Friday, April 29, 2011

Winners! Winners!

Congrats to the winners listed below:
Sealing the Deal

The Tapestry of Love
Laura Fabiani

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mailbox Monday -- April 25th

The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Passages to the Past. Below are the review copies I received this week:


Susannah has been living with Doug for eight years, acting as stepmother to his three unappreciative children and wondering why she doesn't mind much when he sometimes sleeps in his study. She's known her best friend Amelia since they were teenagers. Amelia never minces words, and Susannah doesn't like hearing what Amelia has to say about her noncommittal relationship.

At her brother's wedding, Susannah runs into Rob—her first love, the love of her life. There's no band on his ring finger, and Susannah begins to fantasize. Her fantasies turn to reality when Rob gives her a call. Susannah's world is rocked by her rekindled feelings for Rob, then totally turned upside down by a revelation from Amelia. Just when Susannah and Amelia need each other the most, they are facing a crisis that threatens to tear their friendship apart. Without her familiar guiding star, Susannah must finally make some hard choices in order to grow up for good, no matter who or what she has to leave behind.

Heartwarming, wise, and sophisticated, When You Were Mine is a story about first loves, best friends, and choices that will resonate with readers everywhere.

2) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Publisher's Summary. R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

Both books thanks to Simon and Schuster!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown

Author's Summary. While Olivia deBelle Byrd was repeating one of her many Southern stories for the umpteenth time, her long-suffering husband looked at her with glazed over eyes and said, “Why don’t you write this stuff down?” Thus was born Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. If the genesis for a book is to shut your wife up, I guess that’s as good as any.

On top of that, Olivia’s mother had burdened her with one of those Southern middle names kids love to make fun. To see “deBelle” printed on the front of a book seemed vindication for all the childhood teasing.

With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Olivia deBelle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms.

The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt Lottie Mae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama.

Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church, where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.

Review. Fitzgerald: “The rich are different than you and me.”
Hemingway: “Yes, they have more money.”

Proving that Southerners are both different than and the same as you and me, is Miss Hildreth Wore Brown by Olivia deBelle Byrd. The slim tome is a collection of humorous anecdotes from a born and bred Southern belle.

Like a cultural anthropologist I learned, among other things: 1) one of life’s greatest tragedies is to be lain to rest in the wrong color outfit; 2) thank you notes should be sent out before the actual event; 3) it is never too hot for coffee or too early for chocolate; and 4) sooner or later every woman becomes your aunt. After reading Miss Hildreth Wore Brown, I now feel ready to make my Southern debutante debut, save for the fact that I am almost three decades too old!

On the other hand, some of the stories were jarringly familiar. Directionally challenged? – yup that’s me. Hair issues? -- me again! Love New York? -- Guilty as charged.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown is an amusing collection of short stories that can easily be devoured in one reading.

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing (May 1, 2010), 176 pages.
Review copy provided courtesy of the author.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Women Food and God

Publisher's Summary. No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all.

After three decades of studying, teaching and writing about our compulsions with food, bestselling author Geneen Roth adds a powerful new dimension to her work in Women Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God.

A timeless and seminal work, Women Food and God shows how going beyond the food and the feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul—to the bright center of your own life.

Review. When I picked up Geneen Roth’s new book Women, Food and God, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. And now after finishing it I am still not quite sure what to make of it. Fundamentally, Roth makes a lot of sense, but conveys her message in a lot of New Age thoughts that lost me.

Roth is sort of the anti-diet diet guru. After years of compulsive eating (both over and under), she finally gave up diets and shed the pounds. Today, thirty years diet-free and living at her natural body weight, she spreads the word to women everywhere that diets don’t work (at least not permanently).

So what does work? Eating what your body wants when it is hungry. And what if it wants hot fudge sundaes everyday? Well, that is allowed. But won’t one get fat if one eats hot fudge sundaes everyday? Yes, Roth admits, but here’s the deal, the body doesn’t really want hot fudge sundaes only the mind does. What the body wants is food that makes it run smoothly and gives it energy. And how does one determine what the body wants? Primarily by mindful eating (being aware of what and how one is consuming). Sounds pretty logical right?

