/Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.)

My Thoughts:

I’ve never been a fan of watching romantic comedies, but I love chick lit. So, I was a little undecided about whether or not to read Love Like The Movies by Victoria Van Tiem. I ended up reading it, and I’m so glad I did!

The premise of the novel is really fun. Kensington has never really felt like she fit in with her perfect family. She’s the artsy one in a family of perfectionists, and her entire family lives to criticize her. Now, Kensington has a corporate job at an ad agency and a boyfriend who works with her at the agency. Her family loves her boyfriend and is elated when they get engaged. Kensington is excited too, until a new client comes to the agency, her college boyfriend Shane. The agency is in trouble and her boss is depending on Kensington to seal the deal to save the firm. However, before she can get him to sign on the dotted line, Shane gives Kensington an “Indecent Proposal” (see what I did there?). He gives her a list of romantic comedies, and tells her she must agree to act out scenes from each of the movies with him in order to clearly understand the vision for the movie theater/restaurant he’s opening.

Kensington has mixed feelings about acting out the scenes with Shane, because their relationship ended on bad terms. She’s also worried her fiance will be angry if he finds out. What follows is a hilarious look at what happens when Kensington stops trying to please everyone and starts living for herself.

This book was such a great escape read. It’s like the book version of a romantic comedy. One could, of course, argue that all chick lit is like that to an extent, but trust me. It’s not. Chick lit is a varied genre ranging from light reading to heavy dramas. Love Like The Movies has all of the ingredients of a good romantic comedy. There are heart touching moments and slapstick comedy, along with a BFF and the requisite frenemy.

One of my worries before reading Love Like The Movies was that I wouldn’t get any of the romantic comedy references in the book. There was only one reference in the book I didn’t get, because I’ve haven’t watched 27 Dresses (which my SIL is pretty much determined to make me watch since I mentioned it to her before writing this review).

I think my favorite scene in the book was one that echoed the paintball scene in Failure to Launch. It was so cute and funny when Kensington acted out the “trigger move” sequence. The plot of this book is so quirky and unique that I can’t imagine it not getting made into a movie, and Love Like The Movies is a romantic comedy I would most definitely see in the theater. Victoria Van Tiem is a fresh, new voice in the romance world, and I can’t wait to read what she writes next!


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Book Review: Drinking and Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders By Brandi Glanville with Leslie Bruce

Drinking and Tweeting by Brandi GlanvilleTitle: Drinking and Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders

