Book Review – When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann

by Maryse on June 11, 2017 · 9 comments

in My Book Reviews

When Life Happened
This one has been all the rage since it’s release, and has had so many jaws dropping (and subsequently, quite a few warnings against reading reviews, since a few contain spoilers) and I must agree!!!!! BE WARY!!!!! This one is good, but definitely has a big twist that I didn’t see coming and had me double-taking, freaking out, backtracking and re-reading, just to make sure…

Robyn: I just finished When Life Happened. WOW…..I’m left speechless. I don’t even know what to say. THIS BOOK!! This will definitely be my best read for a long time coming. I don’t foresee anything topping this! My heart will never be the same. Jewel E. Ann, you have a gift, thank you for sharing it with us.

Lisa: When Life Happened has been near perfection for me…funny as heck, twists, heartache/angst, and so much unknown. The rest of my work day today will be devoted to finishing it (pretending to hang head in shame)

Andrea: Ladies, I one clicked this as soon as I saw Maryse placed The list. It was absolutely awesome. I have never read any other books from this author. I want to get it in paperback too. I would highly recommend and will most definitely reread it

Nay: Count me in as another who loved When Life Happened. Such a well-written, awesome book!!

Kandace: I’m so freakin excited so many of you are reading When Life Happens. I haven’t been able to start anything else since I finished. I’m *gasps* cleaning out my cupboards. <– I’ve chosen cleaning over reading. You know you’re suffering from a major hangover when that happens.

Leslie: I am not reading When Life Happened but I know spoilers and I am enjoying everyone’s reaction…I am cruel like that!

In fact, this one will be almost impossible for me to do the whole… “What’s it about?” section, ’cause how in the heck can I tell you without possibly spoiling a few parts that are so worth experiencing blindly, and therefore, feeling them, fully. I DO say read the blurb, as that will give you a good idea of what you’re getting into, but let me say there is SO MUCH MORE to this story than that.

It’s one of those. It’s loaded in this author’s signature character humor (goofy and fun, and real with mostly all that goes with the kind of female characters we love), and of course, the really heavy angsty stuff that has us feeling the love, and the pain.

So what’s it about?

Parker moves into her grandparents old farm house, and finds herself living next door to a very sexy (slightly older than her) electrician (Gus), with a “socialite-type” beauty-queen wife (Sabrina). She’s perfect, she’s beautiful, and the two of them together are a total wealthy powerhouse. Except that she’s entirely too focused on her career (jet-setting… everywhere), her social status and appearance, and he misses who she used to be. Who THEY used to be. Yet no matter how hard he tries to reach her again, he feels… she’s lost. At least to him.

Loneliness and resentment had crept into his life. He lived with a dog that belonged to his wife and a wife that belonged to her job. At least that’s what it felt like with Sabrina gone almost as much as she was there. And when they were together, they were still so far apart.

But when his wife hires Parker to be her personal “home” assistant while she’s away (to handle their dog – *snort*!!! That dog!!!

“I sat in a pile of his poop.”

“How did you not see—”

“Just …” She held a flat hand up to him. “Shhh. Good night, Mr. Westman.”

…their personal parties, the household tasks, cooking etc…), Gus and the ever-present Parker become friends.

“Sure. I love baseball.” Of course she loved baseball. Gus loved baseball. His absent wife did not like baseball. Gus questioned if his wife still liked him.

“Great … just … great.” His enthusiasm faded after the first great, settling into an uneasy pang of guilt in his gut.

Well, friends that antagonize each other (LOL!!) because he’d rather HIS WIFE be there with him handling these things, and well… she’s loyal to his wife.

That is, until the friendship crosses an emotionally needy line, and all bets are off.

Gray. A terrible color. The murky water where sinners thrived. Parker Cruse was a hypocrite. A cheater.

That’s where I’m stopping, because this one sure takes a twist that I NEVER saw coming (even though I kept hearing about this “jaw-dropper” so I KNEW I was in for something but what something??? I HAD  NO CLUE. And when it happened, I would have NEVER guessed it).

Maryse: WHAT WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT???? eek WHAT WHAT WHAT WHATTTTTT??? *ahem* I’m at something-% in the book and… and WHAAAAAAATTTTTTT??? eekeekeekeekeek

Maryse: *thud*

Amy:Yeah Maryse, that was me when I hit that part earlier. I did NOT see that coming. Ground, meet my a$$.  But the whole thing with Piper and Caleb and what everyone expects her to do for them…grrrrrrrrr. They’re all a$$holes.

Leslie: Maryse, I didn’t even read the book and I went “thud” on floor from spoilers!!! I have been anxiously awaiting you & Amy’s reaction. Can’t wait to see how you will write a spoiler-free review.

