Tag Archive | Family

Dryland

Addiction is something we don’t like to fess up to. Whether it’s over spending, over eating, or drinking we all have our own personal demons. When I agreed to review Dryland I don’t think I glanced at what it was about since I knew it was a memoir and I love memoirs. This memoir is about Nancy and her alcohol addiction.

Nancy loved swimming since she was little. She was talented and won a lot of swim meet awards growing up. She almost made it to the 88′ olympics. Winning made her Dad proud, so she focused on swimming until her swimming career came to an end. Not having swimming as her anchor she signed up for the Peace Corps. Nancy traveled to different countries where she had different adventures in the process picking up a stronger addiction to drinking. Culturally in the countries she was in it was socially acceptable to drink.  It took Nancy going to the Middle East where the severity of her addiction slapped her in the face. 

This memoir is honest, raw, funny and not an easy read. For Nancy to come clean about her near deadly alcohol addiction isn’t easy. It’s tough enough to just admit to yourself you have an addiction, let alone publish it for the whole to read. There is a risk in being judged, or misunderstood, but what Nancy has done is graciously opened a door for conversation on this vital topic. No matter what your addiction might be, Nancy’s memoir of her journey to sobriety will keep you cheering as she swims her way to victory. I received my copy for free of charge from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I recommend this book for anyone needing inspiration to quit an addiction. Thank you Nancy for your authentic, lovely self sharing your struggles, but most of all your triumphs.

Forty Autumns

Forty Autumns is a tour de force. This stunning memoir is about the author, Nina Willner’s mother’s life growing up in East Germany during the Cold War and escaping while she still could. I have not read much about the Cold War, but this memoir packs a punch. It’s a tad hefty of a tome, but Nina’s mom, Hanna’s life is intriguing and sobering. Nina includes personal photographs which brings her mom’s life and her own from black and white into full color. From Kansas to the Emerald city it describes the heartache of what it’s like growing up under communism to knowing what freedom is like.

What would it be like to be separated from your family by a wall, armed guards and police? To know you could be shot just by stepping a toe over the dividing line? To live in a world where every move you make is analyzed to make sure you don’t slip up, to be given the impression your immediate world is superior, when deep down you wonder if the other side is just as awful as you’ve been lead to believe. Unless you’ve been raised in a communist country this sounds surreal, but to think this was the norm in East Germany only 28 years ago is scary.  This memoir is a powerful reminder to be thankful for our freedoms if you live in a free country. Not all country’s are free, but never give up hope if you don’t live in a free country. Thank you Nina for such a powerful testimony to your family’s strength for never giving up.

This memoir was given to me for free in exchange for my review from TLC Book Tours, care of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. To purchase this captivating memoir please go check it out here. If you love to read and have a blog where you like to share your review of books you love feel free to check out TLC Book Tours

Words In Deep Blue

The cover called my name. Blue is one of my favorite colors. The cover is downright book gorgeous. I just had to buy it.

Words In Deep Blue is about used to be best friends Rachel and Henry. Rachel comes back to her home town to distract herself though she doesn’t want to deal with Henry after he didn’t respond to her goodbye letter she left him after she moved away with her family three years prior. Henry is a nerd who lives at his family’s used bookstore that has living quarters above the store. Henry has always loved Amy. Rachel used to love Henry, but Amy always kept coming back in the picture distracting Henry. She learned to get over him after she moved, but having moved back to stay with her aunt, Rachel realizes Henry still has his charm minus the problem of shallow Amy. Rachel gets a job at Henry’s family bookstore for the summer. Will Henry and Rachel get along working together? Can they mend their friendship?

Henry’s dad asks Rachel to catelouge the letter library. This section of the store is where people can leave their favorite books. These books other patrons can highlight favorite passages or leave letters for others inside their favorite books. This is a tedious process. Reading the letters left behind Rachel realizes different romances have blossomed and some people don’t realize who their admirers are.

This novel is sweet. It makes me miss working at a used bookstore. Bookworms are a unique bunch to work with and have as customers. We are quirky and march to the beat of our own drum. Used bookstores aren’t necessarily cash cows as a means to get rich, but the quality of connection between patrons and workers is priceless. Being around the mildewy smell of old books is a perfume all on its own. There’s a peacefulness like walking into a church when a bookworm walks into a bookstore.  If you love books, bookstores, reading and friendship with a potential for romance then I highly recommend this savory read.

