Moms searching for mind and body improvement will enjoy the colorful inspiration.

THE BEAUTIFUL HANGOVER

AND EVERYTHING ELSE A CANADIAN LEARNED FROM A COLOMBIANA ABOUT THE BALANCE OF MOTHER, WIFE AND SELF

A disheveled Canadian mom befriends a sexy Colombian, and the end result is a lively account of self-discovery and life balance in Waring and Cano’s memoir.

Though Waring’s lighthearted voice makes for a fun read, her life wasn’t always so breezy. As an expatriate living in Buenos Aires, she loved the culture and her family. But her husband’s job forced him to travel nearly 150 days a year, and the daily responsibility of caring for two young children rested heavily on her shoulders. As a result, she suffered from migraines, a back injury and exhaustion. Enter Cano, a former swimsuit model and Colombian expatriate mother who “laugh[ed] heartily, dance[ed] with the enthusiasm of a teenager and savour[ed] good food like there [was] no tomorrow.” Waring was dazzled by Cano’s flair and the way she balanced motherhood and her own needs. Per Waring, Colombian women embrace their femininity at all ages, but their beauty goes much deeper than the skin. Cano reveled in the moment and appreciated the small things in life. Even hangovers were wonderful events to Cano because she could lounge in bed with her husband. Eventually, the two women embarked on a project to turn Waring into a lovely “Yummy Mummy” like Cano, complete with confidence, playfulness and professionally blow-dried hair. Waring’s personal improvement journey bubbles with humor (often self-deprecating, as she describes her frizzy hair and very pale “blue white” legs) and tongue-in-cheek banter. While marveling at the fact that Cano is a Colombian who doesn’t drink coffee, Waring exclaims, “Oh, my beloved coffee! However as the Canadian who doesn’t drink beer, I can’t throw stones. Somehow, we have both failed in our patriotic duties.” Along with a peek into the ethnically diverse Latin American culture, Waring discusses what she learned from Cano, including a potpourri of life philosophy and health and beauty topics that range from “To Wax Or Not To Wax” to “Power Plate” exercising. A glossary of food and cultural terms, as well as websites and articles for further reading, are included. Waring’s transformation and most of the beauty ideas—like moisturizing skin and drinking lots of water—are familiar. However, rollicking anecdotes, such as the time Waring danced onstage with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, are memorable reminders for readers to carpe diem.

Moms searching for mind and body improvement will enjoy the colorful inspiration.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 260

Publisher: FastPencil

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Despite some distractions, there’s an irresistible charm to Owens’ first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction.

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WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

A wild child’s isolated, dirt-poor upbringing in a Southern coastal wilderness fails to shield her from heartbreak or an accusation of murder.

“The Marsh Girl,” “swamp trash”—Catherine “Kya” Clark is a figure of mystery and prejudice in the remote North Carolina coastal community of Barkley Cove in the 1950s and '60s. Abandoned by a mother no longer able to endure her drunken husband’s beatings and then by her four siblings, Kya grows up in the careless, sometimes-savage company of her father, who eventually disappears, too. Alone, virtually or actually, from age 6, Kya learns both to be self-sufficient and to find solace and company in her fertile natural surroundings. Owens (Secrets of the Savanna, 2006, etc.), the accomplished co-author of several nonfiction books on wildlife, is at her best reflecting Kya’s fascination with the birds, insects, dappled light, and shifting tides of the marshes. The girl’s collections of shells and feathers, her communion with the gulls, her exploration of the wetlands are evoked in lyrical phrasing which only occasionally tips into excess. But as the child turns teenager and is befriended by local boy Tate Walker, who teaches her to read, the novel settles into a less magical, more predictable pattern. Interspersed with Kya’s coming-of-age is the 1969 murder investigation arising from the discovery of a man’s body in the marsh. The victim is Chase Andrews, “star quarterback and town hot shot,” who was once Kya’s lover. In the eyes of a pair of semicomic local police officers, Kya will eventually become the chief suspect and must stand trial. By now the novel’s weaknesses have become apparent: the monochromatic characterization (good boy Tate, bad boy Chase) and implausibilities (Kya evolves into a polymath—a published writer, artist, and poet), yet the closing twist is perhaps its most memorable oddity.

Despite some distractions, there’s an irresistible charm to Owens’ first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1909-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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