I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.This Is Not My Beautiful Life: A Memoir by Victoria Fedden
Published by Picador on June 7, 2016
Genres: Personal Memoirs, Parenting, Family
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One of Publisher Weekly's ten most anticipated memoirs of the season.
If you think it sucks to live with your parents when you're thirty-six and nine months pregnant, just wait til the DEA comes knocking (with the IRS in tow): Welcome to Victoria Fedden's life.
When a squad of federal agents burst through her parents’ front door, Victoria Fedden felt ill-prepared to meet them: She was weeks away from her due date and her T-shirt wasn’t long enough to hide her maternity undies. As for the question of how to raise a child when you’ve just discovered that your mother and stepfather have allegedly masterminded a pump-and-dump scheme? She was pretty sure that wasn’t covered in What to Expect When You’re Expecting—and she really hoped that Bradford Cohen, the noted criminal defense attorney who famously waived his exemption on The Apprentice, would prove them innocent.
This Is Not My Beautiful Life is the story of how Victoria lost her parents to prison and nearly lost her mind. No one ever said motherhood would be easy, but as she struggles to change diapers, install car seats, and find the right drop-off line at pre-school—no easy task, when each one is named for a stage in the lifecycle of a f*cking butterfly—she’s also forced to ask herself whether a jump-suit might actually complement her mom’s platinum-blonde extensions and fend off the cast of shady, stranger-than-fiction characters (like the recovering addict who scored a reality show when he started an escort service for women) who populated her parents’ world.
A real-life Arrested Development that could only unfold in southern Florida, This Is Not My Beautiful Life is a hilariously funny and unexpectedly moving memoir of a just-functional family you’ll never forget.
This Is Not My Beautiful Life by Victoria Fedden is a memoir touted as “hilariously funny and unexpectedly moving”. The true life tale of the daughter dealing with her parent’s indictment for fraud and their penchant for picking the most sketchy of all the sketchy characters around as friends; this was an interesting read but while I did find the tales amusing, hilarious it was not. It was almost as if the author was trying to show just how wacky her life was and in doing so took a lot of the emotion out of the story. Dealing with the Feds knocking on the door while you are a few weeks shy of delivering your first baby should have read like an emotion roller coaster, but instead was more like “poor me”. With her parents paying for her extravagant lifestyle, it seemed as if Fedden was more sorry to be losing her things than what her family did to others, and she put her family before her marriage and then wondered why her husband was upset. There were a few moments that I did really love, most notably when she spoke about the difficulties she had with depression after her daughter was born. These moments were raw and honest and I wish the whole book had followed this path. There were a few plot points that also were never finished and that drives me nuts, but it matched with the rest of the book having me excited to find something out and then slightly let down by how it played out.
Favorite lines – That same belief, that it wasn’t okay to be imperfect, was what had led me to spend years running from whatever made me uncomfortable. Perfectionism had made me terrified of making new friends. It had conned me and then robbed me blind, but once I faced my fear and exposed my true messy self, I saw I was still lovable. Frumpy, anxious, socially awkward, and clumsy in yoga, maybe, but I was still okay. I accepted myself, and that acceptance allowed me to begin sharing a truer, better, and more open love with my family. What I mean is that I accepted them, too, and that was the most freeing thing I’d ever felt.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes
Published by HarperTeen on June 14, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Depression & Mental Illness
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A struggle with body dysmorphia forces one girl to decide if letting go of her insecurity also means turning her back on her dreams.
Sam has always known she’d be a professional dancer—but that was before her body betrayed her, developing unmanageable curves in all the wrong places. Lately, the girl staring back at Sam in the mirror is unrecognizable. Dieting doesn’t work, ignoring the whispers is pointless, and her overbearing mother just makes it worse.
Following a series of crippling anxiety attacks, Sam is sent to a treatment camp for teens struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. Forced to open up to complete strangers, Sam must get through the program if she wants to attend a crucial ballet intensive later in the summer. It seems hopeless until she starts confiding in a camp counselor who sparks a confidence she was sure she’d never feel again. But when she’s faced with disappointing setbacks, will Sam succumb to the insecurity that imprisons her?
How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes is a story set in a summer camp for high performing teens with anxiety issues. The story follows Sam, a ballerina with body hate issues, as she has gained 14 pounds and now feels like she is losing herself. I was very interested to read this story as my high school best friend was a ballerina and when we lived together when we were twenty, I saw how deep these issues can run. While this had a great message, I quickly tired of the whiny tone used by the teens in the story. I understand they were all at the camp for issues, but the way they were portrayed erred more to bratty than to anxious. There was also a slight “romance” story line that I actively disliked as it was more harmful than anything and just turned me off, add in the awful obligatory YA parents and this was just an okay read for me. There were some fantastic moments, don’t get me wrong, and I loved Sam’s roommate as the girl who felt she did not need any help, she was a snarky delight. However the total outcome was less than stellar for me.
Favorite lines – I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster since I got here, and now I’m racing toward the final loop. It’s up to me to keep the momentum going. And I want to keep circling. I want to go up and up and up.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Working It by Leah Marie Brown
Published by Lyrical Shine on June 7, 2016
Genres: Romantic Comedy, Women's Fiction
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Falling in love is always in fashion….
With her trust fund and coveted job at Christian Dior, Fanny Moreau believes she has it all. But when her best friend finds a fulfilling new career abroad—and a dreamy relationship with a great guy, Fanny’s fabulous life suddenly feels empty. Inspired to find her true purpose, she trades her cushy lifestyle in San Francisco for an adventure in the Alaskan wilderness.
Everyone thinks Fanny has gone off the deep end. What’s a girl with a Ph.D in Prada doing teaching in an Inuit village? Even Fanny is wondering, especially when she comes face to face with Calder MacFarlane. The Scottish search and rescue pilot is everything Fanny is not—selfless, heroic, and used to living on the edge. He’s also the man who once loved her best friend. Yet something in Calder’s sexy gaze has her believing that she’s a woman capable of great things—a woman who might just find her own happily-ever-after, in a place where she least expects it…
I was excited to read Working It by Leah Marie Brown as I really enjoyed the second book in this series Finding It. This story features the bestie from the previous book, Stephanie Moreau, basically losing her shit one night, tanking her coveted high fashion job and running off to Alaska to try to find her true purpose. Sounds super cute and I was really looking forward to it. The story was cute and I loved the plot, however I disliked the main character. A couple of things drove me crazy; one she goes by Fanny. Seriously, a fashionable French woman being called another name for a rear-end? Drove me nuts. Also she called her best friend Vivian because her real name, Vivia, isn’t glamorous for her, but she was fine with being called Butt the whole time. Also if a person did not live up to her high standards, Booty, dismissed them offhand. I know these are small things but in the scope of a 224 page book, they really hampered my enjoyment. I did like the leading man, Calder, and enjoyed how he brought Tushie out of her shell. This was a read where you know exactly what is going to happen and are still fine with it as the story line is sweet. I just could not get over my active dislike of Rump.
Favorite lines – My officious little conscious is right. I am envious of outgoing, charming people because I want to be a let’s-hug-and-be-best-friends-forever kinda girl. I come off as snobbish around new people. Erecting an invisible barrier is a defense mechanism that protects me from the sting of rejection. Also, I am French. French people aren’t as open and welcoming as Americans. Americans are like big, loveable golden retrievers, bounding up with a ready supply of affection. The French are like suspicious cats, reluctant to approach and judicious with their attentions.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge