Sunday Book Review – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

My Sunday Book Review for one of my favorite reads on vacation – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by one of my new favorite authors, Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is a wonderfully written book full of revealing truths, compassion, survival, glamor and heartbreak where Evelyn tells her lifestory of her rise to fame in the 1950s thru 80s Hollywood.




“If youre looking for a book to take on holiday this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has got all the glitz and glamour to make it a perfect beach read.” —Bustle

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & the Six—an entrancing and “wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet” (PopSugar) as she reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.


My 5 Star Review:

This book was not on my reading list, but a friend gave it to me at the pool while on vacation, and I was addicted. This book was an addictive, fictional story that read as juicy as though reading a biopic on any famous actress of the golden era. Iconic actress, Evelyn Hugo, begins telling her story of her meager beginnings as an immigrant child from Cuba who lived in Hell’s Kitchen New York as a child with an abusive father and her loving mother who died when Evelyn was a young child. Her mother’s dream was to make it to Hollywood, but she never did, so beautiful and cunning Evelyn vowed that she would get there for her mother.

The book begins by Evelyn handpicking journalist Monique (for reasons we will find out at the end of the book) to write her autobiography. Monique was a young journalist writing for Vivante magazine and jumped at the chance to have the only rights to writing about Evelyn’s life. Monique is told that she may publish it after Evelyn dies – which would be soon after Evelyn tells her story in detail, complete with raw honesty, truths, pain, and her ambitions, which made her become the most iconic movie star of her time. We will learn why she had seven husbands – each of them methodically chosen to both, advance her career, and to protect secrets.

Evelyn’s first husband was a handsome, but not so intelligent young man who lived above her apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. Ernie Diaz was going to Hollywood to become a grip on set, so Evelyn, aged 15, befriended and feigned her love for him so she could marry him to get away from her father – and a ride to Hollywood. Evelyn was sexy and smart and learned quickly which lunchbars the studio execs liked to hang out at in hopes of getting discovered. She was eventually discovered by producer Harry Cameron who got her some small roles, and incidentally, eventually became her best friend in life. Evelyn knew that to get the bigger roles she’d have to sleep her way to the top and had no qualms doing so.

In this story, we get to see the other side of Hollywood, what goes on in the backgrounds with producers and top execs calling the shots, fixing up dates with rising stars with big stars to be seen in public to attract buzz, the chauvenism and crap female actresses had to put up with, from leading men and execs. After Evelyn does her first big movie with leading man Don Adler, sparks fly between them, and suddenly, Evelyn is marrying Don, a man she thought she loved until she saw his dark side, but nevertheless, her marriage to him was a huge rung in her ladder to success. Don tries to ruin her career when she leaves him, which has producer friend Harry getting her new roles with a friend at another studio.

In the meantime, Evelyn befriends famous actress, Celia St. James, and it is that relationship that will become the utmost important in Evelyn’s life as she reveals that Celia became the love of her life, introducing secret bi-sexuality topic that was a forbidden thing back in the Hollywood 1950s. To detract the papparazi always on their trail, Evelyn comes up with a plan to marry hearthrob singer Mick Riva, formulating the plan with Celia that she’d make him fall for Evelyn, suggest going to Vegas, getting drunk and married and shortly annulled. Throughout the shenanigans of having to sleep with husbands and other men, Celia, a confirmed lesbian, was often jealous and broke it off with Evelyn several times. Evelyn begins doing movies with sex for French producer Max, and Celia can’t get passed that. Eventually, Evelyn gets a new role as Anna Karenina, playing with hot actor Rex North, who Evelyn marries to further her career. Meanwhile, Ev hears Celia married famous football quarterback John, and when Evelyn and Celia reconnect, they discover the perfect storm.

Evelyn and producer/best friend Harry Cameron formulate a plan to keep the press out of their personal lives and their choice of partners. Harry was in love with John and they’d quietly been together for a long time. Harry and Evelyn decide to marry so she could live with Celia and Harry with John without causing attention to the media. And Harry and Celia decide to have a child together because they both wanted a child – another thing Celia had to digest. The storyline is a clever one and depicts the times well, as in the early 60s, being gay was not even an option to admit to publicly. But once again, paradise is ruined when Celia can’t get past Evelyn’s sex scenes in a new movie produced by Max – starring her ex-husband Don Adler.

After many good years together, tragedy strikes Celia’s husband, and then Evelyn’s husband Harry who is heartbroken and ruined after John’s demise. Since Celia has once again left Evelyn, Ev caves to the advances of old friend producer Max and marries him. As Max’s love in reality was just star struck with Evelyn, she once again leaves him and makes her way back to Celia. They decide to leave the Hollywood world and move to Spain, and once again, to divert attention on them, Celia asks Evelyn if she’ll marry her playboy brother Robert, so the three of them can live happily ever after. But it wasn’t always happiness as Evelyn’s daughter Connor grew up struggling with the crazy Hollywood lifestyle, and Celia develops a serious illness. While married to Robert, Celia and Evelyn decide they must marry, not legally, but to sew up their lifetime love and committment. Robert becomes a great friend to Ev and even a good father figure to Connor.

Evelyn reveals this both enthralling, yet often, heartbreaking story to Monique, admitting her flaws and downfalls, detailed with reasons for doing everything she did in her life with resolve, despite a few regrets, her climb to stardom and whatever it took to get her star to rise, and ultimately, her real desire for privacy because of the greatest love of her life, Celia.

The author has painted a complex picture of characters caught up in the Hollywood glamor and the Hollywood emotional instability and heartache of actors and marriages, and at a time where being gay meant having to hide it from the public. By the time I finished this book, I felt like Evelyn really was a big movie star from the Hollywood glamor era who led a fascinating life. This was one of those ‘hard to put down’ books.


Sunday Book Review – The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle #Cancer #Memoir

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I am thrilled to be sharing my review for Miriam Hurdle’s – The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival – surviving near fatal cancer. This book is both, a heartfelt and heart-wrenching journey, bravely told by Miriam, and miraculously she was gifted the opportunity to live. Not only is this book a tale of Miriam’s diagnosis and her physical fight for survival, but a testament to her diligence and being her own advocate to push through the medical system.



In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.

My Five Star Review:

A courageous journey defying all odds, Miriam Hurdle is a true warrior woman.

Hurdle takes us through her journey of discovering an almost always fatal cancer. She’d already soldiered through several operations to remove fibroids and ultimately, a hysterectomy, when she thought she was moving on, only to be told they found a rare melanoma growing within her internal organs. It wasn’t enough what she’d already endured and her frightening future, but this woman fought all the way through the medical system just to get the experimental and low odds of life saving treatment she would need to live.

This book is a raw accounting with pure honesty and love, of the author’s journey and her unrelenting spirit to get the help she needed for just a chance to live longer. She fought the red tape of the system as her cancer was quickly progressing and her request for treatments remained in a pile of other requests, and her faith and love for her family and determination to live no matter how small the chances were of the horrid experimental treatments and their proposed side effects alone that could have killed her, did not deter her from.

Her story is not only about the journey through hell, but her thoughts and feelings as she approached each hurdle and roadblock along the way, as well as the financial burdens involved and finding willing and compassionate people in her field of teaching who aided in helping to fund her journey. Written with extreme courage and offering anyone hope to know that persistence is always worth it, despite the odds.

This book is not only about Miriam’s journey through cancer, but also, the importance of faith, family and community who came to the her aid and cheered her along, and the miracle that she is still here with us today.

©DGKaye 2023

Sunday Book Review – From Volyn to Kherson: Interpretations of the War in Ukraine by Frank Prem #freeverse #poetry

My Sunday Book Review is for Frank Prem’s moving new release, freeverse poetry with his interpretation of the war in Ukraine – From Volyn to Kherson. This is a most moving collection of tellings from the vision of Prem based on some of the many articles written about the heinous war in Ukraine.


From Volyn To Kherson, tells the stories of hardship and suffering and bewilderment experienced by the people of Ukraine in the early weeks of the 2022 Russian invasion and war.

The collection draws on news reports and social media postings during the most un-curated war the world has ever witnessed, interpreting and translating the raw emotion of this wartime experience.

There is no part of Ukraine that has been left untouched by this war, and no part of the poet left untouched by these stories of the Ukraine.

This book will be part of a series.


My 5 Star Review:

This book is a deeply emotional read as told through the vision of author Frank Prem in his style for which he’s known – freeverse poetry in his deep observational writing. In these stories, the author has taken from what he’s seen on the news, and from headlines and stories across the globe reported by brave journalists, and evokes his own heart and compassion in his tellings and interpretations, leaving us, the readers, to absorb the enormity of the effects on human life and the human condition.

Prem introduces his stories with a question at the beginning – ‘Which of us will be Ukraine, tomorrow?’

“People used to think about new car or IPhone, but nobody was thinking about peace. Now, we are dreaming of it. When old people used to wish each other peace, we didn’t understand what they meant. Now we do.”

Every one of Prem’s poems pierced through my heart. I will share here just two of many heartwrenching tellings:


In okhtyrka (the tsentral’ne)

they are preparing

the cemetery now

in okhtyrka


and his platoon

are gone

vacuum bombed

air taken


of them

and then

they died


in okhtyrka

they are digging


on grave

I think

the cemetery


the tsvyntar

it doesn’t matter


there won’t be any funerals held

for awhile

and both of them

will be overrun


too long


nobody asked us (in russia)

helping them

is treason



is nothing


will be different now


is the changing

of our world


into darkness

do you know . . .


asked us


is the true


knowing that none

of us

really matter

and to speak


or horror

or sorrow-

for ukraine . . .


is a crime


Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Cheryl Oreglia and her Debut Book – Grow Damn It!

