REVIEW: Jeannie Out of the Bottle by Barbara Eden

10309013Title: Jeannie Out of the Bottle
Author: Barbara Eden
Year of Publication: 2011
Genre: Memoir
Format: Audio book
Length: 7 hours and 16 minutes
First Line: “Whenever I hear the blare of a foghorn or see a picture of a mermaid or a young couple madly in love, I feel as if I’ve been Jeannie-blinked back into my childhood, happy and secure.”

Summary: Over the past four decades, the landmark NBC hit television series I Dream of Jeannie has delighted generations of audiences and inspired untold numbers of teenage crushes on its beautiful blond star, Barbara Eden. Part pristine Hollywood princess and part classic bombshell, with innocence, strength, and comedic talent to spare, Barbara finally lets Jeannie out of her bottle to tell her whole story.

Jeannie Out of the Bottle takes us behind the scenes of I Dream of Jeannie as well as Barbara’s dozens of other stage, movie, television, and live concert performances. We follow her from the hungry years when she was a struggling studio contract player at 20th Century Fox through difficult weeks trying to survive as a chorus girl at Ciro’s Sunset Strip supper club, from a stint as Johnny Carson’s sidekick on live TV to tangling on-screen and off with some of Hollywood’s most desirable leading men, including Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, and Warren Beatty. From the ups and downs of her relationship with her Jeannie co-star Larry Hagman to a touching meeting with an exquisite and vulnerable Marilyn Monroe at the twilight of her career, readers join Barbara on a thrilling journey through her five decades in Hollywood.

But Barbara’s story is also an intimate and honest memoir of personal tragedy: a stillborn child with her first husband, Michael Ansara; a verbally abusive, drug-addicted second husband; the loss of her beloved mother; and the accidental heroin-induced death of her adult son, just months before his wedding. With candor and poignancy, Barbara reflects on the challenges she has faced, as well as the joys she has experienced and how she has maintained her humor, optimism, and inimitable Jeannie magic throughout the roller-coaster ride of a truly memorable life.

Review: Barbara Eden, most famous for playing the role of Jeannie on the 60s tv show ‘I Dream of Jeanne’, comes out with this tell-all memoir.

Subjects in the memoir range from her start in Hollywood, meeting her first husband (self proclaimed love of her life) Michael Ansara, the tragedy of her miscarriage, a nervous breakdown and more.

Eden laughs and cries as she recalls her past. Laughing when she remembers that in her youth she didn’t realize that Elvis Presley was flirting with her and she cries as she discusses the immature death of her only child, Matthew. Of course, if you do not listen/read this on audio you might not get the same affect.

The part of the book that takes place after ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ went off the air seems like Eden is just trying to rectify to all that she’s been acting nonstop all these years despite what you may think.

I have to say that I will never think of the phrase ‘Jeannie-Blink’ the same ever again. Eden uses the phrase to ‘take you back into the past’. And she uses this device a lot.

Worst part: I will never want to hear the phrase ‘Jeannie-Blink’ ever again.

Best part: Eden doesn’t edit much from her life in this memoir.

Grade: B

Recommend For: I would recommend this memoir to those who have a love of television and television stars from the 1960s.

Other Books by This Author: None by Barbara Eden.

Cover Reveal – Ripping Pages by Rachel Rae

FB COVER RP GRAPHIC FINAL

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Release Date: October 25th

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Synopsis

Sweet, shy and a bit goofy, Tinley Michaels has it all: a great mother, a wonderful, sexy, loving boyfriend, and her whole life ahead of her. One day her world is turned upside down when the love of her life suddenly leaves her without reason. She is left broken and vulnerable and vows to never let a man destroy her again. Months later, she decides to dust herself off and finally realize her dream of being a Broadway star. With nothing holding her back, she leaves everything she’s ever known in Texas to start her new life in New York City. She moves in with her cousin, makes some great new friends, gets a steady job and an audition for a part in a small theater. Things are heading in the right direction.

