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RAGING BEAUTIES Confessions and Advice By Tim Wright, $14.00, Conari Press (

Fun, fun, fun! That’s all I can say about RAGING BEAUTIES Confessions and Advice by Tim Wright, a hilarious collection of retro images paired with hysterically funny quotes.

Mr. Wright, who has been at the helm of the Wright Card Co. for ten years, specializes in the retro-themed cards, magnets, journals and mugs you may have seen over the past decade. Always irreverent and yet painfully true, images such as a 50’s housewife balancing a monumental stack of dishes is paired with the caption “I need a day off!” while a Donna Reed look-a-like, posing lovingly with her man says “I remember when I believed everything he told me.” A coffee-sipping gal in bra and panties exclaims “Sure I have rules…but life’s more fun when you leave them at home.” And a cute brunette, embracing a cookbook lovingly proclaims “Being a bad cook was the smartest move I ever made.” leaving us to wonder how a man can be so dead on when it comes to reading the inner thoughts of women.

Mr. Wright’s love of both nostalgias and irreverence are in large supply in this adorable little book which comes complete with a “spinner wheel” of advice that is part of it’s bright, colorful cover. You can personalize it for gift giving by setting it to many slogans, which include “Be lusty”, “Be Inspired” and “Be irreplaceable”. One of my favorites “I bitch because I am my mother’s daughter.” said it all for me, and I don’t doubt that any woman worth her salt will find a few favorites of her own.

HOW TO BE COOL By Johanna Edwards, $21.95, Berkley (

Fat is a four-letter word for Kylie Chase. Obsessive to a fault because of her appearance, she certainly echoes the sentiments of most women I know, which is one of the things that makes this charming heroine of Johanna Edwards’ new novel HOW TO BE COOL so appealing and immediately recognizable.

A self-proclaimed nerd for most of her life, Kylie runs a business in Chicago called “How To Be Cool.” Having transformed herself with a 75-pound weight loss, a new wardrobe and an attitude adjustment, Kylie is an expert at extreme makeovers and promises to transform anyone from “geek to chic” in no time. Her clients run the gamut from Dennis Moop, a Star Wars fanatic who plays in a rock band that only performs songs about actual rocks to Charity St. James, an heiress who wants to be the next Paris Hilton but can’t get any attention. The combination of Kylie’s heartfelt advice and “Cool Rules” inspires them to accept her challenge.

When Ty Benedict, young, sexy journalist-about-town decides to write a feature on her, she is thrilled, immediately breaking “Cool Rule #3: Always play the part of the one who cares the least.” But after the mock-bio she prepared for her up-coming high school reunion is sent to him by accident, her apartment burns down, leaving her no choice but to move back in with her parents, a “How To Be Cool” no-no. More mishaps follow and as her new life begins a rapid decent towards her former one, the numbers on the scale begin to rise, leading her to wonder if her transformation was real or if it was only skin deep.

Ms. Edwards has created a memorable cast of characters who round out this engrossing Cinderella story, like best friend Ruby, a successful plus-size model, and Zack Naylor, the high school crush Kylie still obsesses about when she’s not obsessing about her weight. From the first sentence to the last, this riotous romp will keep you thoroughly entertained and it’s a read you certainly won’t want to miss.

BETWEEN THE BRIDGE AND THE RIVER By Craig Ferguson, $13.95, Chronicle Books (

If you are looking for a great read, a fun romp, and a salacious good time than you need look no farther than Craig Ferguson’s BETWEEN THE BRIDGE AND THE RIVER, now out in paperback.

Critically acclaimed, and for good reason, Mr. Ferguson’s first effort as an author proves that he can tackle any subject with great aplomb, and make us laugh about it in the process. Organized religion, science, history, sexual deviance and Hollywood are all plundered here, taking two illegitimate half-brothers from the South, Saul and Leon and two boyhood friends from Scotland, Fraser and George, along for the ride, as they struggle to control the circumstances of their lives the hand that fate has dealt them.

Several characters in this severely hysterical, fast-paced, tale, such as Carl Jung, Virgil and Fatty Arbuckle are dead, yet this does not keep them from spouting their wisdom along the way, only proving to bind the worlds of the living and the dead together in more ways than one. The strange and epic circumstances of each character are interwoven and at several points in the story, these characters meet and have profound influences upon the decisions each of them has to make. Ultimately, this is a story about salvation, in the truest sense of the word. Salvation of the soul, a part of us that human beings often take for granted but which, like the theory of the collective unconscious that Jung espouses, is running the whole show.

Love, disaster and Route 66 are other subjects that Mr. Ferguson introduces in this unforgettable, un-put-downable read and it isn’t until the end of the book that the title makes complete sense and we understand what this maze of a story was all about. Just like life, I guess.

THE NO SWEAT EXERCISE PLAN Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Live Longer By Harvey B. Simon, M.D., $16.95, McGraw Hill (

If you are one of the millions of Americans who avoid exercise like the plague, that probably doesn’t make you immune to the fears of poor health, obesity and lethargy that may be the results of this avoidance. But take heart, THE NO SWEAT EXERCISE PLAN Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Live Longer by Harvey B. Simon, M.D. could be just the read you need to get you off the couch and into the swing of physical activity.

This great guide to better fitness is a little bit textbook and a little bit hands-on, combining a conversational tone with diagrams and drawings that explain not just the how-to’s and results of a daily exercise plan, but also the why’s. In chapter 1 “Exercise, Your Body and Your Health”, Dr. Simon runs through the list of important reasons we should choose activity over the couch potato pose, discussing the broad implications of what just 30 minutes of regular activity can do not only for your bones, heart and metabolism, but also for mood, stamina and longevity. He then moves on to discuss what types of exercise we can choose from and how much physical activity is needed to provide the result we seek. The difference between this book and others you may have read is that the author stresses “Gain Without Strain”, encouraging us to increase the physical activities we may already be incorporating in our lives like the simple acts of walking, gardening or doing housework.

Also incorporated into this easy-to-follow guide are features such as the “No Sweat Exercise Pyramids” that show the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle, which include Nutrition, Cardiometabolic Exercise, Strength, Flexibility, Balance and Preventative Medical Care and differ in structure according to category such as “Weight Loss”, “Sports and Competition” and “People with Medical Problems, Low fitness or Advancing Age”. Rounding out the package are great, easy to follow visual guides for strength training, stretching and other exercises and guides to help you calculate your progress and set goals. Whether you want to “Walk to Health”, “Waltz to Health”, “Swing to Health” (as in Golf Swing) or “Splash to Health” where there’s a will, there’s a way. All you need is a little motivation, 30 minutes a day and Dr. Simon’s motto “No pain, big gains” and you’ll be on your way. / Issue 70 - June 2018
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