Book Review: The Ladies Temperance club’s Farewell Tour by Jeff Lee

Q: What do you get when you cross Desperate Housewives with Dog The Bounty Hunter and Thelma & Louise?

A: The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour by Jeff Lee of course…

 

Click the Cover Image to buy a copy!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened up my copy of this book. I’d heard it being compared to Thelma & Louise, but as I’ve never seen that movie, it didn’t actually mean all that much to me. What I actually found in the pages of The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour went far beyond the description of the movie that I looked up on Wikipedia…

 

The prologue sets the entire feel to the book in such a few words, by introducing the only character that you don’t mind seeing in a crisis!

 

“Jack Thibideau was a con man and a thief. A bottom feeder who didn’t have much use for any tax-exempt Judeo-Christian outfit that discouraged its members from separating others from their hard earned shekels.

He also didn’t have a lot of patience for the rules, regulations and bylaws of the rest of the world’s religious clubs and associations…”

 

The story itself revolves around the active membership of the Newbury Park Ladies’ Temperance Club. Vonda, Kay and Francine are three close friends who support each other through the thick and thin of daily life, accompanied by as many bottles of wine as they can drink together.

Vonda is married to Jack Thibideau and after one particularly nasty encounter with Jack’s taste in porn and alcohol, coupled with many good reasons for divorcing the guy, Vonda picks up a nearby trophy and does to Jack what any thinking person would like to do…

 

The hijinks start after Francine and Kay find Vonda and decide to take her on a road trip in Jack’s luxury RV. They stuff Jack’s body into the RV’s onboard chest freezer and disappear into the night.

 

This is one book you are going to find yourself snorting, cheering and laughing aloud at!

 

Be prepared to have to read pieces out or explain what you are reacting to, or alternatively, you could suggest that the inquirer read the book themselves. Either way, it is a rollercoaster ride of emotion and entertainment from beginning to end.

Jeff Lee has really captured the whole road trip movie feel and his characters are perfectly crafted, drawing you into the story and making you care about them in so few words. His descriptions at each pitstop they take and the encounters they have keep the story flowing nicely, especially after Fish and his Sidekicks get involved.

 

In fact my only criticism is that I wanted to know more about the three main characters. You find out a lot about Vonda through Jack’s back story, but you don’t really understand much about Francine and Kay’s lives until a good two thirds of the way into the book. There is enough there for the other two members of the Ladies Temperance club to have their own books, prequels if you will, leading into this one.

 

This is a book that I think will lift the spirits no matter how many times you read it, and one that I can seriously see becoming a box office blockbuster.

Image Change Experiment – Week One

On TV, Gok Wan is always going on about changing how you look at yourself.

The people he works with start out looking and feeling fat and frumpy (for example) and after eight weeks of education about clothes and body shape (not to mention a top hair stylist and makeup artist), they have blossomed into a shapely, feminine figure who feels great about themselves and looks fabulous.

Click Image to go to the How to Look Good Naked Page...

I am mid thirties and having had two children and several crises in the last ten years (I comfort eat), I am carrying about two or three stone too much weight. I have a definite hourglass body shape (that plays havoc with buying clothes), my skin is pale and doesn’t like taking a tan. I have thread veins all over my legs and even when I wax them, because I have dark hair, I have thousands of dark little dots on my legs…

And don’t even mention my hair…Okay… I will mention my hair. Normally, my hair looks like this:

Is she 30? She looks 50...

Granted, that’s not a brilliant picture of me – I call it my “Mad Woman with Cats” portrait (no sniggering in the back there) – but my hair is normally a dark brown with red streaks in it from the sun and you can see that in this picture.

I’m also rather lacking in the wardrobe department – plenty of clothes, I’m just not sure if they are what I should be wearing

Today, because it’s so grey and un-summery, I was feeling a bit grumpy and down, so after I had dropped the kids at school and shoved TOH out the door for college, I decided to do a little experimentation with my hair colour.

Now, don’t get too worried, I never go that far with this sort of thing. I tend to stick to colours that only change my hair a little. I think the brightest my hair has ever been was a deep purple colour that washed out after six weeks.

The colour I chose was one that I won from John Frieda – a dark Red Brown.

Having followed the instructions to mix the colour:

  1. Open Developer bottle.
  2. Open Colour bottle.
  3. Pour Colour into Developer.
  4. Gently tilt the bottle several times to mix the liquids.
  5. Change the screw cap for the foamer cap.

…I slipped on the pair of “professional” Colouring gloves. Black rubber, very kinky looking (and a little too tight – I have big hands) and started applying the foam to my hair. I had ¼ of the bottle of liquid left when I decided that I had enough. I don’t think I put enough foam on though; when I compared the picture in my mirror to the one on the leaflet, I didn’t look foamy at all…

I spent the 20 min developing time playing Puzzle Quest. The Arke Liche had defeated me four times by the time the clock rang.

Washing it out was as easy as shampooing my hair. The dye left my scalp cleanly and the conditioner provided smelt quite nice. I decided to style my hair for a change, so about twenty minutes later, after wielding brush, hairdryer and straighters I looked in the mirror and blinked.

The colour had definitely changed and when there’s light on my hair, you can see that the colour is there. It’s just rather subtle.

Strangely, I feel different.

I’m not sure if that alteration in emotion is because I did something for myself, or because I’ve changed my appearance slightly.

What Gok does isn’t just changing the clothes of the woman he is working with; it’s about changing the attitude of the person to herself. The clothes are almost a symbol of that change.

