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

Find Your Mantra

Positive thinking can seem a tad woo woo, but is being grumpy really going to change your life for the better? This short little book of mantras are a bit stereotypical, but there are grains of truth in this book. The chapters are broken up by different themes like love, peace, etc. There are gorgeous illustrations and photos throughout this beautiful book.

I’ve always been mainly a positive and upbeat person. I do have my own don’t want to adult moments. Can I just get paid to read books and review? This little book will help remind you that you do matter and that with diligence we can accomplish so much with our life. It’s not about keeping up with the Jone’s, but staying in the moment good times, or bad and being thankful we get to experience our unique life.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Find Your Mantra by Aysel Gunar from Quarto Publishing Group, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. If you like inspirational books then you just might want to add this title to your library.

Book Review · Books

Women Of Spirit: Volume 2

I’ve read many inspirational books about women who have overcome hardships, but Women Of Spirit takes the top spot. This book is a collection of memoir vignettes that share stories of overcoming varieties of life challenges from abusive upbringings, bad relationships, career hardships, to the death of loved ones and many other types of challenges. Each memoir is unique with an author photo before the vignette. This collection is comprised of and by ladies from the UK.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Women Of Spirit: Volume 2 by Susie MacKie from NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. If you need a book that will not just inspire, but convict to keep pressing on when life is horrendous, then this book is a life saver. I hope that there will be further volumes of Women Of Spirit, like a USA edition, a South American edition, etc. No matter where you reside this book will be relatable on many levels.

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

Book Girl

Have you loved to read since you were little? Did your patent(s) read to you as a child? Were you the type of bookworm who would check out 10+ books from the library? Oh you too? Great! Keep reading.

Author, Sarah Clarkson writes about the awesome addiction that is reading and books. Ink, paper and that great smell of paper. Ever since Sarah could recall her mom has read to her and gifted her the love of reading. Sara provides lots of titles to add to your TBR. Each section deals with different topics, so you can browse by topic or just read straight through. She touches also, on the topic of faith and how it can help shape your reading habits.

This book was like reading a book written by your childhood best friend who knows your favorite authors and knows wether you prefer hardcover or paperback, physical or e-book. This book is a must buy.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson from NetGalley. The views are my own and of my own will. Sarah is a fellow bookworm kindred spirit whose love of reading shines through each page. Thank you for writing a book that makes book girls feel less alone. Bookworms unite. If you are a fellow book girl please comment or send me an email. Would love to befriend other lovely book girls/ladies. Thank you Sarah and thanks NetGalley for another opportunity to discover a new favorite author.

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.