Book Review · Books

The Eighth Girl

Did I just go on a roller coaster? My mind is still trying to grapple with the genius of a writer I just read. Genius in how she took a very complex mental health disorder and gave it the tender care it needs. She does a wonderful job to help those unfamiliar with Dissociative Identity Disorder otherwise known as Multiple Personality Disorder understand it better. This thick novel did just that.

Meet Alexa Wu who struggles corralling her different personalities. She lives with her stepmom Anna after her father left them and her mother died. She has her best friend Ella. They are close almost like sisters, until Ella agrees to work at a strip club to earn extra money, so she can get her own place. Alexa is not thrilled with Ella’s choice, but is hopeful it will be a short term gig. Her best friend is aware of Alexa’s personalities and loves her anyway. Alexa is thrilled about her new photojournalist job she scored. Now if only her alters (personalities) will allow her to keep it. This novel is Alexa’s journey to try to carve out a life for herself and how she deals with her alters and being able to function day to day.

Enter in Alexa’s psychiatrist, Daniel who has challenges of his own he is working to keep reigned in. He is challenged in dealing with Alexa and her switching her personalities within a session. Can Daniel help Alexa? How do you help someone with DID/MPD?

The way in which the author presents alters is spot on. I like how her description of where the alters reside is called the nest and how when one personality recedes they return to the nest. I think the way in which this difficult subject was handled was done with grace.

I received my complimentary copy of The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung from William Morrow, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab your own copy to keep and to support HarperCollins and check out more about the author. This novel deals with very adult topics (abuse, suicide, etc.), so please be cautious before purchasing. This debut author is going to make a huge impact in the mental health field with her novels. I can’t wait to see what future novels she will produce. Thank you once again TLC Book Tours for helping me discover a new favorite author.

Book Review · Books

The Moonglow Sisters

Some books are life changers. Some stories take you down a long dark tunnel that is scary as Hell, but the story stays with you, to comfort and guide you to the end where your life becomes that much brighter. This story is one of those gems.

Gia, Shelley and Maddie were as close as three sisters could be until the night their bond was destroyed and they each went their own, separate ways. Five years pass and Gia gets a strange letter from their grandmother. Her request of Gia is to reunite the sisters. Gia is not quite sure if their grandmother’s request will be heeded, but she can try. Who knows if Maddie, or Shelley will come back to home base?

The C word is scary, ugly and something none of the sisters want to face, but all three show up. Wether or not their bond is able to be mended is still out for debate, but Gia hopes Maddie and Shelley will try. In order to help spur the truce along, Gia has a nuts idea to help get them to finish the quilt. The dang quilt tied to the day that reunited their sisterhood, but will Gia’s plan work?

Follow Gia, Shelley and Maddie as they embark on a journey of self discovery, challenges, hopes, dreams and the occasional road block. Hear from each sister, from their view of what transpired to ruin their sisterhood and what might be their saving grace. Can these sisters redeem their sisterhood?

I received my complimentary copy of The Moonglow Sisters by Lori Wilde from William Morris, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab a copy for your own click here and to read more about the lovely author here.

This novel was EPIC. I didn’t want to finish this lovely, deep, challenging family drama. Each character was unique and I could see myself in each one. Gia, the youngest who is the ever peace keeper. Shelley, the free spirit and Maddie, the eldest who took her big sister role seriously. You will step into their lives and not want the last page to arrive.

Personal

42 Reflections On My Life

1. Being a preemie survivor is a lot to mentally digest.

2. I have no shame in eating pizza with a fork and knife.

3. Were braces worth the four years of headgear torture?

4. Being a bookworm has always been a comfort to me.

5. I always seem to be drawn to the underdogs because I, myself am one.

6. Fashion is overrated compared to wearing comfy clothes.

7. Being babysat by a lady who rakes inside her house? Priceless.

8. First kisses sometimes don’t count.

9. Friendships come and go like the seasons.

10. I never allowed myself to be a classic girlie girl after my brief stint liking the color pink in 1st grade.

11. I don’t like odd numbers.

12. I can be very chatty or quiet depending on my mood.

13. I love writing poetry.

14. My first celebrity crush at 8 was Fergie.

15. I got to be in the audience of “Kids Inc.” as a preteen. That experience opened my eyes to the cruelties of Hollywood.

