Title: Becoming

Author: Michelle Obama

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Viking

The Blurb

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations – and whose story inspires us to do the same.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

“When they go low, you go high.” – Michelle Obama.

I am a little bit in love with Michelle Obama. I think she is brilliant. I was really excited to read her biography but it took me a few months to pick it up. I am kind of glad of that because the hype had died down and I was able to enjoy reading it without everyone else’s thoughts buzzing around me.

Becoming is so deeply interesting. Michelle Obama has never stood in the shadow of Obama – partly I think that Barack Obama wouldn’t let her but more so because she is a feisty woman who is not just the previous FLOTUS but she is Michelle freaking Obama.

I genuinely loved this autobiography. Michelle is honest. She was candid about her thoughts about how she didn’t want Barack to run for president. It is lovely to watch their love story unfold. And it is one of the most inspiring reads I have read in a long time.

I really wish Michelle Obama would run for President.

Becoming by Michelle Obama is available now.

For more information regarding Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) please visit www.obama.org.

For more information regarding Viking (@VikingBooksUK) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: I Was Saved by the Bell – Stories of Life, Love, and Dreams That Do Come True

Author: Peter Engel

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Top Hat Words

The Blurb

Peter Engel, one of the most prolific producers in television with more than 1,000 episodes produced under his banner, single handedly created the teen sitcom with Saved By The Bell, which he executive produced through all of its many incarnations, and which led to his many other teen series, including California DreamsHang TimeCity Guys, and USA High. As if defining and conquering the teen arena wasn’t enough, Peter produced the iconic Last Comic Standing, enabling the discovery of an entirely new, fresh generation of comedians.

All of this would be more of a career than any producer could ever dream of having, and with more than 50 years in the television industry, Peter has forgotten more than most will ever know. But Peter’s story isn’t just his professional success; his life and work touched and inspired an entire “Bell” generation, whose values and views of a diverse world were shaped by the stories and plain old fun of Peter’s shows.

There is also another side of Peter that most don’t know—his personal journey that began in New York City’s Upper West Side; his discovery of television the night his family’s brand new TV lit up the living room; his first taste of creative success; the injustices of the 1950s; working for JFK’s election in 1960, with the catastrophic letdown that followed; his dream in the 1970s of making “important” television; his loves, marriages, family, and faith; and, in the 1990s and 2000s, finding his greatest success where he least expected it. Along the way, Peter encountered some of the most iconic personalities of his times—John Lennon, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, Jacques Cousteau, John DeLorean, and, of course, John F. Kennedy, among them—and great stories always followed.

I Was Saved by the Bell is the chronicle of Peter’s amazing journey. His stories will make you laugh, cry, and want them never to end. Together, they are a master class on life from the perspective of a man who grew up during a time of great uncertainty and came of age in an era of hope and promise. With the ups and downs of the decades as a backdrop, Peter opens his heart and shares the experiences of his own good times, bad times, reflection, redemption, and, ultimately, joy and satisfaction of a life lived the only way he could—with passion.

The Review

Like most children of the 90s – if I can be so bold and presumptuous – my weekends were spent watching Saved by the Bell, California Dreams, Hang Time among many many others. The man behind these programs was Peter Engel.

Peter Engel, to me, was just a name. A production company that managed to keep me entertained of a weekend. After reading his autobiography I now know that he was so much more. Engel has led a very colourful life that has saw highs and lows – love, marriage, family, divorce, drug abuse and failure. Throughout it all, we have to nod to his success story and that is making some of the most memorable teenage television of the 90s. Whilst looking back on some of the programs now as an adult they may seem hokey in our media drenched unshockable society but some the earliest life lessons I had came from his television factory.

I Was Saved by the Bell is a really interesting read and gives a backstage pass to the – at times – cruel world – of television.

I Was Saved by the Bell by Peter Engel is available now.

For more information regarding Peter Engel (@RealPeterEngel) please visit www.iwassavedbythebell.com.

Title: Shockaholic

Author: Carrie Fisher

Pages: 176 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

By the time Carrie Fisher wrote Shockaholic, it had been a roller coaster of a few years since her Tony- and Emmy-nominated, one-woman Broadway show and New York Times bestselling book Wishful Drinking

The electro-convulsive shock therapy she’s been undergoing is threatening to wipe out (what’s left of) her memory. She lost her beloved father, Eddie Fisher, but also her once-upon-a-very-brief-time stepmother, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as over forty pounds of unwanted flesh, all the while staying sober and sane-ish.