Tinley isn’t looking for anyone. She is jaded but still hopelessly in love with her first love. That’s when, by chance, she meets Van Whitaker, the smooth talking sexy lead singer of the best-selling rock band, Ripping Pages. She labels him a man-whore/rock-n-roll douchebag immediately. Van tries to show her that he’s no longer that guy and that he sees something in Tinley worth trying to be better for. Even though he makes her feel things she’s only read about in the hundreds of romance novels she’s shamelessly addicted to, she is scared he will leave her even more broken than she already is. Should she give this gorgeous rock star the time of day? And what will she do when she comes face to face with her past and she must make a decision that will change her future and her forever?

What happens when the page you ripped out of the book of your life suddenly tries to put itself back into the story?

Excerpt

I felt great after my audition. I had done better this time than when I had rehearsed, so I was feeling pretty confident about it. It was a beautiful early fall day outside, so I decided to catch a cab, grab a treat and walk around Central Park. I wanted to breathe in the New York air and take in my surroundings. I stopped by a little bakery off of Columbus Avenue and ordered a red velvet

cupcake with cream cheese icing, my guilty pleasure, and a hot chocolate. I entered the park and found a bench to sit down and enjoy my treats and people watch, which was another one of my guilty pleasures.

I loved this city. It was unlike anything I could ever imagine. The crowds and the traffic, everything about it excited me. I was from the outskirts of Houston and our downtown was nothing like this spectacular place. I finished my goodies and closed my eyes listening to the sounds around me. Birds chirping and people talking. Soon, the faint sound of a guitar filled my ears followed by a low, sexy, almost tortured voice singing lyrics that I couldn’t quite make out. Being my nosy self, I wanted to know who was behind that sound. I headed toward, Bow Bridge I think it was called, and the music grew louder, as did the sexy voice.

I spotted a young guy sitting against a tree by the water near the bridge. His right leg was bent in front of him while his left leg was straight out on the ground. He had a guitar resting in his lap and he was smoking a cigarette which normally I would find repulsing, but on him it made him even sexier for some reason. He wore faded jeans that were frayed a bit at the cuff and a plain black t-shirt that, from what I could see, hugged his well-defined body just right. His arms were covered in tattoos, though I couldn’t make out the intricate designs from where I stood. He had messy dark brown hair that hung in his eyes which held long, thick eyelashes that would make any woman jealous. His face was chiseled showing a hint of scruff and he had full lush lips but his bottom lip was just a little fuller than the top. He was seriously breathtaking. He looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place him.

I never really was attracted to guys like this one. I was usually drawn to the clean cut, all American type guys. Guys like James. James was gorgeous but he had nothing on this man. This guy had the bad boy look down pat. They surely didn’t make them like that back home.

He was singing and strumming the guitar and writing something that I assumed were lyrics, down in a notebook near his right hip. I couldn’t stop staring at him. His voice made me feel warm and cozy for some strange reason. It, too, was familiar and oddly comforting. It was deep, rough and provocative and I wanted to hear more of it. This guy could sing me the telephone book for all I cared as long as he kept singing.

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About Rachel

Author Pic

Rachel Rae is a devoted wife to her high school sweetheart and momma to three unbelievably gorgeous children. She enjoys reading all things romance and writing about love and happily ever afters. When she’s not engrossed in a good book and obsessing over fictional boyfriends, you can find her gossiping over coffee or wine with frozen berries, goofing around with her sister, watching trashy reality TV and facebooking entirely too much. She is addicted to music, chocolate, Christmas, lip gloss, glitter and all things girly. She lives in Texas with her family.

Social Links

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Blitz – Turn a Blind Eye by Marta Tandori

BlindEyeCover (1)
Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Date Published: 8/31/2013

Eight years ago, Michigan retirees, Jack and Beverly Donnelly, had helped Libby Newton recover from an unspeakable tragedy. Now the tables are turned and it’s the old couple who need Libby’s help when the most recent consequences of Beverly’s progressing dementia have left the old couple homeless. Libby, now the general manager of Banyan Bay Resorts, one of Orlando’s premier timesharing properties, secretly stashes the old couple in a new luxury unit intended for the resort’s VIP guests until she can find them a new home.

