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.

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.

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

Waves

I am not into graphic novels. I shy away from comics. This graphic novel though stole my heart and converted me by the end. I want to read more memoirs that are in graphic novel form. Please recommend away because if you don’t like that genre either then I know this short little book will convince you otherwise.

In this book the author is going to have a child. Her and her wife are beyond ecstatic, except tragedy strikes. This book is how the author dealt with her loss and survived the deep grief she went through.

I love how the author loves to write and that her writing comforted her while she was recouping in the hospital. I swooned when her wife gave her a new journal because she had used up her current one. I’m a sucker for a brand new journal.

Whether you have dealt with the loss of a child, or not this book shows the range of mourning and how the importance of family and your partner help in getting you through the days that are the toughest.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Waves by Ingrid Chabbert and Carole Maurel from NetGalley. My views are of my own accord and strictly mine. This book was gut wrenching to read at 4:30AM. The artwork is vivid and so much meaning stuffed into the imagery chosen. I high recommend this graphic novel. Some stories are more powerful through artwork vs written word. This is one of those stories.

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.

Book Review · Books

Hello Stranger

What would life be like growing up in the 60’s being Autistic and not knowing it till you are an adult? Barbara Moran writes about going through this in her memoir, Hello Stranger. Barbara was a unique child who found she didn’t quite bond with other humans, but found she grew attached to every day objects and had a very low tolerance for noise. Her family tried to help her, but as a little kid they decided to have her live at institution.

This institution was where Barbara could live and get the help she needed. The only problem is it didn’t seem like those who were there to help fully cared. Barbara tried her best to act what is considered normal, but felt she couldn’t fully be herself. Would she ever be allowed to go back home?

Instead of getting to return home to her family she is placed in a foster home where she is merely tolerated. Barbara just wants a life of her own, to not have to walk on egg shells around others.

As an adult Barbara is finally given a name for her struggles. Autistic. When she realizes there are others who have similar struggles with noise sensitivity, repetitive thoughts, etc. she finally knows she is not alone.

One thing that brings Barbara joy is drawing. Some favorite things she loves to draw are traffic lights, church buildings, airplanes, etc. Drawing has helped her express herself.

I received my complimentary copy of Hello Stranger by Barbara Moran with Karl Williams from KiCam Projects. The views expressed are mine. This memoir was outside my comfort zone. I can’t imagine my family making such a heart breaking decision to place me in an institution, to be at the mercy of doctors and staff. Barbara is a brave woman who endured so much before being diagnosed as an adult. I’m so glad her drawing brings her comfort and joy. If you want to expand your knowledge of Autism then I do recommend this memoir. I learned new things about Autism.

Book Review · Books

Surviving Myself

Growing up I always wanted to be a part of the popular crowd. The popular girls all seemed to have perfect lives and the means to buy whatever hot new item was popular at the time: Guess Jeans, Keds, LA Gear hightops, etc. I always felt homely next to them. I’ve never been good with fashion, but I still did my best to try to fit in. Dina deals with this same challenge growing up. She’s tall, lean and from India. Her mom makes her boring lunches. Dina also, has to stay at her school’s daycare after school until her parents can pick her up. Why won’t her parents let her be more independent?

Dina discovers one way she can stay in control of her life is to monitor her eating. Doing gymnastics with her friend she sees how lighter one is, the easier it is to do the routines. Sadly this monitoring turns into full fledge anorexia. Dina’s description of this struggle is vivid and heartbreaking.

After Dina gets help for her eating disorder her life comes to a screeching halt after she’s in a car accident. She deals with PTSD after the accident, afraid of potential car crashes while riding as a passenger. The doctors discover she has a mass on her brain. The day after she’s allowed to go home.

Two months later Dina deals with some strange symptoms. She experiences numbness on her right side. Her family gets her back to the hospital ASAP where she ends up having a stroke there in the hospital.

This memoir is Dina’s journey surviving through her eating disorder, car crash and a stroke. Her determination to get through it all is inspiring, humbling and a reminder that we don’t know what life will throw at us, but that we can get through more than we think we can.

This memoir was not easy to read at times. I’ve never struggled with an eating disorder, but I did do gymnastics growing up. There is a lot of pressure to stay slim in that sport. I have been in a fender bender before and know what it’s like to flinch while being a passenger, afraid of another car hitting you again. As for the other health challenges that Dina faced I haven’t experienced those, but I have dealt with other health challenges as a baby.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Surviving Myself by Dina Pestonji with Erin McCann from NetGalley. The views expressed are mine. I highly recommend this book. It will inspire you to not let anything get you down.