Book Review: The Husband’s Secret

the_husbands_secret★★

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty follows the lives of three women who don’t know each other very well, but whose lives’ are completely intertwined.  Cecilia’s life is perfect until she finds a letter from her husband containing a dark secret she was only supposed to find out upon his death. Tess is betrayed by her husband and cousin, who kick off the novel by announcing they are in love. Rachel is mourning the death of her daughter, who was brutally murdered years ago.

Part of the reason I enjoyed reading is that I’m naturally a gossipy person (character flaw🤷‍♀️). Getting completely consumed by a novel and the world of its characters helps keep me out of trouble and negative gossip in real life. The Husband’s Secret is an over-the-top version of a conversation I’d have with my girlfriends over coffee while loving every minute of it. The plus side to it being fictional, I get to avoid gossiping while getting all the benefits of a juicy story.

The reasons I gave this novel only two stars? It’s predictable and shallow.

The Husband’s Secret would have been a great two-hour catch up with my girlfriends over coffee. If it were a true story, it’d be a wild one. However, in the age of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, we really can’t call this a thriller. Cecelia’s husband’s secret was quite obvious from the very beginning of the book. Additionally, by half way through I think its pretty clear to see what the gist of the ending will be. I spent about half the novel waiting for the author to get to the inevitable point.

I also found the characters to be quite shallow and frivolous. While Tess was in a very difficult situation from the start – her thought processes and behavior were irritating to read through. I found her to be the most shallow of all the characters, and particularly cringed at all the unnecessary fat-shaming. I think her character could have been cut out completely for the plot to work. The juicy elements of her marriage in shambles seem a bit hodgepodge and didn’t mold well into the rest of the story.

Moriarty also wrote Big Little Lies, which I haven’t read and after reading this probably will not. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the HBO series and was excited to hear it is coming up for a second season. Looks like The Husband’s Secret is being made into a movie, perhaps it will be better than the book.

Overall, a juicy story, but not worth the long read. I read a copy from my local library, but you can get it at any bookstore.

 

Not-For Profit Call to Action – The Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States is dedicated to the ethical treatment of all animals – from cats and dogs to chickens and cows, and beyond to monkeys and polar bears. We believe that all animals deserve a voice and we advocate through a number of ways:

We don’t all have the opportunity to donate money or dedicate a lot of time, but we can all take action. On Giving Tuesday, November 28, we ask you to speak for those without a voice. Writing a letter to your local representative through our simple form, learning more about adoption, and making a donation are all generous ways to support the Humane Society and our mission. Your support makes a difference for animals and the people who love them. Click here to learn more about the Humane Society and all that we have accomplished through donor and volunteer support.

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove book cover★★★★★

A Man Called Ove (pronounced oo-veh) by Fredrik Backman tells the story of a “curmudgeon.” He’s a stickler for the rules, keeps a strict and simple way of life, and is quick to lose his temper. This is a tale of unlikely friendships and their profound impact on one old grump’s life. It’s a heartwarming novel that reminds us not to judge a book by its cover (or a person!).

“You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away.”

The novel illustrates some of life’s most important lessons, especially the importance of kindness. The above quote is a major theme in A Man Called Ove, reminding us all that compassion and patience can make the world of difference in someone’s life – and we might not even realize it. I think we all encounter a person like Ove in our lives and it can be difficult to show compassion for such personalities. However, A Man Called Ove shares how sometimes the oddest friendships are exactly what we need in life. From his belated wife, Sonja, to his pushy neighbor, Parvaneh, Ove’s path in life was forged by keeping an open (even if rigid and grumpy) heart. While Ove comes across several new and unlikely friends, my particular favorite is the relationship he forges with a neighborhood stray cat, who seems (to me) to be a symbol of Sonja.

Throughout the novel, we meet Sonia in flashbacks. In my opinion, this was the best part of the novel because Backman so beautifully articulates just how much Ove loved Sonia. I’ll leave a few of my favorite quotes describing her here:

“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”

“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.” 

“He went through life with his hands firmly shoved into his pockets. She danced.” 

This is probably one of my favorite books of all time and definitely a top read of my 2017 bookshelf. I read a digital version of A Man Called Ove for free from my local library, you can also get it here.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down: The Handmaid’s Tale Review

handmaids-tale-special-edition-audible-small★★★★★

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale came on my radar in a typical way … just after the TV series came out last spring. After episode two, I decided I needed to stop watching and read the book first – I finally got to it last week. To be honest, I was hesitating to read it. I heard many people say it was scary how well the themes resonate with modern society, and I thought “why aggravate myself?”

Everyone’s right–The Handmaid’s Tale does resonate with many aspects of American society. Reading the book, I could totally see man-made disasters completely destroying the planet and ruining society. I could see religion being used as a cover to impose radical conservatism. One particularly disturbing aspect of the novel was the concept of regressing, particularly with respect to the rights of women. I always think of women as making progress, being better off than their mothers. However, Atwood describes a world where progress can be undone – progress for women, the poor, the environment. This, in my opinion, is the most disturbing part of The Handmaid’s Tale. 

