Nose in a Book Reviews: Trailer Trash: an 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari @Suburbtastic

Trailer Trash: an '80s Memoir

A nostalgic 80’s romp through Tampa trailer park living

“My Mother hated being cold.”  This is the opening line of chapter two, that leads you down the rabbit hole of Cavallari’s youth living in the impoverished ghettos of the American trailer park.

The story weaves the tale of Angie’s life as her parents uproot her family from the frigid Chicago winters and into the steamy swamp of central Florida.  After intense pressure from her Grandmother, Angie’s parents decide to purchase the Pelican Mobile Home Park, situated near the dilapidated remnants of the Godfather’s Lounge, a local watering hole for the downtrodden.   The tale is told through chapter-length vignettes, each more captivating than the last.  The cast of neighborly characters often feel so perfectly imperfect, they must be a figment of Cavallari’s imagination, rather than taken from her actual youth.  Her storytelling and descriptions transport you right into the story.

Cavallari’s life was difficult, with a narcissistic, bully of a mother and a childhood that was filled more with taking care of the trailer park than playing with children her own age.   She details her struggle with her weight when she was young and how it severely affected her psyche, all the while spinning it with a comedic undertone that leaves you shaking your head in wonder and fascination.

I enjoyed the liberal peppering of eighties pop culture nostalgia, as well as the musical references found throughout.  It was fun remembering my own youth during that same time frame and connecting with much of Angie’s childhood, even though I grew up in suburban western New York.

Check out this tale featuring the underbelly of Americana that is often joked about, but rarely detailed with such an intense magnifying glass. Remember to put on your seatbelt, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

AngieCavallariAuthor

Angie Cavallari is an assiduous writer who has been hammering away at the craft for over 20 years. She has authored thousands of blogs and articles with some of her work featured in Huffington Post, Healthline, The Reset, SF Bay Reader, among others. A transplant to a plethora of U.S cities including her current home, Denver, Angie grew up in Florida, then moved to NYC where she picked up her husband in a bar. In spite of her propensity for wanderlust, she managed to settle down long enough to have two extraordinary kids and build a solid life with her husband of 16 years.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: A Thin, Dark Line by Emma Elliot

A Thin, Dark LineA Thin, Dark Line by Emma Elliot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Suspense

 

 

I was extremely fortunate to receive this as an ARC from NetGalley and The Writer’s Coffee Shop.

When does the search for justice become mere revenge? What’s the difference between the two?”

He was silent for several moments. “A thin dark line,” he said.

When I picked this book up, I had forgotten what the back cover blurb said about it.  Going into the book without any knowledge about the plot, I was amazed to be sucked into the story from the very first chapter.

The story revolves around Eloise Carmichael, the town’s librarian who has eschewed her family’s wealth to follow her own path.   When ex-con Cormac O’Malley arrives at the library’s doorstep looking for a job, Eloise decides to give the man a break he so desperately needs.   Unfortunately, the town’s people aren’t nearly as forgiving and are trying to run Cormac out on a rail.  When people suddenly show up dead, Cormac is the first person people look to as the culprit.

Despite the reactions of her family and friends, Eloise won’t back down and continues to allow Cormac to work at the library.

He handled the books with surprising care. And something inside me stuttered as I noticed how he cradled the tattered books in his large, calloused hands…

My God, you would be an easy man to love, Cormac O’Malley.  The thought shocked me. And terrified me.

Elliot’s descriptions and phrasing are all done so simply. So eloquently that nothing feels overdone.  I appreciated the way the mystery wove itself around the growing attraction between the two main characters.  I enjoyed the twist at the end and it was one that surprised me, not an easy feat.  I usually pick out the villain right away.

I loved the buildup of the romantic story and how it wasn’t easy or perfect, because neither main character was perfect.  Their relationship pulsed through the story, the push and pull of the various people, events and emotions in the story all had a factor into their budding love.

Before I could formulate a thought or question, his lips covered mine again. And while the first had been explosive, this kiss was shattering in its tenderness.

A really unexpected and lovely book.  Well done and I can’t wait to read the next story Elliot comes up with.

Nose in a Book Reviews – Easy by Tammara Webber

EasyEasy by Tammara Webber

My rating: 4 1/2 of 5 stars

Genre: New Adult/ Mature Young Adult

I LOVED this book. The story is about Jacqueline, a girl who was just dumped by the man she thought she’d marry after following him to college. With the demise of her relationship, she is struggling to figure out who she is, now that she is no longer defined as Kennedy’s girlfriend. Easy is also a book about a tough subject – attempted rape, and it handles it beautifully. It isn’t a glossed over version, but rather one that felt realistic and even though the subject matter at times was heavy, it wasn’t super angsty.

The knight in shining armor, Lucas is just a lovely character. He’s flawed, and his back story is heart wrenching, but together they ultimately heal each other. I dare you not to wish for your very own Lucas. Cause he can save me, any time, any place.

The only reason why this book didn’t get 5 stars from me, is because the end felt a bit rushed. I would have liked to have seen maybe another two days or so into their lives before being thrown into the epilogue. Lovely read regardless, but figured I’d explain that 1/2 star.

