Book Review · Books

Flying Alone

I am not into airplanes or flying. Reading about the intricacies of flying sounds a tad dull to me, but Flying Alone, is a memoir that not only educates on flying, but takes you into the world of aviation from a women’s perspective back when female pilots weren’t as common. Beth wanted to fly a plane since she was younger. In her twenties she started her dream by taking different flying jobs and along the way she fell in love with her instructor. Steve was not only cocky, but piecemealed his affection towards Beth.

This memoir focuses on how sometimes to gain our confidence we have to go through life trials. Beth struggled with a possible MS diagnosis and survived some very harrowing flights for her job, had colleagues who didn’t make it back from their flight and had to deal with moody Steve.

I received my complimentary copy of Flying Alone by Beth Ruggiero York from FSB Associates. The views and post are of my own accord. This is a satisfying book filled with action, adventure, love, personal growth and success. If you love planes, flying and memoirs, then this book will be perfect for you.

Book Review · Books

Once You Go In

Some memoirs you read and wonder where has this particular author has been all your life. If you have been disenfranchised by the church, dealt with spiritual abuse, or are wanting to find a different church expression then this book might be calling out to you.

Carly takes you into her homeschooled world of Northern California. She’s always felt different, wanting to belong and one day when she discovers Pine Canyon Assemblies Of God Church she thinks she may have found a place to fit in.

This book is Carly’s journey into the world of the charismatic church. Her descriptions of what the services can be like is spot on and the peer pressure to speak in tongues even when you may think the whole idea to be weird is huge. When Carly does finally speak her special language she describes the spiritual high she gets from it and how everything else in life sort of fades away when she’s in that mode.

I recall when I visited a charismatic church and there was pressure to be slain in the spirit. When the piano player timed the music a little too, planned I sensed the whole sham that I felt it was. Were church goers truly under the Holy Spirit’s power, or was it a false spirit? Is having what looks like seizures truly a move of God, or demonic? I left that service with my charismatic interest snuffed out.

This church is Pentecostal and on fire for Jesus which includes speaking in tongues, long prayers and being monitored by the leadership. It’s all in love right? Carly’s parents are believers, but not as intense as this church body is. She longs for approval and to be seen as worthy, to be as spiritual as her youth pastor’s wife, that befriends her.

When something goes terribly wrong on a mission trip Carly tries to chalk it up to her not listening to the rules for the trip. Other things happen where logically she feels the leadership is being overly legalistic. Carly wants so badly to do the right thing that she brushes off her gut reaction.

How do you know when a church is unhealthy, or spiritually abusive? How do you stand up for yourself when your spiritual leaders have you under their spell of sorts (not an actual spell)? Carly deals with these vital topics and more.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Once You Go In by Carly Gelsinger from She Writes Press, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own will and mine. I commend Carly for writing so candidly about her church experience and faith journey. It’s not easy to share such personal moments. Thank you for baring your soul, so others know they aren’t alone in their journeys to find their spiritual home, whether that’s in a church or in a park.

Book Review · Books

Edna’s Gift

I was not prepared for this memoir. In my brain I was thinking the theme was World War II, but I was in for a surprise. This memoir takes you on the journey of two sisters, Susan and Edna. They both have a disability. Susan’s is not visible, but Edna’s is. They were very close, but in social situations Susan isn’t quite sure how to get Edna to fit in, but Edna will strike up a conversation with anyone. Susan shares how hers and Edna’s relationship morphs after Edna is sent away to a special school. This is during the era of the 50’s when there weren’t special schools close to home.

As an adult Edna lives in a community for other adults like herself who help out and live with caretakers that also live there. While Susan is living her life on the outside she wonders how Edna is doing. When her and their parents visit Edna, she realizes how much of an impact Edna has on others.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Edna’s Gift by Susan Rudnick from She Writes Press care of NetGalley. The views are my own and of my own will. This book is not an emotionally easy read. Getting help for those with a disability has changed a lot since the 50’s and 60’s, yet this book taught how important it is to help be a voice for those who may be not able to express as well, or as clearly on what they want and need. I’m glad Susan wrote about Edna’s life and her own life. Thank you for giving Edna a voice.

Book Review · Books

You Are Enough

Do you feel like you don’t measure up? Does keeping up with societies standards make you want to pull your hair out and hide in a cave? I have those days OFTEN. Mandy Hale tackles this common unspoken pressure and cuts it wide open exposing all the guts and ugly parts. She writes with a rawness that only someone whose been through this deep struggle can do and she shares from her life how she climbs out of this Hellish hole, how you can too.

This is a short book. If I’d stayed up last night I could have finished it one day, but some books you shouldn’t rush. You Are Enough is one of those books. Mandy’s stories will have you laugh, cry, nod in agreement and breathe with relief you aren’t alone. This book is a small treasure you’ll want to revisit again and again. I just need to go buy my own, finished copy.

