Throwback Thursday: November 9th – Love Lucky by Van Quattro

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

This Week’s Pick:

Love Lucky

by Van Quattro

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Blurb: I had a restless heart, a nasty desire to be loved, a wandering spirit and had barely been out of Glendale. London called in the form of a pretty girl and I followed. I stumbled around one of the greatest cities in the world for a year and a half. Stoned and full of wonder I found people and places that would be far beyond anything I could dream or conjure. It’s an experience that shaped who I am today. It’s about a strong sense of wanting more for my life with a bunch of LUCK thrown in.

My Thoughts:

I’ll start by saying that I love the way the book was written and the writing style. Throughout the author’s memoir I had many emotions. Sure, I found it comical at times, but mainly I felt anger and sadness. It seemed like everything was going his way one minute, and crashing down the next. I wanted to stop his reactions, but somehow understood his anger-maybe from previous experiences with my own family, etc.

I loved the music and film references. I especially enjoyed the relationships he built. In the end, I wished some things could’ve been different for him, but we don’t live in a perfect world and we all make mistakes.

I enjoyed reading about his accomplishments online after the book was finished. Now, I’d like to watch a few of the films so I can see him acting. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs.


 

You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon

Read for free on Kindle Unlimited!

  • Series: Life
  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 31, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1537482009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1537482002

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: November 9th – Love Lucky by Van Quattro”

Throwback Thursday – October 26th – Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

This Week’s Pick:

Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness

by Mary Forsberg WeilandLarkin Warren

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Blurb: Fall to Pieces is a beautifully written, visceral, roller coaster ride inside bipolar disorder, rock ’n’ roll, celebrity culture, and the world of modeling. Mary Forsberg Weiland, wife of Scott Weiland, frontman for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, tells a harrowing true story of depression, drug addiction, and mental illness with candor and, often, humor. Co-written with veteran journalist Larkin Warren, Fall to Pieces is a blistering, eye-opening memoir of Hollywood meltdown in the bestselling vein of Tatum O’Neal’s A Paper Life and Valerie Bertinelli’s Losing It.

My Thoughts:

Fall to Pieces by Mary Forsberg Weiland is an insightful memoir about Mary and her struggle with mental illness, drug use, and her relationship with Scott Weiland, former singer of Stone Temple Pilots.

My entire life I’ve loved music and my teen years in the 90’s was where music became a necessity for everyday life as I experienced similar issues to what Mary had, although nowhere near as extreme. Stone Temple Pilots was one of my favorites and Scott remained a favorite singer of mine in STP, Velvet Revolver and even his solo albums. When he passed away in 2015 I was shocked. Another great artist was gone and the horrible comments and accusations about him as a person began. People would call him a junkie, loser, abuser, and careless to name few. These words from people who were obviously not fans and those who don’t understand addiction and mental disease. They also don’t know what Scott experienced in his life. After reading Scott’s book, I wanted to see what Mary had to say. To see my review on Scott Weiland’s book Click Here

Firstly, this book has much more content than Scott’s Not Dead and Not for Sale. This book doesn’t highlight everything about Scott, but covers Mary and Scott’s relationship from the beginning until their divorce. Mary starts by discussing her early family life and emancipation at 17 which leads into her modeling career. She talks about her struggle with addiction long before her relationship with Scott started.

Mary obviously loved Scott, but it seemed like their relationship was doomed from the beginning. Scott was heavy into drugs and Mary knew it. They both had issues from the past and despite their mental illnesses, they got married and had kids. Up and down and all around is the best way to describe their journey together. It’s sad at times and at one point Mary pulls a Bernadine from “Waiting to Exhale” on Scott’s wardrobe. There’s a lot here you’ll never know if you don’t read the book. It contains journal entries, photos, and a lot of personal information. I learned about friendships that Mary had with other models, actors, and celebrities that I never knew about. Her bi-polar episodes didn’t really appear until the last quarter of the book.

What’s sad is that Scott couldn’t straighten up despite Mary’s persistence. Obviously, it’s what she wanted for herself and the kids, but she had her own demons to deal with and it’s sad the kids don’t have their dad to grow up with. I suppose having kids in this relationship was a bad idea, but I love Mary’s “no regrets” attitude. His kids are teens themselves now.

