Book Review · Books

Lifesaving For Beginners

Death is not an easy topic to talk about. Reasons for someone passing are varied and the effects of it last a life time. Author, Anne Edelstein, takes us on her journey through dealing with the unexpected death of her mom, who she longed affection from, but who gave it sparingly. Anne’s memoir is dark, raw, contemplative and wistful. Her extended family has dealt with death by suicide and the effects of not knowing the why still haunt her as Anne is trying to come to terms with her mom’s passing.

This memoir touches on the topics of death, family, siblings, mental illness, cancer, marriage, religion, children and legacy. Mrs. Edelstein weaves in the topic of swimming and how her love of swimming at her family’s favorite pond in Maine during the summer helped her connect with her mom through her act of swimming.

I received a complimentary copy of Lifesaving For Beginners by Anne Edelstein from Red Hen Press through TLC Book Tours. Opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. If you enjoy memoirs that bring you out of your comfort zone then I highly recommend this short book. If interested click here for Amazon and here to check out Mrs. Edelstein’s website.

Book Review · Books

Let Me Be Like Water

Holly looses her boyfriend to a freak accident. To try and restart her life she moves from London to Brighton. One day on a walk on the beach she first encounters Frank, a retired gay magician whose magic flair for life attracts Holly. Through Frank, Holly gets to meet Frank’s group of lonely misfits who gather for a book club every month.

Holly starts to attend the book club and befriend Frank’s friends. Each member of the book club reaches out to Holly in her grief, her first year grieving her boyfriend’s death. Holly learns each of them have their own complicated pasts. Their unconditional support help Holly learn to live a little.

This novel is short, but packs a powerful punch in how it reveals the process of grieving. S.K. Perry’s debut novel is poetic, gripping, heartbreaking, yet filled with hope. If you have lost a loved one or lover this book will be a cool balm. It’s raw in how Holly’s grief process is fleshed out in words. Nothing is sugarcoated. I love how the ocean is a metaphor for this book. The ocean can be calm and yet angry and turbulent in a split second. Loving someone deeply is the same thing. It’s risky, but worth it.

This review is for an early copy of Let Me Be Like Water by S.K. Perry and is my own unbiased, honest opinion. I received my copy for free from TLC Book Tours, care of Melville House Publishing. If you are interested in grabbing a copy of this powerful little gem click here to get off of Amazon and here to find out more about S.K. Perry.

Book Review · Books

The Solace Of Water

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.

Book Review · Books

Auschwitz Lullaby

Ever since I was lent a copy of Escape From Warsaw in the fourth grade I fell in love with the country of Poland. I am not Polish, but for some reason the Polish language sounds like music to me. This book for younger children set me on my interest of WWII. I’ve read countless memoirs and historical fiction on this awful war. A few stand out as excellent. Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar is one of the gems that is a must read.

This WWII historical fiction novel tells the story of real life German mother, Helene Hannemann who follows her five children to Auschwitz though she herself is not a Gypsy and required to go there. Sadly, they are separated from her husband and left to survive in the camp on their own.

Helene was seen as partly privileged since she was German and Dr. Mengele chose her to help operate a nursery school at the camp. Helene did her best to give the gypsy children of Auschwitz a glimmer of normalcy with the supplies Dr. Mengele is able to get for the school. Even though the school is just a smoke and mirrors of the truth of the camp it gives Helene, her children, other children and the ladies who assist with the school some routine that gives comfort.

This novel was hard to put down. The writing was beautiful, some of the sentences were like music in the depth of their power. The true horrors of this war aren’t sugarcoated in this novel, but it is a lovely tribute to Helene’s life and the power of love you have for your family, no matter the cost.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. If you enjoy historical fiction then keep an eye out for the release of this book. I know I want to grab a copy. I am thankful I got the privilege to read this ARC. Thank you!

Book Review · Books

Rose Colored Glasses

Memoirs steal your heart. The author gives you a peek into their personal life, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Jo Ann Simon does just that in her memoir, Rose Colored Glasses. In her book she chronicles her marriage to Tom otherwise known as TK. Their love and romance reads like a fairy tale until they are faced with a harsh health update for Tom.

