Book Review · Books

How Languages Saved Me

I have a soft spot for Poland. I am not even Polish. I also, have had an intense interest in reading about World War II; which I have done since fourth grade after being loaned Escape From Warsaw. If you are like me and like to read memoirs set during WWII then I recommend you go find a copy of How Languages Saved Me.

This short memoir is about Tadeusz Haska who had a hard life growing up in Poland. Him and his brother are orphaned at a young age. When the war started he discovered how tricky it is to keep under the SS radar being that he was an intellectual, but couldn’t appear as such. Thankfully he knew 9 languages which helped him assist others in keeping up to date on the news of the war. When he met his lovely wife, Jadwiga he had to figure out a way to get her out of Poland. At the time he had escaped to Sweden. Tad’s journey through the war is an adventure you won’t forget.

I received my complimentary copy of How Languages Saved Me by Tadeusz and Stefanie Naumann from Koehler Books, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own choice. This memoir is brief, but full of adventure, action, romance, challenges and most of all filled with a love for life.

Book Review · Books

Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways To Become Your Own Hero

If you need a short book to grab when you need inspiration, advice, and a great memoir then I recommend this slim gem. I think this book would make a great gift for a high school graduate or college graduate.

Maryanne talks about her life struggles, triumphs and things that encourage her in ways she and us can be our own hero’s. Topics she covers are: vulnerability, uniqueness, generosity, kindness, weirdness, openness, bravery and balance. At the end of the book is a journal section with writing prompts.

I received my complimentary copy of Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten always To Be Your Own Hero by Maryanne Christians-Mistretta care of KiCam Projects. The views and comments are mine, of my own accord.

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.