Book Review · Books

Caterpillars Can’t Swim

Ryan is minding his own business when he notices a woman down by the water twirling in a yellow skirt. She looks happy. One minute she is there and the next she disappears. Ryan looks over the railing to see if he can see her, but he sees no one. The water is down a bit of a hill and to get to it he’ll need to crawl. Ryan has cerebral palsy. He doesn’t think of anything else, but to find the unknown woman.

After saving the unknown woman Ryan realizes he knows this person. This person is Jack. Why was he wearing a skirt? Jack is a quiet classmate of Ryan’s, but he’s not friends with Jack. Both boys don’t want what happened to be blown out of proportion. Wouldn’t anyone else do the same if someone was drowning?

Enter Cody, Jack’s best friend from swim team. He’s a classic jock whose got an ego the size of the sun, trying to shine brighter than anyone around. Cody is determined to find out more about Jack and what really happened, but Ryan’s not sure on the fine details either of the why. When Ryan invites Jack to accompany both him and Cody to Comic Con in a gesture of friendship is it a recipe for disaster, or will it bring the boys together?

I received my digital copy of Caterpillars Can’t Swim by Liane Shaw from NetGalley. The opinions are my own and of my own accord. This young adult novel tackles the challenging subjects of depression, identity, friendship and what it means to be true to who you are. I loved this novel. I thought Ryan’s character is fleshed out well. I don’t have to depend on a wheelchair to get around, but this novel shows the realistic struggle to be noticed for who you are minus any handicap assistance you come with. Cody was a well represented high school jock, though how he changes throughout the story is interesting to watch. Jack is the classic sensitive kid who is scared to trust to be himself in front of others. This book will be a great edition to any YA fan’s bookcase, as well as any high school library. Let’s get the conversation going. Never let anyone suffer in silence.

Book Review · Books

Bent But Not Broken

I don’t have a penis. I always wondered what it would be like. I wondered why men are so obsessed with their manly parts. After reading Bent But Not Broken I think I understand much better.

Don Cummings noticed his penis was changing and not in a comfortable way. He goes to a doctor to find out what’s wrong and discovers he has Peronie’s disease. His manly part curves which makes intimacy a tad challenging and gives him anxiety. He wants his penis to be like it was and wants a cute. This book is his journey in finding a way to cure his disease. He openly talks about how this affects his relationship with his partner Adam and how the treatments for this disease affected him.

I received my complimentary copy of Bent But Not Broken by Don Cummings from Heliotrope Books, care of TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are of my own accord and strictly mine. I recommend this book even if you are straight. This disease effects countless men and could potentially affect your partner, or spouse. To understand how this disease affects a man’s self esteem and how it changes him physically is vital to understand, to know how to be supportive and patient. This memoir was a tad outside my comfort zone due to said topic, but it was educational, has humorous moments and you’ll be cheering for Don throughout his book. To buy a copy click here and to find out more about the author.

Friends

Take A Moment

You befriend a fellow bookworm on social media and the next thing you notice is they have posted a Go Fund Me link. You click the link and realize it’s for their mom, whose recently been diagnosed with stage 1 cancer. You can’t imagine being a senior in high school ready to graduate then having this life crushing news hit you just weeks before graduation.

I’ve never met Colleen. I have had family members have cancer. It’s a diagnosis you never want to have to encounter for yourself, or anyone you love. We all know treatment is beyond pricy. Every little bit helps. Think on it. Know that every donation helps ease Colleen and her family’s stress a little bit. I helped out a little myself. I couldn’t not.

Shannon’s Cervical Cancer Treatment

Book Review · Books

Aly’s Fight

The family on the cover look picture perfect. Do I really want to read a book about a couple that has it all together? Their smiles look too, happy if that’s possible. I decided to read and find out the story behind the title.

Aly and Josh Taylor met in high school. Josh knew Aly was different when on a school trip he noticed her reading her Bible in her room instead of socializing at night with the other students. They get married after high school and of course want to start a family, but there’s a health challenge. Aly discovers a lump on her breast. Enter stage III cancer.

This memoir is Aly and Josh’s journey through Aly battling her breast cancer and walking the difficult road of infertility. This couple might look too, perfect on the cover, but their story is anything but. It is told with raw honesty, no holds barred. Their faith isn’t perfect. They struggle with doubt, anger, frustration, but most of all hope at miracles God can preform.

I received my complimentary copy of Aly’s Fight by Aly and Josh Taylor from Worthy Publishing care of Hatchett Book Group. The views expressed are my own and of my own accord. Are Aly and Josh the real deal? Yes.