All Things New

All Things New  is a stunning novel about the power of faith when you don’t realize you have it, family that has been there waiting in the wings to be there for you and friends that aren’t superficial. This story is about Jessa whose life seems perfect in Los Angles where she has a great boyfriend who she thinks loves her. When the truth is revealed at a party Jessa is crushed. On her way home from the party she is hit by a red light runner. As Jessa is struggling to stay conscious she encounters a man who stays by her side to calm her down while she’s trapped in her mom’s car waiting for an ambulance. After the accident Jessa has facial scars from the windshield breaking. Her anxiety before the accident is intensified. Her dad comes to see her and tells her she’s moving to live with him in Colorado. She’s on board with it, but feels weird being back in her dad’s world after he left her and her mom a few years prior. Jessa has a fresh start in a new place. Will Jessa reach out and make new friends? Will she choose to repair her relationship with her dad? Will Jessa’s childhood faith be restored after all she’s been through?

If you loved The Fault In Our Stars, then, All Things New,  might become a new favorite. This novel has so much depth when it comes to talking about tough topics like self acceptance and learning to trust again when your heart has been broken. The cast of characters in this book are memorable, funny, sweet and raw. I received the ARC of All Things New by Lauren Miller care of NetGalley for free in exchange for my review. This lovely book comes out this Tuesday, August 1st. Don’t forget to drop by your local bookstore Tuesday and buy a copy.

Letters To The Lost

The cover of this book caught my attention. Reading the inside blurb intrigued me even further. Letters Of The Lost is a story about family and what happens when life happens, when you aren’t quiet sure if there is any normalcy left. This novel is also, about friendship. It’s about new friends, old friends and friends you didn’t realize you had. This book had the perfect blend of humor, suspense, twists and turns. Juliet and Declan are two characters that won’t be forgotten any time soon. I hope this will be made into a movie. I got this from the library, but I definitely want to add it to my keeper collection. Thank you for writing such a lovely book Brigid. 

Love That Boy

A book about the relationship between a father and son sounded just right to me. Love That Boy is about political columnist Ron Fournier and his son Tyler’s relationship. Like every father out there Ron has expectations and hopes for his kids, but Tyler is unique in his own way. Not until he’s 12 do his parents find out that Tyler has Aspergers. This memoir is Ron’s journey to understand Tyler better and learn how to be a better parent through going on a Presidential themed road trip with Tyler. 

If you’ve struggled with feeling like you can’t measure up to your parent’s expectations then this book might make you feel better. Growing up I always felt like I couldn’t measure up to my own dad’s expectations for me. Sometimes praise felt hollow or forced, or worse I felt patronized. Who doesn’t hate feeling that way? 

Ron’s memoir is candid and provides a lot of fatherly insight into how it can be hard to relate to a child when you have polar opposite interests. You are an extrovert and your son is an introvert. I’m a mix of both intro and extrovert, but my dad is more extrovert. He can’t understand that after a few hours of intense socializing I need my me alone time or watch out for cranky lady. 

I think this book will help parents no matter if their child is special needs or not. I think this book gives great insight into a parent’s internal struggle in trying to relate to their child. It’s good to see the viewpoint from the parent and not just the child. I received Love That Boy, from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest assessment.

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends

Memoirs are my favorite genre to read. When I was asked if I wanted to review My Glory Was I Had Such Friends I said, “Yes,” without even reading what the memoir was about. As long as it’s a memoir I’m down for reading it. When I got my ARC copy in the mail the hummingbirds on the cover stood out to me in their different colors. Now that I finished reading Amy’s story I know the symbolism behind the hummingbirds. 

Amy’s memoir takes you on a front seat tour of what life is like living with a heart transplant and realizing it’s time for needing a new one. Her descriptions of procedures are not for the squeamish, but are important to fully understand what her life and many other’s lives are like who have a donor’s heart. Amy is candid, funny, grumpy and strong willed. She will make you laugh and cry throughout this gem of a book.

This book is not only about Amy, but about her assortment of close girlfriends who rally around her to help her out while she is staying in the hospital waiting for a second heart transplant. The one she’s had since age 25 is waving its white flag now that she’s 50. That feat in and of its self is a miracle. Each of Amy’s close girlfriends are depicted in all their uniqueness, quirks and all. One of her best friends puts together a spreadsheet of whose coming to stay with Amy when and each time someone stays they email the circle of friends to update them on Amy. 

I received an ARC copy of My Glory Was I Had Such Friends courtesy of TLC Book Tours to review and give my honest assessment. This book shows how friendships change through the years, but close friends are vital to our lives. It’s sad to me that superficial friends seem to be the norm. I don’t know how many girlfriends in my life would do what Amy’s friends did for a weeks and sometimes weeks at a time. These women had their own families and obligations, but they made Amy their priority even when it wasn’t easy or pretty. May we all have the depth of friendship Amy is blessed with. Thank you for blessing me with your memoir. To get your copy click here to purchase from HarperCollins.