Moving examples of everyday courage and achievement, sure to motivate readers on their own personal journeys.


Common Threads


Real-life stories of women who’ve triumphed over adversity and achieved personal and professional success.

Hipsky (Education/Robert Morris Univ.; The Missing Piece in the Law of Attraction, 2015, etc.), a radio show host and college professor, has interviewed numerous inspiring women over the years, including cancer survivors and successful businesswomen. In this volume, the first of a trilogy, she shares some of their life stories with the goal of helping readers to find their own inspiration. Different sections cover broad themes, such as identifying one’s purpose, finding one’s passion, overcoming life’s obstacles, and the power of faith. The women featured here are diverse, including Lisa Lakenan of the Goodwill Healthy Start House for homeless single moms; successful TV actress Brianna Brown; children’s book author Sheri Fink; food blogger Lisa Fetzko Kozich; and Mary Amons of Bravo’s Real Housewives series. Although each woman’s experience is unique, some common threads emerge. Many have experienced abuse at the hands of husbands or boyfriends, and a significant number have gone through divorces; others have started businesses or nonprofit organizations. Most have “beat the odds” and overcome significant challenges on their journeys to fulfillment. The stories are most engaging when Hipsky lets the women speak for themselves; when she occasionally inserts herself into the narrative, the effect is distracting, as when she brags that one woman “calls me her Fairy Godmother.” But for the most part, the personality of each woman shines through. The stories are brief but effective, and readers looking for doses of inspiration will definitely find them here. Most readers will be impressed by the likes of Mary K. Hoodhood, whose efforts to feed hungry children earned her a Presidential Citizens Medal; Tamara Fielding, a former refugee who spent three years in an Indonesian concentration camp during World War II; or Alicia Kozakiewicz, who survived a kidnapping as a teenager and has started her own organization to educate parents and kids about online safety. Whatever their personal histories, all of Hipsky’s subjects once doubted their own power, but perseverance and hope allowed them to thrive, even in difficult circumstances. 

Moving examples of everyday courage and achievement, sure to motivate readers on their own personal journeys.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5136-0422-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: The Missing Piece Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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