This book is one of my all time faves this year. I wasn’t expecting that. I was bad and at first judged the book by its cover. Too, perfectly Christian. I was in for a reprimand. Aly and Josh have been through a Hell few will ever deal with and their faith has survived and thrived through it all. They are truly best friends, not merely husband and wife. Their journey is an important one you can’t read and stay the same after the last page. Please, write another book Aly and Josh.

Book Review · Books

No Place Like Here

I have to confess. I wasn’t hooked right off the bat in chapter one. Ashlyn is a teen paying for the crime of her past by being sent off to boarding school. She’s excited to be back home for the summer where she can hang out with her best friend Tatum, except her dad has other plans for her. Ashlyn is set to help out her cousin, Hannah, at a retreat camp. Why can’t she just stay home like a normal high schooler? Her dad has crimes of his own to pay, so he won’t be home and her mom is so messed up from her father’s misdeeds that she won’t be home either.

Ashlyn goes off to help Hannah at the camp and meets two cute fellow staffers, Baxter and Marcus. Both appear to be great guys and one seems to give her a tad more attention than the other. Will Ashlyn have a summer romance, or will her father’s controlling words freeze her up from enjoying her summer despite having to work?

This novel grew on me. Ashlyn’s character is relatable to me in so many ways. I love to write, journal and read. I think it’s great Ashlyn carries around a notebook of her favorite quotes that she writes down. I, also, shy away from speaking up except for when I’m really mad about something. I also, have daddy issues. My own dad isn’t as strict as Ashlyn’s dad, but I know what it’s like to have high expectations to live up to and not feel like what you do is enough. Also, when it comes to parental affection it’s not doled out often. I know what it’s like to have anxiety when hearing from said parent, of being nervous of being in trouble, even when there’s no reason to be. It’s sad, but true.

I received my complimentary digital copy of No Place Like Here by Christina June from Blink, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own accord and mine only. This book is a sweet read. It is a story that opens up the complication that is family and how we do our best to navigate our family relationships. It shows a great example of how we are all imperfect, but how through our brokenness we can heal baby step by baby step. I highly recommend this upcoming summer release.

Book Review · Books

Dutch Girl

Do you love reading about WWII and Hollywood? If so, then Dutch Girl is the book for you. I didn’t know anything about Audrey Hepburn prior to this, but this book gives a great overview of her life during WWII. I have loved reading memoirs and biographies about World War II since grade school so, I was interested to hear about her part during the war.

Audrey grew up in the Netherlands where she lived with her mother and father. After her father left, she was sent to a boarding school in England. Her mother was very strict and not one who showed affection. Audrey started taking ballet which she loved. Even though she was considered tall for a ballerina, she was graceful.

Audrey moved back to live with her mom and a few other relatives. During the war she kept dancing as long as she could. She assisted the war effort by helping with the resistance.

This biography goes back and forth between Audrey as an adult and Audrey during the war. The descriptions in this book are superb. I’ve read a lot of books on this subject and this one has to be one of the most vividly expressed biographies. Reading this book you feel as thought you are there with Audrey experiencing every moment of the war.

I received my digital complimentary copy of Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen courtesy of Smith Publicity and NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own free will. I highly recommend this book. I will definitely be looking out for other biographies by Mr. Matzen.

Book Review · Books

Intertwined

If you are a fan of memoirs, this slim gem will become a new favorite. Nurse, Kathleen English, is a mom and a wife. One weekend when her younger son goes on his Boy Scouts trip a tragic event occurs.

After the loss of her middle child, Shawn, Kathleen yearns to have another child, but desires to adopt. Her husband doesn’t seem as on board as her, but tells her it’s her decision. They welcome into the family a Korean infant, Laura. Kathy and Laura bond quickly and she brightens up the household. Her new brothers take to her.

As the years go by Kathy’s husband seems to grow more distance and the older Laura gets the more moody she becomes. Being a moody teenager, Laura runs away countless times. Each time Kathy is able to find her daughter, but wonders what’s causing Laura to want to run.

This memoir is a great story of a mother and daughter who struggle with loss, identity and figuring out how to relate to each other. If you are an adoptee or parent whose adopted a child then this short book will speak to you in countless ways.

I received a complimentary copy of Intertwined by Kathleen English Cadmus from KiCam Projects. The views expressed are my own and unbiased. This memoir is gripping, educational, and a pager turner.