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Janna Mauldin Heiner has commented on (21) products.

Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic) by Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic)

Janna Mauldin Heiner, November 13, 2014

Bex is back! This time she's in Hollywood hoping to break into a career as a stylist. Red carpets, film stars, limousines--Becky is right in her element, and completely out of her league. As she trains her eyes on the Big Time, all hell breaks loose in her peripheral vision. Her best friend is in crisis, her father is on a mysterious errand, and her husband Luke has about had it with the bodyguards she's hired. And she's going to turn and take a good look at the situation, really she is, but just now she's about to be discovered and she can't let that chance pass her by, can she? Of course not!

It's true, Sophie Kinsella's _Shopaholic_ books are the kind of pink-covered girlie novels I usually pass up. Normally I don't pick up much of anything that has a picture of lipstick or high heels on the cover. But Kinsella is genuinely funny and a better wordsmith than your average chick-lit writer. And Becky's clueless myopic goodheartedness is as endearing as ever.

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Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
Every Last One

Janna Mauldin Heiner, May 1, 2014

Anna Quindlen's writing is so simply beautiful so thoughtful, so gently evocative, it's easy to get lost in the quiet movement of this story and the everyday details of her main character's inner and outer worlds. As a mother, I sifted through the details of Mary Beth Latham's children's lives along with her, looking for clues to their worries and problems, seeing the same things she did, missing the same things. I took comfort in her awareness, was distracted by what she noticed. Like her, I was looking elsewhere, the real problem still just a shadow in my peripheral vision, when the story took a horrifying turn. Even that was rendered by Quindlen in a quiet voice, in small scenes and small details, even as the hugeness of it began to sink in.

What happens after is the exquisitely rendered human response to incomprehensible pain, and how we go on--at first, because we have no other direction in which to go; and then because we become aware that there are reasons for going on.
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The Old Country by Mordicai Gerstein
The Old Country

Janna Mauldin Heiner, March 22, 2014

Gisella lives in the old country, where nothing is quite as it seems, where forests are full of enchantment and superstitions are worth living by. When her brother is abruptly called away to war, it falls to Gisella to hunt down the fox who has been stealing chickens from the family's coop. Armed with her bow and her grandmother's strange warnings whispering in her ears, she sets out determined to kill the fox. But when she forgets her grandmother's words and stares too long into the fox's eyes, she finds herself in the fox's body! As war escalates and danger increases, Gisella negotiates an ever more unfamiliar world as she seeks to return to her own body. In this strange and starling short novel, Mordicai Gerstein explores civilization and wildness, magic and war, and the nature of being human.
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Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Geography of Bliss

Janna Mauldin Heiner, March 16, 2014

Searching for happiness? Ride along with self-identified grump and longtime NPR correspondent Eric Weiner as he travels the world to all of its happiest--and unhappiest--places, trying to get a handle on what makes some places (and the people who inhabit them) more joyful than others. From Great Britain to Muldova, from Iceland to Qatar, Weiner looks for bliss in everyone else's backyard. His witty observations might not result in a map to happiness, but they will make you laugh. And, unexpectedly, think. This is either the weirdest travel book ever, or the weirdest book on happiness ever; but either way, it's a really fun read with some interesting insights into overlooked cultures around the world...and how to culture happiness in your own world.
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Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride by Peter Zheutlin
Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride

Janna Mauldin Heiner, March 5, 2014

In 1895, Annie Kapchovsky--a married Jewish mother of three young children with no cycling experience--climbed on a bicycle and set out to "girdle the globe" to win a bet.

Or not.

Actually, the impetus for and circumstances of her round-the-world trip are a little bit hard to pin down. Annie--who went by the name of Annie Londonderry during her escapade--played fast and loose with pretty much everything, from how much she actually rode her bicycle to the precise terms of the wager behind it. A brilliant marketing strategist and storyteller, closely attuned to the winds of the times, she made her escape from convention and turned it into money, notoriety, and a banner for a woman's right to freedom from restricting clothing and roles. This wasn't quite the adventure book I expected it to be, but I didn't care. Annie Londonderry's creativity and charisma captured me as well as it captured so many of her contemporaries. And while Peter Zheutlin only alludes to it, hidden in her tale is a wonderful love story--that of the man who stayed at home with their little family and let her make her independent way, welcomed her back at her journey's end, and continued to enjoy her company for the rest of their lives.
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