Amy: I just would have liked for things to be more thoroughly developed before THAT happened so I could fully feel the effect of it.  But even so, it was still a *BA-BAM!* moment. ;)

Jean: I just passed “that point” in When Life Happened……totally threw me for a loop! Did not see it coming at all! Already a 5 star read for me!

D.G.: So I guess everyone has hit THAT part were I was all like….Started reading “When Life Happens”…. UGHHHHHHHHH! #%%?!@@@?! Not sure whether I want to cry…be pissed and shelf it…or push forward!’ I mean seriously…don’t get me all invested and then drop this bomb…UGHHHHH!

Amy: “The whole damn room smelled like his cologne, which had to be the brand called ‘F*ck Me, Parker.’” *snicker* I’ve smelled a cologne or two like that over the years. Just insert my name for Parker’s. :P

Amy: OMG…the whole dog rape and “slut mutt” scene with Rags and the other dog at the rest stop is killing me. LOL!!!!

Did I love it like everyone did? Mostly. I loved the progression, the tension, and the anxiety it gave me. I loved how clever the twist was because of the fact that I didn’t see it until it bonked me over the head, and I loved the anticipation of where it would go from there. What I loved? The whole kismet aspect. Serendipity. LIFE as it sometimes is and has to be, for us damaged, jaded, and perfectly flawed humans to find ourselves, and to understand things that we once did not understand at all. And maybe find our perfect life. Blame and forgiveness. Guilt and realization. It comes full circle.

He feared losing her with the truth. She feared losing him to a lie. The irony made her nauseous.

*skip this next part, please, if you haven’t read it and want to go in blind. I won’t spoil it, but I do analyze my feelings of it as a whole*

However… as good as it was, I think I was expecting SO much more… craziness. So much more angst, and turmoil, and flawed human condition (and the trouble it brings). It took such a turn, so completely different than what I was investing myself in, that it took me some time to reconcile the eventual docility of it all. And, I think some parts moved so much faster than I wanted them to. Twice. AND therefore I found myself questioning the “reality” of certain emotions and circumstances (and reactions). Maybe a bit more time spend in a few integral moments and some of that slow burn to burn just a little longer might have had me reacting harder. That’s about my only complaint though.

Overall, entertaining, endearing, uniquely surprising and deeply though-provoking!

4 stars!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

bev June 11, 2017 at 8:50 PM

You’ve stumped me.

I can’t find a sequitur.

So non sequitur.

Hey, Maryse? You know what you should read?

To Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil.

Maryse June 11, 2017 at 9:13 PM

LOL!!!!!!!!! I should, bev! :D

Jean June 12, 2017 at 6:56 AM

Great review Maryse!

Joy Pryor June 12, 2017 at 12:02 PM

Maryse, Maryse, Maryse…this book…(sigh). I was so thrown by the twist that I almost fell off my bed when I screamed WTF, lol!!! It is so hard to write about this book w/o spoilers. I was so frustrated while reading it. I feel unfulfilled. I wanted more. I was so angry about the whole Piper, Caleb situation and the way that Parker’s mom expected her to forgive, forget and accommodate her backstabbing sister and brother-in-law. When the “why did you turn to Caleb conversation happened, I had some not so nice words floating around in my thoughts about Piper and Caleb, lol! I was totally ticked off with Sabrina through the entire book. While I loved the story, it took too long to tell the story and lacked important details. It seemed that Parker was such a focused, organized person that had a detailed plan for her life. However, she ended up being so doubtful and cynical about all aspects of her life after the betrayal by her sister and ex-boyfriend. I needed more info about Levi and what events shaped him to be the person that he was. The end of the book left me with so many unanswered questions. There needs to be a book with Levi’s POV!!!

Maryse June 12, 2017 at 7:11 PM


I’m all for Levi’s POV.

P.S. I’m all for a POV from Sabrina too, to tell you the truth. I bet it would be a little “Dirty Red” feeling.

P.S. I used THAT cover model for THIS Sabrina, too. LOL!!! :P

Maryse June 12, 2017 at 7:17 PM

Thank you Jean!!!

Jean June 13, 2017 at 9:55 AM

I would LOVE a book in Levi’s POV!

Kandace M June 13, 2017 at 1:37 PM

I really think the reason I love this book so much is because very rarely does a twist make me fall off my bed. Seriously!!! *thud*. I’ll admit I was upset but daaaaaang, Jewell Ann got me good.

Courtney June 13, 2017 at 2:02 PM

I liked the concept of the book and I think it has good bones but as you said Maryse it was a little too neat and tidy towards the end. I loved the twist and thought the book had so much potential to be fresh and different from the twist but then she just wrapped it up so perfect and neatly. This book is all about how life happens and how we can’t control it but then everything fit perfectly at the end so it just left me wanting more. I would give the first have to the twist 4.5 stars and the last half 3 stars

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