A Little Bit Of Everything Lost by Stephanie Elliot - Blog Tour, Book Review, Excerpt& Giveaway

At 19, Marnie plunged into first love with Joe, a guy who was completely wrong for her. Their romance was fast and exhilarating and like nothing Marnie had ever experienced or understood. Just as quickly as it began, it was over, with no explanation. He left her with unanswered questions and unexpected feelings of loss and regret, and a quiet grief she would carry with her for the next fifteen years.

When Joe returns, Marnie is a 34-year-old wife and mother to two rambunctious little boys, who is slowly healing from a devastating loss. All the emotions she suppressed from the past fifteen years surge to the surface, threatening to ruin her marriage and destroy her family. She'll need to confront the one person who hurt her the most to realize that love and loss sometimes go hand in hand… and that you have to live with some of your toughest choices for the rest of your life.

Lost is part coming-of-age/part love story. It's a story about a woman desperate to make peace with the past. It's for all women who have ever experienced the magnitude of first love, whether it was a lasting bond or a fleeting moment. Because first love - while it might not have been the best love - is a love none of us ever forgets.

AMAZON ~ Kindle ** B&N ~ Paperback

 “He had been her coming-of-age story. He was her history. More than just her history. He was the blueprint that created her future. He was the one guy that every girl remembers from the past. He was the one, and even though he tore through her life like a tornado and left an aftermath of sadness and grief, she could not forget him. ”

For the lack of better word, I’ll just say that I love this book. It’s one of those books that’ll make you love and hate the characters at the same time.

This book is in Marnie’s POV. It alternates between what happened in the year 1988 and in the year 2004 and it basically involved the two most important men in her life. For some reason, I think, the book is somewhat difficult to read because I’m afraid of what might happen in the end. The book tells about Marnie’s struggle from what happened in the past and what’s happening at present. She keeps on connecting the mistakes she did in the past with the situation she’s being dealt with now. She is now married with Stuart, who is a pilot and is travelling from Monday to Wednesday, but is at home from Thursday till the end of the week. They have two children, Jeremy and Trey. Marnie has a thriving photography business and her weekends are always fully booked.

Marnie is contented with her life but she’s so trap with the what-ifs that it consumes her and is affecting her from achieving her happiness. Before she met her husband, she was head over heels in love with someone else. That someone else is Joe. She met Joe during a summer break. And just like a tornado, he easily swept her off her feet. They were inseparable during that break. Theirs was a blissful and lustful summer.

I loved Joe in the first chapters of the book, but as it neared the end, I think the love turned into hate. I really thought he was just dealing with personal problems. He was one of those guys who takes things for granted because he know that he can easily get what he want. I hate the situation she put Marnie through. He’s one of those guys who can be easily manipulated. He puts his family first so whatever his family thinks is important. He wasn’t strong enough to fight for what he wants.

Marnie, on the other hand, put her everything in line. She let her heart took over the decisions and in the end, it almost cause her, her future. She’s lucky to have Stuart. He’s not perfect but he loved her. He cherished her and their family. He provided for them. He took care of them.

There are just some pressing issues that doesn’t bode well with me.

First, the abortion. I am a born Catholic so whatever reasons Marnie has on why she still went with it will never be acceptable to me. I can’t stomach the fact that she agreed to it. It was already a human. It already breathes. I was really crossing my fingers for her not to go through with it, but she was not strong enough to handle the pressure.

Stuart opposing her pregnancy. I really didn’t like that. I mean, hello, they both enjoyed the pleasure part, why would he not accept the life they created together, right?  He could have used a contraceptive or whatsoever to prevent the pregnancy.  He should have dealt with the issue in the right way, not avoided it like some plague. Because it didn’t helped their situation, it only made it worse. I think that was the main reason why Marnie felt like chastising herself for getting pregnant again.

The ending was lovely. It was realistic. It was bittersweet. I haven’t pegged Marnie to make a sane decision, but she proved me wrong in the end. She was an epitome of a family woman. One who stands by what is right. One who values family bond. One who was once burned, but learned her lesson well. Joe may be her first love but it was Stuart who was her true love. They made it through the most difficult time of their life.

A Little Bit of Everything Lost tells us that the choices we make in life will have an effect on how we live our future. Sometimes, the most unplanned choices we make, will bring us unexpected amounts of joy in the future. For us to live life freely, we should let go of the past. Repent on all the mistakes you did in the past, and do not let it affect your future. Don’t let yourself be caged in. Appreciate all the good things that come your way. First love might not always be the last love that we'll have but it will always be remembered no matter what happens. 
October 2004

            The whole process irritated the hell out of Marnie.