I enjoyed the writing style and the story told in chronological order. It’s an easy, fast-paced read that’s written well. If you want to know more about Mary and Scott, read it. You won’t be sorry…

4****

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – October 26th – Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness”

A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review

A World Without Color

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My Review

A World Without Color: A True Story of the Last Three Days with my Cat is a short memoir about one family’s experience of losing a beloved pet, a cat named Marcel. Bernard Jan lays out his experience with Marcel’s last 3 days of life as the emotions pour out of him on screen.

I found this book on Goodreads this morning after reading one of Bernard Jan’s blog posts and it sounded like a must read. As a person who has many pets, I sometimes think about what it’ll be like when the time comes to let them go. I wonder when, how, and what sort of choices I’ll have to make. In this book, the author tells his whole story about what his cat Marcel’s last 3 days were like interlaced with memories of the past. He writes about the effects of losing a best friend for himself and his family.

At multiple times I cried and could feel his emotions. He expresses what he’s feeling physically, his thoughts and emotions, everything so raw and real. Despite the sadness, I love the way this author writes.

And wherever I go, whatever I do, I will try to let you also feel a touch of the world through which we will walk together. I’ll be your eyes. My heart will beat for you. My lungs will soak up the scents of the seasons, and the music from the radio will lull us to sleep together.”

At first, I wasn’t sure about the additional ending. I felt like the fact that it was a true story meant that it should end the way the real story did, but it was unique that the author included an alternative ending for those that wanted a different outcome.

The events Bernard Jan experiences are something no pet owner wants to endure. Every once in awhile you read a book by an author and you wish you could give him a hug. This is that book…

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited Member, you can read this for free! For everyone else it’s only $1.99 right now on Amazon.

Click HERE to grab a copy.

Continue reading “A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review”

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – A Memoir by Mark Lukach

Lately, I’ve been reading a good amount of books regarding mental illness. In the past I’ve dealt with my own mental health issues, mainly after developing a thyroid disorder and after having children. It isn’t easy and in my opinion isn’t taken seriously enough. Many medical professionals are less than compassionate. Many times family members look at it as a weakness and feel that it’s crippling to their own lives as if the actual person with the disease chooses to be ill. The mentally effected person’s life stops, while everyone else expects to move on with their own. With that said, I had mixed feelings about this memoir and possibly because it’s one sided, from the caregivers perspective. Although, I personally have never been in Mark’s shoes and haven’t had to deal with a person with a disorder like Giulia is experiencing.

*This review may contain some mild spoilers*

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My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is a memoir written by a husband who is dealing with mental illness for the first time. Early in his marriage his wife suddenly develops a mental disorder originally diagnosed as Schizophrenia but later re-diagnosed as Bipolar. She spends about a month in a hospital while doctors try to figure out what’s wrong. During this time, her husband Mark is dealing with a range of emotions including sadness, confusion, anger and many more. As Giulia is started on medications, everything is up in the air and Mark is left to wonder what their future holds.

Parts of this memoir were hard to read, while others were heartwarming. You can feel the love that Mark has for Giulia, but as anger sets in, things begin to change for their relationship. He begins to resent her as time moves on from her first hospitalization. This is where I began to have some mixed feelings. There were events taking place in the relationship where they were falling away from each other and their relationship became uncertain. Was he giving up? It almost seemed as though Mark was becoming more distracted and couldn’t deal with it anymore. Again, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him, but it seemed like he just wasn’t understanding that the illness wasn’t Giulia’s fault. She had no way to stop it and she was very scared as well. With their mutual decision to have a child (Jona), things became more complicated and even with the overwhelming support of both wonderful families, which I thought was amazing, it wasn’t enough. Giulia would be dealing with a lifelong illness which could potentially affect everyone who loved her.

I thought the book was written very well. I was engrossed from cover to cover and I’m glad to have read it. I commend Mark for the courage to tell their story and the strength to hang on through all the ups and downs. I hope that as time moves on, Giulia’s illness will improve, and Mark and Giulia can enjoy their marriage and child.

