Friday, May 24, 2013

A Life Less Ordinary by Victoria Bernadine - Review tour and giveaway

(Full Length Women's Fiction)

This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions.

Victoria will be awarding a $25 (grand prize) gift card with two gift cards for $15 each; the cards would for either Amazon or Smashwords (winner’s choice), so make sure you leave her a comment today!

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. Now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house, cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.

After placing an ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-zine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time.

Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

Take a woman on the other side of forty, throw in a new supervisor (that you have to train because you've already been doing the job), add a general dissatisfaction with life as you know it-- and you have the recipe for a wonderfully madcap adventure as the main character trades in her ordinary life for a "life less ordinary."

I absolutely loved this book and each and every character (especially her imaginary friend Harvey--who has a to be a nod to Mary Chase's imaginary rabbit). The adventures that Manny and Zeke get into, as well as their growing respect and fondness for each other, are enjoyable to see.

I especially liked seeing how Zeke's attitude shifts during the course of their journey together and how he changes.

The secondary characters (I hate to call them that, because they are just as important to the story as Manny and Zeke) and their stories serve as a juxtaposition to the trip Manny and Zeke are taking--their ordinary lives are proving to be just as life-altering as Manny's less ordinary adventure.

I hope the author has more in store for this ensemble--I feel like I've made friends and I would like to see what else happens with them.

4 flowers - This was a very good book! I'd recommend it to my friends.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

“All I ever wanted was a life less ordinary.”

Manny lay flat on her back, eyes wide, staring at the ceiling while she waited for her clock to hit 6:00. Another day of work, she thought. Another day older and deeper in debt.

She had the alarm timed to the millisecond. The jarring noise had barely begun when she clicked it off. She sighed then threw back the covers and got out of bed.

She padded into the bathroom, glanced without interest in the full-length mirror that doubled as her shower doors and took her morning inventory.

Plain face? Check.

Looking tired? Check.

Thirty pounds overweight? Check.

Dark circles under deer-caught-in-headlights eyes? Check and check.

She shook her head at her limp, mousy hair and wondered when she’d gotten so old.

She sighed in resignation then conjured up her Perfect Fantasy Man–or Harvey, as she liked to call him–to give her a morning lift. She cocked her head to one side as she stared into the mirror and imagined him standing behind her. She smiled at the handsome man, and he smiled back, putting his hands on her shoulders. Everything about him was warm, in stark contrast to the cold shades of grey in which she lived her life. He had warm brown eyes, warm brown skin, and a warm smooth voice that always reminded her of golden honey. Today his hair was black with greying temples, and yes, even that seemed warm to her.

He was perfect, everything she considered ideal in a man–and extra-perfect, of course, because he was a fantasy. Just the thought of trying to establish a relationship with an actual man felt too much like work.

She sighed and Harvey disappeared.

“Instead I ended up in a rut–everything planned and executed to the minute.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. She began with fanfiction about a (now-cancelled) TV show called Jericho and particularly about the characters of Heather Lisinski and Edward Beck. From there, she expanded into writing original fic and she hasn’t stopped since.

Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess.

She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.

Victoria can be contacted through Love of Words Publishing Inc. ( or through her brand new blog at

A Life Less Ordinary is available for sale on Amazon in both Kindle and hard copy formats at


  1. Thank you for a great review.

    Reading the excerpt I wondered what I would check off in the mirror??


    1. Hi Mary - thanks for stopping by!

      Hopefully you would check off many positive things: lovely eye colour; clear skin; nice cheekbones - that sort of thing. :) Poor Manny's in a pretty low place when the book starts so she's not in the right frame of mind to look for the positives. :)

  2. Well, it's the last day of the tour and I want to say I've enjoyed following you around, learning more about you and your books. So, thanks for a good time!
    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Karen - thanks for following me around! ;D

      I'm glad you enjoyed yourself; I've had a blast!

      My Name Before the Masses Tour is still going on; the next stop is on June 3rd (the full schedule is at my blog).

  3. What a nice review, MJ. I'l also a "woman of a certain age." Congrats on the release of A Life Less Ordinary. I think the title speaks volumes...All of us are seeking such a life.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Catherine - thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)

      I've been having a lot of fun with the book (both writing it and promoting it)(editing not so much... ;) ). I agree with you completely that we're all seeking a life less ordinary (although I think we already are even if it doesn't feel that way).

