Showing posts with label The Whole Package.
Showing posts with label The Whole Package.

Monday, September 26, 2011

You will love The Whole Package! Book Review & Giveaway

I devoured Cynthia Ellingsen's The Whole Package in about three nights--staying up way too late because the novel was such a great read! Cynthia stopped by Rockland Mother as a guest blogger last month and I have done you such a disservice in not reviewing the book until now. You are going to want to run out and read it immediately!

Berkley; Aug 2011
The story: Doris, Cheryl and Jackie are three almost-40-somethings who have been best friends since high school. Life hasn't turned out as expected for any of them: Doris, once a wild and talented soccer player, is now a prim wife, living with a unhappy husband and an ungrateful teenager daughter. Cheryl, who is divorced from her husband after she cheated on him, flits from guy to guy and works her ass off at a male-dominated marketing firm where sexual harassment is the in thing. And, Jackie, once a very promising artist who happened to married a rich older gentleman, has fled to Paris after his death to process her loss.

After Jackie receives a call from her lawyer informing her that her husband's money has run out during her time in Paris, she returns to Illinois to find her friends both in the middle of their own catastrophes: Doris' husband has left her to "find himself" on the seat of a motorcycle and Cheryl is fired from the company she helped build after her boss snoops through her files.

Drowning their sorrows at a local male strip club, the girls have a great idea--why not open a Hooter-inspired restaurant for women called The Whole Package? Why should men have all the fun? Bring on the Adonises in thongs serving goat cheese and apple salads!

Before I get carried away and give away the entire story, let's just say that the rest of the book has to do with the women trying to succeed at opening their restaurant and trying to put their lives back together. And, man, did I have a fun time following these three girls around. They fight and make up, make mistakes and figure things out, just like real girlfriends do. And Cynthia has a way with flirting/sex scenes--I really felt giddy reading them. Nothing too raunchy, but just so so sweet and sexy.

I also loved the pair of gay characters in the book, and one gorgeous man, especially, who helps Doris out or her style doldrums (and doldrums of the heart too). And, there were more than a few scenes that made me laugh out loud--like a geriatric woman dancing suggestively on a chair.

My only tiny problems: the final line of the book seems out of character for a few of the men and something happens to Cheryl at the end of the book that really is more of a big deal than it is made out to be (you will recognize it when you read it, especially if you are a mom).

Thank you for such a fun read and thanks to Penguin for providing me with the book to review! I really hope there is more to come from this author soon. Until then, I will remember the characters in The Whole Package fondly, take some of their lessons learned to heart (mainly, you must take care of yourself first before you can love those around you fully), and remember certain scenes in front of a fireplace with a smile.

Leave a comment below by October 3rd to win a copy of the book!! Winner must be in USA or Canada.

Friday, August 19, 2011

36棋牌Have I've got a treat for you today! Cynthia Ellingsen, author of the newly released and perfectly named novel 36棋牌 is here as a guest blogger. You're definitely going to want to hear more about Cynthia and her book--which is about a restaurant where scantily clad men do the serving. Yes! 

A full Rockland Mother review and giveaway of the book are just a couple weeks down the line too, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meanwhile, sit back and enjoy today's guest post! 


Hi Rockland Mother! Thank you so much for having me to guest blog.

The Whole Package was released on August 2 and it’s been a delight to hear from readers. I’m going to share with you some of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked since the launch of the book.

What is The Whole Package about?

The Whole Package is about three women, friends for life, who open a restaurant staffed by scantily clad men. Very attractive, scantily clad men.

Seriously, what’s the book about?

Even though there are some very attractive, scantily clad men, the story is actually about friendship. The three main characters, Jackie, Cheryl and Doris, are best friends who have lost touch. The book is about the three of them coming back together.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took about six months to write the rough draft of The Whole Package and about a year to polish. I love to drink coffee while I write (wine doesn’t work when I’m writing - I’d nod off over the computer!) so that probably equals about 1,620 cups of coffee.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, yes and yes. In third grade, the teacher designated Friday as story writing day. He would create these blank books with wallpaper covers and we were expected to write a book every Friday. While most of the class would feign illness, I would happily scribble away.

How did you pursue a writing career?

Unfortunately, I didn’t. Not for years. I went through that thing in middle school that a lot of girls fall victim to - the ol’, “boys will only like me if I’m dumb”. So, I didn’t pursue writing as a career until I was older, wiser and... okay, fine. Smarter.

What do you hope readers will get from reading The Whole Package?

I just got a wonderful email from a reader that can help me answer this question. In her email, she talked about the various themes in the book. One message she settled upon was the importance of staying true to who you are. (One of the main characters, Jackie, is a painter who has long since given up the desire to paint. It’s only a tiny part of who she is but it’s very significant in terms of what makes her happy.) The reader pointed out that, in life, we often lose sight of what it is as women that truly makes us happy. The Whole Package reminded her the importance of staying true to who she is and to set aside time and enthusiasm for those things that bring her joy.

I hope that all readers can find a similar message as they read The Whole Package.

Thanks for reading! I hope to hear from you, too, at