Welcome to my first Q & A of 2023 as I resume back to regular scheduling here at my blog/website. I am excited to be featuring Cheryl Oreglia here today so you can get to know more about her. Cheryl just released her debut book – Grow Damn It! And when she emailed me last year, asking if I’d like an ARC of her upcoming book, and asked if I’d write an editorial, I was elated. Already knowing how and what Cheryl writes about because I’d been following her blog for a few years, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed in the book. Instead I was drawn right into her stories and her conversational way of telling them, stories about her almost sitcom-like life with her husband Larry.



About Cheryl:

I was born and bred in the San Francisco Bay Area, a California native, but don’t hold that against me because although I’m blond, I have never surfed, nor do I live in the lap of luxury. Due to circumstances out of my control, I now host a lifestyle blog called Living in the Gap, which appears weekly as I corral the time to write and reflect on the mundane. As I was entering menopause, I entered a graduate program, and amidst hot flashes and hormone surges, I secured an M.A. in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. I do have a life outside of my head, and it squeezes between me and my keyboard like a frightened child. What can you do? On the surface, my life is common, I married the guy I met in high school, and we made a bunch of children, which to our delight, resulted in grandchildren. I’m now a retired educator who lives for weekends at the lake, but just below the surface is a unique voice, one that I hope will resonate with you. Living in the Gap is a customized, over-the-hill, gritty, complicated blog, and I think you’ll love it. Join me. Oh, and I recently published a book, Grow Damn It, you can find it anywhere you buy your books. If not, contact me at




Grow Damn It! is a captivating work by Cheryl Oreglia, who uses uncommon honesty and arresting humor to draw you into her cantankerous life, forty-year marriage, and revolving empty nest. She claims the space between past and future is where our potential is created or destroyed.

If you don’t like where your life is going, dig deeper, and write a new story. By weeding out the things that clutter her life, she invites you into a refreshing space with some of her most popular posts from her beloved blog Living in the Gap.

She surrounds herself with a gaggle of intriguing friends, along with a large and rambunctious family who challenge both her and the reader to live fully in an ever-changing world. Her provocative writing dares us to confront our lives not only with optimism, but courage, and uproarious laughter. Oreglia uses her experience to explore what matters most in life… the degree to which we love and are loved.


A Review for Grow Damn It by Diana Peach

D. W. Peach

5.0 out of 5 stars A witty, wise, and occasionlly heartbreaking memoirReviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 5, 2023

Oreglia’s debut memoir is a beautiful read. It’s personal yet relatable. It’s outrageously funny and heartbreaking, and it’s all about the challenges that life throws at us and how we grow into wisdom and love as a result. It’s one of those books that I might read on my birthday every year, to remind myself of what’s important about this one chance at life.

In a series of essays, the author shares the experiences from her life that shaped her thinking and led to change, appreciation, and a deep well of love. The chaos that comes with family relationships—parents, siblings, spouses, children, and grandchildren—becomes the fodder for growth. And her storytelling is honest and full of wit. As a woman in her 60s, I could relate to almost every experience that comes with aging—from the delights of menopause to corralling grandchildren to watching those we love die.

Which goes to show that not every essay in this book is laugh-out-loud funny. Many involved pain, loss, and regret. They pull on the heartstrings, sharing some tough truths—that life is temporary and things can change at the drop of a hat. Don’t waste it. Oreglia’s wisdom and advice seem to arise through quiet moments of presence when she can take a reflective breath, but she also references the words of other sages, notably John O’Donohue (Anam Cara), and writer Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), two of my favorite authors/books.

As Oreglia says, “Show up for your own life.” That’s my new mantra. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy memoirs and the opportunity to reflect on life’s universal lessons, and perhaps grow, damn it.




Welcome Cheryl. Now, let’s get to know more about Cheryl!


When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and why did you start

From my earliest memories, I’ve always been enthralled with writing. I remember learning the secrets of the alphabet, how you formed words and then used these words to express a thought. It was magical. I used to write poems, short stories and read them to my family, who encouraged my passion for writing. But life has a way of detouring our dreams with marriage, family, and worldly obligations.

When I was entering menopause, I entered a graduate program at Santa Clara University. This is smack in the middle of a thirty-year marriage, raising four kids, a needy dog, and high maintenance fish. Life was hectic.

As I was rolling out eighteen-page research papers, my passion for writing was reignited. I started writing stories and reading them to my sister. She was cautiously optimistic.

