Monday, January 17, 2011

THE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE PROPER CARE AND
MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP
BY LISA VERGE HIGGINS

ABOUT THE BOOK:
What makes a wife a lover? 
For Kate, the spark went out of her marriage long ago but her husband doesn't seem to notice. Their role as parents consumes their lives so they need to rekindle the romance they once shared. 

What makes a woman a mother?
For Jo, a high-powered career has led her to believe that she doesn't have a single maternal instinct. When an orphan unexpectedly enters her life, she is forced to confront her own unhappy childhood and the walls it has built around her heart.
 

What makes a man the love of your life?
For Sarah, home is the steamy jungles of Africa while the man of her dreams waits in the air-conditioned confines of Los Angeles. Her longing for this man from the past is blinding her to a new love standing right in front of her.

What these women all have in common is a friend with a generous soul, an irrepressible spirit- and a serious illness. In her final letters, Rachel raises one last question:
What makes a friend live in our hearts forever?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
While studying for her Ph.D. in chemistry, RITA finalist Lisa Verge Higgins penned twelve romance novels under her maiden name. THE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP is her first foray into mainstream women's fiction.

She lives in New Jersey with her husband, an attorney, and their children.

READING GROUP GUIDE:
By visiting Hachette Book Group site HERE, you can open the Reading Group Guide and find some wonderful questions to lead a group discussion. This book is made to order for book clubs and I hope you give it a try. In that Guide, you will also see a note from Author Lisa Verge Higgins and I wanted to share it with you, so here it is:

Dear Reader,
 
If you’ve been to a college reunion lately and noticed a bunch of crazy women in the local pub singing bad eighties rock . . . and, if you’re in a certain upstate New York college town, then it’s a good bet that those are my friends, and I’m the one in the middle, dancing badly.
 
We’ve been doing this every five years since we graduated. As a group, we celebrate the memorable times we spent together lolling on grassy quads, as well as the years after graduation, where, cash-strapped and struggling, we suffered through one another’s horrid first jobs, romantic relationships, and roach infested apartments. Now we’re scattered all over the country and settled into marriage, mortgages, careers, and family life. When we get together, we tend to embarrass our children.
 
We’re an odd and varied bunch: One raises money for charity by biking in 100-mile marathons; another, a gregarious working mother, juggles incredible responsibilities yet throws fabulous parties; and a third started her own landscaping business in midlife.
 
Honestly, I don’t remember how we were drawn together all those years ago. We’re a jumble of religions and races and socioeconomic classes and political beliefs. There are rough edges, old hurts, and fundamental disagreements. There’s also respect, humor, and empathy. It’s a recurring miracle that we’ve maintained our bond despite the distances of both time and geography. We know we are blessed. That’s why, every five years, we make Herculean efforts to reunite at our alma mater.
 
Magic occurs when we are in a room together. We talk about politics, sex, money, religion—all the things you’re not supposed to talk about in polite company. We roll out the old stories, and then tell new ones until we laugh ourselves to tears. By the wee hours of the morning, we’re at the college pub singing hair-band power-ballads and dancing as if no one is watching. 

And by the time we return exhausted to our regularly scheduled lives, we are sure of one essential truth: Life has taken us in very different directions, yet we all strive for the same goal—joy in our work, our marriage, our parents, our children . . . and our friends. This novel, The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship, is my little valentine to all of them.

MY REVIEW:
THE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP by Lisa Verge Higgins is a perfect title for a book about what friendship among women is really all about. For anyone who has had the great fortune to be able to share that very special bond of friendship with a woman or group of women, this is a book that should not only be on your TBR pile, but rather on the top!

In Jo, Sarah, Kate, and Rachel, readers are bound to find parts of themselves and their friends as Higgins has created unforgettably genuine and believable characters who are long time best friends. As they have worked at keeping their friendship in tact over the years, none is prepared for the challenge brought to them when one of them is taken  unexpectedly and far too soon. Rachel lived her life as the other three wished they could have lived theirs, and her inspiration was what led them to not really be surprised at her final request for each of them. In letters left for each of the trio, Rachel asks them to do something that she knows will have them facing perhaps their greatest fear but also will in turn improve their lives. Thus, Rachel is leaving them with a gift that as each reads their letter, only the reader and Rachel will really deep down understand why it is specifically meant for them.

But will Sarah, Kate, and Jo really be able to face this challenge? How can they not? Rachel thought about what would improve something vital in each of their lives and amusingly, each thought THEIR request was the most difficult or demanding upon first reading them. At one point, they even wondered if perhaps the attorney may have mixed up the letters! Among Sarah, Kate, and Jo, one will find out if doubting decisions made in her past will ever allow her to find happiness again; another will find out if she is capable of being a mother when she long thought her dreadful childhood would never make that possible; and lastly, can one of them find the person she once was before becoming a mother had taken up all her time? Would each friend follow through with Rachel’s final request? What extent would you go to in order to carry out your best friend’s dying wish?