But in getting to Roth’s sensible message, the reader has to wade through New Agey musings such as God being on our plates. To quote:

“[W]e are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions; everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat. When we inhale Reese’s peanut butter cups when we are not hungry, we are acting out an entire world of hope or hopelessness, of faith or doubt, of love and fear.”

Huh? Maybe because I have never been a compulsive eater I don’t get this quote. For me if I am inhaling Reese’s peanut butters cups when I am not hungry it is because: 1) they are a favorite food; and 2) they are available or 3) back in my single days I am in a bit of post-breakup indulging. I also don’t quite buy Roth’s absolute rejection of sensible diets as I believe they have their place in facilitating weight loss.

Still I don’t discount Roth’s primary message of mindful eating and feeling good about one’s body. I also appreciate that for readers struggling with eating disorders, Roth’s message as given may be exactly the right words.

Women, Food and God is an unique perspective on moving beyond diets to a healthier, happier you.

Review copy provided courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday -- April 18th

The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Passages to the Past. This past week was a light one with only one book received:

1) Imperfect Endings by Zoe Fitzgerald Carter. Publisher's Summary. Zoe Carter's busy life on the West Coast with her husband and daughters takes an unexpected detour when her glamorous, independent-minded mother, Margaret, tired of living with Parkinson's disease, decides she wants to "end things." As Zoe and her sisters negotiate over whether or not they should support Margaret's choice and who should be there at the end, their discussions stir up old alliances and animosities, along with memories of a childhood dominated by their elegant mother and philandering father. Capturing the stresses and the joys of the "sandwich generation" while bringing a provocative new perspective to the assisted suicide debate, Imperfect Endings is the uplifting story of a woman determined to die on her own terms and the family who has to learn to let her go.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yoplait Two Week Tune Up Review and Giveaway (ends 4/24)

Sponsor Information. This year, Yoplait Light is giving women a great new way to get ready for special occasions with the launch of the new Two Week Tune Up plan.

Whether it´s for a class reunion, a birthday, or your best friend´s wedding, Yoplait Light´s Two Week Tune Up could help you lose five pounds in two weeks by:

• Replacing your breakfast and lunch with a Yoplait Light yogurt, a whole grain,
• and a fruit.

• Eating a diet rich in lean protein and non-fat dairy, including a sensible dinner, beverages, and snacks.

• Walking 30-40 minutes daily.

Please visit for study and full diet details.

By visiting, consumers can find the full plan details as well as robust online tools to help them lose weight and boost their confidence over two weeks.

To help women look and feel their best, Yoplait Light has provided tips and advice available on, along with valuable online weight loss tools such as a meal planner, healthy recipes and a daily food and exercise tracker. With 33 delicious flavors of Yoplait Light to choose from, you can switch up your diet menu as often as you like.

Review. After a long winter, I was ready to jump into Spring with a little less of me to love. Thanks to Yoplait Light Yogurt and My BlogSpark, I was given the opportunity to participate in Yoplait's Two Week Tune Up.

According to, each Yoplait Light is approximately 100 calories and 0 grams of Fat. Additionally, Yoplait Light comes in many delicious flavors including Boston Cream Pie, White Chocolate Strawberry and Red Velvet Cake!

During my two week trial, I followed the diet plan on and incorporated Yoplait Light into my breakfasts and lunches. I found the plan easy to follow and really enjoyed the variety of Yoplait Light flavors. And while I don't do scales, my jeans do feel a bit looser (yay!).

*Disclaimer~ To facilitate my review, I received a Yoplait Light prize pack including coupons for FREE Yoplait Light Yogurt, a gym bag, a reflective wrist wallet and a pedometer from Yoplait via My BlogSpark.

Giveaway Details. One lucky reader will win a Yoplait Prize Pack to help them jumpstart their Two Week Tune Up. Prize pack includes: A coupon for free Yoplait Yogurt,** a gym bag, a reflective wrist wallet and a pedometer to keep you moving.

(**This coupon offer for Yoplait Light yogurt is not valid in Louisiana, Nevada and North Dakota.)

Giveaway Rules: Must be a Google Follower (see sidebar to follow).

First Entry: Visit and state which flavor of Yoplait Light you like or would like to try in the comment. Also you must include your e-mail in the body of the comment (you can list it as mary123 (at) yahoo(dot)com). If you do not list your email address your entry will not count.