4-stars

Continue reading “My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – A Memoir by Mark Lukach”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book

I have two awesome recipes to share with you today along with two great books I’m reading this week. First, let’s get started on the breakfast!

It’s strawberry season and one of the reasons I love June so much! This will be a two part process because I’m showing you how I make my fresh homemade strawberry jam. Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

9 cups of whole strawberries – Remove tops and rinse – Here’s my video of my favorite tool for topping strawberries! Watch how fast it works…

7 cups of sugar

2 packages fruit pectin ( I use two packages, but you can try one for a thinner jam)

4-5 pint size jars with lids and caps

Equipment: Canner with lid, jar lifter, cooling rack, canning funnel

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book”

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.

I picked up The Dead Inside from Netgalley a few months ago and it took me some time to get to it. I’m glad to have read it and you can see my review below. To see the Q&A with Cyndy Etler, please click HERE.

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler

My review

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This review may contain some spoilers…

The Dead Inside is a compelling memoir written by the author Cyndy Drew Etler. Cyndy was a troubled teen in the 80’s who had some experiences that aren’t all that uncommon. She was making wrong choices while trying to find her place in the world. She spends some of her time smoking weed and drinking alcohol with her friends, until she finally runs away from home because she just can’t take her family anymore, especially her step-dad, Jacque. There were things going on in that house that no child should ever have to succumb to. After making the decision to enter Foster Care, Cyndy finally has some peace. She’s able to still see her friends, have a safe environment and doesn’t have to deal with the turmoil from home. It’s not long after that, at the age of 14, her mother decides to throw her into a drug rehabilitation for throwaway kids who are deemed out of control. Cyndy is told that she is under evaluation for three days and she’s counting down the minutes to when she can leave and she’ll do whatever it takes, including lying. Straight, Inc. will now be Cyndy’s home for 16 months.

The story itself is unbelievable. I had a very hard time reading parts of the book that describe the physical and mental abuse these kids are exposed to in this program. They are basically in this building with a load of other drug users who have been sent there for the same reason and are used against each other. I can’t believe that it went on for so long and these kids had to endure it. They were locked down and not allowed to have any interaction with the outside world for a very long time. It’s violent and almost seems like torture at times. As I continued reading, I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Cyndy. Would she ever escape? Will her mother ever realize her and her husband are the majority of the problems here? Will Cyndy be able to endure this treatment without losing it and causing herself to be set back?

The book is written very well and it doesn’t sound like there are many details spared. I did wonder throughout the story just exactly how bad was Cyndy as a teen? It seemed like all of her problems were stemming from her treatment at home and the lack of love from her mother. I was very happy that there was an epilogue included in the back which explains these programs and how they were eventually shut down, but at the same time shocked at how, in a way, they worked. The kids were basically brainwashed.

This is not an easy read or for the faint of heart. It’s extremely revealing, raw and horrifying at times and I wanted to get up and do something about it. I wanted to help Cyndy. It’s no surprise that she ended up in the career she has chosen and I commend her for her bravery in taking a very negative human experience and turning it into a lifetime career in helping others.

Thanks to Netgalley and the author for sharing this book with me in exchange for an honest review.

4-stars


Blurb

For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight.

From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was…well, it was something else.

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.” Continue reading “The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.”

Disaster Falls by Stéphane Gerson

I picked up Disaster Falls on Netgalley this past January. You can see my review below as well as some information about the author.

Blurb

29942511On a day like any other, on a rafting trip down Utah’s Green River, Stéphane Gerson’s eight-year-old son, Owen, drowned in a spot known as Disaster Falls. That same night, as darkness fell, Stéphane huddled in a tent with his wife, Alison, and their older son, Julian, trying to understand what seemed inconceivable. “It’s just the three of us now,” Alison said over the sounds of a light rain and, nearby, the rushing river. “We cannot do it alone. We have to stick together.”

Disaster Falls chronicles the aftermath of that day and their shared determination to stay true to Alison’s resolution. Gerson captures the different ways of grieving that threatened to isolate each of them in their post-Owen worlds and then, with beautiful specificity, shows how he and Alison preserved and reconfigured their marriage from within. Blending family history (including the “good death” of his father, which offers a very different perspective on mortality) and the natural history of the river, he provides an expansive, unflinching meditation on loss, our responsibilities toward our children, and the stories we tell ourselves in the wake of traumatic events.