After reading THE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP, I would challenge readers to look inside themselves and ask about the importance of their friendships and how well they are treating these very special people in their lives. What a special gift a true friend is. I highly recommend book clubs read THE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP as it will not only give way to a stimulating and moving discussion among your group, but I would think it would have some looking long and hard at the special people in their lives and making sure they appreciate those bonds. Lisa Verge Higgins has given women everywhere a wonderful gift with this moving, emotionally uplifting, and very special story.
 
GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO BRAD AND THE GOOD
FOLKS AT HACHETTE BOOK GROUP,
I HAVE 2 COPIES OF THIS WONDERFUL
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY
 
--U.S. AND CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU READ ABOVE THAT MADE YOU WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK THAT I CAN FOLLOW

+1 MORE ENTRY: GO TO LISA VERGE HIGGINS' WEBSITE HERE AND COMMENT ON SOMETHING INTERESTING YOU FOUND THERE

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT IF YOU HAVE A VERY SPECIAL FRIEND THAT YOU THINK OF LIKE THESE WOMEN DO IN THE BOOK. DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HONOR A REQUEST LIKE THIS FROM THAT PERSON? YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER THIS AS I AM SURE THESE ARE PRIVATE THOUGHTS BUT JUST COMMENT THAT YOU HAVE AT LEAST THOUGHT ABOUT MY QUESTION IN ORDER TO RECEIVE AN EXTRA ENTRY

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, FEBRUARY 5!
GOOD LUCK! 

69 comments:

sos said...

I love the fact that it is about women's friendships and how it is sustained in spite of differences

Angie said...

I am not a fan of friendship books because they are all so predictable. 1 of the 4 women has a bad marraige and 1 of the 4 women gets cancer and dies. I am still looking for one that will bowl me over. Could this be the one?

aksimmoatclearwiredotnet

Angie said...

I see the author used to write Harlequin Temptations. My mother has the whole series and I used to read them when I was younger.

aksimmoatclearwiredotnet

Angie said...

I do have a special friend I would do just about everything for. She has always been there for me through everyhting, And I have been through a lot!

bermudaonion said...

Wow! This book sounds wonderful. I'd like to read it because I do value my friendships. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I loved the story of Lisa's boyfriend moving across country to be with her and then asking her to marry him and move back east. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Tore said...

I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. I like that it is about women's friendships. Tore923@aol.com

bermudaonion said...

I do have one very special friend like that - we've been friends for over 40 years. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

catherine said...

I think women take their friendships for granted, dedicating themselves th husband family and jobs. I think girlfriends keep you sane. Would love to read this.
charlcr@aol.com

Colleen Turner said...

This sounds like a very emotionally and cathartic read. No one wants to think about a close friend passing away and leaving behind a final wish you aren't sure you can accomplish, but sometimes facing a worst fear can make you feel better in the end. I will read this book with some tissues!

Colleen Turner said...

My cousin is my best friend and I would do anything for her. If she needs a kidney she has it! We asked her and her husband to be my son's godparents so that if we died they would raise him because I know she would do anything for me as well. If I received a final letter from her with a final request there isn't much I wouldn't do.

Colleen Turner said...

+5 Swagbucks!
Candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

January Facebook fan bonus entry
Candc320@gmail.com

PoCoKat said...

Sounds like a great book about women.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

I've known my best friend for almost 50 years. And yes I would honor a request like this from that person.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

She has a link on her website where you can add her book to your to read list on Goodreads.

littleone AT shaw DOT cA

debbie said...

I like reading books about friendships, I would enjoy this one.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

Yes, I do have friends like this.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

petite said...

This type of novel appeals to me for its relationships. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I would be there for my close friend who has always stood by me. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

She has graduated to this type of story from her initial writing. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

CarolNWong said...

I love reading about women friendship books because my friendships are an important part of my life. Two years ago, I had one of my friends pass away for the first time. Everytime you form a friendship, it is unique and if that person is no longer there, you miss them for the qualities that made them different. Each Christmas, I remember her and want to write her a long Christmas letter as usual. I remember her smile, her generousity and love of life. Each friendship makes you so much richer and blessed.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

CarolNWong said...

I tweeted:

My Twitter name is Carolee888.

http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/2011/01/proper-care-and-maintenance-of.html See link for book giveaway.

CarolNWong said...

I followed a link from her website and found out that she wrote 12 romance novels while studying for her PhD in chemistry.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Margie said...

