Some books burrow a place into your soul. Carry The Dog has done just that. The last page has been read and my brain is reeling from this novel. This novel is NOT for kids or teens. If you are sensitive to dark topics then you may want to proceed with caution. It’s dark. Pitch black, can’t see ANYTHING in front of your face. The only thing you can do is listen to the main character, Bea’s thoughts.
How do you survivea childhood overshadowed bya famous mother? To have a parent whose loved and hated by society for producing what she considers art? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if that perspective is twisted and marred?
Bea is on the cusp of the big 60 and her childhood that she thought was ‘normal’ keeps throwing her flashbacks. She’s trying to survive. One cig and drink at a time. Thankfully she has her younger sister, of sorts, Echo to keep her grounded.
When Bea’s ex tries to worm her into agreeing to allow someone to do a documentary on her mom she’s confronted with a past she’s trying forget. How does one process trauma? She thought ignoring it would make it disappear, but when Bea tries to confront her aging father, she realizes sometimes you’ve just got to dive into the pig sty and face crap head-on.
This novel tackles the intricacies of family on a whole different level. What is a family? Can a fractured one be pieced back together? Is it possible to pick up the shards of a disassociated self and make her whole again? How does our own perception morph between childhood and adulthood?
I received a complimentary physical and digital copy of Carry The Dog by Stephanie Gangi care of Algonquin Books and NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own volition. Thank you Stephanie, Algonquin Books and NetGalley. This novel is Gone Girl level on the psychological front. I almost couldn’t stomach it, but I’m glad I did.
What’s it like to have your own mother hate you? Birddog knows. Her mother always favored her older brother, Denny and other brother, Caul. The one solace she has is her dear father. He’s a miner who works hard, but shows love even harder, giving Birddog the sense of safety her mother won’t. Thankfully her brother, Denny is her protector and one of her best friends.
When the unthinkable happens to their father, Denny is forced to grow up sooner than he’d probably like. The challenge is he gets the same kind of work his father did. This doesn’t go over well with their mother. With miner work comes the comfort of the bottle and Denny starts to pull away from Birddog.
Birddog try’s her best to warm up to her mother, but any praise from her is fleeting, often filled with caustic words. After she doesn’t have the safety of her father, Birddog gets sick and the local town doctor asks her mother to comfort her. There is no comfort provided in their shared grief. Birddog’s mother’s hate just seems to gather more intensity like a storm brewing.
One day while visiting her father’s grave she happens upon Samuel and Dig. They both befriend her. Samuel is the local caretaker of the cemetery. Dig is his special needs younger brother with a heart of gold. Dig gives Birddog a new nickname. Daisy Girl. Daisys are the flower of choice for her father’s grave. The new nickname is a pleasant change. While getting to know Samuel her broken heart begins to heal. Will Birddog ever discover a love of her own?
This novel is lyrical, gut wrenching and powerful. I can’t fathom my parents hating me as deeply as Birddog’s mother does her. She’s a tomboy while her mother is all about appearance and the finer things in life. As soon as I started this novel I was transported back in time, when your station in life isn’t always easy to move on up from.
I received my complimentary digital copy of Let The Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell from TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are of my own accord and at will. Go grab a gorgeous copy off Amazon and to connect with the author, check out her website. This novel is a top favorite of mine this year. If you’ve also, read this novel I would love to discuss it.
Cason Martin is a professional dancer whose life revolves around her dance schedule and high school. While auditioning to get into a professional ballet academy her one leg is giving her extra pain than normal, but Cason pushes through her routine. Her mom is her dance director and expects only perfection. At the end of her routine Cason hears a sound, not realizing it’s her leg. After being rushed to the doctor she finds out she has cancer.
Why does the big C word have to interfere with her plans for greatness? Cason’s one tract mind is on dancing and having to go through treatment isn’t going to help her reach her goal. While going in for treatment she notices a classmate of hers, Davis. He seems nice and everyone seems to like him on the oncology floor. The only problem is that he’s a recovering addict. Cason’s mom nips that potential friendship in the bud.
Davis notices Cason while doing his community service at the hospital and is sad when he realizes she’s there for treatment. Will her mom ever view him anything other than an addict in recovery? Davis decides to work on befriending Cason, though her anger about her circumstances doesn’t help ease his attempts at friendship. Can Davis convince Cason to go to cancer camp for a week?