It was 2015 when my sister Nancy walked into the house with an exquisitely wrapped book for my birthday. She made me open it and read it out loud from cover to cover. “One day, I had an idea.” This is the first line in a little book by Kobi Yamada, entitled, What do you do with an idea?

She gave me this gift because she believes in me. From my earliest memories, this woman has had my back, and she protects my dreams like a well-worn jock strap (A misfit metaphor if there ever was one but it refuses to leave). Nancy is my only sibling. She lives just seven miles away, door to door. We calculated it once for fun. She dragged me to a feng shui class a few years ago, and now she claims my qi is off because my door is improperly positioned.

Hiding is impossible with Nancy because she knows my moves and sees the truth often before it is apparent to me. This is the resiliency of sisterhood. And best of all, when I call her in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep, she acts like this is normal.

The import of this little book is almost too significant to describe. After reading the entire book, I looked up. We didn’t speak a word, she just gave me this little nod, and I knew the depth of her fertile generosity. She was willing me to go forth with my work as a writer, but I was scared.

I have all the normal fears around exposure, and despite behavior to the contrary, I have never wanted people to think I am crazy, off-kilter, or worse – full of rubbish. She was begging me to jump!

She doesn’t have a great track record with asking me to jump. When she was six (beyond the age of reason), and I was four, she told me I could fly. I believed her and leaped off a shallow ledge, resulting in a nasty cut to my upper lip. I still have the scar to prove it. She insists the story is exaggerated, but you can understand my hesitancy when she says, “jump.”

I overlooked the past, took a leap of faith, and started a damn blog. My fingers actually shook when I hit the publish button for the first time. My husband immediately yelled, “You misspelled corral.” I almost fainted. Then he said, “No, no, it’s right.”

“I liked being with my idea. It made me feel more alive, like I could do anything. It encouraged me to think big… and then, to think bigger,” writes Kobi Yamada. After blogging daily for the entire summer, it became my greatest joy and a disastrous chore. I was trying to decide if I should give it up or not. I teach high school, and the semester was about to begin, which meant my time would be even more limited.

I was living in fear that I had used up all my words, there were no more valid experiences to write about, and the three people still reading (mom, Nancy, & Larry) were doing so out of obligation (This might be true).

Yamada writes, “Then, one day, something amazing happened. My idea changed right before my eyes. It spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky.” This happened when Krista Tippett tweeted, “I love your blog.” The power of one’s sister, by blood or by choice, is truly a blessing. The page views lit up like the Rockies during the summer of 2015, and of course, I called Nancy to tell her about my new BFF. I think she was jealous. She said, “Is she bothering you?” Love you, my fearless guardian angel, my sister, my friend.

I would have stopped writing if it wasn’t for Krista and Nancy. I’m forever grateful for their support, encouragement, and grace in pushing me in the right direction.

D.G. What an amazing story to your journey of authordom Cheryl. It’s so amazing and a blessing to have people who support our writing. 💜


Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages
you feel are well received by your readers?

Grow Damn It is an eclectic selection of stories that I hope you will resonate with you. The stories are about the realities of life, some sad, some funny, but most are about the challenges we are forced to meet in our daily life. It is my hope that we can grow and prosper by exploring some of the more demanding moments together, expanding our love and respect for each other. It is a book that I hope people will pick up again and again, finding new messages embedded in the tales each and every time.

These particular stories shaped me in some way, requiring me to stretch, recalibrate and grow damn it. I draw you into the chaos of a large family with children, grandchildren, and a gaggle of dear friends. As you know, life can get steamy. I dare my readers to enter as if in a sauna, naked, vulnerable, and ready to manage the intensity of life’s most intimate moments.

The most important message woven in the pages of this book is about jumping in, showing up, and participating in life, even when you want to retreat and lick your wounds. I want readers to know they are not alone, we’re all experiencing many of the same challenges, overcoming the same obstacles, and we can do it together with humor and love.

D.G. I love that Cheryl. A great summation for your book!


What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?

My husband and I have recently retired and we’re struggling to adjust to the new lifestyle. You would think that retirement would allow me time to write, reflect, read, and putter in the garden. But that has not been our experience. I’m busier now than I have ever been. We are both avid hikers, our first adventure was to walk a little over 200 miles of the Camino de Santiago, from France into Spain. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and plan on walking the Portuguese Camino in the spring of 2024.

My husband Larry is an experienced biker, as in mountain biking. So, in order to pull me into his world he bought us a tandem bike last year and we have been participating in tandem events across the country. In three weeks, we head to Japan, to join an organized tandem event and ride across the country.