This sounds like a book with very real characters. I'd like to read this to see how the characters interact, and how each responds to the letter.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Pamela Keener said...

I love the premise of this book. I like that each of the friends are challenged & would enjoy reading the book to see if the challenges are met.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

CarolNWong said...

Yes, I have thought about your question. There three very special friends in my life, one who I have know for 41 years, one who I e-mail every single day, and another who says that I know her better than herself! I love all off them so much.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Margie said...

It was interesting to find out that sge was once a chemist. When she was writing her first novel, she was studying for her Ph.D. at Stanford University.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

I have a special friend from elementary school. We always keep in touch by email, and have had a few visits. I have definitely thought about your question with her in mind.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Pamela Keener said...

I have a group of 5 friends from college that get together at least once/year. I could see this scenario happening to us. We have been friends for almost 38 years and as we get older I shudder to think that we would lose one of our own.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Margie said...

+5 Swag
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Christa said...

I would love to read this book because it shows the love and power friendship can have for a group of women.

christauf4(at)gmail.com

Christa said...

Just tweeted about this giveaway!
http://twitter.com/#!/christauf4/status/27057427614539776

christauf4(at)gmail.com

Christa said...

I went to Lisa Verge Higgins website and found out that she has a profile on Goodreads and is giving away two copies of her book on there as well!

christauf4(at)gmail.com

Christa said...

I have a special friend that this has made me think about.

christauf4(at)gmail.com

Christa said...

FB Fan January Bonus Entry!

christauf4(at)gmail.com

traveler said...

I have always been captivated with stories which involve women and their friendship through the years. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

She is a chemist which is such a difference from writing romance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

An important ingredient in life is how we nurture friendship and how we value it. It is precious. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Connie said...

I would like to see how this friendship book plays out. I like reading about different characters as long as the conflicts get resolved. Thank you for a really nice giveaway! :)

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

captainliss40 said...

I would like to win because in the midst of my crazy life, friendships are often the first thing to go. captainliss40(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

These sound like friends I wish I had.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

No, I don't have this kind of friendships. I'm pretty much a loner.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I find it fascinating that while studying for her PhD in Chemistry, she got busy writing books. What a switch for the brain.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Charleydog said...

I like the idea of college friends reuniting every five years. I still meet a few of the girls who did their masters degree with me.

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

rubynreba said...

I have a group of friends from high school that I get together with 3 or 4 times a year. This book would be great to read because I'd like to relate to what these women's friendship means.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

The author spend 10 years writing really passionate stuff which are out of print now.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I have a couple of really special friends. I've thought about the question and I'm not sure what I would do!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Meredith said...

I have very few close friends and treasure them. I'd love to read this to see how these women manage their relationship!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

I always enjoy stories about women's friendships and this story looks right up my alley! Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/29050832217444352

(\___/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

Ronalyn said...

This sounds like a great book - and about characters my age...

Jolee said...

Like some of the questions the book raises on friendship. joleehamlin [at]comcast [dot] net

Jolee said...

Learned from Lisa's website that she has been nominated for a RITA award several times. joleehamlin [at]comcast [dot] net

Jolee said...

Yes, I have a special friend that I would do whatever I could to bless her during such a time. joleehamlin [at]comcast [dot] net

Ms. Dawn said...

The title alone is enough to make me want to read this book. I love "friendship" books.

Ms. Dawn said...

I tweeted this contest. (@readitandeat)

Ms. Dawn said...

I do have a friendship similar to that of the girls in this book and because I know that she would never ask me to do something that wasn't in my best interest, I would definitely honor her request.

nowakoski@sbcglobal.net

lgm52 said...

This book sounds great...love stories about friendship.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy books about female friendships. Such friendships can be enriching yet complicated.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Visited her site and learned she used to be a chemist and was studying for her PhD at Stanfird University.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I don't have a special friend like these women in the novel do but I'd like to think I would honor his/ her request. I'm sure, being my friend, he/she would have my best interests and well-being in mind.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Benita said...

A book about deep intense friendship calls out to be read. I know I'd have ahard time putting this one down once I started reading it.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

I do have a few very close friends. Do we test the bonds of friendship?

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

Note: If my name comes up as the winner, please skip it and give this book to the runner up. I just won this book from another blog.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Nancye said...

This sounds like a book about true friendship. I enjoy books that are realistic and books that I can relate to. I would love to win this book for this reason.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!
@NancyeDavis

http://twitter.com/#!/NancyeDavis/status/33666862583779328

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I learned on Lisa Verge Higgins' web-site that for 10 years she used to write "passionate" books.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

My best friend and I met way back in the 2nd grade. We are grown now (obviously!)and we each have husbands & kids and still are the best of friends! We are there for the good and bad, the happy and the sad, the boring and the fun. That's what best friends do!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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