Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Be Frank With Me (and FIVE giveaway copies!)

You guys. If you are in the market for a book that isn't a romance, isn't a suspense mystery, but a little quirky and totally endearing, then you need this book in your life. It's as wonderfully weird as I wanted it to be.

Be Frank With Me - Julia Claiborne Johnson

Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she’s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noël Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth graders.

As she gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who his father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Full of heart and countless only-in-Hollywood moments, Be Frank With Me is a captivating and heartwarming story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.

When I saw this book come up on my possible review titles, I jumped at the chance because I had seen a quick blurb about it on Goodreads and it sounded so odd but cute that I had to jump. And I am so glad I did!

Alice reminds me so much of myself and Mimi reminds me so much of a boss I once had. You never knew if she liked you but you knew that 99% of the time she would physically hurt you if she could because she just really didn't like life in general. Then you'd get those small moments where you think, "maybe she secretly likes me!" and you know it's fleeting because she doesn't like anyone. So to say that I identified with Alice in this book is a huge understatement.

But Alice is in need of a steady, regular job and this one has everything she needs and she has the opportunity to get to know M.M. Banning, who at one time, was this up and coming writer when out of nowhere she seemingly tossed it all aside and became a recluse. The way M.M. Banning is set up immediately reminded me of Harper Lee after To Kill A Mockingbird. Mimi is now broke after being scammed by a ponzi scheme (Bernie Madoff, anyone?) and is now being reluctantly forced to write the follow up of her breakout and classic novel, Pitched. In order for her to do that she needs a live in person to take care of the house but more importantly, her kind of strange son Frank who has two major rules and is an old Hollywood buff. Alice struggles learning how to relate to Frank and just when she thinks maybe she's reached buddy status with him, he reminds her that she is really just staff and she can go at any time. He's overly attached to his mother who appears to be fighting her own set of demons all alone and Alice finds herself trying to figure this family out.

So many say it but truly, the characters of this book are what make it outstanding. It's also a debut novel which is also amazing because Julia Claiborne Johnson just wrote the hell out of this book and you can't put it down. Frank is such a bizarre little boy and you want him to be OK, and you really start to feel like Alice as she tries to crack the puzzle of this family. The book was so fun and you found yourself kind of sad when it ended but also kind of relieved because what ELSE could possibly happen? It's so great.

You can find Be Frank With Me on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble. See what Julia Claiborne Johnson is up to on her Facebook and Twitter pages, too!

The best part is that I have not one, but FIVE, copies of Be Frank With Me to giveaway! The first five people to leave a comment on this post about the worst boss you've ever had, will win one! But remember- you MUST leave me your email address so I can contact you!


Shannon said...

OK, worst boss....you got it! The CFO at my old job was a complete douche but I did a very good job of getting along with him and tolerating his nasty demeanor. He eventually got fired for said demeanor. We met for lunch afterwards because while he was terrible I figured out how to 'handle' him. Well, apparently I did it a little too well and he professed his love for me. Ewwwwwwwwwww. Dude was like 60 and I was mid 20's

justme5686 said...

Worst boss has to be the last one I had. She was back stabby and a liar and didn't care if you busted her on a lie. She played favorites with two teammates and while no one else was allowed to leave their desk (for fear of a write-up), she would go on "coffee walks" with the other two and we'd find them behind conference room doors gossiping about everyone. She also doesn't speak English well (despite being from the good 'ol US of A). She says things like "I seen this...." or "I seen that..." so I'd respond as passively aggressive as possible with "Oh you SAW that, did you?"

Unknown said...

Hi, this is Jenny Hoffman. I am Facebook friends with you. The book sounds like a fun read.
I worked at this bagel/coffee shop and my boss was very passive aggressive to me. After my first night closing by myself, I asked her how I did. She was upset because a single alfalfa sprout had been left on a counter and an empty straw wrapper was under the garbage bin. When I suggested that we give the leftover bagels to a soup kitchen instead of throwing them in the garbage every night, she couldn't be bothered but said if I wanted to on my own time I could. Every night I worked, I would bring bagels to the soup kitchen. I didn't have a car and I was only 17. She knew this and didn't offer to help. There was a newsletter that she would include in our paychecks. If someone was moving onto a different job, she would write about how much they would be missed, etc. No mention of me when I put my notice in and she came by the store my last night and all she said was "well, good luck" and then left. jen.e.hoffman@gmail.com

Life Love & High Heels said...

Whoo! I love new books :)

I don't think I ever had a really terrible boss, BUT I've had a terrible coworker get promoted to lead, which is above me and holy power trip! Some people just don't deserve the positions they are given.

Unknown said...

Fun!! Eileenkward@gmail.Com

My worst boss...perhaps when I worked at Quiznos and the guy didn't actually give me any training. He wanted to 'try me out' then watched me stumble the entire time to just not put me on the schedul . That lasted two weeks, one of which I was super sick and shouldn't have been handling food. That sucked.

Unknown said...

Fun!! Eileenkward@gmail.Com

My worst boss...perhaps when I worked at Quiznos and the guy didn't actually give me any training. He wanted to 'try me out' then watched me stumble the entire time to just not put me on the schedul . That lasted two weeks, one of which I was super sick and shouldn't have been handling food. That sucked.

petite said...

The worst boss was a demagogue who bullied, yelled and was a tyrant. No respect for anyone and was incompetent to boot. I stayed too long and was a recipient of verbal abuse daily. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

justme5686 said...

Forgot my email! Edugosh(@)gmail.com

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Clearly I need this book in my life!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.