Our third love is traveling which has been curtailed due to COVID but that is behind us now and we have trips planned to New York midyear to visit our daughter, one to Portugal in the fall to spend some time with our son, and quick stay in Florida sometime in-between to visit with old friends. We have a cabin in Lake County which draws in the entire family and we spend half of our time mesmerized by the beautiful shores of Clearlake, wine tasting, enjoying large family dinners, and lounging on the beach. Of course, Clearlake is my muse and favorite place to write. I write about all of these adventures in my blog, Living in the Gap, and they is the source for my collection of stories for Grow Damn It.

D.G. How exciting! I envy your fabulous getaways. I read about some of your hikes and hilarious events in your book, and on your blog. I always enjoy reading your stories. 💜


I was thrilled when Cheryl asked me to write an editorial for her book:

Vignettes and slices of life that will touch your heart, make you laugh, and sometimes cry—but, mostly, laugh. From tales of life, loss, values, victories, kids, road trips, and wine—always wine, Oreglia’s mini memoirs are guaranteed to captivate and entertain. I highly recommend this read! Sit down and savor these stories and Grow Damn It, while living vicariously through Cheryl’s journeys of life. I love her attitude and wit and am already looking forward to her next book!

~ D.G. Kaye, author of Twenty Years: After ‘I Do’ – Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging.


Cheryl is sharing an Excerpt with us from Grow Damn It!

Chapter: After You Say I Do


I think it was the ten-year mark when I realized I could not change the dude I married, it was the same month all of our children came down with the chicken pox, and suddenly his travel schedule was unusually packed?

Hallmark does not make a card for this type of occasion.

I called my mom, “S.O.S., I’m sinking, send in the fu*king coast guard.” She was on the next flight and walked in the door just as I was throwing a shoe at the traveler for no reason. She caught it midair. Damn handy woman.

It’s not a moment I’m proud of but I tell you this because I’ve learned it’s okay to ask for help. As most of you know I would rather pull my fingernails out one at a time then admit defeat, but as if a card game, you have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run screaming to your Mama.

We took our first vacation without the children during our tenth year. Mom flew in to guard the nest. I wrote out a complex daily schedule, loaded the refrigerator with food, and left the insurance cards on the counter. When we returned everyone was alive. A taxi was waiting in the driveway?

She couldn’t get on that return flight faster.

It was year twelve, let’s call these the difficult years, when I realized I could survive just about anything but not on my own. Our fourth child arrived, traveler dropped me off on the curb, with the child still in the car seat, a sign on the front lawn welcomed the baby home, and he headed to the airport for a weeklong business trip. I was trippin.

But Mom was there waiting for me. She had the older children dressed in the matching sibling shirts and the kitchen floor was recently swept. For some reason this made me inordinately happy, and I sat down in the living room and cried.

That night without a single word Mom heard my silent anguish, walked into the room, took the cranky baby out of my arms, and put me to bed. Then she crawled in next to me, rubbed my back, while she rocked the baby in her other arm, put us both to sleep. I would one day do this for my own child, but this is how I learned, her hand on my back, her heart holding my son.

One evening around year thirteen traveler called from a swanky bar in downtown Boston, he said, “what did you do today?” I thought he was kidding, we have four kids, a dog, a cat, and high maintenance fish. They all need to be fed, clothed, taxied all over town (except the fish) and he wants to know WHAT I DID TODAY? Yeah, I hung up on him.

“No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I’ve been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time.” Madeleine L’Engle

I decided it was time to go on strike (I may have overreacted a tad) but there is nothing worse than a woman on a diet, premenstrual, and perimenopausal. The combination can be lethal, especially for husbands, poor guy had no idea what sort of storm was brewing at home.

I did absolutely nothing for four days and could hardly wait for him to walk in the door. When he did, I was ready, a beer in hand (I never drink beer but it was the perfect prop), Magnum P.I. on the television, children running amuck, with no surface in the house visible. In fact, we had to create a path in order to get around.

He stepped carefully over all the rubble, leaned in to give me a kiss, and without a word rolled up his sleeves, and started cleaning. Thirty minutes in I asked for a cold beer and if he could hold off vacuuming until the commercial break? He was ever so accommodating.

I married a good one.

D.G, here – Loved the excerpt. It’s just real life in the Oreglia household and Cheryl demonstrates both, the way men sometimes think, and her remedy for a healthy, happy marriage. I am still cracking up at, “What did you do today?” Definitely a loaded question for a premenstrual, perimenopausal woman, on a diet yet! LOL. I loved this book and will no doubt read again.

Find Cheryl on her Social Sites:




Living in the Gap Blog

Amazon Authors Page



Sunday Book Review – Sisters by Judith Barrow – #psychologicaldrama

My Sunday Book Review is for Judith Barrow’s brand new release – Sisters. Judith’s books never disappoint, and this new book kept me glued. This is the story of two sisters, and a huge lie that destroyed a family. The author has a talent for drawing out great characters that leave us thinking about them even after closing the book. The book is on pre-order now, release date, January 26th.