  4. Hi MJ - thank you so much for hosting me today! I'm thrilled you enjoyed the book. :D

    Harvey was originally intended to be nameless and voiceless; when he became a character in his own right, I was trying to land on a name...and there was the Jimmy Stewart movie sitting on my shelf. Perfect! LOL So absolutely a nod to Mary Chase's creation. :)

    Also, I am working** on a sequel tentatively titled "A Year in the Life". Whether it's ever good enough to see the light of day is still debatable.


    **By "working" I mean I have ~20,000 words, some ideas and a scowl. ;P

  5. I'm looking forward to reading this fabulous book.


    1. Yay!! Thanks, Ingeborg, for dropping by! Please let me know what you think of it! :)

  6. Thanks for the tour and liking the review about the madcap adventure, yet a story of growth and discovery. Will want to add this book to my list.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

    1. Hi Jbst - thanks for commenting! I'm glad the book is something that piques your interest! :)

  7. This sounds like a fantastic read. Different from anything I've read so far.

    1. Hi Nana - thanks for dropping by! :)

  8. Congratulations on the publication of A Life Less Ordinary! I love the storyline with a woman over 40 as the main character. Will definitely be putting this book on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi BookLady - thank you! And thanks for dropping by. :) I hope you'll let me know what you thought of it, if you read it!

  9. I am so on board with this book! Ahhh! So excited!
    That cover is just adorable.
    Loved the tour!


    1. Hi Chelsea - thanks! And yes, I love the cover. My artist did a great job!! :)

  10. Thanks for the review

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. Hi bn100 - thanks for commenting! :)

  11. Great review!
    Sounds like a great read!!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    1. Hi Natasha - thanks for dropping by! :)

  12. A life Less Ordinary sounds good! Thanks for the giveaway!

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Janhvi - thanks, and you're welcome! :D Thanks for leaving a comment!

  13. MJ - thanks for the review. I'm a couple of "episodes" in, having bought the book after a previous tour stop, and am enjoying it so far. It's good to hear there's a lot to come from Zeke's development in the book, as I'm already intrigued by where he's going to end up.

    Victoria - someone else mentioned the lovely cover and I wanted to mention how much I like it as well: it seems to complement the story very well so far. I'm not sure how much involvement you had in choosing it, but I was wondering which part of getting the book published (or since it's been published!) have you enjoyed most and are looking forward to with your next book?

    1. Hi Liz - thanks for the comment!

      Thank you for the compliment; I'm so pleased with the cover. The book is self-published (I own the publishing company) and the book is a bit of a guinea pig to establish business processes/procedures as I do plan on (eventually!) publishing other people's work as well. When I first published the e-book in December, it had a godawful cover I'd created myself as a placeholder, and I was very glad when I discovered a site called Crowdspring where you post a project and have artists submit their designs to you. I received so many great designs, but this one really captured the essence of the book. :)

      As for what I've enjoyed the most...hmmm. From the business side of things - and I know I'm a bit strange - but I've enjoyed just figuring things out. From my former day job, I know the basics (copyright; contracts; graphic design; formatting of a manuscript; editing; even printing) but I don't have the most important piece: marketing and distribution. So, I've really enjoyed (and been very frustrated by) learning strategies for marketing and distribution. What I'm looking forward to is the fact that the next book is going to be easier to get out to market in both e-book and hard copy formats (and far more synchronized).

      From the non-business side: I've really enjoyed this blog tour, and interacting with people (although only online so far). It's also been a great relief to find that total strangers enjoy the book and it's not just my own bias. :) And what I'm looking forward to the most with the next book is writing it!!! :D

  14. Hi MJ!

    I just wanted to let your readers (who may not already) know that I've drawn the names of the winners for the gift cards. They are:

    First Prize – $25 Gift Card: CC from a comment on Tiffany Talks Books
    Runner Up #1 – $15 Gift Card: Jbst from a comment on Brewing Passion
    Runner Up #2 – $15 Gift Card: Shannon from a comment on The Write to Read

    All winners have contacted me and they have all received their gift cards.

    Thanks again for hosting me on my Review Tour! :)


So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?