16. As a little kid I would dutifully look in the newspaper for any local movie auditions. I wanted to be an actress.

17. I still recall how much I loved my cheesy Punky Brewster high tops that had her hologram face on the side.

18. I loved being a tomboy with enjoying He-Man and Transformers.

19. As kid I had a big imagination (still do) and enjoyed exploring a ditch behind my house. Loved to make up stories to go along with random items found.

20. I was a dare devil as a little kid. I’d ride on my plastic imitation big wheel and fly down the street. It was a very steep street. I’m shocked I was allowed to.

21. I always wonder what my life would be like with a different name.

22. When I was 8 I wanted to be a pastor.

23. I was quite the legalist as a child. No drinking soda in the car.

24. I lived through the Loma Prieta earthquake. Once you’ve experienced one you never forget.

25. Reaching 100 books read in one year is a great feat, but a lonely one.

26. I will always love Six Feet Under, This Is Us, The Fosters and Gilmore Girls.

27. Trees energize me as does rainy/cloudy weather.

28. I can’t stand dresses, but a part of me longs to wear 40’s/50’s vintage style dresses.

29. Worst haircut of my life was a buzz cut.

30. Coming out to oneself is the hardest thing EVER.

31. I’ve always felt ‘different’ from others since I was a little kid.

32. As a small child I was always nervous hearing planes flying overhead, afraid of b**bs. I didn’t watch war movies growing up, but then fell in love with WWII in 4th grade. A few years ago watching a documentary on that topic I had a flashback of living in that time period. That freaked me out. Maybe there is something to past lives.

33. I believe God is BIGGER than any Holy book.

34. I was bullied for being so small and short.

35. I have a Booktube addiction.

36. I studied with a JW for four months. Fascinating to be challenged to explain my faith and why I believe what I do. Sadly that friendship’ was not legit.

37. I don’t know why cults are fascinating to research (JW, Mormonism, etc). I think it’s the desire to belong and have your life scripted for you. I think there’s a comfort in that and a feeling of safety.

38. I am learning in life it’s not about how many friends you have, but the quality of friends, those you can truly trust with your life.

39. I can’t believe I’ve been a book blogger for over 3 years.

40. I never expected to love reading fiction from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

41. I’ve always felt awkward about receiving gifts, like I’m not worthy to.

42. LOVE is not cookie cutter.

Book Review · Books

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant

Three generations searching for love. Rachel who seems to have fleeting romances, Eve who has swapped her travels to Africa with her boyfriend in favor of taking care of her grandmother. Esther stuck on a island against her will by her husband, in an attempt to heal her from her grief.

Rachel lands on the Isles of Scilly to research clams. While going out to do her research a storm brews up fast and she doesn’t want to lose her boat. Attempting to swim it to shore behind her she ends up getting her arm caught between rocks. An older woman whose a recluse rescues Rachael. She has landed on an island called Little Embers. Her rescuer finds her some clothes to borrow. They are clothes from a different era with a secret.

Eve is stuck taking care of her grandmother and wonders if she’ll ever rekindle the boyfriend she left behind. Helping her grandmother write her memoirs Eve senses there’s more to her life then her grandmother is letting on.

Esther is stuck on an island to try and heal her grief. With her husband and little boy so far away can Esther heal?

Join Esther, Eve and Rachel on their journeys to discover love and the how the paths we choose shape our future. This gripping novel is set on the isles off the Cornish coast. If you enjoy small town stories then you might just fall in love with this story. This novel touches on so many different themes from loss, independence, grief, romance, adventure and most of all hope.

I received my complimentary copy of The Lost Letters Of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn from William Morrow, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To go grab a gorgeous copy of this novel support HarperCollins and to find out more about the author.