Get This Book on Amazon



A moving study of the deep feelings – jealousy, love, anger, and revenge – that can break a family apart. … Sisters is another absorbing, emotional and thought-provoking creation from the wonderful Judith Barrow.
Janet Laugharne

Two sisters torn apart by a terrible lie.In shock after an unbearable accident. Angie lets her sister Mandy take the blame, thinking she’s too young to get into trouble. But she’s wrong. Mandy is hounded, bullied and finally sent to live with their aunt, where she changes her name to Lisa and builds a new life, never wanting to see her sister again. Angie’s guilt sends her spiralling into danger. Thirteen years later, they meet again at their mother’s funeral. Lisa starts to suspect something is wrong. Angie seems terrified of her husband, and their father is hiding something too.
What does Lisa owe to the family that betrayed her?

I knew I was in for a treat. I wasn’t disappointed… I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Lisa and Angie… A tale with characters that linger in your mind after you close the book.
Jacqueline Harrett

My 5 Star Review:

Judith Barrow strikes again with this new release, Sisters. Barrow has a talent for creating rich characters who linger with us long after we’ve finished reading the book. She is recognized for her fantastic family saga stories, and this one had me going through varied emotions as one huge lie orchestrated by elder sister Angie, for a very evil deed she committed, is pinned on her younger sister Amanda, and changes both their lives and the family dynamic forever.

I found it a gripping read as I shook my head and wanted to shake Angie even more for destroying her family over her selfish whims and passing the blame on poor Amanda. It irked me that Amanda didn’t stand up to her evil sister and tell the truth, but as Barrow so cleverly weaves this tale, she makes us understand how big sister Angie holds a grip on Amanda and talks her into good reason why Amanda shouldn’t tell on her.

The horrendous event that took place that Amanda was being blamed for, eventually has her parents sending her to Wales to live with her aunt to avoid the bullying and terrorizing Amanda endured for the awful event that took place. And wanting a fresh start, Amanda even changed her name to Lisa.

The story kept me turning the pages, hoping that Angie would speak up and tell truth, while having me shake my head thinking about how one sister can even live with herself as she watches her little sister’s life spiral and turn upside down because of her horrible actions and her coverup lies that went unchallenged. But it does seem Karma always find her way back to those as a reminder.

Some thirteen years would pass before the sisters are forced to meet up at their mother’s funeral. In between those passing years we learn about both Angie’s and Amanda’s lives. Amanda/Lisa is happy in her life living with Aunt Barb and Uncle Chris, while Angie, who ran away from home shortly after Amanda was sent to Wales, lived a tawdry life, until she meets up with her childhood crush and cohort in ‘the big lie’, Stephen Birch, now a wealthy businessman and predator in more ways than one. Once Lisa returns home from her mum’s funeral, she learns about Angie’s unhappy past and present life, with her now, abusive and dominating husband Stephen Birch. And as Lisa works on sewing up her mother’s estate, she discovers more dark secrets about Angie’s insidious husband. The story grows darker as we learn exactly what is going on in Angie’s marriage and what exactly it is Stephen wants from her – from her family.

As Stephen continues to emotionally abuse and torment Angie, Lisa’s empathy has her worrying for her sister. And by the time the next tragedy strikes in their family, Lisa begins investigating and working with an old friend, Ben, now a journalist, she teams up with to investigate just what the evil Stephen Birch is really up to.

Why is Stephen so evil? What is it he wants? What is it he has hanging over Angie’s head? Will Stephen be caught and punished for the physical abuse he caused to Angie? Will he be found discovered responsible for causing harm to the girls’ parents? How far will this deranged man go to get what he wants from these two sisters? You will find no spoilers here, and will want to keep reading to the end, anxiously waiting to see if Angie escapes Birch’s stranglehold on her and if just desserts are served.


Sunday Book Review – #Poetry – Sorrowful Soul by Harmony Kent.

My Sunday Book Review is for a heartfelt read, – Harmony Kent’s new release – Sorrowful Soul. This book was written in free verse poetry and dedicated to the claimed, seven stages of grief – despite the stages in no way being linear – just ask me, one who is living with grief. A beautiful Calla Lilly was depicted for the cover. As the author expresses, the Calla Lilly is used for both weddings and funerals, and occasions in-between, but also represents tears as the water droplets form on the petals.



f we’re lucky, we meet twilight at the front door and old age creeps in on the night breeze.

Even if we make it to our twilight years, the more we age, the more loss we must endure as part of the cycle of life. Many of these poems lament death, but they also relate to broken relationships, severed friendships, and the loss of youth. This book of grief poetry is as much about saying goodbye and working through loss as it is about death and love split asunder.