I received my complimentary digital copy of You Are Enough by Mandy Hale from NetGalley. The views are of my own will and mine. This little book has a powerful punch. It asks you to grow, go out of your comfort zone, but the awesome thing is you have someone who is cheering for you on the other side of the dark times. Let Mandy take you on the journey of knowing you are enough just as you are. It’s ok to breathe and be your unique self.

Book Review · Books

Bound

Elizabeth Wood finds herself being her mom’s advocate when her mom’s cancer comes back. Elizabeth’s mom has recently discovered the world of BDSM and blossomed sexually in her later years. Elizabeth is supportive of her mom exploring her sexual freedom after Elizabeth’s dad passed away when she was little.

This memoir is Elizabeth’s journey through the world of hospitals, rehab and learning to be the eyes and ears for her mom when she is too, sick to advocate for herself. How can one still fully be allowed to be a daughter and yet have to be the role of the adult when your parent isn’t in a place to make big life decisions?

What would you do if you were searching for makeup for your mom in her usual makeup bag and instead of finding a particular lipstick you discover a black dildo? Elizabeth is still shocked and yet fascinated to continue to uncover her mom’s new exploration into the world of BDSM when she goes by her mom’s apartment to bring a few things her mom needs.

Elizabeth discusses how with the parent child relationship we never discuss or contemplate that our parents have sexual lives and are sexual beings. When it comes to having to get treated at a hospital does the system take into account a patient’s sexuality and need for intimacy wether with a partner, or solo?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Bound by Elizabeth Anne Wood from NetGalley and a complimentary physical copy from Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own accord. This memoir portrays the emotionally tough decisions that encompass cancer treatment, the interesting world of coming to terms that your parent does have a sex life and still needs intimacy when going through treatment. The topic of BDSM is outside my vanilla comfort zone, but I think this book is a must read. I think socially we do need to promote the full care of a patient in taking into account their needs need to be met not just medically, but that the patient’s sexuality needs to be taken into account. Just because a patient may be nearing towards end of life doesn’t mean their libido has turned off.

Book Review · Books

Saved As Draft

I have loved to write since I was little. I’d write out short stories and draw pictures. In junior high I kept a diary and in high school. I am grieved I chucked those personal histories. All because they were triggers regarding ex boyfriends. Diaries are moments captured in real time. I wish I had kept them, so that I’d have that unique history to look back on.

N.D. Chan wrote Saved As Draft to show that even emails we may not send, letters we write, but chicken out to mail are still our written history and important to keep. Her memoir is her collection of such writings that follow her journey from living in China with her grandparents to moving to the USA to live with her mom and stepdad. N.D. shares her exploration to find out more about the dad she never knew. She also, dives into what first crushes and relationships are like when you’re a teenager. The author discusses what it was like to try to meet other ladies who are into ladies in a time when it wasn’t as safe to be out as it is now. N.D. also, includes poems.

This memoir is short, but filled with so much heart. I felt sucked right in from the start. As a little kid a lot of the time at a new school I felt like the odd man out. Being super short is not cute when the older kids find it humorous to pick you up and not put you down and being mistaken for a Kindergartner in the third grade. I know what it’s like to not understand why our parents may choose to do what they do. N.D. struggles wondering why her mom decided to wait so long to have her move to the USA to be with her. I have a lot of memories of having crushes on both girls and boys growing up. I remember just staring at one poor boy in the first grade relentlessly during the time we’d have to put our heads down for quiet time.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Saved As Draft by N.D. Chan from NetGalley. The views are my own and of my own will. I loved this book and hope there will be more books from this author. Some authors you read and sense they are a kindred spirit. Thank you N.D. for sharing your beautiful soul with the world. Keep on. writing.

Book Review · Books

Trailer Trash: An 80’s Memoir

I grew up in the 80’s. I get nostalgic when I hear songs from the 80’s because then I think of the show “Kids Inc,” that was on Disney. I was so in love with that show my aunt found out how I could get free tickets and just had to bring ten friends. That was the day my fascination with Hollywood got dumped real quick. I digress though. When I saw Booktasters was looking for reviewers for Trailer Trash: An 80’s Memoir, I thought it sounded fascinating and who can say, “No,” to going down memory lane?

Angie grew up in a trailer park. Her parent’s owned and managed one, so that was her community and social circle. I’ve never lived in a trailer park, but Angie brings to life what it’s like. There are stereotypes about trailer parks and Angie gives you the honest peek into what life what like growing up in one. The descriptions of her neighbors are hilarious and candid. She touches on the topic of alcoholism and how her mother’s drinking affected her and her siblings. The pet chapter is classic and brings to mind how many assortment of pets kids go through going up. She also, describes the classic moments from childhood like skating at the roller rink on the weekends, getting to experience SlipNSlide and many other 80’s references.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Trailer Trash: An 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari from the author via Booktasters. The views expressed are mine and my own. If you also, are an 80’s kid then you’ll appreciate every page of this book. I laughed, teared up and cheered for Angie. Thank you Angie for allowing me to read your deeply personal story. I hope anyone who loves memoirs will give this book a chance. Trailer parks are definitely their own little communities filled with laughter, beer, fights and don’t forget the cops.