I read this book in about a day and a half. If I didn’t have to sleep and take care of my kids, I would have probably polished it off in half a day. It was that good. Don’t blame me if you get sucked into the story and forget all about your real life for a day or so.

I’ll just say, I told you so.

Enjoy!

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Nose in a Book Reviews – Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the LimitsPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre:  Y/A

 

I was privileged enough to receive an ARC copy of this book from Harlequin Teen UK.

This story was a definite page turner for me. I hated to put it down every night, but sometimes you need to sleep.

The book tells the story of two teens who are each struggling to grow up under the weight of their troubled pasts. Echo, a girl who doesn’t remember the tragic day that changed her life forever. Noah is the bad boy, trying to keep his family together after his parents untimely death, separating him and his two brothers in the foster system.

With the help from a clinical social worker, they both are forced into a tutoring relationship, which eventually transforms into something more. They both ultimately need to hear some hard truths about their lives in order to move on from all that they’ve had to endure.

The story is woven between Echo and Noah’s points of view, helping you grasp what each of them are going though. What I loved most about this, was that their stories, along with their relationship, unfolded in a very realistic way and time-frame. They didn’t magically fall in love moments after meeting, which is refreshing for a YA book.

This was one of my favorite books of the year.
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Nose in a Book Reviews – Lessons Learned by Sydney Logan

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Sydney Logan

Genre: Romance / Suspense

I was extremely fortunate to receive an advanced copy of Lessons Learned from NetGalley.

Lessons Learned is a heart wrenching story about two teachers, each struggling to move on from their respective pasts, and how their pasts help shape them in a way that they could save the life of one of their students.

I will state right off the bat, that I LOVED this book.  It is a book that makes you really think about some of the more weighty topics in this world without being preachy or heavy handed about it.  The lessons learned by the main characters are also lessons, you as the reader, can take away too.

Sarah Bray has decided to move back to her tiny mountain town of Sycamore Falls after a tragic event in her last school has left her traumatized.  Her therapist suggested a change of scenery, and even though she never imagined moving back, she’s craving the comfort and security that sometimes only your hometown can give you.

Lucas Miller.  What can I say about Lucas Miller?  He too is a teacher looking for a fresh start.  He comes to Sycamore Falls, knowing it is about as different from New York City as you can get.  When he runs into Sarah Bray at the hardware store, immediately you will feel the connection.  He is such a swoony character.  He is chivalrous and kind, loving and patient.  He is the picture perfect man, and I almost kept waiting for some horrible character trait to come out.  Ultimately, he is everything that Sarah Bray needs in her life at exactly the right time.

The story feels honest and all of the characters in the book are relatable in a way that you probably knew someone, at some time in your life, that was like them.  The book will make your heart swell, tears fall and your mind work.   I absolutely adored this book and urge you to go out and read it.

Kudos to Sydney and I can’t wait to read any of her future work.

Nose in a Book Review – The Hate List

Hate List

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Genre:  Y/A

The Hate list is more than just a book about a high school shooting – a la Columbine.

The story is told from Valerie’s point of view, who just happens to also be the girlfriend of the guy who shot up the school and then himself. This isn’t a story ABOUT the shooting, but about the aftermath of everyone who is left behind to pick up the pieces.

Valerie is such a complex character. As you read about her struggles with being the school outcast and being bullied by people who called her Sister Death before the shooting, and then the consequences she must deal with in the aftermath, you can relate to it all. Or perhaps that’s just me, who was also an outcast in high school, and while I never created a ‘hate list’ like Valerie and Nick did, I certainly understand why they did it. Valerie is seen by the town as not only an accomplice to the shooting, but also a victim and a hero. Her recovery, both emotional and physical are beautifully told.

The only real reason this didn’t get a five star rating from me is because at times the time jumps between past and current were confusing. I’m not sure if it was just the digital copy that was the problem with not having page breaks or any kind of notation that a shift in time was coming or what.

This book isn’t fluffy or sweet, but it is a compellingly tragic read that I really enjoyed.

Nose in a Book Review – Legacy of a Dreamer

Legacy of a Dreamer

Legacy of a Dreamer by Allie Jean

Genre:  Paranormal Romance/ Angel

When I picked up this book, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. What I got was an interesting tale about Chantal, an 18 year old who’s just been turned out of the foster system. She’s been plagued by nightmares her whole life and it isn’t until she’s out on her own in New York that we figure out their meaning.

The story has a lot of action in it. It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering how they were going to get out of each new obstacle they faced. And when I say ‘they’ – I mean Chantal and Mathias. From the shadows, Mathias has been watching over Chantal her whole life. He’s swoony, I’m not going to lie. I can’t wait until the next book comes out so I can read more about their adventures.

The only reason I didn’t rate this book a 5 – was at times the epic battles got a little too epic for my taste. I became a little desensitized to it and it lost some of its impact. I found myself wanting to skim over some of these parts.

Overall, a fantastic read.