Elevate Difference

Reviews by M.L. Madison

M.L. Madison

M.L. Madison has been writing since she learned to pick up a pen. Raised by a feminist father, she is the oldest of four very cool siblings and is a nonprofit slave by day. She and her partner are raising a family of cats near Portland, Oregon.

Cafe Eterno

Airline travel is always uncomfortable for me; practically the minute I'm off the plane, regardless of how long (or short) the flight, I go hunting for espresso. When my husband and I visited London in April, I wandered the local coffee shops near our Covent Garden hotel in search of an iced mocha. No one, short of Starbucks (and I didn't want to go there), seemed to know what I wanted. Was it a milkshake?

New Orleans Noir

Unlike every other volume of short stories I've read, none of the stories in this book disappointed me. Written by authors who live or have lived in the Big Easy, New Orleans Noir digs below the surface and into the social fabric of a city that had its troubles long before Hurricane Katrina. To say that it pushes the reader out of her comfort zone would be a major understatement. The collection is divided into two parts: pre- and post- Katrina.

Stefani Handbag and Wallet

Though I'm not a girly girl, I still have more purses than chairs, and I can always find room for one more. That said, I am picky. My ideal purses and bags must be roomy but not bulky, funky but not too strange. This mod-inspired canvas tote from ChicCosas (retail price $58) will go with any outfit and be appropriate for any occasion. It measures about 14”W x 10”H x 4”D - enough space for everything you shouldn't stash in a regular-sized purse, but want to anyway.

Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move

Given the choice between staying where your career, friends, home and loved ones are and moving to a large city where you knew no one, what would you pick? Lucky for readers, Katherine Lanpher chose the latter. Lanpher, a newspaper reporter and radio host, grew up in Illinois and made her journalistic mark in Minnesota. Among other notable achievements, she was the first female metro columnist at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In her late 40s, she traded her Midwest life for a new one in the Big Apple, and went to work for Al Franken and Air America.

An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers Politicos Polluters and The Fight For Seadrift, Texas

Diane Wilson may hail from Texas, but An Unreasonable Woman, which takes the reader from the Gulf Coast to Taiwan and back, is no tall tale. In 1989, Wilson, a shrimper and mother of five, read a newspaper article reporting that her native Calhoun County (pop. 15,000) was the most polluted county in the nation. When she started inquiring about the chemicals being dumped into her beloved San Antonio Bay, getting the cold shoulder from government officials and the polluters only made Wilson more determined.

Life After Your Lover Walks Out: A Practical Guide

This is, indeed, a practical guide; think of it as a seventy-nine-page crash-course on how to get over a breakup. Bevan, a fifty-nine-year-old charity manager and radio relationship counselor who is on her third marriage, makes no bones about her own past relationships. Throughout this short book, one feels as if Bevan, who lives in Wales, is coaching the reader by saying that if she has gotten through relationship bumps, they can too.

Votive and Glass Jar Candles

I admit, I am a candle junkie. I have tried all kinds of varieties: scented and unscented, expensive and inexpensive, domestic and foreign. (Really!) But the selections I've sampled from Three Sisters Candles are by far the best I've tried to date. Founding sister Sue Landwehr got the idea for starting the Oregon-based company when she was unemployed a few years back. Unable to fund her candle habit, she started making her own. And lucky for us that she did!

The Education of Shelby Knox: Sex, Lies & Education

Good Southern Baptist girls pledge abstinence until marriage; rarely do they take on the school board in a battle for comprehensive sex education. Shelby Knox did both-and made national headlines in the process. The Education of Shelby Knox: Sex, Lies & Education, chronicles both Knox’s fight for information and her own questioning of her religious upbringing. As she struggles to push the school board of Lubbock, Texas to go beyond its abstinence-only sex education policy, she also challenges the narrow views her church has taught her.