Gok throws out the wardrobe they have at the beginning and replaces it with a brand new one that suits the personality and body shape of the woman. By the end of the show, the woman (or man, sometimes he does men) has transformed and I am green with envy.

I’ve tried hard to change my attitude to myself. I’ve gone from looking at myself in the mirror and seeing a fat, lumpy, old woman to seeing a thirtyish woman with a great body shape, gorgeous eyes and lovely hair – the flabby arms, rolls of fat, saggy boobs and bloated belly, mar it though.

And no, I am not posting pictures… I wouldn’t want to make people feel sick.

Sometimes I can see the woman I should be in the mirror. I saw her this morning after I finished doing my hair. However, she doesn’t stick around for long and I really wish that instead of getting that glimpse, I could see that woman all the time.

So what is next on the experiment agenda?

I just checked my stats on the Wii Fit. I’m back to being almost 14 stone. It’s an unhealthy weight, especially as I’m getting older rather than younger. So that needs to be sorted… and the easiest way of doing that is to get into an exercise habit.

And as normal, I just had to set up a timetable.

However, this time I am going to take it a week at a time and not plan an entire month’s worth in one go – it always makes me feel bad when I don’t achieve what’s on the timetable when I do that. I’m going to do exercise that I find fun, uplifting and that I can fit into my life, rather than try to target a particular area or anything like that. As well as getting into an exercise habit, I need to get out of a failure habit. I have to motivate myself – I can’t rely on anyone else for that, it’s an attitude adjustment.

Right, here we go.

I am going to take this uplifted feeling that I got from colouring my hair, and use it to spur myself on for this week’s exercise. At the end of the week (well, beginning of next week) I’ll weigh myself etc again and report, right here on my blog. Then I’ll plan the next week’s exercise and carry on from there.

Some Facts from the Tiger Princess’ Life…

I have two cubs (as you may remember) one ten year old  male – NOS – and one six year old female – PT.

NOS on the Right, PT on the Left... just in case you can't tell them apart! (Photo 2010)

There they are… a right couple of mischief makers at the best of times… ahem. Anyway my cubs make life a joy and a hell, often on the same day!

This morning, it was hell.

Why?

Well, PT is going through this phase where she wakes up anywhere between two and four times a night with nightmares. O’course, TOH doesn’t wake up unless she gets past me and climbs into bed with us. And who has to wake up, wake PT up and  get her back to bed every time?

Yup, that’s right, Yours Truly.

*sighs*

Having caught PT once before going to bed last night,  I had to  get her back to bed twice more.  The last time was at 3.30 am (British Summertime) and I lay there, trying very hard to get to sleep again.

But I couldn’t.

Why?

Another fact you may have gathered in the course of my blogs is that TOH snores.  Its not too bad when he is on his side – he can be fairly quiet. Sadly, last night he insisted on sleeping on his back.  That’s when most people I know start suggesting these –

They don’t work though. I can ignore the noise, it’s the vibration that’s the problem… and not in a good way! So I tend to lie there awake and getting a headache. This morning, I decided enough was enough and got up.

At 4.oo am.

I wrapped myself up and disturbed the puddy tats on the way to my writing cubby.

My cats? Oh, well just in case you can’t remember them, they look like this:

Gizmo is the daft orange one and Cleo is the small whitish one...

They came and joined me in my cubby, Gizmo curling up on my feet, which was very welcome because I didn’t have any socks or slippers on and it was freezing this morning!

Now Writing is my life. I teach because I enjoy working with children, but I write because I not only have to (I’d go insane with all the characters shouting at me) but because I love it.

I love the stories that come out of my imagination, I love creating new worlds  and I love the fact that with today’s technology I can share my work with everyone quickly.

Which work did I decide to work on? Well Book Three of “The Tower and The Eye” Series actually.

There were some loose ends to tie up at the beginning and I needed to add a few more words to the opposite end. I also ended up thinking about my characters and the world they lived in, in preparation for writing Books Four & Five…

…a fact that is sure to delight my Editor, Diane Nelson of Pfoxmoor Publishing (as well as all four of my fans) as she is currently having fun wading through her slushpile – what can I say? The lady likes to read!

At 5.00 am, I caught PT in her fourth nightmare. By this time, I’d written 500 words on book 3 and decided it was time to have a coffee and watch the starlings squabbling over the peanuts in the feeder.

It wasn’t long after that (another thousand words or so) when NOS got up, gave me a Good Morning cuddle and demanded breakfast. I told him to get a drink and wait until his sister got up. That gained me another half an hour of peace… and another 250 words, which isn’t bad going before my second cup of coffee!

PT however is much noisier than her brother – her volume control hasn’t kicked in yet and she does everything at the top of her voice. The only way to make the atmosphere in the Den more comfortable, was to give them breakfast and escape to the shower.

I finally got to use my prize today. Which prize? Oh, I…co-won… (is that the right word?) a prize from Jane Alexander’s Blog about scent. It arrived the other day, a big square pink and gold box with a heavy white glass jar inside.

My Prize!

It’s got an odd consistency, nothing like my normal  body creams (I tend to use Body Butter) but it smells divine – I love roses –  and has left my skin so soft that I know I am going to want to buy this one when it runs out… not to mention a few other of their products!

 *slips a quid into the “Ila  Fund” Jar*  

Let’s see how the rest of the day pans out – I feel fairly happy and relaxed now…. can’t say how I’ll feel at the end of the week – it’s half term and I have the children home until next Tuesday!