Elevate Difference

Reviews by Cheryl Reeves


The dark psyche of greed gone wild is at the heart of Uptown. In this energetic and sexy page turner of a story about the high stakes world of Manhattan real estate, winners take all—but the price turns out to be far more than they negotiated for...

Trailer Girl: And Other Stories

One of my favorite short story collections of all time is Black Tickets, a masterpiece written by Jayne Anne Phillips in the 1970s. So hauntingly poetic and impressive were these stories written about rootless misfits by a young and relatively unknown writer that a giant of the short story genre, Raymond Carver, contributed a blurb to the book’s back cover. He wrote: “These stories of America’s disenfranchised are unlike any in our literature.

Against the Current

As Paul Thompson in the surprising and moving Against the Current, Joseph Fiennes has the deep, burned out eyes of a man who no longer cares for life and yearns for his misery to end. Yet he still has a dream: to swim the length (150 miles) of the Lower Hudson River.

Brick City

In Brick City, Sundance Channel’s five-part documentary series about life in Newark, NJ circa 2008, the camera crew follows Cory Booker, a mayor who is passionate about making a difference in the crime beleaguered city.

Teatime in Bombay Earrings

Swingy, playful and pretty, the Teatime in Bombay Earrings also work well for cocktail time in Manhattan. Equally attractive is the quality construction and affordable price.

Getting Naked Again: Dating, Romance, Sex, and Love When You've Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped, or Distracted

This self-help book did not exactly have me at hello. In fact, I found it hard to keep reading after getting to an anecdote on the very first page where a recently divorced fifty-six-year-old woman meekly accepts a calf feel from a male colleague, and later winds up outside of his hotel room in her cotton PJ’s nervously wondering if she should knock on his door for more. Now, if a colleague started feeling up your leg at a conference, wouldn’t you be offended in the same way the German Chancellor was when she shrugged off former President Bush’s impromptu back massage?

Karma Calling

Director Sarba Das has taken the stomach-churning subject of credit card debt and used it as a hilarious plot device in this endearing romp of a screwball romantic comedy. Watching Karma Calling is definitely non-stop farcical fun as the maxed out Raj’s, a Hindu family living above their means in Hoboken, are pestered by credit card call center collectors based in India. Ingenious scenes highlight the absurdity of our hyper-globalized world as the Indian collectors learn how to sound American and choose fake names based on popular American sitcoms.

Green Kids, Sage Families: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Organic Kids

We've come a long way since that 1970s TV commercial of a Native American crying at the sight of trash by the side of the road. Green living has finally gone mainstream.

Latin American Women Artists of the United States: The Works of 33 Twentieth-Century Women

The art world is full of niches large and small that showcase a variety of visual languages and regional cultures.

Breaking Down the Wall of Silence: The Liberating Experience of Facing Painful Truth

In an episode of the television series Homicide: Life On The Street, detective John Munch muses on how to crack the case of a brutal murder. In his typically caustic, world-weary way he quips darkly about motive, “If it’s not one thing, it’s a mother.” Alice Miller would add “or the father” to that line.

The Late Bloomer's Revolution

Cute chick + NYC + media job + boyfriend troubles + comedically quirky friends and family + insipid metaphors + lightbulb moment resolution = book deal! Next, it will surely be opening at a multiplex near you. This read was so formulaic I had to remind myself that The Late Bloomer's Revolution is actually a memoir, not fictitious chick lit.

The Marvelous Wonderettes (9/13/2008)

When The Marvelous Wonderettes, a crinolined quartet of powerhouse girl singers, line up friskily behind their mics and belt out the opener, “Mr. Sandman,” with such flawless harmony and contagious glee, you instantly know you’ve been transported to pop musical heaven. Suddenly ‘50s nostalgia feels fresh and fun again. The recently opened Off-Broadway show is set in 1958 at the Springfield High Senior Prom, and then later fast-forwards to the 1968 reunion.

Pure Dessert: True Flavors, Inspiring Ingredients, and Simple Recipes

Tart is no longer a four letter word, thanks to bakery chef extraordinaire (and three-time cookbook award winner) Alice Medrich. The most amazing thing about her sublime dessert concoctions is that she has whipped up her pastries using fresh, organic ingredients combined in stunningly elegant and inventive ways.

Saving the Modern Soul: Therapy, Emotions, and the Culture of Self-Help

From Freud’s creation of psychoanalysis for curing psychopathology by means of talk therapy, to spilling one’s guts on Oprah’s couch or skyping into her soul series webcast, we all just really want to know (dammit!): who am I and why am I here? Saving the Modern Soul examines the language and practice of psychology, essentially, from an American cultural perspective.

Brainscan 21: Irreconcilable Differences

In her riveting zine, Alex Wrekk writes in raw and powerful detail about her marriage to a man named J who dominates the relationship and systematically chips away at her self-esteem until she feels like a big zero, like she's the one who is crazy. (Projection and gaslighting are tactics of choice used by the cowardly abusers, but victims don’t usually "get it" until they are in way over their head.) I believe no one can fully understand what a Herculean task escaping and recovering from abuse is unless they have traversed a twisted relationship personally.

Lilac Woods Massage Oil Spray

Even the creators of sex toys have decided not to stick it to Mother Nature anymore. Getting it on has gone green. Kiss latex and chemicals good-bye. As Babeland’s witty press release summarily describes, its products are as eco-friendly as, say, fair trade coffee and organic vegetables. From rechargeable vibrators (no batteries in the landfill!) to organic, orgasm-inducing lubes, sensuality is trending decidedly au natural. Lilac Woods Massage Oil Spray has a lovely, soft scent, but it didn’t smell anything like lilacs or woods.

Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled

I’ve always been a sporadic fan of Melissa Etheridge’s work; perhaps it’s because, to me, her lyrics often feel oddly a little sophmoric and platitudinously P.C.—even when her sound is rocking tough, true and primal. Her guitar sounds dangerous, but her words don’t. The disconnect in poetic feeling between her amazing guitar work and lackluster words is one of the reasons she’s not, up to now, been included on my ipod.

Aqua Beats and Moon Verses: Volume I

Chicago based performance artists camil.williams and veronica precious bohanan (a.k.a. AquaMoon) explore womyn-centered issues, such as rape, molestation, incest, and women in hip hop from an African American perspective. These themes are interpreted through the use of choreopoems (poems intended to be acted out on stage), and there is also a CD that comes with the book.

Regaining Control: When Love Becomes a Prison

Sad to say, I wasn’t really too surprised by Tami Brady’s intended bombshell statistic that only 1% of the world’s assets are in the name of women. It has been my personal experience that I’ve met very few women who aren’t either overt or covert aggressive, control freaks, or - at the other end of the extreme - fearful and dependent. Both types are insecure.

The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty

Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse, the first woman to build her own lavish fortune in the New World, had the Midas touch when it came to trading everything from furs to slaves in seventeenth century colonial Manhattan, then called New Amsterdam.

Is That a Hybrid or Are You Just Happy to See Me T-shirt

It’s reassuring that edgier girls, even when they become moms, can look to Rudechix tees for a little self-reverential, sassy fun. A phenomenon that hit big from its very first chops busting attitude tee in 2004 (“I’m Cuter Than You”), Rudechix is hotter and ruder than ever with a new series of to-die-for tee collections, including The Tattoo Line, The Environmental Line, The Bitter Waitress Collection and The Baby Surf Collection. The fantastically inventive Sherry Mattson, owner and president of the company, is all about creating something beyond the typically prosaic one-liner.