Extra Entries: Follow me on twitter (DCMetroreader) and on Facebook (Metroreader). NOTE: These extra entries MUST be left in a separate comment or will not count.

Giveaway ends 4/24. Good Luck!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Tapestry of Love Giveaway Ends Today

Don't miss out on your chance to win a copy of this engaging novel. Be sure to get your entry in here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Mountain of Crumbs

Publisher's Summary. A Mountain of Crumbs is the moving story of a young Soviet girl's discovery of the hidden truths of adulthood and her country's profound political deception.

Elena, born with a desire to explore the world beyond her borders, finds her passion in the complexity of the English language -- but in the Soviet Union of the 1960s, such a passion verges on the subversive. Elena's home is no longer the majestic Russia of literature or the tsars. Instead, it is a nation humiliated by its first faltering steps after World War II, putting up appearances for the sake of its regime and fighting to retain its pride.

In this deeply affecting memoir, Elena re-creates the world that both oppressed and inspired her. She recounts stories passed down to her about the horrors of the Bolshevik Revolution and probes the daily deprivations and small joys of her family's bunkerlike existence. Through Elena's captivating voice, we learn not only the personal story of Russia in the second half of the twentieth century, but also the story of one rebellious citizen whose love of a foreign language finally transports her to a new world.

Review. Vranyo is Russian for a white lie or half-truth. During the Soviet Union era vranyo became the de facto way of life. As author Elena Gorokhova explains:

“In Russia we played the vranyo game on a daily basis. The government lied to us, we knew they were lying, they knew we knew they were lying, but they kept lying anyway and we pretended to believe them. There was a joke: ‘They pretend they pay us and we pretend we work.’ It was ingrained in the system.”

In practice vranyo provided a coping mechanism for both unbearable tragedies and petty annoyances. Can’t feed your starving children? Tear up a piece of bread to make a mountain of crumbs and declare it an abundance of food. Observe an innocent loved one being snatched away by authorities and later learn he was shot for “escaping?” Conclude that it was all a mistake committed by crooked authorities and kept from the great Soviet leaders. Forced to eat a meal of rancid buttered bread? Devour it anyway. Step into a state store for foreigners filled with food you aren’t allowed to taste and books you are forbidden from reading? Feel proud that you are allowed to stand next to the shelves.

Reading A Mountain of Crumbs was like stepping into a muted grey world with only occasional bursts of color. Corruption and scarcity are the natural order that shape everyday existence. Occasionally, there is dark humor in the unfortunate circumstances. For example, when a foreigner queries Gorokhova as to what the hoards are lining up for and the treasured goodie turns out to be toilet paper! Another moment occurs when Gorokhova tries to help an American companion discover the news on the recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan:

“We trek all over the city center in search of an English-language newspaper that will explain what’s really happening . . . . We find the Morning Star, published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, and the Daily World, published by the Communist Party of the United States. ‘I’ve never seen any of these papers,’ Robert says ‘In America or England.’ But he doesn’t buy them, even out of curiosity. He wants to read the real news, he says. He wants to know Pravda, the truth, with Pravda stacked up in piles everywhere we look, being the last place to find it.”

Fortunately for readers, Elena finds her truth (as in her true self) via learning English and coming to the United States. A Mountain of Crumbs is a remarkable memoir!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 12, 2010), 320 pages.
Advance Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the Publisher.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Reading Life

Publisher's Summary. Pat Conroy, the beloved American storyteller, is also a vora­cious reader. He has for years kept a notebook in which he notes words or phrases, just from a love of language. But read­ing for him is not simply a pleasure to be enjoyed in off-hours or a source of inspiration for his own writing. It would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that reading has saved his life, and if not his life then surely his sanity.

In My Reading Life, Conroy revisits a life of passionate reading. He includes wonderful anecdotes from his school days, mov­ing accounts of how reading pulled him through dark times, and even lists of books that particularly influenced him at vari­ous stages of his life, including grammar school, high school, and college. Readers will be enchanted with his ruminations on reading and books, and want to own and share this perfect gift book for the holidays. And, come graduation time, My Reading Life will establish itself as a perennial favorite, as did Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

As a book lover, my numero uno all-time favorite conversational topic is –you guessed it – books! One of the best parts of reading a truly great novel is sharing the discovery with other readers. In fact, many of the literary gems that I cherish weren’t uncovered by me, but rather served up on heaping plates filled with verbal praise by others (thank you!) And who better to glean new literary finds from than a famous author?