Slowly, inexorably, Gerson writes his way back to Owen, straight to the singularity that cleaved his life into before and after, creating a portrait of grief iridescent in its fullness, and unexpectedly consoling.

My review

Disaster Falls is a tragic story about loss, grieving, and healing. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

I found myself crying throughout the book and the story felt so real to me. Everything they endured can be felt as the words feel as though they’re just pouring out of him. As a parent, I think the emotions are so strong because you put yourself in their shoes, and glimpse the agony and terror they live with.

I almost wished the story was told in chronological order, but it makes sense in the end.

3.5*** 3-stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review.



Continue reading “Disaster Falls by Stéphane Gerson”

Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak

From Goodreads: Eat, Pray, Love meets The Rosie Project in this fresh, heartwarming memoir by a man who travels to Verona and volunteers to answer letters addressed to Shakespeare’s Juliet, all in an attempt to heal his own heartbreak.

When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he packs his bags for Verona, Italy. Once there, he volunteers to answer the thousands of letters that arrive addressed to Juliet—letters sent from lovelorn people all over the world to Juliet’s hometown; people who long to understand the mysteries of the human heart.

Glenn’s journey takes him deep into the charming community of Verona, where he becomes involved in unraveling the truth behind Romeo and Juliet. Did these star-crossed lovers actually exist? Why have they remained at the forefront of hearts and minds for centuries? And what can they teach us about love? Continue reading “Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak”

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

Blurb: 

A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.

Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny, until one day his father disappeared. Destiny suddenly took a backseat to survival.

Now, in his riveting memoir, Cranston maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life—paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He also gives an inspiring account of how he prepared, physically and mentally, for the challenging role of President Lyndon Johnson, a tour de force that won him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys. Continue reading “A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston”

The Last Bar in NYC by Brian Michels

Blurb:

Thank heaven for New York City bartenders. They satisfy your boozy thirst in a strife filled life and a good one will listen to anything on your mind when no one else will. Our barman/narrator is one of the good ones. He’s been disposed under chins and elbows and cocktail napkins and ashtrays and spilled drinks for decades in New York City for countless drinkers willing to confess anything to a bar top. From one bar stool to another our barman’s raw and soulful voice delivers a metropolitan story of good times, struggle, regret and salvation – a story put together with well-known real life places, countless celebrity faces and amazing characters only found in New York City.

Continue reading “The Last Bar in NYC by Brian Michels”

A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand

My Review:

A Really Big Lunch is different from any book I’ve read. Even though Harrison writes well and I found myself turning the pages rather than taking a break, the menu was most unusual and even seemed disgusting at times. I’m not into eating snake, but I still enjoyed reading about his food adventures.

Harrison’s belief is simple. Quality of life is more important that quantity and food is the ultimate pleasure.

Life’s short, so better start eating now!

Oh, and don’t forget the wine!

4-stars

Thanks to Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.


From Goodreads:  New York Times bestselling author Jim Harrison was one of this country’s most beloved writers, a muscular, brilliantly economic stylist with a salty wisdom. He also wrote some of the best essays on food around, earning praise as “the poet laureate of appetite” (Dallas Morning News). A Really Big Lunch, to be published on the one-year anniversary of Harrison’s death, collects many of his food pieces for the first time—and taps into his larger-than-life appetite with wit and verve.

Jim Harrison’s legendary gourmandise is on full display in A Really Big Lunch. From the titular New Yorker piece about a French lunch that went to thirty-seven courses, to pieces from Brick, Playboy, Kermit Lynch Newsletter, and more on the relationship between hunter and prey, or the obscure language of wine reviews, A Really Big Lunch is shot through with Harrison’s pointed aperçus and keen delight in the pleasures of the senses. And between the lines the pieces give glimpses of Harrison’s life over the last three decades. A Really Big Lunch is a literary delight that will satisfy every appetite. Continue reading “A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand”