book review · Family · reading

My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley {ARC Review}

Blurb from book:

David Hedges is having an unusual mid-life crisis. His boyfriend has left him for an older, albeit more successful, man. His job-helping the spoiled children of San Francisco’s elite get into college- is exasperating. As his life reaches new lows, his weight has reached new highs. The only good thing he has is an under-market-value apartment that has a view so stunning he is the envy of all of San Francisco. But when his Realtor and supposed best friend sells it out from under him, David hits rock bottom.

Across the country, Julie Fiske isn’t having much of a better time. The woman her second husband left her for is more likeable than her ex. The bills are piling up- so much so that she has turned her rambling home into an illegal Airbnb. Her sullen teenage daughter, Mandy, adamantly refuses to apply to college. And Julie cant seem to quit smoking weed ( she can stop anytime she chooses. Truly. She can. Right after this one last joint.).  The last thing she expects is for David, her first husband, to come back into her life.

My Review:

I received this book in the mail from Flatiron Books and I would like to provide them with an honest review.

I immediately fell in love with David and Julie’s stories that are taking place apart and fell even more in love with their stories as they came together. David is in San Francisco attempting to live his life even though it is falling apart while at the same time across the country, his ex wife, Julie is doing the same thing. They have both lost their second significant others and are dealing with trying to stay afloat. David seems to use food as his escape seeing as how he has gained weight since his boyfriend has left him. Julie is using weed as her escape.

While Julie is dealing with what is and is not going on in her life, Mandy, is trying to find herself all while being the typical teenager. She has a summer job that she hates and she doesn’t have very many friends and she tries to hide that from her mother. She knows her mom smokes and wishes that she would stop. It is Mandy who brings David back into her mother’s life after coming across some old memorabilia in all of her mother’s junk. She decides to call him after her father has given Julie an ultimatum about the house and Mandy.

When David arrives, helping Julie and Mandy is just what he needs to come out of his funk. It is also what Julie needs to get back on her feet and to literally clear her head. All while they are working on getting the house together so that Julie doesn’t lose it, Mandy is living an undercover life that she thinks no one knows about.

The story follows them on their journey of becoming comfortable in their own skins and finding their identity, once again for the adults, and the initial self discovery of the teen.

I found this story to be quirky and cute, yet thoughtful at the same time. I enjoyed the development of the story and characters, even the annoying neighbor Amira. Stephen McCauley is an excellent storyteller and this is my first novel by him. This has been a great introduction to his style of writing. I highly recommend this book for those vacation reads seeing as summer is upon us. This story may or may not make you go out to buy toss pillows(read the book to see what I am referring too, lol).


4 Stars


This book will be available May 8, 2018 from Flatiron Books in hardcover, ebook and audio.

book review · Family · hockey

Beartown by Fredrik Backman {Review}



Goodreads Blurb:

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded town. And that rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national championships, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of the town now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
A victory would send star player Kevin onto a brilliant professional future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. And it would justify the choice that Peter, the team’s general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Hers is a story no one wants to believe since the truth would mean the end of the dream. Accusations are made, and like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

My Review:

I will admit although I love Fredrik Backman’s writing style, I was a bit leery about reading this book because it is focused around hockey and I am not a big fan of hockey. Well, I joined yet another social media forum dedicated to books called Litsy and decided to participate in this month’s read-along and Beartown was the novel. Boy, am I glad that I did.

This book captivates you with the first chapter which is literally only a few lines long but because of Backman’s writing style, more isn’t needed. This story develops around Beartown and it’s youth hockey teams. Hockey is the heart of this town like football would be in other towns. As the story develops you get the feeling that this youth hockey team carries the fate of the town on its shoulders. The A-team has a big game coming up and if they win it could mean more opportunities for the town itself. The boys have been groomed to be winners. They train hard and play even harder. About a week before their big game, Kevin, one of the best players on the team throws a party while his parents are out of town. At this party there is an incident. Although nothing is said right away about it, there is a witness to the incident. Of course at this party, drugs and alcohol are involved.