Will Cason ever accept Davis’ friendship and will she ever come to terms with her diagnosis? Can a recovering pill addict and ballet dancer become friends?
I received my complimentary copy of Brave Enough by Kati Gardner from North Star Editions and Flux, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel was just plain sweet. If you need an impactful novel, a sweet YA romance then I highly recommend this title. The subjects involved aren’t easy to always digest, but cancer and pill addiction are two relevant topics in today’s world. I feel the author handled these topics realistically and with grace.
Lately I feel like I keep getting the word of knowledge to guard my heart. I am so needy for friends and wanting constant communication. I want to ideally be best friends with everyone and yet, those I’ve poured out a lot of my heart to have burnt me. I know no one is perfect. Life happens and friendships don’t always pan out, but I’m feeling fragile lately.
Why did I title this post Whore Out My Heart? Not a whore in the promiscuous sense, but in the emotional sense. I’m like a dang puppy anytime I make a new friend. I guess I definitely have an addictive personality, friendship addiction. I get so excited about having a new friend that I latch on like a barnacle. It’s unhealthy of me. I need to stop being so flippant with my heart and be selective in who I truly open up to. Not everyone is worthy, no matter how much I wish them to be. Yes, that includes family as well. Family doesn’t automatically equal entrance to my heart and soul.
My job was been busy lately and the energy coming off callers has been draining to say the least. Holding my anger in is challenging at times. I’m not a screamer, or yeller, but I abhor rudeness. When I get mad I cry, but that’s because I’m that mad that tears just have to come out. Someone crying or mad I get that. Rudeness just pisses me off.
Do I want real friendship? Yes. Quality over quantity. True friends, kindred spirits, bosom buddies, girlfriends, guy friends. Those I can trust.
I only have a very small amount of childhood friends that I still keep in contact with. Not all friendships make it from childhood to adulthood and that’s ok. It just means more room for authentic friendships.
As a little kid I went through the whole don’t drink and drive spiel in grade school. I remember being a literalist and not allowing my parents to even drink soda in the car because that was a drink. Have you ever thought how you’d deal with life if you encountered a drunk driver? Dr. Scot Hodkiewicz and his family did the day their car got hit by a drunk driver.
In his memoir, Going Through Hell To Get To Heaven, Dr. Hodkiewicz tells in gritty detail his family’s ordeal in being hit by a multiple time DUI drunk driver. His memoir in detail describes all they went through during the accident, the angels that were put in place to help them and the journey his family takes in fighting for their survival.
Dr. Hodkiewicz thought his life was on track to get what he wanted in life until his plan got interrupted by God’s plan. His memoir is not merely a survival memoir, but a faith memoir. He honestly describes what his faith was like prior to the accident and how the accident helped grow his faith instead of causing him to become bitter. Yes, he struggled and he doesn’t shy from sharing about that.
If you love memoirs then this one should top your books to preorder for 2019. This book is definitely one of my top favorites read this year. This book is not schmaltzy as a lot of Christian books can be. Dr. Hodkiewicz is not preachy, but relatable in a nonjudgmental tone. Even if you aren’t a mutual believer I think this book can still be an inspirational read.
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Going Through Hell To Get To Heaven by Dr. Scot Hodkiewicz courtesy of KiCam Projects. The views expressed are strictly my own. Thank you once again, KiCam Projects for the opportunity to get to read such a wonderful testimony to the gift we call life.
Two women. One black. One Amish. Both need a friend, but their worlds aren’t supposed to mingle when it’s during the 1950’s. Delilah just has to moved to a new town to start over fresh with her family after her son has died in a sudden accident. Emma is an Amish wife with secrets of her own. Both women are lonely and need a friend. One day Delilah’s son, George gets stung by a few bees and Emma discovers him in her woods. Delilah finds this white woman holding her son to shield him from the bees. She’s so grateful that Emma ends up hugging them both. Delilah’s daughter, Sparrow is a catalyst that helps bring these two friends potential friends together in The Solace Of Water.
This novel alternates between Delilah’s point of view and Emma’s, as well as Sparrow’s. This story is gripping, gut wrenching, humbling and jaw dropping. Each character is unique and both ladies stories deal with topics that are as relevant today as they were back in the fifties: death, alcoholism, family, friendship, marriage, romance, pregnancy and many others. I like how the author, Elizabeth Baker Younts included Dutch into the dialogue with Emma and her family.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through TLC Book Tours. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This novel is a masterpiece in storytelling. I am definitely going to be looking for other titles by this author.