I wondered, but how did Atwood see this coming when she wrote The Handmaid Tale back in 1984?

Turns out she didn’t have to. In a telling essay at the end of the edition I read, Atwood explains she had one rule — everything in the book must be something that has already happened in history. From the handmaids, to the executions, to the clothing, Atwood was (perhaps tragically) inspired by history. She just brilliantly pieced it all together to bring us one, telling novel.

Scary, thought provoking, and bound to become a modern classic. Can’t wait to finish up the series now!

This is the special edition of The Handmaid’s Tale I listened to, complete with Atwood’s clever and telling epilogue and essay.

 

 

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

★★★★

After reading the very intense Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I looked for a light-hearted love story – but apparently I didn’t read the description of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine carefully. Neverthless, I’m happy about the oversight.

Eleanor’s pretentious and witty attitude makes for a really funny and interesting character. Her rigid behavior acts ask both comical relief and and insight to the depth of her state of mind and past. I really appreciate the complexity of her personality. She’s funny and silly about romance, but at the same time she deals with an impossible mother, resulting in substance abuse and depression. I think the many facets of her personality are something many can relate to – a girl who splurges on a new look from “Bobbi Brown” excited about the prospect of meeting a cute musician could very well be the same girl who binge drinks herself into a suicidal state all within a week.

I also absolutely love Eleanor’s new and unlikely friend Raymond. Genuine and easy-going, Raymond is the kind of person I’d want to have as a friend too. It seems so important, considering Eleanor’s life, for her to meet a truly kind person. There’s comfort in a friend that understands the level of complexity of your past without needing all the details. Raymond gives Eleanor that space, but it doesn’t affect their friendship. Raymond also makes it easy for Eleanor to make new friends, another good trait to have in a loved one.

A love story of a different kind doesn’t come around as often as it should. This one is worth the read.

I listened to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine on Audible, also available at other bookstores.

Speech: Announcing Amazon Warehouse

Prepared for the Mayor, academic work

We  all know Staten Islanders work hard for the borough – and it isn’t easy. From closing the world’s largest sanitation site post-9/11 to recovering after Sandy’s devastation, I am always impressed by the diligence of this community. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that once again, Staten Island has taken another stride to benefit its residents and all of New York City.

Today, I am delighted to announce that Amazon has accepted the City’s bid to build a headquarters in New York City, including a brand new warehouse on Staten Island. This new development means thousands of full-time jobs to the community, economic growth and stability for the entire City and State, and encouraging other companies to move in with jobs for our neighbors.

The warehouse will be located at Global Matrix Park, New York City’s largest warehouse located on Staten Island’s West Shore. The 200-acre property is close to both the newly-renovated Goethals and Verrazano Bridges. Amazon is the first tenant in the warehouse complex, bringing 2,250 new full-time jobs to the island.

The company is expecting an $18 million tax credit contingent upon creating jobs for Staten Island and New York State with this new 855,000-square-foot facility. For this, the company must promise to keep its more than 800 existing jobs in the State. More jobs on Staten Island means a lot to this community. For those balancing families, working, and commuting, a full-time job nearby that provides good benefits and stability makes all the difference. I’ve spoken to many of you about the importance of building careers on the island and I understand the importance.

Above and beyond the immediately tangible benefits, the confidence Amazon has placed in Staten Island sets an example for other companies. The Global Matrix Park facility has additional space for other companies to move in and grow. Amazon’s influence is worth even more than the $80 million investment in Staten Island. Soon we’ll be seeing more companies seeking space in the last affordable borough, something we’ve already seen with the opening of Broadway Stage’s film studio, built on the former site of the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility. You can see the pattern of confidence building. This means more quality jobs, closer to home.

Between the 2,250 new jobs, the guarantee of the more than 800 existing jobs, and the promise of other companies following suit – this is a big win for Staten Island, New York City, and New York State. For decades, Staten Island has fought to make and keep the borough an affordable place for families to flourish. We’ve made great strides before this and we’ll continue to work hard for what matters to Staten Island.

Last but not least – perhaps a favorite benefit to our younger neighbors who are used to instant gratification – let’s not forget the same-day shipping benefit I know we will all be enjoying, especially around the holiday season! If Manhattan can have it, why not Staten Island

Content Marketing: Submitting a Manuscript? Read This Before Hitting Send

Company X’s Chief Editor Jane Smith’s Top Tips for New Authors

On an any given day, my editing assistant, Sam, can be found buried behind three-foot stacks of manuscripts piled on her desk – I can’t even imagine what her email inbox looks like. There are many talented authors who pass their manuscripts along to Company X, but we can’t take on every manuscript. With so many submissions, sometimes our decision isn’t about whcih manuscript is “better” – it comes down to practicalities. It’s a shame when we need to reject talented authors because their book needed too much work. After 25 years in publishing, my best advice to new authors is – before you hit send, make you work is in the best shape possible. You don’t want simple, avoidable errors to cloud your brilliant work because sometimes this can be the weight-limiting factor.

