Book Review · Self Care · Books

Find Your Awesome

I’m a sucker for self-help books. When I saw the cute artwork on the cover I couldn’t resist requesting the appropriately titled Find Your Awesome. This short book has 30 different ideas on ways that you can learn how to start loving yourself. Some of the suggestions that stood out to me the most were:

* Rocking my life list

I need to make a life bucket list, so I have goals I am always reaching on meeting.

* Hold a burning ceremony

There are things about my past and myself I need to let go of, but my OCD reparative thoughts like to dwell on those things anyway. A burning ceremony of letting go would be acknowledging these things, but then physically letting them go by burning away their hold on me.

* List 10 people you are grateful for

Writing down 10 people I’m grateful for helps me stay focused on the important people in my life who help influence and shape me in who I’ve become through the years.

* Organize something

Organizing is something I like to do briefly, then my piles start up again. Going through my things and only keeping what is essential is therapeutic. I need to do more of it so there is more room in my life for things I truly need, plus I will feel less claustrophobic.

* Unplug

Unplugging from social media occasionally is important and something I want to do more often. It’s never a dire emergency to check notifications. If it’s an emergency the person will call me and leave a voicemail.

* Be unapologetic

I am a classic apology case. I apologize often to where it even annoys myself. I need to stop apologizing, especially when I’m not truly sorry. It’s a bad form of coming across humble and selfless when in reality you aren’t wanting to own your true feelings about something.

* Write your personal manifesto

Writing my own manifesto on how I want to live my life is something I need to do. It’s a way for me to have a nice, firm reminder of what I believe in, stand for and want to accomplish with my existence.

* Decide what matters

Deciding what matters can be a tough exercise.

* Write yourself a love letter

I don’t like being the center of attention, so the idea of writing myself a love letter sounds egotistical, but I need to honestly love me for me and writing it down will help cement it in my mind.

* Design a book cover for your life story

Some day I do want to publish. A memoir might be a tad strange, but to design a unique book cover for it would satisfy my creative side.

These suggestions each speak to me in that they are ways I can uncover who I am down to my core.

What would your answers be to these different suggestions on how we can love and care for ourselves more?

I think with social media when can get so caught up in following other’s lives that we forget to be ourselves, to be our own unique selves. These suggestions help peel off the layers of fitting in, so that we can love ourselves for who we are. I know I don’t always like what I see when I peel back my protective layers, but it’s important for me to truly like myself, even the scary parts of me (body parts, personality, habits).

If you need a uplifting pick me up, go find a copy of this short book. The artwork alone is sweet and inspiring. I received my free digital ARC of Find Your Awesome by Judy Clement Wall care of NetGalley from HCI Books in exchange for my honest feedback. Thank you Judy for an easy to use self-help book that will help society get their life balance back.

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

Running From God

Elizabeth grew up with a strict and harsh father. She wanted for him to be proud of her, to tell her that he loved her, but it was an exercise in vain. She was an introvert craving to be loved, but afraid of being hurt and ridiculed. Elizabeth mainly kept to herself, until she met and married her husband Bob. He showed her unconditional love, encouraged her to be her even when it was out of her comfort zone. Elizabeth and Bob had kids.

Sadly when Bob passes unexpectedly Elizabeth is thrown into figuring out who she is apart from her spouse and her kids. Running From God is Elizabeth’s journey from exploring her childhood religion of what being Jewish entails to finding a faith that speaks to her without harsh judgement. Through many different spiritual journeys from Gurus to A Course In Miracles, Elizabeth discovers her spiritual home and her way back to God.

I got my free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for my review. I enjoyed this spiritual memoir because I can relate to wanting a faith that is yours and not a family members. I was raised a particular faith and set of beliefs. To journey outside that comfort bubble is scary, but also, rewarding. Thank you Elizabeth for opening up your life and sharing all you’ve learned. Your memoir was a joy to read. If you enjoyed Conversations With God, then you just may like Running From God.

Book Review · Books

The Hazel Wood

Alice moved a lot with her mom Ella. She didn’t think much of it until one day when she was little she got kidnaped by a man who claimed he was going to take her to her grandmother. Alice never met her grandmother, but knew she was a famous writer of fairy tales. The strange thing was that Alice’s mom didn’t want her reading her grandmother’s book. Alice tried countless times to find a copy, but it seemed they disappeared out of existence.

In high school Alice’s mom marries a rich man with a snotty daughter. One day Alice comes home from school to find everyone gone. There’s an odd smell in the apartment and there’s a note on her bed for her. It’s a page from her grandmother’s book. What did it mean? Alice goes to her classmate Finch who is a major fan of her grandmother’s book. Will Alice and Finch find her mom? What’s the mystery behind her kidnapping and the note?

If you enjoy fantasy, fairy tales and mysteries you may enjoy The Hazel Wood. This book was fast paced, intense, fascinating, a mental whirlwind and outside my usual genre. This book has made me want to read some classic fairy tales that haven’t been Disney sanitized. I received my ebook ARC of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert for free from NetGalley in exchange for my feedback. I bought a physical copy since I wanted one for my book collection.

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.

Book Review · Books

Risen

I haven’t read a vampire novel in years. Risen was compared to Twilight. I think this novel was definitely an improvement. This novel follows the story of Charlie whose been raised by her aunt Rachel in a little cabin in the woods. Charlie is only allowed to go only so far on her walks with her dog Jax. Charlie is sick of being cooped up at her aunt’s. She wants to see the greater world. Being homeschooled doesn’t help.

One day men in black come for aunt Rachel. Her aunt gives her one piece of advice. “Don’t run.” Charlie is about to find out why in her quest to rescue her aunt. One man in black seems different from the others. For some reason Sebastian and Charlie have some type of connection. Why did these men kidnap her aunt and is Charlie who she thinks she is?

If you like vampires and the book Divergent then you’ll enjoy Risen by Cole Gibsen. I received my free digital copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for my review. Thank you for contacting me Melissa. I’m not a fan of vampire novels, but I do want to keep reading to find out what happens to Charlie.

Book Review · Books

Everything Is Normal

If you love anything and everything Russian then you’ll want to add Everything Is Normal to your TBR. This in depth memoir is the coming of age book about Sergey who grew up in the 70’s-80’s in Russia. He experienced life before Gorbachev and after.

Growing up in the USA I don’t know what it’s like to be sheltered from the outside world like Sergey was growing up. To realize other countries are vastly different and not as evil as you’ve been taught has got to be mind boggling. To love your country and yet yearn to be free from it has to be quite the quandary.

Reading about Russia through Sergey’s eyes is fascinating. He brings all the characteristics of Russia to the page. You don’t even need a passport to step-back in time. I took one year of Russian in college, but this book brought to life more than what I experienced in trying to learn the language.

I received my digital copy of Everything Is Normal by Sergey Grechishkinfor free from NetGalley care of the publisher InkShares, who kindly reached out to ask if I’d be interested in reading this memoir. Of course I would. Thank you Angela.