The Cheese Stealer’s Handbook by Shoshaku Jushaku

20829543The Cheese Stealer’s Handbook

by Shoshaku Jushaku


“I used to write the truth, then smooth it out, tone it down, and try to make it plausible. Then my ex-made a convincing case against chronicling my life as a train wreck. She claimed my time would be better spent trying to write about who I want to become. “Write myself a destiny.” She said it because she wanted me to become happy . . . Fuck happiness. Happiness writes white. It does not show up on the page. First I think I have to excuse my past. No amount of liquor or drugs seems to get rid of the ghosts that haunt me. The ghosts have become buddies with the monkey on my back. I think the monkey might have substance abuse issues himself. Even if I did manage to chase away my demons there might nothing left over . . . If a better me is the goal, maybe I should consider exercise and eating right, or even eating solid food in general before tackling a novel. On second thought . . . where to begin?”

Laugh out loud tragedy … is that a thing? Well, now it is. – What a raw, unexpected and emotional ride!

A raunchy, in your face chronicle of complete debauchery, self-indulgence and character self-loathing. The Cheese Stealer’s Handbook is by and far one of the more unique things I have ever read. It reminded me of another book, “Wasting Talent by Ryan Leone” which was quite simply one of the greatest addiction stories I’ve ever read. (and re-read)

I received the book from the author, along with a handwritten letter – which I absolutely loved, and used as a bookmark. He wanted me to be as scathing as possible with this review, but quite honestly I think that Shoshaku is an exquisitely masterful writer in that he is either a junkie that can write superbly or, just a damn good writer that nailed the addicts’ mindset… Actually, he could be both, which is what sets this book apart from many others I’ve read.

I know people like the author, Their behavior gets to be ever so predictable after a while. But to SEE inside their heads, to read the thoughts as they pour out onto the page… now, that’s real magic right there! That was one of my favorite parts of reading this book, I felt that I was reading the words as the thoughts popped out of the writers head. I’m not one for defacing books, (at all) but found myself making notes in the margins for future giggles and re-reads.

This is not a safe book. It will stay with you. It will haunt you. It will take you down back alleys, beat you up, set you up in a seedy motel room,  steal your money, leave you for dead, and never let you forget it. The wonder of this book is the way it manages to make you embrace horrible things, despicable things, things that you can’t imagine, things that you hope are only true in movies even though, somewhere in your very soul, you know the devil resides in all men.

Sorry, Shosh… no scathing from this reviewer!! I give this book a 10 out of 10!!


Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickam, since first picking up a copy of The Undomestic Goddess back in early 2005.  I was delighted to receive a review copy of Surprise me, and it did not disappoint.



After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.


This is a well-done novel that starts off with a light, chick-lit tone. Sometimes you just need a book that has a humorous take on life and love. I should have known from the blurb alone that this was going to be the book for me. Sophie, you came through and for that, I thank you! This isn’t your usual light chicklit read – its around 450+ pages but those are page turner pages, I found this to be a speedy read for that reason. This is the type of “guilty pleasure” book that you can read and drop the guilt. I’m surprised at how connected I felt with the characters and still find myself reminiscing about the story and feeling a little sad about having to leave them behind and move on to something else. I really like the premise of Surprise Me–rather than the typical Kinsella premise of a single girl trying to get her life together and in doing so ultimately finds love, we have a married couple worried that their marriage has gone stale.  It does take a while to get into if you’re not used to Kinsella’s tone, but the end result is a lovely message about loyalty, appreciation, partnership [and the consequences of the annoying art of not communicating] within a marriage and embracing the future, challenges and all, instead of stunting your growth by living in the past.

I’m a “quote” person, my fave quote from this novel is “Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating. And so… not an achievement, my dear. Rather, a privilege.”

If you are looking for a break from the unpleasantries that life can bring, this is definitely the read for you.




Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft




What a beautiful book. I raced through this in a day, both because I wanted to find out what happened but also because the pages just compelled me along. Highly recommended.

Deceived by Julie Anne Lindsey


Synopsis as taken from

When Elle’s father, a single parent and a big shot in corporate insurance, moves her to yet another boarding school for senior year, Elle is disgusted when nothing changes. Her night terrors don’t go away, and, soon, despite her father’s caring calls and visits, Elle starts to believe she’s losing her mind. She knows she’s being followed; a ribbon is tied around her doorknob, and there are those cigarette butts that keep turning up on the doormat, in violation of a strict smoking ban on campus. Then there’s Bryan, an intriguing boy Elle meets at a flea market and later finds out is a student at her school. Yet on campus, he pretends he doesn’t recognize her – until the day he divulges just how much danger she’s in. In her search for an answer to all the madness, Elle unravels the truth about her dad’s real identity, why someone has lied to her all her life, and the terrifying truth that she may be the only one who can save her from the one who’s following her now.

If you’re a fan of movies like THE BODYGUARD, you’d probably enjoy this book. I certainly read faster during the second half of the book, because I needed to know exactly what was going to happen. A fun read for sure; if you can get past the first part of the book – which seems a tad mismatched at first, but give it a chance because it all comes together in the end…. or was I just ‘deceived’?



The Yellow Envelope – by Kim Dinan

One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World


After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they’re given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don’t overthink it; share your experiences; don’t feel pressured to give it all away.

The story takes us through South America, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam – The concept of the yellow envelope is very simple: It shows on more than one occasion that sometimes the people who have the least are the most likely to give the most and ways of lives we may look down our nose at, other people are content and happy with.

A must-read for anyone who loves to live vicariously through other travelers’ stories.

One of my favorite quotes from this book “At the end of the day, the money itself is just paper. What gives the whole experience meaning are the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that come with giving the money away in ways that make you smile and make your heart sing.”