Review – Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyTroublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Published November 3, 2015
Ballantine Books


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I was so excited when I heard that this book was coming out.

I LOVE Leah Remini, and after she left Scientology in 2013 my curiosity about both her and Scientology increased.

This was also only my second audio-book ever! I have nothing against audio books I just hadn’t had the opportunity to listen to one until recently.

Considering how much I really liked Leah and that I’d been wanting to learn more about Scientology for a while, I figured this would be a good one. And it really was. I enjoyed listening to her.

She wrote the book from her heart. Using her personal knowledge to portray her experiences with Scientology and the repercussions she endured as a result of living it and eventually leaving it.

I love the fact that right at the beginning of the book she mentions all of the things that she and her family have done. For example the fact that she fell in love with a married man, lied, cheated, physically threatened people (parking meter maids and people who hit their kids in public). Apparently her husband sold drugs and cheated. She says her mom was promiscuous in her younger days, dad sold cocaine and was set to Rikers…

She reveals this and more because she said Scientology will pay a lot of money to dig up all of this to prove that their religious beliefs are being attacked…so they will definitely try to disparage her reputation.

This was a great audiobook. I learned a lot more about Scientology. I really cannot believe how much MONEY and TIME you have to put in to be involved in Scientology. The fact that they will even help you get a loan to pay your “Donation”?

Plus learning about the rest of Leah’s life and the people in it was really interesting.

I still love her …probably even more now!

Honest, real, educational and highly entertaining! It was a great listen 🙂


Review – What Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell

What Alice KnewWhat Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell

Published May 4th 2017
Black Swan




My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How far would you go to keep a secret?

The description for “What Alice Knew” is fairly short, and I think that made it all more intriguing for me. So I’m going to try to keep my review fairly short as well. I think that the less you know going in to this novel then the more you’ll enjoy it. But that’s just my opinion.

Alice Sheahan is perfectly happy with her life. Happy marriage, happy kids and a job that she really enjoys. But then Alice’s husband, Ed goes missing one night and when he returns something is different. Ed is normally a very reliable man. His family means everything to him.

Then a few days later there is a suspicious phone call….

It’s not that long before you find out what Alice knows. It’s not the whole story….not by a long shot.

Now Alice has a secret. She knows something. But what does she know?

Well I’m certainly not going to tell you!

Alice is a complex character, she paints for a living. Everything going on is beginning to interfere with her concentration. Painting isn’t just her job, she loves it… consumes her. If she can’t paint she can’t live. But now the secret is consuming her. Then someone from her past shows up causes even more strain on Alice.

What will Alice do about the secret?

This was a well-written, thought-provoking, and unpredictable thriller that had me flipping pages quickly. The ending had me a little baffled but overall I was still satisfied with how everything came together.

Thank you, Black Swan publishing for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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Review – The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers

The Widow of Wall StreetThe Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers

Published April 11th 2017
Atria Books



5 Stars!!!!

I wasn’t sure how Wall Street/Ponzi scheme aspect of the book was going to work for me. However, I have read a couple of other books from Randy Susan Meyers and really liked them.

So I figured I would go for it and I’m really happy I did.

November 2009

“Phoebe never hated her husband more than when she visited him in prison”

Told from Phoebe’s point of view. The trip to prison is eleven hours by cab, bus, and train. Visits are hard. So many things are off-limits and can’t be talked about. Things like the kids, lack of money, his fall from grace. This makes conversation difficult. But Phoebe makes the trip. She even dresses to please him. He feels she should represent him well – EVEN THOUGH HE’S IN PRISON. (I do believe I yelled that part out loud).

Jake had the audacity to ask (well whine really)….

“Why won’t you stay longer? Other wives come Saturday and Sunday, not for a measly few hours”

She spent her life pleasing Jake, and look at how he returned the favor? He betrayed everyone…including her. In some ways he’s safer in prison. It’s Phoebe who has to walk down the street with people glaring at her or worse. She is the one the reporters hound and follow….NOT Jake. Phoebe is the one getting threatening emails and phone calls….NOT Jake. But she doesn’t know how to break the habit. How to abandon him. He only has her to lean on, she’s his security but he’s her prison…

“Jake was as much brother, father, and sometimes even child, as he was her husband”.

The book is broken into six parts that take place over the span of about fifty years. We hear mostly from Phoebe but there are parts from Jake’s perspective as well.

The early years begin in 1960. Fifteen-year-old Phoebe is young and restless. When she starts dating eighteen-year-old Jake, her mother thinks she’s getting too serious too quickly. But there’s no slowing down Jake and Phoebe. Jake has big plans. Plans to conquer the world. Phoebe believes him capable of anything.

Red flags, a few years later. Their relationship still going strong but Jake wants Phoebe all to himself. She’s in University but Jake wants her to skip classes, go to parties with him…prove her loyalty. The two sides of Jake. The charmer, protecting her but needing her at the same time. But the other side, a man who didn’t take it well when he didn’t get his way. Half the time she wants to break up with him. His ambition starts to bother her. He needs constant admiration and attention. It’s exhausting. She likes College and learning and wants more.

It’s a pivotal time in Phoebe’s life. New experiences, new people…and plates of delicious Blintzes. Then something happens that changes the course of all their lives. Now Phoebe needs rescuing and Jake is there. She tells herself she’ll never doubt him again.

Jake grows his dynasty. Children come and Phoebe remains her husband’s biggest supporter. Phoebe is close with her kids. Katie is very open with Phoebe but keeps things from Jake. Noah turns himself inside out trying to impress his father. The best athlete, the best student, but suffers from anxiety for which Jake prescribes RUNNING because no one in HIS family will ever see a therapist.

I wanted Phoebe to stand up to Jake, especially when it came to her children. I wanted her to open her eyes, to wake up…

As Jake’s success grows, Phoebe seems to grow smaller. A good mother, but always Jake’s wife. She is his biggest asset. She works the parties for him. Talking to everyone, getting them interested. All the while having no idea what things are going on behind her back.

She has suspicions but doesn’t delve too deep…

One place that Phoebe is completely happy is at the not for profit, Mira House, where she has volunteered off and on over the years. It is her refuge – a place of her own. She loves the women there and they have plans. The “Cupcake Project” to help women from all walks of life.

But will Jake get his hands in that too?

Reading Jake’s point of view made me see red at times. Did I ever want to throttle him! When he would say something egotistical or demeaning to his wife or when he would say something that he thought his son needed to hear in order to “toughen him up”. Jake talks about how much he loves Phoebe but so much talk is around her looks. How proud he was that his wife turned heads. But he would belittle Phoebe by making a comment about what she should eat. Or his thoughts about her size when she was pregnant? He hated seeing her body stretched out. His mother “let herself go” and he’d be damned if he’d ever “let a fat wife bring him down”. (My daughter has stopped checking when she hears me yelling at my books).

But there were also times that I felt his love for Phoebe and his kids. He wanted to make them proud of him.

I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be to make sure everything is perfect ALL the time. Nothing out-of-place. Even having someone tell you what perfume to wear. All the hard work to stay in shape…. trying to fight the normal aging process.

But there are some good times too.

What happens when it all comes crashing down? Will Phoebe get it together and do what’s best for her? But what is best for her?

I really enjoyed this book and I had a very hard time putting it down. It’s about money, greed, love, lies, secrets, and betrayal and more! I had worried that the book would have a lot of financial talk. The author’s descriptions helped me understand enough to keep up but didn’t go overboard. I was completely entertained and invested in this family and their lives.

Highly Recommended!

Thank you to NetGalley, Randy Susan Meyers, and Atria Books for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Throwback Thursday: Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle


Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is :Katrina Kittle – Reasons to be Happy

This is the third book from this author that I’ve picked for Throwback Thursday.

One of my ‘Reasons to Be Happy’ is that I have read this book. I read it and then passed it on to my daughter. This is a fantastic book by one of my favorite authors. I wish I could convey all the appreciation I have for the time that Katrina Kittle takes when researching and writing her books. There are times while reading her books that I have felt like she has read my mind.

This is an emotional read that deals with many important issues. Bulimia, addiction, disease, death, sexual pressures, bullying and more. I have had personal experience with some of the subject matter and thought I was fairly well-educated in regards to these issues. However, I feel like this book exposed me to things I may not have thought about otherwise. I loved the fact that the book showed how healing can take place anywhere. Even on the other side of the world.

The main character, Hannah is struggling. Her mother has cancer and her father is an alcoholic. She also battles with her own issues of low self-esteem etc. Some parts of the book may be hard to read but I feel the author serves us well by showing the true picture of topics like bulimia and addiction, as well as many other important issues.

Although this book was written for a Young Adult audience, I highly recommend it for everyone. Hannah’s struggles will resonate with many readers. Also helpful to anyone who knows someone suffering from any of these issues. Helps for better understanding.

Beautifully written, filled with inspiration and insight.

I have and will continue to read anything Katrina Kittle has written. I have read all of her books and loved them all.  They have stayed with me long after the last page.

I look forward to her next novel.