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Monday, December 1, 2008

Review: Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter

Title: Flirting With Forty
Author: Jane Porter
Pages: 368
Publisher: 5 Spot (May 7, 2008) (A division of Hachette Book Group)
Genre: Fiction / Chick-Lit
Edition: Standard trade paperback. Many thanks to the publisher who sent me a copy of this book, which is being made into a movie that will air on Lifetime December 6th!!!

Take a moment to stop by my author interview of Jane (Coming Soon).

Special Note: This wonderful book has been made into a movie that will air on Lifetime December 6th. The movie stars Heather Locklear as Jackie!!

Perfect for : Personal reading, Book Club Reading (Discussion Questions are available online)

In a nutshell: I LOVE this book! Jane Porter has written a wonderful book about Jackie, a newly divorced mother of two who is finally becoming an "adult," discovering herself, taking chances and finding love. Written in a wonderfully fresh style by a Seattleite who has obviously visited Hawaii herself - what could be better (I live near Seattle!). There are some wonderful "ah-hah" moments within the book. I am not one to dog-ear a book, but this one has about nine - NINE - because there were comments or thoughts I wanted to ponder and return to. This book was recently made into a Lifetime Movie starring Heather Locklear which will air on December 6th. It was a lot of fun to read the book with the image of Heather as Jackie!

From the publisher:
He got the second home and the Porsche. She got the kids and a broken heart. Now Jackie, post-divorce and heading toward the big four-oh, is on vacation in sunny Hawaii and staring down her upcoming birthday-alone. But not for long. She's soon falling for Kai, her gorgeous, much younger surf instructor, and the wild passionate fling they have becomes the biggest surprise of Jackie's life.

Back home in Seattle, Jackie has to struggle with single parenthood...and memories of Kai. He hasn't forgotten her. Yet thousands of miles of ocean-not to mention an age difference that feels even wider-separate them. And, of course, her friends disapprove. When a choice must be made, can she, will she risk everything for her chance at happiness?

First Paragraph:
Ah, Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year.

Not. Not if you're a newly single mom.

People say crowds at the malls or lines at the post office ruin Christmas. I say it's the damn Christmas tree.

An Excerpt From Flirting With Forty, linked from Jane Porter's site:

I turn away, push wet bangs off my forehead as the hood on my coat doesn't quite cover my face. I'm cold, tired, wet and grouchy and would give almost anything right now for a tall, non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte. Or just a plain old cup of coffee would do.

"William. Jessica," I call, trying to inject some enthusiasm into my voice. "Come and help me find a six foot tree."

Jessica comes skipping out of the drippy pine tree forest, her lavender sweatshirt soaked, her long blonde hair matted.

"Where's your coat, Jessica?"

She stops, gazes back, around, blue eyes wide. "I don't know."

"Honey, go get it."

"I'm hot."

"Jess, it's raining."

"I'm hot."

I will say this for children born in the Pacific Northwest, they're not wimps. Fog and rain don't slow them down any. "It's forty degrees, Jess. Get your coat on or we go." I warm to the threat. I like this threat. I'd love to go home right now. "If you can't cooperate then we're heading home."

William, my nine year old, has heard this last part and he comes stumbling out of the trees in protest. "But you said, Mom, you said--"

"I know what I said, but I'm not going to fight with you or your sister, not today. Getting the Christmas tree is supposed to be special. I want this to be fun, not a hassle." Right.

And there are times (like now) when I wonder where I got all this parent-speak from. Is it something inherited? Something transmitted in the XY chromosome? Because sometimes (like now) my mouth moves and words come out and I hear my voice, and the tone, and I am a nag. A mother.

William turns to his sister who is conveniently three and a half years younger and continues to live up to her status as the baby in the family. "Knock it off, Jess," he hisses. "Get your coat and do what Mom says or we'll go home and we won't have a Christmas tree and there won't be any presents and Santa won't come and it'll be all your fault."

Jessica gets her coat.

I look at William, my handsome first born who is thicker around the middle then he used to be, putting on size where I didn't know size would go, and silently congratulate him on getting the job done. These days I'll take all the help I can get.