Book Review · Books

Don’t Read The Comments

I confess. I’m not a gamer. I played a bit old school in elementary school like Super Mario Brothers, but nothing extravagant like the online game explained in Don’t Read The Comments. It honestly took me some time to get into this young adult novel, but once I did I was hooked.

Enter Divya who has her own streaming gaming channel where she plays Reclaim The Sun. She has a great fan base who all support her except for online trolls who don’t like that a woman is a gamer and actually popular. One day while trying to claim a planet and name it the said trolls descend in mass and blow up her ship. This ship Divya had decked out from gaining experience points, etc. She was shocked and devastated to have to start from scratch.

One day while playing the game she finds a planet she can name, but someone else is already there and the player doesn’t look familiar. He seems nice and when he realizes whose there with him he totally fan girls over her. This player, Aaron can’t believe Divya is actually chatting with him in the game. She doesn’t get what all the hype is about. Divya enjoys gaming, but for her it’s a way to earn money from the sponsors she gets so that she can help out her mom financially.

Aaron and Divya slowly start an online friendship. Divya has her best friend Rebecca who is also, who helps produce her streams for the channel is a tad leery of Aaron after the way the online trolls took out Divya’s ship.

When the trolls start upping their harassment Divya is not sure if she should still attend GameCon in person. Should she report them? How do you report anonymous harassers?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith from Park Row Books, Hanover Square Press, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. This novel will sure become a favorite wether you are a gamer, or not. The topic of online harassment is uncomfortable. With a lot of social interaction being online people feel they can spew hate and that it’s not equally harassing since it’s not in person. This book will be a great conversation starter for teens of all ages. I think it’d be great required reading for junior high and high schoolers.

Book Review · Books

Take The Day Off

The word Sabbath brings a few images to my mind: church and quiet time on Sunday afternoons to nap, or read. The Sabbath for me always equals Sunday’s. It involved going to church, Sunday school then later having a quiet time in my room. I love how my mom would always bring a little snack of candy to much on for my quiet time.

Mr. Morris talks about how we have lost the art of observing the Sabbath, to take a FULL day to rest. I think sadly the church has turned the term Sabbath into a bad of word of sorts. Instead of being viewed in a positive light it’s dreaded because it equals boring with nothing fun planned. It’s not meant to be boring, but a time to recharge and be refreshed. Socially we are so addicted to being productive nonstop we don’t know how to just sit still. The author reiterates a number of times it doesn’t have to be chained to Sunday. The point is take 1 day off to rest up.

I learned some new things about the Sabbath through reading, Take The Day Off. I started this book with my preconceived biases about this very churchy topic, but this book changed my view in a way I wasn’t expecting.

I received a complimentary copy of Take The Day Off by Robert Morris from Faith Words. The views are mine and of my own choice. If you want your view of the Sabbath altered then go grab a copy. This book is readable, relatable and will give you a new perspective on a challenging topic.

Book Review · Books

Body Leaping Backward

I’m a 70’s baby, so I don’t remember that era. Maureen Stanton does a fantastic job of bring that decade to life in her memoir: Body Leaping Backward. Maureen’s world is broken the day her parents gather her and her many siblings to tell them that they are separating. With her father out of the house Maureen is left to her own devices. This equals trouble as she becomes addicted to the drug Angel Dust.

Maureen brings the 70’s into full color with all its quirky traits. She’s in high school when she becomes addicted. Her candid description of being high before, during and after school is eye opening. If you need a drug deterrent then her memoir is just the cure you’ll need to steer clear. Maureen doesn’t sugarcoat ANYTHING. She shows how addiction put a veil over her life and being able to honestly deal with the emotions of her parents divorce, the swirl of adolescence and school life.

This book isn’t long in length, but deep in content. At first I found it ok, but the further I got into Maureen’s memoir the more I wanted to see what became of her. Thank you Maureen for baring your soul on the page. One thing I gleaned is how important it is to keep a diary and not chuck them because they are your recorded history and a window into your past, in your own words.