But the problems start almost immediately as Beverly’s dementia leaves her in a state of constant confusion over her unfamiliar surroundings and when she announces that she’s seen “Thanksgiving pilgrims” unloading boxes behind the resort’s pizzeria, Beverly’s announcement falls on deaf ears – until Rebecca Kendall, an attorney from Seattle, shows up at the resort a short time later, trying to retrace the last steps of her nineteen-year-old Amish daughter, found dead in a south Florida motel six weeks earlier. Libby doesn’t believe the two incidents are connected until Beverly is found dead a short time later, the tragic victim of a double homicide.

With the help of her sister, Mia, who’s in Florida doing an exposé on the elusive treasure salvor, Dain Lyons, they retrace Beverly’s last steps – only to stumble upon a killer who soon has the sisters convinced that poor Beverly had been the sanest one of them all.

EXCERPT

Prologue

“This is it – the Sandcastle Motel,” declared the cabby, stopping abruptly outside a shabby, white-washed cinderblock structure before his eyes involuntarily sought her out again in the rearview mirror. His stare wasn’t particularly creepy or leering, just curious. It was the same look he had given her about a mile down the road when he’d almost rear-ended another car stopped at a red light. Luckily, the cabby had managed to brake in time, but not before her purse and its entire contents had gone flying from the seat beside her onto the floor of the cab.

Sarah Yoder understood his curiosity all too well although her husband, Daniel, sitting in the back seat beside her, seemed oblivious to it. As far as she was concerned, enduring the curious looks came with the territory but it was the leers, the covert whispers and the giggling she couldn’t stand – and there had been plenty of that from their fellow passengers soon after she and Daniel had boarded the Greyhound yesterday in Columbus. In Holmes County, they looked just like all the other locals but once out of their familiar surroundings, they stuck out like a pair of sore thumbs. Truth be told, years ago Sarah would’ve acted just like everyone else but things were different now. She was different and the Sarah of old simply didn’t exist anymore.

She glanced at her husband of little less than a month, noting the grooves of fatigue etched in the lines on either side of his mouth. He looked as tired as she felt. Usually talkative, Daniel had been aloof, saying very little on the ride down to Florida. Understandably so, Sarah thought, since there really wasn’t anything to say that hadn’t already been said before they had reluctantly embarked on this journey.

“Sarah.” Daniel’s hand reached across the back seat and briefly touched hers. “Are you all right?”

Sarah gave him a small smile, hoping it was convincing. “Yes, of course.” With that, she opened the door and got out of the cab. The intense heat hit her the minute she left the comfort of the air conditioned cab, sucking the breath from her lungs as she blinked against the blinding Florida sunshine. The black cotton stockings she wore seemed to draw in the heat as they clung to her legs, already damp with sweat.

She looked at the motel with misgiving while Daniel paid their driver and took their only suitcase from the trunk. “Sandcastle Motel” was definitely a misnomer since there didn’t appear to be any sand or castles as far as the eye could see. She had caught glimpses of the Atlantic and its inviting sandy beaches as their cab had made its way up North Ocean Drive to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea but this motel was a good quarter-mile inland. The one-story building curved around a small, deserted pool and structure-wise, looked like many of the others dotting this south Florida resort town, practically deserted this time of year. The only difference was this one was in serious need of repair, from the peeling paint on the room doors to the malfunctioning vacancy sign. Even the few scruffy palms that grew along the outer perimeter of the building did little to enhance the motel’s appeal.

Daniel took her hand and they resolutely walked over to the glass door marked “OFFICE”. Pulling it open, they went inside. The room was small and cramped but at least it was relatively cool, thanks to a window air conditioner that sputtered none too quietly. One wall was taken up by a display that featured colorful brochures, pamphlets and discount booklets on Florida attractions while the other side of the room had a small reception desk. Behind it sat a non-descript man, reading a paper. He glanced up as they came in.