            The microwave timer buzzed, frozen pancakes warmed and ready.
“You’re going to be late for the bus!” she yelled as she searched the meat drawer for ham.

“Why don’t I do this the night before?” Marnie muttered into the fridge. She found meat, made sandwiches, and moved to the pantry to grab syrup for the pancakes.

The lid was sticky.

She heard the boys arguing about who got to play Xbox first when they got home from school. They were going to be late. Again. And the lid was covered in syrup. Again.

“Damn it, boys! Get down here. Now!

They were still arguing as they bounded down the stairs and Marnie knew Jeremy had taken his forefinger and thumb and whacked his younger brother on the head because Trey yelped, “I’m telling!”

“No tattling,” Marnie threatened. “Or there’ll be no soccer after school.”

“Good. I hate soccer practice,” Jeremy said.

“Me too,” Trey agreed with his older brother.

Marnie shook her head. There was no winning here. She was losing the battle that was good parenting, and she didn’t know how she was going to survive. High school – hell, junior high school – was still eons away.

The rumble of the bus wheels turning onto the street signaled panic in the boys’ eyes.
“The bus!” Trey screamed.

“Grab a granola bar, your lunches and backpacks, and run!

No matter what chaos each morning brought, Jeremy and Trey were endearing still, her little boys, taking the time to kiss her, and to tell her they loved her. Every morning, no matter what, they managed to love her. If only that were enough. If only.

As Trey buried his head into Marnie for a hug, she inhaled the little boy smell of him. Oh God, how she wished they didn’t have to grow up, didn’t have to become big boys. Big ones – well, big eight-year-olds like Jeremy – were already showing signs of pulling away, of needing her less and less. Of asking for fewer cuddles, and practically no more bedtime stories, wanting rather to stay up late to watch basketball with Dad when he was home. At least six-year-old Trey could still be babied. He and Marnie would snuggle at night and make up stories about worms named Pinkster and Swirmy, who lived in huts in their backyard, and ate muddy cakes filled with flies.

Marnie sighed. “I love you boys. Have a good day.” She touched her belly.

“Love you too, Mom. Bye!” And the door banged behind them. Her double tornado gone. She heard them screaming down the drive, Trey shouting for Jeremy to wait up for him, always, always chasing after his older brother.

Marnie opened the microwave and took out the mini pancakes the boys hadn’t had time to eat. She grabbed the syrup bottle again, forgetting it was sticky.

“Damn it,” she said to no one, because no one was home. It was Tuesday, and Stuart was gone.

She pulled a paper towel off the roll and noticed it had a Fourth of July stars-and-stripes pattern on it. Summer seemed like forever ago. She didn’t want to remember the summer that didn't happen. She didn’t want to think of fireworks and pool parties, barbecues and sparklers. And her boys, their tanned little bodies, their goggled faces, swimming until they were so tired they would collapse into their beds with no coaxing. She didn’t want to think about parades and fresh sugary-tart lemonade, neighborhood get-togethers, of weekend trips to her parent’s lake house, all the things they didn't get to do. She didn’t want to think about what she should be doing now.

Marnie turned the faucet on cold, saturated the paper towel, and rubbed the top of the syrup bottle as best as she could to clean it off. Then she doused the pancakes with syrup and popped the mini pancakes into her mouth, one by one, filling the void with the golden yeasty fluff, not feeling or tasting, just chewing… chewing until they were all gone; until the anxiety settled in the pit of her stomach and she felt like she could begin her day.

She ran a mental list through her head: the dry cleaners, she had to proof photos from last weekend's shoot, a trip to the grocery store. And she would have to stop by the post office to mail that package that had been sitting on the foyer table for over a week now. The one Stuart had asked her to mail.

When he got home last Thursday and spotted it still there, he had sighed. “I didn’t have time today,” she said. “Tomorrow,” she promised. “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”

“I’m home now. I can mail it tomorrow,” he had said, but he hadn’t gotten around to doing it either.

The phone rang, Marnie wiped her sticky fingers on another paper towel, and checked Caller ID. It was Collette. She hadn’t talked to Collette since last week so she settled onto a kitchen bar stool, ready for one of her usual pep talks. Marnie was desperate for one today.

“Hey you,” Marnie answered.

“Mar, hon. He’s back in town.”

Marnie felt a glob of doughy pancake she had just devoured rise to a lump in her throat.

Stephanie Elliot is the author of A Little Bit of Everything Lost, What She Left Us, and the novella, The Cell Phone Lot. She is also a writer and editor and has written for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. In her spare time she edits manuscripts for other writers and proofs executive documents. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

Connect with Stephanie: Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Website | FB Feature Book Page

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