This heartfelt collection provides company and compassion through the devastating journey of loss and shows us we do not travel this lonely road alone. Within these pages we share shock, numbness and denial, catapult into anger, bargaining, depression, loneliness, and guilt, and—eventually—make the seismic shift into testing the possibility of a new normal and finding acceptance.~~~~~

Praise for Slices of Soul, Book 1 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“I found my answer in this wonderful treasure-trove and have already read it three times.” Robert Fear

“I found in Slices of Soul something approaching aesthetic bliss, a sense of being connected in some way to other states – like tenderness, kindness, ecstasy – where art is the norm.” Colm Herron

“A stunning collection of poems that I read in one sitting! Unable to simply put this down until I had read the last. I love the clarity of the short poems, such clear images created in so few words or phrases. Many of them touched my heart and I will be giving them a 2nd and 3rd read!” Audrina Lane


Praise for Life & Soul, Book 2 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“…a wonderful and relatable look on the seasons of life and the heartbreak and happiness of love and family.” Julie

“I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for some good poetry that hits you right in the feels.” Katie

“Powerful and Enlightening: I highly recommend this volume and eagerly look forward to her next collection.” Writester

My 5 Star Review:

I couldn’t wait for this book to come out in paperback, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m familiar with this author’s multi-genre talent in writing, and I especially enjoy her heartfelt poetry. The book is divided into what is said – the seven stages of grief. As the author points out, and I can attest to, these stages are by no means the law and order of grief and can and will be felt at various times after a loss, and in no specific order – Shock and Disbelief; Denial; Guilt; Anger and Bargaining; Depression, Loneliness and Reflection; Working Through; and Acceptance.

It’s difficult to write this type of heartfelt poetry if one hasn’t loved and lost someone or something, just as a reader won’t take in the breadth of it unless they too have lived loss themselves. But one doesn’t have to have lost someone to take in these evocative poems and feel both the love and the pain of loving and losing to stir up emotions and reiterate how precious life is. These stories in poetry speak of painful losses – death, youth and health.This is a beautiful book that one can pick up at anytime and open up a page to. A handy reference to revisit time and time again. This would be a lovely gift for someone who is grieving or for friends and relatives to offer some insight into the grieving process and the loneliness that ensues.

All these poems hit me hard, in fact, each and every poem spoke to me, especially, Borrowed Time from Part 1 – Shock and Disbelief:

“From wedding bells

To funeral dirge

From dancing and fun

To tears and disbelief

None could have known

How soon you’d be gone

We miss your smile

And loud, easy laughter

Your compassion

And unassuming friendship

From May to December

You withered away

And by the new year

We burned your bones

Scattered your pale ashes

To the fickle wind

And looking back

I still can’t believe

Nor properly grieve

From wedding bells

To funeral dirge

Where to now?”

Each and every poem resonated me as I endure my own great loss, and my compassion was lent to the author in her own stories of her losses. It’s difficult to pick out a favorite in this heartfelt read, but a few more that gave me pause, some favored quotes from:

No Words – “…I’ve died a hundred times since you left my life bereft”

The Worst Kind of Thief – “…The sparkle in your eyes ignited me whole”

Not Since – “…Didn’t sleep last night Nor the night before, Not since they carried you, Out the door”

Down Deep – “… And joy on the beach, All I feel now is the scratch of the sand, In this barren, strange, unknown land, You were my navigator, my pilot, My life’s one true love, And, oh my darling, I miss you so much”

Triggers – “a discarded shoe, an odd sock, or a simple visit to the shop, who ever knew the total and utter shock such simple things could induce?”

At the end of the book, Kent also leaves some important resource links for people who are in need of seeking help with mental anguish. I highly recommend this beautiful book full of verses of the human condition and emotion.

©DGKaye 2023

Sunday Book Review – The Bubble Reputation by Alex Craigie #novella

My Sunday Book Review today is for Alex Craigie’s new release – The Bubble Reputation. Alex takes us into a story about the evils of social media when children’s author Emmie is setup by a rag newspaper by a ruthless Ursula Bloom who pushes her reporter Jessie to the limit by asking her to dig dirt on Emmie, who has a sparkling reputation that turns ugly when lies are created and images are photo-shopped. An eerie story that reminds us that we are all open game when it comes to the evils of social media and the digital world.




If you want to destroy someone’s reputation, social media provides the perfect tool.

Emmie Hobson, children’s author and TV presenter, is riding high on a wave of popularity when an unscrupulous newspaper editor, desperate for a scoop, brings Emmie’s world crashing down.

Social media picks up the baton and a terrifying backlash of hate and abuse is unleashed. Threats are made and there are those, inflamed by the rhetoric, prepared to take the law into their own hands.