“Yeah?” Reaching over, he brought his fist down on top of the window unit and it immediately quieted down. “You looking for a room?”

When Daniel didn’t answer, Sarah quickly spoke up. “Not exactly. The last name is Yoder. You’re expecting him.”

The man grunted, deliberately fixing his cold gaze first on her and then on her husband. “Who’re you?”

“I’m his wife,” Sarah answered proudly.

Apparently satisfied with what he saw and heard, he turned and took a key off the wall before handing it to Daniel. “Room 8.”

Daniel went to say something. “I don’t think—”

“—Room 8,” repeated the man before turning back to his paper.

Sarah took Daniel’s hand and headed for the door. Once outside in the scorching July heat, the little confidence she had had, seemed to evaporate as she turned to her husband.

“There must be some other way.” She gestured towards the road. “Let’s just forget this craziness and leave right now, Daniel. Please!”

He shook his head slowly. “You know we can’t. We must do this for Samuel.”

Sarah swallowed hard, taking a moment to get a hold of her turbulent emotions before nodding briskly. “You’re right, of course. Let’s go, then, and get this over with.” With that, she turned and walked down the path towards Room 8 with Daniel close on her heels. Finding it, she waited while her husband opened the door.

The blinds were drawn and the room was dark, cool and smelled musty. Stepping inside, Sarah felt along the wall until she found the light switch and flicked it on. The room was immediately flooded with a harsh light that seemed to accentuate the battle scars on the worn pieces of utilitarian furniture. Not that there was much – just a four-drawer dresser with an old TV on it, a chair off to one side, the requisite dark drapes on the window in a grating seventies pattern that matched the old spread on the bed and complemented the shag carpeting on the floor.

Sarah’s eyes were immediately drawn to the bed – or rather, the box sitting on top of the bed. There was nothing unusual or threatening about it. It had a large picture of one of those individual creamers you got in a restaurant for your coffee and the words “Mendoza Non-Dairy Creamers” under it. She went over to the bed to get a better look. Aside from the additional information of “500 packets/Product of Mexico”, there were no other markings on the box. Spying a folded piece of paper beside it, Sarah picked it up and passed it to Daniel without reading it.

Taking it from her, he read it slowly.

“What does it say?” she finally asked.

“It says to call the number on the paper for further instructions,” he replied, “and not to open, tamper or damage the box in any way.” He looked around the room. “There is no phone in here.”

“That’s strange.” Sarah frowned, going over to the far side of the room and opening the door. As she had suspected, it contained a small bathroom – but no phone. “I suppose we’ll have to use the one in the office.”

“I’ll go,” he told Sarah, giving her a tender smile. “You stay here and get some rest.”

Sarah nodded, watching silently as he left. Unlacing her shoes, she shrugged her feet out of them before unpinning her cap and placing it on the small nightstand beside the bed. She was about to remove her stockings when she thought better of it. No telling when they were going to be on the move again and the last thing she needed was to have to struggle with trying to get her stockings back on in this humidity.

Sarah gingerly lay down on the bed, staring at the box which was easily within arm’s reach. Trying to put it out of her mind, she closed her eyes but the image of the box seemed to burn its way through her closed lids. A few minutes went by before she finally gave up. It was no use. The box was like the proverbial elephant in the room. Opening her eyes, she stared at it with misgiving. Getting up off the bed, she tried putting some distance between her and the box but it was as though a will stronger than her own was pulling her towards it. Unable to resist its allure any longer, she finally picked it up. It felt solid. Turning it sideways, she felt the contents shift inside the box. The back of her head began to thump, a sure sign that she was getting one of her headaches. It’s from the stress of not knowing, she reasoned silently. Maybe if I have a quick peek inside, it’ll put my fears to rest.