Reaching up I wipe my face dry again and think of the two umbrellas in my car that have been there for two years and never used. Odd to live in a place that rains so much and yet never use an umbrella. It's just that most of us who live here don't pull out umbrellas for something as insignificant as showers. We're well...tough...tougher.

Or maybe just stupid. Stupider.

I feel stupider right now, walking through wet mushy soil to stare at staked trees. We're the only ones at the lot. Yes, it is a Monday at four in the afternoon, but surely there must be other parents who promised their kids they'd buy a tree today if they were good.

If they were good, and glancing at my two, I see Jessica take a swing at William. Jessica with her blonde hair and blue eyes and great dimples at her mouth may look like an angel but is the devil incarnate. She's hell on wheels and I wish I could blame it all on Daniel, but word has it I was difficult at five, too.

And six. Seven. Eight. But whose counting?

Certainly not me because I just want to go home.

"How about this one?" I say, pointing to a relatively attractive fir that's in the five to six foot tall range.

Both Jessica and William shake their heads. "It's short," Jessica says.

"It's ugly," William adds, moving his hand in one of the tree's huge holey-pockets. "There's nothing here. How will you hang ornaments if there's nothing to hang them on?"

He has a good point but I've seen the price tag. The tree is sixty-five dollars, twenty less than the better groomed brothers in the seven foot row. "We can put something special there," I say.

"Like what? A piƱata?"

He's getting funny in his old age. I can only imagine the excitement of adolescence. "It's not perfect, but it's a nice tree."

He hrmphs me, much like his father used to do, and then finds the tree we end up buying. While Jessica splashes in puddles in her best shoes (why didn't I see she was wearing her best shoes earlier?) and then cries the whole way home that she's cold.

The good news is we have a tree tied to our roof and we're in our car heading home.

The bad news is that it's only step one. Swiftly I review the other steps--

Step one: buy tree & tie on car

Step two: drive home without losing tree

Step three: get tree off car

Step four: get tree in house in stand

We're home soon--I like step two, I feel really good about step two and congratulate myself for a job well done and now it's time for three.

Copyright © 2008 by Jane Porter
. All rights reserved

My Review:
I found out that Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter had been made into a Lifetime Movie starring Heather Locklear that will air on December 6th. Because of that I had to read the book FIRST! I absolutely fell in love with the style of writing and the characters. I was also amazed at how easily I could relate to Jackie! (And no - I'm not 40 yet - I've got just over 8 years to go still)

First of all, the book starts of with a bit of comedy surrounding the Christmas tree - from searching in the rain for the perfect tree, to settling and simply trying to get it home and into the house. If you don't end up chuckling at some point within the first few pages, there is something wrong and you must HATE the holidays!

Jane has included some great "ah-hah" moments for me. For example, she has some great insights into women, such as how we see ourselves, how we feel about our kids, and how we simply think TOO much sometimes! (My husband tells me that all the time, and through this book, I was able to see what he is talking about - talk about a wake-up call)! Jackie seems like she is much happier when she isn't thinking quite so hard - you will know what I mean when you read the book!

Characters: All the characters in the book are wonderfully written, each with his or her own personality. They seem so real - with real happiness and real sorrow - real people like you and me, only they have something to share with the reader. The chemistry between Jackie and Kai seems very real, as are her relationships with her kids and her friends.

Story-Line: Life after a divorce in a world where your friends are all married with kids isn't easy, especially since you are no longer "popular" because you are no longer a "couple" with kids doing things with your "couple" friends and their kids. Add in a special vacation and a long-distance boyfriend who changes the way the main character sees herself, and this is a fun and insightful read! Don't get me wrong - the story has humor, adventure, love, friendships, heartbreak and loss - but you won't be disappointed! Sometimes you need the sorrow in order to appreciate the things in front of you.

Readability: I found the book easy to read . . . and fun. The book started off with a humerus bang and just kept me enthralled! The dialog is fun and entertaining, and the descriptions are great.

Overall: I simply adore this book, which is even more fun with the knowledge that Heather Locklear will be playing the role of Jackie in the upcoming Lifetime Movie! With some great insights, fun adventures, and supportive friends, this book is a must-read. It has a bonus in that Jane has stated on her blog that she loves to see her characters happy - the ending won't disappoint!

