Book Review · Books

Pull It Off

The cover is colorful. Julianna Zobrist loves color. Her picture on the front of her book makes me think of Lady GaGa due to the creative outfit she’s wearing. Her memoir Pull It Off is a short book filled with how we view our identity shapes us and our confidence.

She is not preachy, but Julianna shows through Biblical scripture our identity is in Christ. Julianna doesn’t harp on us being perfect, but on learning to accept our imperfections and allowing God to work through that. She provides stories from her life and what it’s like to be married to her professional baseball player husband.

This memoir was light hearted with nuggets of Biblical truth sprinkled in. Julianna is not your typical Christian living genre type author. She thinks and expresses herself outside the box. The chapter where Julianna describes how her home is decorated made me sit in awe. Think of Candy Land throwing up decorations all over her home. Yes, it’s that colorful and fun. The allegory about the dandelion at the end was emotionally powerful.

I received a complementary copy of Pull It Off by Julianna Zobrist from Faith Words. Opinions expressed in this review are my own. If you love Christian books that are helpful, but not bossy in tone then you may enjoy this book. I hope Julianna will write more books.

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 · Uncategorized

My Father’s Business

I enjoy shopping at Dollar General. You never know what you’ll discover, but they always have unique bookmarks. I still have one that’s embroidered from ten years ago. When I got asked if I’d like to review My Father’s Business by Cal Turner, Jr. with Rob Simbeck I said, “yes,” since I like to personally shop occasionally at Dollar General.

This memoir goes behind the scenes of this major retailer to show the humble start of Cal Turner, Sr. starting the retail chain that would morph into becoming Dollar General where everything is only a $1. Based out of Scottsville, KY where hardworking customers value a great deal and buy. Senior Turner knew what his customers wanted and needed. He would look high and low for great deals to sell to his customers. When his eldest son, Cal Turner, Jr. got into helping out in the stores he knew one day he’d take over the reigns of Dollar General.

This book is a short read, filled with personal stories of Cal Jr. growing up under the shadow of his dad and what it was like to grow up in a family immersed in living, breathing retail. Cal Jr. does share how his Christian faith helped shape his work ethic and personal life. There are tense moments and moments you’ll laugh. If you enjoy business books that are part memoir then you’ll enjoy this book.

I received my free copy of My Father’s Business from Center Street in exchange for my feedback. This was an enjoyable read and it’s neat to read about the history behind an iconic store.

Book Review · Books

You All Grow Up And Leave Me

What if you discovered one of the most trusted adults you knew had a dark secret; a secret you escaped from being a victim of? Piper Weiss describes her life growing up during her teen years being coached tennis by Gary Wilensky. Gary made tennis practice fun. He would dress up in a funny costumes, coach wearing roller skates and even allow some of the girls to buy candy after practice. Piper’s parents trusted Gary, as did a lot of the parents of teens Gary coached. When Gary sends Valentine cards to select tennis players that does raise a few parental eyebrows. One night Piper hears the news that Gary is dead. Years later she decides she wants to find out what really happened the night Gary died. Why wasn’t Piper one of Gary’s favorites and was there more to Gary than meets the eye?

This memoir is gripping from page one. Piper brings forth the true creepiness of what happened in 1993 to full color. After the first chapter I felt goosebumps it was that creepy. Yes, Stephen King creepy! I haven’t read true crime in a long time, but Piper’s account of her experience being coached by Gary and what she uncovered by her research into the night Gary died brings to mind that as an adult, don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you are depressed. Piper discusses the tricky mind screw that is being thought a favorite of Gary, but yet not THE favorite.

I received my ARC copy of You All Grow Up And Leave Me by Piper Weiss for free care of TLC Book Tours from William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. If you are looking for a fast paced read this memoir will have you staying up late to finish. Thank you for speaking out Piper. To go buy a copy click here and to contact Piper click here.

Book Review · Books

The Fox Hunt

What would you do if you wanted to research opposite faiths than what you were raised with? Mohammed encounters a Christian teacher at his college. He wants to be an obedient Muslim and share his faith with his teacher, so he brings him a Quran. Surprisingly his teacher is of the same mindset and gifts him a Christian Bible, which for Mohammed is a forbidden item.

Mohammed reads his Bible and starts to have discussions with his teacher, but when his teacher moves away he branches out online to connect with others who can help further explain Christianity and Judaism. Through his studying he gets jobs at nonprofits where he can continue his studies and connecting with Christians, other Muslims and Jews to learn more about why there is conflict. Mohammed wants to help bridge peace between the groups, but when there is upheaval in his country of Yemen he is trapped in his home. He reaches out to others online to see if anyone will help him escape.

I received my ARC copy of The Fox Hunt by Mohammed Al Samawi for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. This book is intense from page one. Mohammed writes in such a way you feel as though you are walking by his side throughout his memoir, experiencing every moment. This book is a great window into what it’s like to grow up in Yemen.

Book Review · Books

True Stories From An Unreliable Witness

Christine Lahti’s memoir True Stories From An Unreliable Witness is hilarious, sobering, and mesmerizing. Christine talks about her life growing up in a house filled with 5 siblings, a perfectly coiffed mother and an aloof father. She is a sensitive and emotional person in a family that has to wear their happy smiles and never take off their masks. Each chapter is an essay about different parts of Christine’s life from childhood, to college, entering the acting world, marriage, motherhood and more. She wanted to break out of the prescribed shell her mother lived in.

This short book packed a punch on so many topics from family dynamics, father and daughter relationships (I can relate), finding your footing professionally, mental illness, motherhood and loving yourself as you are despite what the magazines say. This book had me laughing, tearing up, feeling convicted and more.

I received my free copy of True Stories From An Unreliable Witness by Christine Lahti for free from TLC Book Tours care of Harper Weave in exchange for my review. This memoir was a quick, enjoyable, enriching read. I hope Christine will write more books because she has a talent with the written word. To purchase her book click here. Now off to go watch some of her movies.

Book Review · Books

Girlish

As soon as I heard the title of this book I just had to read it. Yes, honestly a lesbian family household is outside of my life experience, so I was interested to hear what it is like. Enter in, Girl, who talks about her life from childhood, elementary, junior high, high school, college and beyond living with mother and stepmother. Girl has a variety of siblings, half siblings and a father who lives off in Alaska. Girl is best friends with Brother who is a witness to their lives with two moms and visiting Father in Alaska when it was summertime.

This memoir is about Girl and her struggle to find her place in the world where Father favored Brother and Mother had to cow-tow to Stepmother. Girl is honest, stubborn, free spirited and a survivor. Her writing drops you into her world. I got sucked in from page one.

I received my free digital ARC of Girlish by Lara Lillibridge from NetGalley in exchange for my review. Skyhorse Publishing was kind and sent a courtesy copy. Thank you Angela. If you enjoy LGBTQA memoirs I do recommend this book. Girl lets you into her world and you won’t be the same after.