Everyone involved in this particular incident tries to go on as if nothing has happened but then the dam breaks and the secret is brought to life, the day of the big game for the team and their star player is taken away. Once the secret is brought to life, you get to see how far some of the people in the town are willing to go to protect their hockey program.

This story also makes you question loyalty. How far are you willing to go to be loyal. What type of loyalty should you have and does loyalty not involve being loyal to yourself?

The town in divided with some thinking and feeling kids will be kids and the other half who doesn’t feel that way are too scared to speak up on what they think is right. How far should adults go when trying to protect their children or even just their own livelihood? You get to witness parents sacrifice everything they have and believe in. You see parents who question their own parenting styles. Blind eyes are turned, deaf ears are tuned in.

Backman’s writing style and development of the story grabs you and takes you on an intense ride that you don’t want to end. He also writes stories that make you think.

This story features bullying, intimidation, fear, strength, courage, secrets and most of all family dynamic.

I highly recommend this novel for fans of Backman and even those who haven’t read his writing yet. This is a story that is happening everywhere in real life and needs to be addressed one way or another.

I gave this book 4.5 stars and I am looking forward to the sequel.


Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio from wherever you purchase books.


book review · books · Family

Educated by Tara Westover {Review}

This story is not about  Mormonism.

I have to admit that I do not usually read the Author’s Note, but that one line captivated me. Probably because I was thinking that it was going to be about the religion and the effects of it. It turned out that that line was completely correct. Even without the line, I don’t think that I would have considered Tara Westover’s family devoted Mormons.

This memoir is my first non fiction feature on my blog. Definitely something different from what I usually read and review. I welcomed this story with open arms. This was an unexpected arrival and I chose to not read the synopsis before diving into the story.

The story follows Tara who is a native of Idaho and a member of a family who is living off the grid.

Goodreads Blurb:

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

That is just a piece of what this book entails.

My review:

I don’t usually read physical copies of memoirs, but I am glad that I read this one. Sitting down with this book was like stepping into a world that I have only been involved with thru media such as movies or news articles. Tara’s family lived in the mountains of Idaho and were basically living in their own universe and not concerned with the “corrupted” world. Tara grew up experiencing life with a parent who probably suffered from a mental illness, a mother who seemed to be complacent, and a life with a sibling who is physically and mentally abusive.

Tara may have started life in that unusual environment but she was strong enough to desire a different style of life for herself, although it was not an easy task. Tara stepped foot in school at the age of 17 and it was not a high school classroom but a college classroom. By stepping into this life outside of her mountain life, she realizes that she has been sheltered from a world that has gone on and she knows nothing of it. I believe that Tara was like a sponge and absorbed all the information that she could. There were times that she was discouraged or felt that she was being a traitor to her family. Tara ended up risking her spot in her family and became the “black sheep” because she wanted a different life for herself. She wanted to discontinue the lifestyle that she was raised in.

I loved the language that the author used in her story. The story was well written and read like a novel instead of a memoir which I enjoyed. I definitely would not have believed that Tara didn’t start going to school until she was 17 years old and that most of what she learned had to be self taught.

I gave this novel 4.5 stars

I received this novel from Random House. I am was very pleased to give an honest review.

This book is set to be released February 20, 2018 from Random House.

book review · books

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love {review}

Drugs, money, loyalty. A man’s world, or is it?

I will admit that I had some reservations after I received this novel and didn’t think I would enjoy it. I then found myself wanting to know what was going to happen and when. This is not the typical type of novel that I usually read but I am so glad that I stepped outside of my box this time. What looks like sugar isn’t always sweet. Lola definitely defied the stereotypes types of a gang banger and I appreciated that fact. Lola was a hardcore thug. I honestly thought that she would soften around the edges when it was crunch time but she was ruthless throughout the entire story, even when it came to her own family. She was a woman after my own heart though. She knew how to take care of home and was willing to take risks to protect what was hers or what she deemed needing protection. The only soft spot she had was for Lucy whose mother was a junkie willing to pimp out her child for her next fix. Lola’s past made her protective of Lucy. I would recommend this story to anyone needing a break from the mundane suspense, thriller type novels or the stories where the man is always leading the pack. This is my first novel by this author and I look forward to reading more by her. Maybe Lola will get a sequel, lol.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.