Yes, of course, Shockaholic is laugh-out-loud funny, acerbic, and witty as hell. But it also reveals a new side of Carrie Fisher that may even bring a pleasant shock your way: it is contemplative, vulnerable, and ultimately quite tender. From the woman who took us to space and back, we bring you Carrie Fisher: the woman, mother, daughter and of course, Princess.

Carrie Fisher, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, became an icon when she starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. Her star-studded career included roles in numerous films such as The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally. She was the author of four bestselling novels, Surrender in the PinkDelusions of GrandmaThe Best Awful and Postcards from the Edge, which was made into a hit film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. Her first work of non-fiction was the cult hit Wishful Drinking. Carrie’s experience with addiction and mental illness – and her willingness to talk honestly about them – made her a sought-after speaker and respected advocate. She was truly one of the most magical people to walk among us.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Earlier this year I read Carrie Fisher’s book Wishful Drinking. I admitted at the time to know little to nothing about the late actress besides a few roles that she had played but I enjoyed her writing style very much. Therefore, it was with pleasure I read another of Carrie Fisher’s books – Shockaholic.

With her continuing acerbic wit and enthusiastic candour about her mental health struggles I found Shockaholic to be an equally delightful read. She is amusingly self-deprecating whilst also being hyper aware of the unreality of her reality.

Both of the books I have read by Carrie Fisher – Shockaholic and Wishful Drinking celebrate the family nucleus that she herself found so normal in the completely bonkers setting of Hollywood post its golden age.

A very entertaining read for anyone who is a fan of tales of Hollywood.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher is available now.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

The Blurb

THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much). Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

The Review

I didn’t know a lot about Amy Poehler. In fact I really only knew her as the inappropriate mum on Mean Girls (the cool mom) but I was strangely intrigued to read her autobiography, Yes Please. I didn’t really know what to expect – I think this is always a good state of mind because you can only be pleasantly surprised…which I was.

Poehler gives it to you straight. You get the overwhelming feeling that she isn’t BSing you. She tells you about the struggles that she had as a performer but never in a whiny way; the way she describes her years before fame are like that of anyone who is trying to climb the career ladder; with hard work, commitment and a good sense of humour and humility to boot. There was no magical ‘right place, right time’ moment for Poehler. It was through sheer determination that she got to the level that she is at.

What is lovely about Yes Please is that Poehler doesn’t come across as entitled or self congratulatory. She champions the people around her, the people that she has kept close by and she is kind of inspiring. I believe that every young person should read this book; not just girls – although you get the sense that Poelher sees how girls are limited by others belief (make like Poelher kids and move those imaginary goalposts) but everyone. It makes you believe that hard work, determination and belief in yourself will get you to the end goal.

I really enjoyed Yes Please and I found it to be a really inspirational book. I probably sound like I’m “fangirling” here but since I have only seen Amy Poelher in one thing I think I can get away with it.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler is available now.

Follow Amy Poehler (@amypoehler_) on Twitter.

BossypantsThe Blurb

Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her.

Before 30 Rock, Mean Girls and ‘Sarah Palin’, Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher.

She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon – from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

The Review

Memoirs are not really my thing. I dip in and out of them sporadically rather than being an avid reader. However, every once in a while I find an autobiography that really impresses me; Tin Fey’s Bossypants really impressed me.

With her inimitable sass, Fey walks you through key moments in her life flashing you a sardonic smile along the way. What is really great is that Fey peels back the layers of “celebrity” and lets you see the person behind it. She doesn’t do this with sad stories, tragic past and constant failures but by showing just how damn hard she worked to get to the level of success she is privy to.

It would be cheesy to say that her story is inspirational because to be honest we all want the lazy way to success – for it to just fall into our hands – but it is uplifting to see someone who seems so together saying that she is just human.

It is probably due to this level-headedness that makes Fey so likeable.

With her book Bossypants Fey adds another quiver to her bow of talent.

Bossypants by Tina Fey is available now.

Follow Tina Fey (@NotTinaFey) on Twitter.

4 Stars