My 5 Star Review:

I’ve never met a book from this author I didn’t enjoy. This book is a story about how low people will go and how easy it is to get people riled up and become haters through social media. Sad to see how far people will go to ruin a reputation for ratings and the almighty dollar.

Emmie is a kind children’s author and TV presenter with a near spotless reputation. But Ursula Bloom needs dirt on Emmie for better ratings – even though there isn’t any. Ursula, the editor of a rag tabloid pushes her reporter Jessie to get some dirt in return for a big bonus. There is no dirt so the ball gets rolling by asking the nasty co star Tiffany for some dirt, which is barely anything, but then distorted. Sadly, there seems to be no control on the evil on manufacturing lies and doctoring images, as defamation and libel run wild. Taking photos and embellishing them to look like events that never took place is the name of the game for Ursula. Then all that’s required is linking images to a BS story, and set it ablaze into social media, and one children’s author’s reputation is smeared.

Emmie’s friends shockingly join the masses of haters, because of course, it’s easier to be a sheep and go with the masses than to look for the truth. Emmie has only her husband Luke and her loving parents to stand by her side. Even Emmie’s loser, jealous sister Livvy gets in on the action. She has no ambitions, addicted to drugs, and never has money. But Emmie is too good to her until she finds out that Livvy too, helped create stories by offering personal information on her sister so she could earn some money to support her drug habit, demonstrating that money is thicker than blood.

The story grabs us as we get a good scope of exactly how easy it is to smear someone’s reputation publicly with lies. My heart went out to Emmie in this book and kept me wondering how she could stop the madness and restore her reputation. The author does a wonderful job of sewing up the story with a satisfying conclusion after squirming through Emmie’s unjustified attacks.


Sunday Book Review – Fairies, Myths, & Magic II – A Winter Celebration by Colleen Chesebro

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I’m thrilled to be reviewing Colleen Chesebro’s new release – Fairies, Myths & Magic II. Colleen brings us into various fairy worlds, explains the myths and celebrations of pagan traditions, and stories inspired by the winter solstice.


Get This Book on Amazon



In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.

From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.

Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.


My 5 Star Review:

This is book 2 in Chesebro’s FM&M series. In this edition, there is a delicious sprinkling of poetry, ancient pagan myths and legends, faery folklore, celebrations of winter solstice, and short flash stories with accompanying poems to highlight the stories.

The book begins by explaining the magic folklore and legends and some of the rituals of the winter solstice, pagan rituals, and an eerie faery story, the Changeling, about a little girl gone missing as revenge by an evil faery queen because of a generational curse. The way the author evokes the story is not only engaging, but the folklore in her stories give us insights as to the varying rituals pertaining to each subject.

In the Changeling, Trisha and David are filled with woe when Trish discovers her little four year old has gone missing from the back yard without explanation. When David arrives home from work and hears this news, he begins searching for the little one and discovers a piece of cholla wood in his garage with an engraved image of his daughter, making him realize, it was time for him to pay his debt to the faeries, otherwise known as the ‘good people’- despite them not all being good. David explains to his wife the curse and the story about how the dark faery queen shows up when it’s time to pay the debt for the accidental death of a baby killed back in David’s Irish ancestral history. The myth goes back to when the gentry would snatch a child and replace them with a changeling and send the human child to the ‘Otherworld’. But the people learned how to deal with these evil faeries and knew how to get their children back. In this story, the original plan of return backfired and so the penance for David’s family was that they would never know when the queen would show up and snatch one of their children.

David searches frantically through archived Gaelic scriptures in hopes to find out more about how the curse worked, while Trish searched online how to deal with the faery. David wants to sacrifice himself in his daughter’s stead, but Trish finds a different solution worth trying before sacrificing her husband’s life for her daughter’s. On Halloween, the next night, David and Trisha stood in the desert under a full moon and waited for the faery queen to appear. In a whirlwind, the queen appeared and swooped them right up and took them into her world. Trish gives an offering to the queen in exchange for her daughter and discovers her daughter and another changeling who looks just like her daughter. You will have to read on to discover if a bargain is struck and who is this other child. A few other of my favorite stories – Trash or Treasure? – The old saying – ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, Night of the Mothers – a Germanic holiday that celebrates motherhood and female ancestors. The author talks about Yuletide and takes us through the celebrations of solstice from various countries around the world – Germany, Italy, Iceland, China, Japan, and more.

Yuletide is the time to release the darkness and back to the light – making way for the sun’s return to spring. We will learn the significance of holly, ivy, mistletoe, and everything else tied in with this celebration, foods eaten to celebrate, and more. Did you know the foliage of the Evergreen trees represent immortality and mistletoe represents luck, love and fertility? Where did the usage of Christmas trees originate? Read this book to find the answers and more.