In My Reading Life novelist Pat Conroy shares a few of the memorable tomes that shaped him as a reader/writer and, more importantly, what those books meant to him. As Conroy rhapsodizes:

“Reading books gave me unlimited access to people I never would have met, cities I couldn’t visit, mountain ranges I would never lay eyes on, or rivers I would never swim. Through books I fought bravely in wars of both attrition and conquest. Before I’d ever asked a girl out, I had fallen in love with Anna Karenina . . . . [In short] I learned how to be a man through reading of great books.”

As one might expect, Conroy’s reading list is as wide as it is deep. In fact, the diligent reader could crib an all star literary list from just three of Conroy’s recommendations: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (a seminal book for the Southerner Conroy); Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel (described as “pivotal event”); and Tolstoy’s War and Peace (which he thrice enjoyed).

Conroy’s My Reading Life eloquently reminded me of all that I love about reading!

Advance review copy provided courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday -- April 11th

The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Passages to the Past. Below are the review copies I received this week:

1) Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan. Publisher's Summary. highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll. Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.

Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives; he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being—until Luis.

Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other’s souls.

Thanks to Hyperion.

2) The White Devil by Justin Evans. Publisher's Summary. Joe Hill’s Horns meets Donna Tartt’s The Secret History in this bold new thriller from Justin Evans, author of the critically acclaimed A Good and Happy Child. When seventeen-year-old Andrew Taylor is transplanted from his American high school to a British boarding school—a high-profile academy for the sons of England’s finest—his father hopes that the boy’s dark past will not follow him from across the Atlantic. But blood, suspense, and intrigue quickly surround Andrew once again as he finds himself struggling with a deadly mystery left unsolved by a student from Harrow School’s past—the enigmatic poet Lord Byron.

Thanks to Harper Collins.

3) The Raising by Laura Kasischke. Publisher's Summary. Last year Godwin Honors Hall was draped in black. The university was mourning the loss of one of its own: Nicole Werner, a blond, beautiful, straight-A sorority sister tragically killed in a car accident that left her boyfriend, who was driving, remarkably—some say suspiciously—unscathed.

Although a year has passed, as winter begins and the nights darken, obsession with Nicole and her death reignites: She was so pretty. So sweet-tempered. So innocent. Too young to die.

Unless she didn’t.

Because rumor has it that she’s back.

Thanks to Kelly & Hall Book Publicity!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Public Service Announcement

If you're planning on visiting Washington, D.C. this weekend you might want to consider rescheduling because it looks like the place will be on shutdown for the immediate future. Perhaps Memorial Day weekend or the 4th of July would be a better time.

In the mean time for my fellow non-essential feds, here is my personal Furlough Preparedness/Survival List:

10) Buy bulk packs of Ramen Noodles.
9) Collect coupon inserts from Sunday papers left at Starbucks.
8) Take showers with clothes on (washing me and clothes at the same time).
7) Set out empty tubs to collect rain water for household water supplies.
6) Donate blood and plasma for food money.
5) Walk dogs on recycling day so I can collect aluminum cans to sell.
4) Call up local dairy farms to find out where I can score free cow dung to use for heat/cooking purposes.
3) Tie string to teeth and attach to door knob so I can pull out decayed teeth and save on dental costs.
2) Follow Sheryl Crow’s guidelines for toilet paper use: one square at a time.
1) Wear sandwich board sign “Will Furlough for Food” in front the Capitol and the White House.

Hang in there!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mailbox Monday -- April 4th

The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Passages to the Past. Below are the review copies I received this week:

1) Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows. Publisher's Summary. Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood—the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms—but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago.

When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an eleven-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age?

In confronting secrets from her family's past, Sam comes to terms with deep secrets from her own. Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet, and Iris, Mothers and Daughters is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood.

Thanks to Henry Holt and Company!

2) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Publisher's Summary. Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Thanks to Penguin Books!

3) Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli. Publisher's Summary. Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan—said to be one of the happiest places on earth.

