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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Blasphemy Box by Mandy Behbehani (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Blasphemy Box by author Mandy Behbehani!

Author Guest Post

How Do You Motivate Yourself To Keep Writing?

Many writers I know commit themselves to a certain amount of words, or pages a day. Others stay inspired by reaching out to their networks of friends online and off for feedback, advice, encouragement. Some people channel a well-known writer, like Scott Turow or Hemingway, and some others choose to find motivation in meditation or a hike (with notebook in hand, of course).

I even heard one person say to treat writing like sex: something fun and restorative. (Not a bad take at all!)

None of those tricks has worked for me. Writing is not like some other occupations. To create, out of a cloud of nothing, a cast of characters and a life for each one that intersects with that of the others is hard. Writing is difficult. It’s painful and lonely. And I have trouble with it, just like most other people.

I can only write when I’m writing the right story. The story that works. And even then, staying motivated is not easy. Some days I have to veritably drag myself to my computer, from which I only have to look up to see that the house needs vacuuming, the laundry needs folding, the dog needs walking, the blinds need dusting and the dishwasher needs loading. I force myself to write a few sentences, and when I’m stuck, I work on a jigsaw puzzle, (which the French with their sharp observation skills, call a casse-tete - a broken head), or make myself some tea. I write some more and the next time I’m stuck, I’ll watch an episode of Law & Order (which I’ve already seen ten thousand times) and then I’ll get back to the story and try to write some more.

Most days, that strategy doesn’t work. Nothing works. Except when what I am writing is what I should be writing. So when you should be writing what you’re writing, you’ll write. And stay motivated to do so.

About The Author

Mandy Behbehani grew up and was educated in England. Her first short story was published when she was twelve and she has been scribbling away ever since, as a journalist and now a novelist. She holds a degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and, over her career, served as West Coast correspondent for Women's Wear Daily and W magazine, as an on-air reporter at KTVU-TV and, for a decade, as the fashion editor and features writer for the Hearst San Francisco Examiner where she won awards for feature writing. Her work has been published in a variety of publications including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Town & County magazine, the San Jose Mercury News and Travel & Leisure magazine.

She lives in California, and, when she's not in front of her computer, she can be found reading a good book, and hiking the open space that surrounds her home with her yellow Lab, Lalou.

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The Blasphemy Box by Mandy Behbehani ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

The Blasphemy Box by Mandy Behbehani
Publisher: Breedon Avenue Box
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Format: Paperback - 292 pages / Kindle - 456 KB 
ISBN: 0615736831
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Blasphemy Box

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

"You know that nightmare you've always had? The one where you wake up one day to find yourself fat, frumpy, fifty and alone? I'm living it."

Maddy Nelson has an idyllic existence: a handsome husband, great kids, a comfortable lifestyle. One morning soon after she turns fifty, however, she wakes up in her San Francisco home to find her husband Steven announcing that he's leaving her for a woman half her age. And half her size.


Feeling totally unmoored and grieving for her married life and husband, Maddy finds herself thrust into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable world of middle-aged singledom. There, she must come to terms with her situation and embark on her new life: divorce proceedings, single parenting, internet dating, and trying to earn a living. It's enough to drive her over the brink. To help her cope, she shares her struggles in a smart, wry blog named The Blasphemy Box, after her ex-husband's obnoxious habit of having her drop a quarter into a wooden box every time she said something off color. Her madcap middle-aged adventures find her devoted readers who identify with her challenges.

In time, Maddy creates herself and finds happiness in the arms of a good man, and a fulfilling new career as a novelist.

Book Excerpt:



Marriage is the chief cause of divorce — Groucho Marx

You know that nightmare you’ve always had?

The one where you wake up one day to find yourself fat, frumpy, fifty, and alone?

I’m living it.

It’s barely nine on a frigid January morning. The three children have gone off to school, and I’m in the kitchen in my pajamas on my laptop working on my novel when Steven comes lumbering through, toward the front door of our Victorian house in San Francisco, dragging two of my large Louis Vuitton suitcases.

It’s been only a week since he said he was leaving. Not even a week. Six days. We’d only just celebrated the kids’ birthdays. After twenty years of marriage, I just didn’t believe it. I thought maybe he had a cold and was feeling out of sorts. Sure, we’d been bickering a lot lately, mostly about how he was working until all hours of the night with no convincing explanation. And about how he was sick and tired of seeing my nose in a book and that I should take it out and pay more attention to him. And about why he hadn’t touched me for several months. And about that wooden box with a slot on the top, which suddenly appeared on the kitchen table to remind me not to curse. Steven called it the Blasphemy Box, and I was to insert a quarter into it every time I swore. (I’m from England where cursing is the second language.)

He told me he was leaving while we were perusing the baking aisle at Whole Foods. It was the first time he had been grocery shopping with me in a long time. All I could see through my tears was a row of boxes of “No Pudge Fat-Free Fudge Brownie Mix.” I kept asking him if he was joking. He said it was no joke. I blinked the tears away and tried to maintain my British cool—public grief is just not done in England after all, where I come from. I babbled about needing bitter cocoa powder, mascarpone, and ladyfingers for tiramisu. I asked him if he wanted something other than tiramisu. But he just stood silently next to me, not looking at me, far away, already gone.

Had I seen this coming? No! (Well, not exactly.) I thought we were just used to each other, just comfortable with each other, the spark gone, the flame tamed, but still together as one. I guess not. We didn’t talk about it again in that intervening week. I couldn’t. It’s called denial. I thought if I didn’t talk about it, it wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t happen. But it has. It is. Happening. Now.

As he lumbers toward our front door, I look up. “So, that’s it. You’re really leaving.”

“Maddy, don’t start…We’ve been through this. It’s over. ”

No matter how many times he says it, I still can’t believe it.

“Because of some bimbo half your age?”

“And half your size.”


“Her name is Gabriela, Madeleine.”

Gabriela. I want to skin her and wear her like last year’s Dior.

“Yeah, right,” I say, furious, then numb as I get up, pull my stomach in and try to stand straight. I am trying to hold back my tears. I really am. I dig my finger into my thigh, hoping the pain will distract me from the other pain and humiliation. Of course it doesn’t. I just feel the cellulite growing there like kudzu.

My Book Review:

Every married women's nightmare turns into one woman's journey of self-discovery ...

After twenty years of marriage and three children, fifty year old Maddy Nelson's husband Steven leaves her for a twenty-five year old woman. Devastated and humiliated, Maddy didn't see this coming, she had always thought that their marriage wasn't perfect but comfortable. When best friend Suzy suggests that Maddy start a blog to share her experience with others as an outlet, The Blasphemy Box was born and it sparks Maddy's journey of self-discovery and finding happiness in her life.

Every once in a while a book comes along that thoroughly entertains me from cover to cover, and The Blasphemy Box is that book! Author Mandy Behbehani weaves a humorous and poignant tale set in San Francisco and written in the first person narrative, that has the reader following along with Maddy Nelson's trials and tribulations as she travels down a winding path of self-discovery when her twenty year marriage ends in divorce. Written in a clever style, this true-to-life story has a touch of humor and sarcasm that captivates the reader's attention, Maddy is someone that the reader can relate to, her story is realistic, you can't help but feel for her and cheer her on as her journey will reveal to her just how strong a woman she really is.

This was such a fun book to read! Maddy is hilarious, her dry humor and sarcastic British personality kept me in stitches. I felt a kindred spirit in Maddy, she's a realistic and normal middle aged woman who has lived with the ups and downs in her life, and when it is all said and done she is still able to stand on her own two feet.

I loved that the author provides inspirational quotes on marriage, relationships, divorce and life at the beginning of each chapter followed by Maddy's inner dialogue of her journey that includes back stories into Maddy's past. It feels like you are sitting on the couch with Maddy as she tells you her life story. Maddy's divorce experience will touch your soul, her lesson of letting go and giving herself a chance to rebuild her life is an inspirational and empowering testament for strong women everywhere. This story's message teaches the reader how to breathe, heal and move forward in your life.

I loved the premise behind the title of her blog, The Blasphemy Box. Maddy's husband Steven tried to curb Maddy's swearing by producing a wooden box with a slot on top, and every time that Maddy said a curse word she had to insert a quarter in the box. I loved that Maddy's blog gave her an outlet to voice her experience and provide the boost she needed to reclaim her life. Let's just say that I totally related to Maddy's potty mouth, I think I need my own blasphemy box.

I have just one thing to say about Maddy's ex-husband Steven, what a total POS! I don't know how Maddy lived with that self-righteous pompous jerk for twenty years. I would never stand for anyone knocking my spirit down by calling me pathetic, criticizing my weight, or dismissing my dreams like Steven did to Maddy ... good riddance to him!

With an engaging cast of characters (especially Maddy's funny best friend Suzy and new love interest Mike); witty dialogue and humorous interactions; and a poignant storyline of one woman's journey of overcoming a traumatic divorce to find happiness; The Blasphemy Box is an uplifting story that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, it will make you laugh, cringe, sigh, and leave you feeling empowered!

The Blasphemy Box is an inspirational, entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable story that will leave a smile on your face.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: June 10 - July 1, 2013

Everyone who leaves a comment on The Blasphemy Box by Mandy Behbehani ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of The Blasphemy Box before July 1 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

June 10 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
June 11- eBook Addict – Guest Post
June 13 – Musings and Ramblings – Excerpt
June 14 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
June 17 – Defining Women’s Evolution in Discovery Blog – Q&A & Excerpt
June 19 – eBook Addict – Q&A
June 20- Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
June 24 – The East Village – Review 
June 25 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
June 26 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 27 – Rom Com and Cupcakes – Guest Post & Q&A 
June 28 – Read Baby Read – Review & Q&A
July 1 – Karma For Life Chick – Review


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Samantha, it was a fun book to read and review. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Mandy! The Blasphemy Box is a wonderful story, I really enjoyed reading and reviewing it. Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)