Marla seems to be getting her life back together. She has an accomplished musician boyfriend Liam and her roommate Dani is a true friend, minus her drug addiction. Marla enjoys her job at the diner and doctor’s office. When Marla’s deaf brother Gavin comes for a visit her world is upended. Gavin and Dani get along better than she thought. She wasn’t expecting them to fall in love. Liam tries to convince Marla that Dani is a bad influence on her. When Marla gets pregnant she thinks her happily ever after has finally arrived until she realizes Liam isn’t as much the night in shining armor she thought he was. When Marla gets into a car accident she’s sure Liam will come to her rescue, but it ends up Dani and Gavin arrive instead. Even though Dani has her drug and men addictions she truly does care about Marla.
This book was tough to get into except for the prologue. The story’s POV jumps around within chapters so it can get a bit confusing of whose talking. The chapter names make no sense in relation to the story except for one chapter. I had to force myself to finish this book. I don’t believe in DNFing a book. Thankfully the ending made up for the struggle.
I received my free copy of The Handbook For Beautiful People by Jennifer Spruit from TLC Book Tours care of Inana Publications and Education in exchange for my review. If you enjoy new adult novels you may enjoy this one.
This year I wanted to be different. I wanted to use my phone less. I wanted to unplug more. Have I in the past month of 2018? Nope. I even downsized my phone on purpose so the screen size would dissuade me from being on so much. That confession shows you how deep the phone addiction is. It’s embarrassing, sad and the state of most people unless you don’t own a smartphone. I’ve been seeing a number of books about to come out that deal with this topic.
Off: Your Digital Detox For A Better Life by Tanya Goodin is a short little book with great suggestions on how we can be wise with our phone usage and balance our life more. There are a variety of categories that Tanya addresses from how to unplug when socializing, having family time, exercising unplugged and restoring our love for hobbies that don’t involve a screen. I received my free ARC PDF from NetGalley in exchange for my feedback. So excited I read this short book and hoping to read others on how to divorce my phone addiction. Phones can be helpful, but when they atrophy our socializing skills then that should be a red flag.
What would you do if you committed a horrible crime and got sentenced to death? Would you despair? Would you feel like your due penalty was fair? Pamela Perillo lived through a very rough upbringing and drug addiction, which lead to a crime that landed her on death row back in the 80’s. In TX of all states.
In prison she was introduced to Jesus and came to faith. Through her new found faith Pam befriended a few of the other women on Death Row, aiding them in coming to belief as well. These women created a small family of sorts; praying, talking and encouraging each other through the tough days.
If you like true crime books with a spiritual twist you will like this book. It’s not for someone with a weak stomach. Pamela’s life was not a bed of roses whether while growing up or after she landed in prison. This book gives a realistic window into what it’s like to be incarcerated. I received my free ARC of Salvation On Death Row, care of KiCam Projects in exchange for my review of this book. Thank you for an opportunity to get to read Pam’s important story.
We all have our addictions. Adam is addicted to porn. He gets put on school suspension for something he did in. During his suspension he is required to attend Knights Of Vice, an addiction recovery group that one of his high school teachers sponsors. Adam is not keen on going, but his dad offers to go with him to his first meeting. At this first meeting he encounters fellow member, Dez Coulter, who is a beautiful mix of troubled, beautiful, sarcastic and intense. Will this support group help Adam slay his porn addiction? Will the beautiful Dez pull Adam into the world of the living instead of the digital?
When I first started this novel I wasn’t that into the storyline, but once I got a bit deeper in I was hooked to find out what happens to Adam. Porn addiction is not hugely discussed in YA, but it’s a common addiction teens need help with, heck so do a lot of adults. The Temptation Of Adam deals with this important topic with grace, humor and raw honesty. No matter what your own addiction might be, we all just might struggle like Adam does.
I was sent a free copy of The Temptation Of Adam from SkyPony Press in exchange for my honest assessment. Thank you Emma for sending me a copy. This book is heartfelt, funny, sobering and enlightening. Thank you Mr. Connis for writing about a very taboo topic and bringing it out into the light.