Book Review · Books

You All Grow Up And Leave Me

What if you discovered one of the most trusted adults you knew had a dark secret; a secret you escaped from being a victim of? Piper Weiss describes her life growing up during her teen years being coached tennis by Gary Wilensky. Gary made tennis practice fun. He would dress up in a funny costumes, coach wearing roller skates and even allow some of the girls to buy candy after practice. Piper’s parents trusted Gary, as did a lot of the parents of teens Gary coached. When Gary sends Valentine cards to select tennis players that does raise a few parental eyebrows. One night Piper hears the news that Gary is dead. Years later she decides she wants to find out what really happened the night Gary died. Why wasn’t Piper one of Gary’s favorites and was there more to Gary than meets the eye?

This memoir is gripping from page one. Piper brings forth the true creepiness of what happened in 1993 to full color. After the first chapter I felt goosebumps it was that creepy. Yes, Stephen King creepy! I haven’t read true crime in a long time, but Piper’s account of her experience being coached by Gary and what she uncovered by her research into the night Gary died brings to mind that as an adult, don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you are depressed. Piper discusses the tricky mind screw that is being thought a favorite of Gary, but yet not THE favorite.

I received my ARC copy of You All Grow Up And Leave Me by Piper Weiss for free care of TLC Book Tours from William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. If you are looking for a fast paced read this memoir will have you staying up late to finish. Thank you for speaking out Piper. To go buy a copy click here and to contact Piper click here.

Book Review · Books

The Fox Hunt

What would you do if you wanted to research opposite faiths than what you were raised with? Mohammed encounters a Christian teacher at his college. He wants to be an obedient Muslim and share his faith with his teacher, so he brings him a Quran. Surprisingly his teacher is of the same mindset and gifts him a Christian Bible, which for Mohammed is a forbidden item.

Mohammed reads his Bible and starts to have discussions with his teacher, but when his teacher moves away he branches out online to connect with others who can help further explain Christianity and Judaism. Through his studying he gets jobs at nonprofits where he can continue his studies and connecting with Christians, other Muslims and Jews to learn more about why there is conflict. Mohammed wants to help bridge peace between the groups, but when there is upheaval in his country of Yemen he is trapped in his home. He reaches out to others online to see if anyone will help him escape.

I received my ARC copy of The Fox Hunt by Mohammed Al Samawi for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. This book is intense from page one. Mohammed writes in such a way you feel as though you are walking by his side throughout his memoir, experiencing every moment. This book is a great window into what it’s like to grow up in Yemen.

Book Review · Books

Forgiving God

If you have a special needs child this book will be a comfort to you, to know you aren’t alone. Hilary was a newlywed with the surprise of getting pregnant. She was excited for her child and becoming a mother. When she went in for an appointment the doctor had some hard news. Her son would have some health changes. Hilary’s faith was tested to the max coming to terms with her son, Jack’s health. She gives an honest overview of her spiritual struggle, her struggle as a new mom and how to view herself with a disabled child.

This memoir gave me a window into what it would be like from a parental standpoint what it’s like to have to have your child have to live for a time in the NICU. I was on the side of Jack. I didn’t get to go home right away for different health reasons. My parents had to deal with doctors, health scares and scrubbing up before being allowed to enter the NICU area. The hospital is not the world you want your baby to have to live in beyond being delivered.

I received Forgiving God by Hilary Yancey for free from Hachette Book Group Nashville in exchange for my review. This memoir packed an emotional punch. Hilary’s faith survived, but not all parents of special needs kids have their faith intact after the fact. I appreciate that Hilary didn’t sugarcoat her experience.

Book Review · Books

Running From God

Elizabeth grew up with a strict and harsh father. She wanted for him to be proud of her, to tell her that he loved her, but it was an exercise in vain. She was an introvert craving to be loved, but afraid of being hurt and ridiculed. Elizabeth mainly kept to herself, until she met and married her husband Bob. He showed her unconditional love, encouraged her to be her even when it was out of her comfort zone. Elizabeth and Bob had kids.

Sadly when Bob passes unexpectedly Elizabeth is thrown into figuring out who she is apart from her spouse and her kids. Running From God is Elizabeth’s journey from exploring her childhood religion of what being Jewish entails to finding a faith that speaks to her without harsh judgement. Through many different spiritual journeys from Gurus to A Course In Miracles, Elizabeth discovers her spiritual home and her way back to God.

I got my free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for my review. I enjoyed this spiritual memoir because I can relate to wanting a faith that is yours and not a family members. I was raised a particular faith and set of beliefs. To journey outside that comfort bubble is scary, but also, rewarding. Thank you Elizabeth for opening up your life and sharing all you’ve learned. Your memoir was a joy to read. If you enjoyed Conversations With God, then you just may like Running From God.

Book Review · Books

The Hazel Wood

Alice moved a lot with her mom Ella. She didn’t think much of it until one day when she was little she got kidnaped by a man who claimed he was going to take her to her grandmother. Alice never met her grandmother, but knew she was a famous writer of fairy tales. The strange thing was that Alice’s mom didn’t want her reading her grandmother’s book. Alice tried countless times to find a copy, but it seemed they disappeared out of existence.

In high school Alice’s mom marries a rich man with a snotty daughter. One day Alice comes home from school to find everyone gone. There’s an odd smell in the apartment and there’s a note on her bed for her. It’s a page from her grandmother’s book. What did it mean? Alice goes to her classmate Finch who is a major fan of her grandmother’s book. Will Alice and Finch find her mom? What’s the mystery behind her kidnapping and the note?

If you enjoy fantasy, fairy tales and mysteries you may enjoy The Hazel Wood. This book was fast paced, intense, fascinating, a mental whirlwind and outside my usual genre. This book has made me want to read some classic fairy tales that haven’t been Disney sanitized. I received my ebook ARC of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert for free from NetGalley in exchange for my feedback. I bought a physical copy since I wanted one for my book collection.

Book Review · Books

True Stories From An Unreliable Witness

Christine Lahti’s memoir True Stories From An Unreliable Witness is hilarious, sobering, and mesmerizing. Christine talks about her life growing up in a house filled with 5 siblings, a perfectly coiffed mother and an aloof father. She is a sensitive and emotional person in a family that has to wear their happy smiles and never take off their masks. Each chapter is an essay about different parts of Christine’s life from childhood, to college, entering the acting world, marriage, motherhood and more. She wanted to break out of the prescribed shell her mother lived in.

This short book packed a punch on so many topics from family dynamics, father and daughter relationships (I can relate), finding your footing professionally, mental illness, motherhood and loving yourself as you are despite what the magazines say. This book had me laughing, tearing up, feeling convicted and more.

I received my free copy of True Stories From An Unreliable Witness by Christine Lahti for free from TLC Book Tours care of Harper Weave in exchange for my review. This memoir was a quick, enjoyable, enriching read. I hope Christine will write more books because she has a talent with the written word. To purchase her book click here. Now off to go watch some of her movies.

Book Review · Books

The Dream Of You

If you are a woman who needs a spiritual pick me up then I recommend The Dream Of You by Jo Saxton. This short book is heavy on wisdom in a non-preachy manner. Jo talks about her tough childhood, how she came to faith and the different trials and accomplishments she’s had in her life. She shares her honest faith struggle in a way you can relate to. Throughout sharing her story, Jo includes Biblical stories about women and men who went through trying times to discover who God made them to be.

I received my free copy of The Dream Of You by Jo Saxton from Blogging For Books in exchange for my review. If you are a seasoned or new believer this book is written in language that is easy to understand and a great fresher on Christian basics.