Making up her mind, Sarah put the box back on the bed; this time with the bottom facing up. She removed one of the bobby pins from her hair and used it to cut away the tape holding the flaps of the box together. There was nothing special about the way the box was taped and they could easily buy some packing tape a little later, resealing the bottom before delivering it to its destination and no one would be the wiser. When she had cut the entire length of the tape, Sarah carefully lifted apart the two outer flaps, followed by the inside flaps, revealing what looked like a piece of white plastic lining the bottom of the box. The thumping in her head was turning into an insistent ache and her throat felt tight but she soldiered on, intent on revealing the contents of the box.

Gingerly pulling aside the plastic, Sarah could only gape in horror. The spaces between the neat rows of creamers were filled with…coffee grinds. Horrified, she immediately jumped away from the box but the damage was instantaneous. Coffee was her kryptonite and although she hadn’t touched it, she had had direct exposure to it. Her heart began to race and her breathing came in short violent spurts, as if she had just competed in an Olympic sprint. Her head throbbed, ready to explode, as her eyes frantically scanned the room for her purse. It was on the chair a few feet away but when Sarah tried to get to it, she collapsed as she felt the full onset of anaphylactic shock. She knew that in a few more minutes, she’d be dead unless she got to her epinephrine injector so she could give herself a shot. Painstakingly, she crawled towards the chair, fighting the darkness enveloping her, her sight also impaired by the sweat dripping from her forehead into her eyes. Somehow, Sarah managed to crawl close enough to the chair so she could reach up and grab onto it, only to have it and her purse both topple on top of her; a painful impact she barely felt. Hyperventilating, she blindly upturned her purse, groping frantically for the one thing that could save her life – but it was nowhere to be found. With her heart feeling like it would explode, Sarah numbly remembered the near-collision in the cab. Her purse and its contents had gone flying. With her last agonizing breath, she realized that her only lifeline was still probably somewhere on the floor on the cab…

* * *

Daniel hurried back to the room, anxious to collect Sarah and be on their way. Their ordeal was far from over and he was eager to put it behind them so he and Sarah could finally get on with their lives together as man and wife. Opening the door of their room, his eyes immediately took in the overturned chair and the opened box before moving to the scattered contents of Sarah’s purse, stopping abruptly at the sight of her hand closed over it.

“Sarah!” He rushed into the room and threw himself onto the carpet beside her. Daniel’s eyes took in her mottled color as he frantically tried to find her pulse before crawling around on the carpet, searching for Sarah’s injector. When he couldn’t find it, Daniel rushed out of their room with tears streaming down his cheeks. He pounded on the door of the room next to theirs and when no one answered, he rushed back to the office.

The man at the desk was still reading his paper. “Is there a problem?” he asked, looking up.

“My wife,” Daniel managed in between sobs. “She’s collapsed. Please – you must call an ambulance!”

The man had his full attention now. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“But you don’t understand,” Daniel insisted. “She’s collapsed—” He turned and made for the door, anxious to return to Sarah.

Daniel didn’t see the gun the man withdrew from his desk or hear the single shot until it was too late. He crumpled to the floor just inside the office door.

The motel clerk picked up the phone and dialed the same number Daniel had dialed only a few minutes earlier. It was answered on the first ring. “I think we got ourselves a situation down here.”

MartaProfilePicMarta Tandori

By the time Marta Tandori reached fifth grade, she was an avid reader and writer with a stack of short stories collecting dust in a box under her bed but it wasn’t until she began studying acting in her early twenties at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York that Marta realized acting wasn’t really her passion – writing fiction was. What followed was years of writing workshops as well as correspondence courses in writing for children through the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut. She credits the award winning author, Troon Harrison, as the instructor who helped her find her literary voice. Marta’s first work of juvenile fiction, BEING SAM, NO MATTER WHAT was published in 2005, followed by EVERY WHICH WAY BUT KUKU! in 2006. With her more recent endeavors, Marta has shifted her writing focus to “women’s suspense”, a genre she fondly describes as having “strong female protagonists with closets full of nasty skeletons and the odd murder or two to complicate their already complicated lives”. To learn more about Marta, visit her website at http://www.martatandori.com.

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