Author: Brandi Glanville with Leslie Bruce

256 Pages, Published By Gallery Books

Brandi’s Info: Twitter | Facebook

Buy The Book: Amazon


She’s the brutally honest breath of fresh air on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, known for her dramatic divorce, her barely-there clothing, and her inability to keep her mouth shut. So why should she change now? Brandi Glanville tells all in this hilarious, no-holds-barred memoir. Fans have been waiting for Brandi’s scoop on one of the biggest divorces of the decade, since her husband of eight years abandoned her and their two sons to marry country singer LeAnn Rimes.
Not only does Brandi spill the beans about her side of the split, the lovable housewife shares the incredible wild ride that took her from a life in the ghetto to Hollywood’s most elite circles. For the first time, Brandi talks about how she escaped a rough neighborhood on the outskirts of Sacramento and stumbled into a successful modeling career that swept her into a world of Paris Fashion Weeks, private jets, and uncircumcised penises. Before she knew it, Brandi was the perfect Hollywood trophy wife—at least until her marriage exploded. Today, the refreshingly filter-free housewife and unapologetic mom is the newest full-time cast member of Bravo’s juggernaut franchise, where she often elicits raised eyebrows and gossip from her costars for her refusal to be the scorned ex-wife, to be bullied, to change her sarcastic sense of humor, or—on most occasions—to wear a bra. Sassy, raunchy, and compulsively readable, Drinking and Tweeting perfectly captures Brandi’s open-book attitude, as she dishes about everything from her DUI, her cheating ex, her one-night stands, and the secret plastic surgery that made her “seventeen” again. You’re sure to enjoy every page of this funny, upbeat, honest tale. Clear your schedule for an afternoon and grab your favorite cocktail, a comfy seat . . . and maybe a Xanax. But that’s for later. (Summary provided by Gallery Books.)
My Thoughts:
I read Brandi Glanville’s memoir Drinking and Tweeting And Other Brandi Blunders while in the midst of a reading slump. Every now and then I go through a period of what I call “reader’s block.” During these sometimes week long intervals, it is very hard for me to concentrate long enough to read one book much the less the four or five I read in a typical week. After a very frustrating week of being unable to finish a book, I picked up Brandi’s memoir. Drinking and Tweeting isn’t on my formal TBR list, however I knew I needed a lively read to get me out of my slump.
As I began Brandi’s memoir, I realized “lively” is a total understatement. If you watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills like I do, then you know that Brandi is the housewife known for having no filter when it comes to speaking her mind. She is also known for her tiny bikinis. (She’s forty and looks 22. Seriously, she’s gorgeous.) Brandi is is also known for her fashion model career in the 1990s. However, she skyrocketed to tabloid stardom a few years ago for a reason no one should ever have to endure: Her husband, Eddie Cibran was caught having an affair with country music singer LeAnn Rimes.
Brandi’s memoir spills the details on what happened between Eddie and her. Brandi Glanville provides the voice for every scorned woman throughout her memoir. She does not hold back. She tells everything that happened that she is allowed to discuss. Brandi has a great conversational writing style. Reading Drinking and Tweeting feels kind of like having a conversation with a good friend. That is a really good friend, who is a great story teller, and really needs to vent about something awful that happened.
Brandi manages to make even the saddest moments of her and Eddie’s break-up humorous for readers. She reveals lots of details regarding when Eddie and LeAnn’s affair started and when Brandi began having suspicions regarding her husband and LeAnn’s relationship. There is also a chapter in which Brandi details the operation she had to rejuvenate her “kitty.” This part of the book had me laughing out loud. Especially, when she reveals she paid for the operation with Eddie’s credit card.
Brandi also tells about her Post-Eddie dating adventures including a year long romance with a billionaire. Throughout the book Brandi shares tips that helped get her back into dating and tips for dealing with friendship politics after divorce. The notion of a tell-all memoir that includes self-help tips may seem a little odd, but Brandi makes it work. Brandi also tells in detail her facial, botox, and fillers regimen. Apparently, you can use fillers in acne scars. Who knew?!!
Chelsea Handler and Tori Spelling better move over, because I foresee lots of bookstores carrying books authored by Brandi Glanville for the foreseeable future. Brandi is a fresh voice and she knows how to tell a story! I highly recommend Drinking and Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders. Now I’m off to see about filling in this chicken pox scar on my forehead!

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10 Great Holiday Books For Kids

10 Great Holiday Books For Kids

The Following is a fun list of 10 great holiday books kids ages 0 to 5 will love! Click the title to purchase a copy. Happy Holidays.:) – Mandy

1. Hanukkah!

Written by Ronni Schotter, Illustrated byMarilyn Hafner, Ages 4 – 8, 32 pages, $8.99, Published by LB Kids

2. A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer (BabyLit Books)

Written by Jennifer Adams,  Illustrated by Alison Oliver, Ages 0 – 3, 22 pages, $9.99, Published by Gibbs Smith

3. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Written by Donna L. Washington, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans, 32 pages, Ages 4 and up, $10.39, Published by Katherine Tegen Books

4. Christmastime Is Here!: Lift the Flap

By Ellen Weiss (for Fisher Price Little People), 10 pages, Ages 2 and up, $9.99, Published by Reader’s Digest

5. Together for Kwanzaa

Written By Juwanda G. Ford, Illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger, 24 pages, Ages 3 and up, $3.99, Published by Random House Books For Young Readers

6. Charlie and the Christmas Kitty

Written by Ree Drummond, Illustrated by Diane deGroat, 40 pages, Ages 4 and up, $11.83, Published by HarperCollins

7. Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy

Written by Don Freeman, Illustrated by Lisa McCue, 14 pages, Ages 3 and up, $5.99, Published by Viking Juvenile

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

By Dr. Seuss, 64 pages, Ages 5 and up, $10.20, Published by Random House Books For Young Readers

9. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas

Created and illustrated by James Dean, Story by Eric Litwin, 40 pages, Ages 4 and up, $10.40, Published by HarperCollins

10. Hanukkah Lights

Written by David Martin, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 26 pages, Ages 1 and up, $5.99, Published by Candlewick


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#MIBWeek: Chicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black and Kevin Hawkes

Title: Chicken Cheeks

Author: Michael Ian Black

Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes

40 pages, Published by Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers, Ages 3-7

Michael’s Info: Twitter | Website | Facebook

Kevin’s Info: Website

Buy The Book:Amazon

 Summary: Some bears will go to any length to get some honey. This one recruits every animal that comes along to form, well, a stack. The result? Tail of the duck to the gluteus maximus of the duck-billed platypus (with many other rears in between). Readers will giggle with delight at the bird’s eye view of some hysterical animal bottoms. Follow this back-sided journey up the tree – where the real surprise awaits. The pairing of Black’s minimal text with Hawkes’s visual story line will keep you chuckling from the bottom up. (Summary provided by Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers.)

My Thoughts:

As the mother of two boys ages two and five-years-old, my household is the target demographic for the children’s book Chicken Cheeks written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. The book is about many different kinds of animals and how their posteriors help a bear attempt to reach honey high up in a tree. My boys thought it was hilarious. My five year old especially loved it. He regularly serenades me with a song he made up about his biscuits (aka butt) and uses the phrase “my buns are burnin'” pretty much every five minutes. So, if my five-year-old awarded Pulitzers, Chicken Cheeks would get one.

I asked my two-year-old what he thought of the book and he said, “Want to reeeeaad.” I asked him what he wanted to read, and he pointed to Chicken Cheeks. We sat down to read it again, and he enjoyed it even more the second time. With this reading he repeated each line after I said it the first time. He especially loved saying “Hound dog heinie” and “Kangaroo keister.”

Chicken Cheeks has very minimal text, so children ages three to seven can enjoy it on their own as a picture book as well. They will probably remember most of the funny descriptions that go with the pictures after a few readings. The minimal text is what makes it the perfect book for very young readers. Like Goodnight Moon, a book both of my children can recite by heart, Chicken Cheeks will capture the attention of  young readers!

Click below to watch the book trailer for Chicken Cheeks. It is SO funny and not in a “kid funny” way. Though kids will find it funny too. Ahhh, Michael Ian Black. *sighs*


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McDonald’s Memoir is a Quick, Fun Read

Book: You’ll Never Blue Ball In This Town Again

Author: Heather McDonald

272 pages

Publisher: A Touchstone Book, Published by Simon & Schuster

Buy The Book: Amazon

My Thoughts:

Before this summer, I had never heard of Heather McDonald (my cable provider does not provide E!). However, apparently everyone else had. So, every bookstore I entered in the month of June proudly had McDonald’s book (on the cover she is lounging suggestively on top of a pile of blue balls) displayed front and center. I eventually gave in to temptation (unlike Heather, I’ve never been one to resist a blue ball) and purchased a copy.

Heather McDonald’s immorality tale of life as a perpetual “blue baller” during her twenty-something years is a funny read. At the beginning of the book, I was skeptical. I had trouble relating to the “hilarity” (maestro, cue up “Cause I’m a Blonde” by Julie Brown) of her days as a sorority girl at USC. But upon further reading, her sarcastic wit won me over.

Throughout the memoir, she recounts funny anecdotes regarding everything from how a “well intentioned joke about bulimia” backfired to a junior high misadventure featuring a teenaged Jason Bateman. Highlights in the book include her dating exploits involving dreamboat Vince Vaughn, Great Expectations dating service and a sociopath named Ben.

However, in spite of all the wicked humor, Heather ends her tale on a sweet note. “The Courtship of Mackenzie’s Father” and “The AARPs Next Door” discuss the trials of being a step- mother and Heather’s close relationship with her parents respectively. I think her writing is at its best in these two pieces. I enjoyed seeing the “softer side” of a woman whose written word is often sarcastic and delivery harsh. You’ll Never Blue Ball In This Town Again is a quick, fun read. A suitable accessory for hanging out on the beach and sipping a cocktail.


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