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Eat Your Heart Out (Starting Over #2) by Shirley Goldberg



When a tyrant in stilettos replaces her beloved boss, and her ex snags her coveted job, teacher Dana Narvana discovers there are worse things than getting dumped on Facebook. Time for the BFF advice squad. Alex—hunky colleague, quipster, and cooking pal extraordinaire is Dana’s staunchest ally. So what’s with the smooching after hours? And why won’t this grown man make up his mind?  

Actor turned teacher Alex Bethany craves a family of his own. Newly hotified, he’s now got the confidence to try online dating. Meanwhile he’s sending Dana mixed messages in the kissing department. After a surprising event rocks his world, Alex panics, certain he’s blown his chances with his special person. Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them all the way to dessert.


I’m loving the women-of-a-certain-age books I have picked up lately and this one is very high on my favorites list.

Inside his head, his safe haven, he admitted he hadn’t had a relationship in a century.

I love, love, love Alex Bethany with his corny, charismatic quirkiness, and ability to break out in song and dance at a moment’s notice. He is so real and genuine as he adjusts to his new life, his new thinner and healthier body, and his new routine. And let’s not forget the twenty-one-year-old surprise his ex dumped on him…a charming son named Josh who is battling food addiction like Alex. In addition, his hilarious friend Jewel has challenged him to start dating, and conveniently, his therapist, Merv, has advised him to practice schmoozing with a “safe woman” so when opportunity knocks, he decides to help out a fellow teacher, Dana Narvana by suggesting a co-teaching project. But due to his unexpected reaction to her, “maybe she wasn’t so safe after all”. Dana, his safe woman, is dating and so is he, though his recent date is giving him doubts about her sincerity.  

She was the chocolate to his peanut butter.

Dana is also another quirky figure who uses “Dana-isms” as Alex calls them.  After being dumped on Facebook by her snooty ex-boyfriend and colleague Jerry, she then finds out he took her vice principal job at the school.  If that weren’t the worst, Ms. Strutt, the new principal is a whistle-blowing (literally), walking, talking bully who seems to be out to get Dana and put her on an improvement plan. And then the new slim and handsome Alex offers to co-teach with Dana to keep her under Strutt’s radar. However, Dana’s radar is going off the charts at Alex and his wit, intelligence, and kindness. Apparently, she’s not his first choice.  Too bad he keeps sending her mixed messages.

Dana and Alex are mixed up, overwhelmed, over-analyzers who are trying to find that special someone who stimulates their brain (and other things), respects them, and accepts them as they are…kookiness, addictions, and all.  With a little push from friends and family and a revelation they are perfect together, this lovely mature, funny, and vulnerable couple finally sees the light and heads off into the sunset together.

I recommend highly this refreshing, feel-good, romantic journey with fantastically flawed characters and a wonderful examination of serious subject matter like bullying, obesity, and addiction.  

Thank you to Ms. Golberg for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


Shirley Goldberg will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Eat Your Heart Out

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“He’s here. Don’t look!” Noelle’s voice dropped to a whisper. “With a date. Your nine o’clock. He’s facing this way.”

“Who?” Noelle had a knack for making something as mundane as vacuuming into the dramatic.

“Oh, for God’s sake, our own former Mr. Big. Who else?”

If I turned my head and shot my eyeballs to the far left, I could see Alex in profile. With a blonde. I turned a few degrees more, tilting my neck, keeping my head straight.

“It’s not working,” Noelle said.

“What’s not working?”

“It’s obvious you’re looking at him.”

Seeing him on his home turf, relaxed, in charge, and preparing dinner had made me imagine Alex in all sorts of homey mini scenarios far removed from the classroom. Those knives. The pungent scent issuing from the old-fashioned crock pot. And that apron! Talking, getting real, sparring with his friend Jewel. And now with a date, so…unexpected. “What should I do?” A ridge of unease in my stomach.

“For freak’s sake. We’re acting like adolescents.” Whatever else she said was lost in the rising volume of talkers outdoing one another, cell phone alerts, and behind the scenes shouts and pans clanging whenever the doors to the kitchen whipped open.

“Should I wave?”

Noelle shrugged, then turned and aimed a jumbo smile in Alex’s direction at the same time I gave into sheer nosiness, twisting around to get a good look.

His interest level in his date, judging by how far he was leaning over the table to talk to her? Looked like a 9.5 out of ten.


Shirley GoldbergShirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website offers a humorous look at living single. Her books FINISH THIS and dating in mid-life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true. Eat Your Heart Out is the second book in the series Starting Over. Middle Ageish, the first, is available now. Her characters believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.

Follow Shirley on her website/blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Bookbub.


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