About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
A UCLA grad with an MA in Writing, I am one of those original book geeks, the girl with the coke bottle glasses that sat with a novel next to the classroom door rather than play during recess. I wrote my first story in first grade, my first picture book in second grade and my first novel in 4th, and I've just continued to write from there—bad poetry, passionate essays, romance rich novels and poignant, bittersweet contemporary fiction.

But writing doesn't always come easy to me. I have to work at it. To go below the surface and find the real story in each story, the heart of the novel, the one the reader will hopefully remember long after the story is through. Writing makes me a bit mad which is why I work very hard to have good hair.
When not writing, what do I do for fun? Travel. I don’t know if it's from growing up in a small Central California town, or living abroad with my family when I was 13, but I crave change, travel, adventure. Put me in a car, a ship, a plane and send me off. I subscribe to countless travel magazines, have a library of travel books, and am always interested in where people have been.
Then of course, there are my kids. Being the mom of two boys I watch a lot of sports, and do goofy boy things with them like create slug habitats and nurture baby geckos. It's not the life I expected—I was such a Barbie doll girl—but its full of Tom Sawyer moments that surprise, delight and absolutely exasperate me but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The boys and I live in Bellevue, Washington, six miles from downtown Seattle, and with the plethora of pro sport teams, rugged mountains, coffee houses and bookstores, it's the perfect place for a writer to call home.

Visit her at http://www.janeporter.com/

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please leave me a comment!

Read additional reviews here:
Enroute to Life

I'll hopefully be adding an interview with Jane in the near future!


Kaye said...

Hi Wendy- really good review. I got an e mail from Lifetime about this movie. how does that happen? What would be interesting, since you've read the book, is to see how it compares with the movie. I assume you are watching the movie! :)

kalea_kane said...

Wonderful review, Wendi! I hope you don't mind, but I added a link to it in my blog. :)

Have a great day!


Anna said...

My husband says the same thing about me. Sounds like a great read. I saw a commercial for the movie, and it looks pretty good.

Diary of an Eccentric

CrystalGB said...

Great review. Sounds like a wonderful book.

Sunny said...

Great review! I've heard a lot about this book and have put it on my TBR list of books to get!

My husbands says I think too much too...hmmmmm.

(Oh and I've got 7 years to go...)

Robin Jansen said...

The bok looks fabulous and I am for sure going to watch the movie! You know where I am !!!
Robin Shope

Gabbi said...

Heather Locklear will always be Amanda from Melrose Place to me!

darbyscloset said...

What a great post!! I really enjoyed your review with all of your comments and I also enjoyed the plip about Jane.
Thanks so much for sharing!!!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Leslie said...

Wendy ~ wonderful review. I've never read any of Jane Porter's books but I think I would enjoy this one. The fact that you said is was fun to read hooked me. : )


Thanks for the review, have seen the preview- they picked a yummy actor for the lead role, but somehow in the commercial Locklear does not oook like she fit in...well we will see. Looks like a fun and sexy storyline, and hope heather did not kill the movie.

ChristyJan said...

Wendi your review has made me want to read this book and watch the movie.

Anonymous said...

Great review. I always want to read the book first and the book is almost always better.

Unknown said...

I'm not a Heather Locklear fan, so I wasn't impressed until I read your review -- I'll skip the movie, but the book sounds really good.

Karen B said...

I'm so looking forward to the movie Saturday night.

Desert Rose said...

Great giveaway ..please enter me :)

.Books by TJ Baff said...

Great review...I really wish that I could see this movie in Canada..

Sue A. said...

Wendi, I enjoyed your review! You showed the book in such a positive light, that I can't help but want to read the book.

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I love Jane Porter's review and this one's no exception. *Thanks* for your review!

Donna said...

Great review. You really make someone want to read it!!

azrosebud said...

great review! I saw the movie - now, I must read the book

Anonymous said...

I read an excerpt of the book in a magazine. Your review hit on all the reasons why I definitely want to read the book.

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