An entertaining and educational firsthand account of an older woman’s single sexual life.

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THE BOOK OF HOT

A MANIFESTO

The pseudonymous Mrs. Hot offers a guide to women nearing 60 who are currently in—or planning to join—the dating scene, featuring accounts of her personal experiences and tips on beauty and self-confidence.

Following her divorce, the debut author was a single mother who spent two decades in voluntary celibacy. But after her son left home, she felt it was time for a change. In her late 50s, she opted to transform into a person she called “Mrs. Hot” and start dating again. In this first book of a planned duology, she details her various life changes, from leaving her unnamed “highly stressful public service job from hell” to getting cosmetic surgery, including Botox treatment. She also took up dieting and exercise, mainly because she wanted a “smokin’ hot body” to attract men. She offers her readers numerous tips, including on how to choose the right perfume, adopt good posture, and radiate confidence in order to feel, think, act, and be sexy. Her specific advice on dating, meanwhile, focuses primarily on the online variety. Along the way, Mrs. Hot warns of potential scammers—including men who have no intention of having any interactions beyond the virtual—and provides a bevy of suggestions for stimulating sexting. Later, she shares some of her own escapades in the post-50 dating world. They include dates with men of various ages; some were selfless lovers, she says, while others were complete misfires, such as one man who seemed more interested in a movie than he was in Mrs. Hot. This work will likely be encouraging to women who share the author’s age and relationship status. Although Mrs. Hot does promote the benefits of physical beauty, she also maintains that true attractiveness comes from within; throughout the book, she encourages women to release their “Inner Goddess.” She also highlights the power of positive thinking and the importance of loving oneself. She does, however, seem to contradict herself when she says that those who are obese and happy “are simply rationalizing their way to eating whatever they want.” Mrs. Hot’s prose is concise, with many instances of clever wordplay, particularly in chapter subtitles, such as “Taking Delivery of the U.S. Male” or “I Experience Getting Lust in the Stacks.” Indeed, her accounts of sexual encounters are similarly more playful than they are erotic. For instance, she writes that a 27-year-old “nice Italian boy” named Daniele “gave me a full, passionate serving of his native tongue—and I don’t mean a lesson in Italian.” The erotic tales in this book eschew BDSM (“It’s Fifty Shades of Nay, in my opinion”) and occur in places that some readers may feel are sex-fantasy clichés (such as a plane, a movie theater, and a beach). Nevertheless, the author’s dating stories, while a mixed bag, are often delightful—and on more than one occasion, she intriguingly tells of deepening feelings (love, perhaps?) for a man she was seeing.

An entertaining and educational firsthand account of an older woman’s single sexual life.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9912051-9-6

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Written Warrior Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2018

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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