I received my complimentary copy of Body Leaping Backward by Maureen Stanton from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own will. To find out more about the author, check out her website and go grab yourself a copy here.

Book Review · Books

What Unbreakable Looks Like

Do you know what it’s like to be trafficked by your own mom’s boyfriend’s friend? Poppy can tell you. She thought she was Mitch’s favorite of all the girls. Her world is thrown for a loop when the cops bust into the hotel where they are staying at and she’s sent to the hospital to get checked out. Poppy finds out her aunt, Krys, wants to take her in. Does Poppy want to escape the Hell hole that her life has become? How can her own aunt choose a broken, used up teen like Poppy? Will anyone truly love her?

When she gets the chance to escape the hospital with one of the other girl’s pulled from the hotel Poppy stays back and decides from then on she’s going to relearn how to be Alexa. She’s leaving Poppy behind and wants to reclaim who she was born to be. Lex.

Will Lex go and live with Krys? Does she cave in and decide to return to Mitch? What will she choose? This novel drops you smack dab into Poppy’s world. It’s a story about how evil sex trafficking is and how one teen decides if she wants to face her demons.

This story is not for the faint of heart. This topic is very adult, heartbreaking, gut wrenching and leaves you stunned. Can you handle Poppy’s story? Her story is addictive and I can guarantee you’ll stay up to find out what happens. Poppy is a character you can’t resist rooting for. Not only rooting for Poppy, but for Lex. Will Poppy allow Lex to shine?

I received my complimentary digital copy of What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin from MacMillian, care of NetGalley. The views are of my own will and are mine. This novel better win lots of awards because this story is vital for everyone (age appropriate of course) to read. I can’t stop thinking about Poppy, Lex and a whole cast of characters you’ll wish you could call up to chat. This novel has the power to change and to help end sex trafficking.

Book Review · Books

The Painted Castle

Do you love classic romance? If you do you’ll want to step into the worlds of Elizabeth, Amelia and Keira. The Painted Castle is a multi layered story about three different women and how an old English estate captures their hearts all because of a secret painting of Queen Victoria. Their stories span from the 1800’s to modern times. This novel is romantic and is mysterious in how all three women’s lives are intertwined.

This historical novel tackles different topics from a women’s place in society and how it’s changed, to how money can buy fancy things, but it can’t guarantee genuine love. Elizabeth, Amelia and Keira’s stories are in depth, unique and sweet. This book jumps back and forth between all three lady’s stories, but the end result is a story that will beg to be reread and lent out right away.

I received my complimentary copy of The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron from Thomas Nelson Publishers, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own will. To find out more about the author, check out her website and to get your own gorgeous copy visit Thomas Nelson. This publisher discovers the best authors who churn out the most intriguing novels. Every time I read a novel from Thomas Nelson I’m more impressed then the last book I read from them. Thank you Mrs. Cambron for bringing to life Parham Hill Estate. Once you read this book you’ll want to book your trip to England.

Book Review · Books

Six Goodbyes We Never Said

Two teens broken by loss and both struggle with anxiety in different forms. Dew uses a tape recorder to record different conversations and Naima counts the hexagons on her quilt to calm herself. One desperately wants to befriend the other, but trust is a commodity dolled out sparingly.

This novel deals with the loss of a parent and how it’s not easy to keep going, to allow other adults to take over the role of your parent. Dew is thrown into foster care where he acquires a sister, Faith. Naima lives with her grandparents after her stepmom leaves her there for the summer to visit like she does annually. Dew and Naima are neighbors. Can Naima be open to Dew’s friendship or will her anger at her dad for dying close her off to the help that is just a fence away?

The casts of characters in this novel are fun. I like how the author gave a fun nickname to Dew’s coffee shop boss as Sasquatch and his coworker Violet is a bubbly girl whose into new age. I also, think the name for the coffee shop is clever: Baked and Caffeinated.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger from St. Martin’s Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own will. When I started this book I felt it was ok, but the deeper I got into the story of Dew and Naima the more I grew to love these two characters.