Long isolated from industrialization and just beginning to open its doors to the modern world, Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place, devoted to environmental conservation and committed to the happiness of its people—in fact, Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in GNP. In a country without a single traffic light, its citizens are believed to be among the most content in the world. To Lisa, it seemed to be a place that offered the opposite of her fast-paced life in the United States, where the noisy din of sound-bite news and cell phones dominate our days, and meaningful conversation is a rare commodity; where everyone is plugged in digitally, yet rarely connects with the people around them.

Thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Lisa creates a new community for herself. As she helps to start Bhutan’s first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM, she must come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the impact of the medium on a country that had been shielded from its effects. Immersing herself in Bhutan’s rapidly changing culture, Lisa realizes that her own perspective on life is changing as well—and that she is discovering the sense of purpose and joy that she has been yearning for.

In this smart, heartfelt, and beautifully written book, sure to please fans of transporting travel narratives and personal memoirs alike, Lisa Napoli discovers that the world is a beautiful and complicated place—and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is.

Thanks to Crown Publisher's!

4) The King's Grace by Anne Easter Smith. Publisher's Summary. All that history knows of Grace Plantagenet is that she was an illegitimate daughter of Edward IV and one of two attendants aboard the funeral barge of his widowed queen. Thus, she was half sister of the famous young princes, who -- when this story begins in 1485 -- had been housed in the Tower by their uncle, Richard III, and are presumed dead.

But in the 1490s, a young man appears at the courts of Europe claiming to be Richard, duke of York, the younger of the boys, and seeking to claim his rightful throne from England's first Tudor king, Henry VII. But is this man who he says he is? Or is he Perkin Warbeck, a puppet of Margaret of York, duchess of Burgundy, who is determined to regain the crown for her York family? Grace Plantagenet finds herself in the midst of one of English history's greatest mysteries. If she can discover the fate of the princes and the true identity of Perkin Warbeck, perhaps she will find her own place in her family.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Postmortem Review

Publisher's Summary. Sadly, some lives cannot be understood until after death. So it was with Anne Ford. A successful, charming beauty queen, model, and fashion designer during the 1950s, this glamour girl about town was poisoned by internal demons and the permissive Southern California culture of the 1960s and 70s. She ended her life as an alcoholic street person, stabbed and strangled in a burned-out building in West Hollywood. Years later, her daughter, the writer Laurel Saville, began the long process of unraveling the twin trajectories of this unusual life.

Postmortem takes the reader on an emotionally charged journey that ranges from Saville’s eccentric West Hollywood childhood, to a top-secret, Depression-era airplane design. Whether describing the artists of the seminal Sunset Strip gallery where Andy Warhol got his start or the hippie parties at the legendary Barney’s Beanery, Saville’s distinctive prose lends insight into the events and emotions that surrounded the life and death of stunning Anne Ford. This candid exploration of one woman’s life and death ends up exposing unexpected truths about both mother and daughter and unscrambling the many webs that entangled Ford’s exceptional life.

Review. Losing a parent is never easy. Because with mom or dad’s passing goes all the shared memories of happy times past. But what if there were no happy memories because mom was a self-absorbed and neglectful alcoholic? And what if later, an unstable and homeless mom is murdered by another unstable transient? How does one mourn that kind of loss?

Over two decades after her mother’s homicide, Laura Saville embarks on a journey to discover the mother she never really knew. As Saville confesses, “ Of all the recorded versions of my mother, there was only one I recognized from my own experience: the failed fashion designer, the hippie hanging onto a utopian dream, the woman who refused to let go of her youth and step up to responsibilities. But she was so many other things, before that, before me.”

In the 50’s -60’s Saville’s mother, Anne Ford, seemed to do it all: beauty queen, model and fashion designer. She even briefly dated Marlon Brando. In a few short years, however, Ford, herself a victim of an unhappy childhood, developed an addiction to alcoholic and squandered it all indulging in the “hippie lifestyle” of parties every night, hangovers the next day, and no time for work.

Caught in Ford’s downward spiral were Saville and her brother. Saville learns to escape into schooling, survive a chaotic home environment, and live without a mother’s love. One of the memoir’s saddest moments, occurs after Saville falls out of her childhood bed with her mother rushing to comfort her. The next day, Saville profusely thanks her only to be told by Ford that it never happened -- it was only a dream.

Postmortem is a remarkably well- written, candid, memoir that explores a tragic life of lost opportunities.

Courtesy copy provided thanks to the publicist.