Here are a few of the most common reasons manuscripts are immediately rejected:

Poorly Formatted: Formatting a manuscript takes a lot of time and attention to detail. When authors send us work that isn’t formatted as a manuscript, we have to factor in extra time and money to account for fixing this. While there are many variations to how to format the manuscript, select one, standard style and stick with it. Click here [insert link to Company X’s blog post about formatting] for a few versions that might be helpful.

Review the guidelines: When a manuscript is sent via mail to Company X – the author gets an automatic rejection letter. That’s because Company X’s guidelines require all manuscripts be submitted through our online portal. All literary agencies have guidelines for submitting manuscripts. Sending submissions outside of guidelines automatically gets your manuscript rejected, so make sure you read carefully. Be sure that you are submitting to the appropriate department through their preferred channel.

Have a Summary: Like Company X, many literary agencies are at first only looking for a short plot summary of your book. Make sure you have a concise, well-polished summary ready to distribute. You should tailor your summary to fit the agency (or crowdfunding platform!) you are communicating with.

Hire an editing service: Many times, our team rejects manuscripts simply because they require far too much editing. To avoid embarrassing mistakes, I always recommend that authors get their work professionally proofed before sending to literary agents. Free online tools such as Grammarly are a great headstart, but ultimately, you’ll want to invest in an editing service.

Write a tailored cover letter: Before submitting, do your research. Be sure to write a tailored cover letter that explains why you’ve identified the book agent and how your book is the right fit for them. Usually, there’s space to add extra attachments or write this part in the submission form if you’re submitting online.

Thinking of alternatives to book agents for your manuscript? Check out Company X, a crowdfunding platform and publisher for new, talented .

 

 

Chocolate Co. Geese Control Standby Statement Assignment

Geese Control Standby Statement

The Chocolate Company has enlisted the help of well-trained border collies to herd the Canadian geese who have taken residence on the headquarters property. In addition to contaminating the pond, which is the property’s main source of water in a fire emergency, the geese have on numerous occasions have become aggressive towards employees in the parking lot. For safety reasons, the company is attempting to help the geese find a new, more suitable home.

In the interest of preserving local wildlife, Chocolate Company has ensured the herding dogs are completely harmless to the geese. The dogs are non-aggressive and trained to gently migrate the geese to a new site. Since Chocolate Company’s headquarters is located in the countryside, moving the geese to the outskirts of the property will have no impact on their habitat. The border collies seem to be managing the situation well after several other failed approaches, so the company will continue to use them to address the problem.

Did the dogs kill the geese on the property?

After examining the geese found on the property, we have no reason to believe they were killed by the herding dogs. In addition to being well-trained, killing other animals is  against the border collies’ nature. Additionally, it is important to remember the property is in the countryside and filled with wildlife, including other animals, so the cause of death could be a number of reasons.

Why don’t you try [insert another approach] instead?

The company has tried several other methods to control the matter, including loud noise and repelling fertilizer for the grass. The border collies are the only method, thus far, that has worked and we are confident that the practice is completely humane and in the best interest of employees and the geese.  For these reasons, we will continue to manage the problem using the border collies.

Graduate-level Media Relations assignment. Grade: 100%Graduate-level Media Relations Assignment. Grade: 100%

Press Release Sample: SAFE WHEELS DONATES $700,000 TO CLEVELAND NONPROFITS

******This press release is fictional********

Detroit, MI – September 17, 2016 – Safe Wheels, Inc., (NYSE: SWI) announced the company will partner with its local automobile dealerships to donate $700,000 for education, safety, and community programs in Cleveland, Ohio and the surrounding suburbs of Cuyahoga County. The donation is part of the company’s social responsibility initiative, Operation Better World.

The donations will primarily serve children from kindergarten to 12th grade by providing hunger relief and teenage driver safety education programs. As part of the donation, Carol B. Stokes Centers will receive a Safe Wheels Transit Van, which will be used to donate food to senior citizens. The centers deliver food, provide transportation, and more as part of their commitment to helping senior citizens and persons with disabilities to maintain their independent living.

Operation Better World is one of our company’s proudest accomplishments,” said Luis Gonzales, Chief Executive Officer of Safe Wheels. “It is important to us that Safe Wheels makes a difference not only in Detroit but also in the communities of our local dealerships.”

Since its inception in 2000, Operation Better World has donated more than $20 million and collaborated with dealers and nonprofits in 37 communities. The concept behind the philanthropic initiative is that the most effective way to impact the community is to work with dealerships at the local level instead of executing the program through the company’s Detroit headquarters.

Visit safewheels.com/operationbetterworld for more information about Operation Better World and how to get involved.

About Safe Wheels

Safe Wheels, Inc., a global automotive industry leader based in Detroit, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 196,000 employees and 58 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include the Speedster, the Slowster and the family of Safe Wheels Transit Vans. The company provides financial services through Safe Wheels Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Safe Wheels and its products worldwide, please visit http://www.safewheels.com.

###

******This press release is fictional********