What would you do if your spouse or partner suddenly has to deal with a terminal illness? Jo Ann meets this challenge head on like a freight train, determined to find a cure for Tom. She is honest about their good days when Tom is back to his old self and days when getting through the day is a challenge. I can’t fathom going through what Jo Ann has. You expect to grow old with your other half.

I received my free digital ARC copy of Rose Colored Glasses by Jo Ann Simon from NetGalley care of Smith Publicity in exchange for my honest feedback. This memoir was beautifully written with little notes from Tom to Jo Ann sprinkled through out the pages. Loosing a partner to disease is devastating. Jo Ann shows how we can get through to the other side of this premature challenge to live life again. If you have a friend, family member, or an acquaintance that needs assurance they aren’t alone going through this kind of major life change then I recommend to read this book. It’s a book about hope.

Book Review · Books

Where Hope Begins

Some beautiful book covers are just that. Beautiful. The innards don’t always mirror the outer. Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is a book I asked to review because I thought the cover was gorgeous. The cover didn’t remotely prepare me for the depth of the story waiting for me.

Savannah is a mother still reeling from the untimely passing of her eldest daughter when her husband, Kevin, decides he wants to separate. He had an affair and decides to move out to go live with the other woman. To help herself heal and move forward, Savannah decides to go stay at her parent’s cabin.

She discovers she has nice neighbors to keep her company. One of the neighbors is Maisy, a little girl who looks so much like her late daughter. Savannah is captivated by Maisy’s Dad, Brock, not realizing who he actually is. Through her neighbor’s friendship she begins to heal her broken heart. Brock’s Aunt Clarice keeps Savannah on her toes spiritually, seeming to know so much without Savannah having to say a word.

Savannah feels like her life is finally showing signs of healing when Kevin wants back in. Will Savannah let him? How can you forgive someone you love and trust after betrayal? Is it possible for a family to be repaired? Can a family move forward after the loss of a child?

This novel tackles so many tough topics that are realistically portrayed through Savannah’s story: marriage, betrayal, death, faith, love, hope, family, relationships, friendship and more. This novel will stick with you long after the last page. I wish there was a sequel. Better yet a movie.

I received my free paperback ARC copy of Where Hope Begins by Catherine West for free from TLC Book Tours care of Thomas Nelson in exchange for honest review. To learn more about this talented author check out her website and buy a copy from Amazon.

Personal · Self Care

No Words

Sometimes you aren’t prepared. This morning my partner mentioned someone had died. I was trying to guess who it might have been. I was not ready for what he showed me.

When he showed me the news headline I immediately cried out, “What? Nooo.” I instantly burst into ugly sobs. I rarely sob. Sobbing at 5AM is not a fun way to ring in a Friday. No, I didn’t know Anthony Bourdain personally. I watched his shows “No Reservations,” and “Parts Unknown”. I’ve watched them many times.

Tony’s shows are funny, heartfelt, snarky at times and make you want to travel the world. He is blunt in his verbiage, but has a heart for people. Tony won’t be forgotten.

It was hard to concentrate at work earlier today because I kept thinking of Tony and wondering why. Why choose to bow out when what ever was ailing him could be resolved with time and patience? I know so many of us struggle with depression. We keep moving forward with smiles plastered on, not letting everyone see behind our perfect looking masks. I don’t know the reasons. We may never know. His own daughter may never know why her dad chose to leave early. I can’t fathom her heartache today.

One thing I do know is Anthony is loved by so many and respected as a chef, author, travel host, Dad, boyfriend, friend, etc. He was a big life figure in the culinary and travel industry.

Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and just sob. This untimely death has hit me hard. I cried more over James Gandolfini. It took me months before I could watch or hear the theme intro song to, “Sopranos.” I usually don’t get this emotional over a celebrity, but these two figures made a giant impact on our world and their passing have left holes in our hearts.

We may not know how we impact others lives, but we do. Even someone we just smile at in passing. That one act of positivity could make someone’s day, it could let them know they are seen and loved.

I hope you are resting in peace Tony. You are loved and admired by many. I am just sad you choose to leave early when you had so much more life to live. You blessed more people than you’ll ever know.