Tag Archive | Relationships

Forty Autumns

Forty Autumns is a tour de force. This stunning memoir is about the author, Nina Willner’s mother’s life growing up in East Germany during the Cold War and escaping while she still could. I have not read much about the Cold War, but this memoir packs a punch. It’s a tad hefty of a tome, but Nina’s mom, Hanna’s life is intriguing and sobering. Nina includes personal photographs which brings her mom’s life and her own from black and white into full color. From Kansas to the Emerald city it describes the heartache of what it’s like growing up under communism to knowing what freedom is like.

What would it be like to be separated from your family by a wall, armed guards and police? To know you could be shot just by stepping a toe over the dividing line? To live in a world where every move you make is analyzed to make sure you don’t slip up, to be given the impression your immediate world is superior, when deep down you wonder if the other side is just as awful as you’ve been lead to believe. Unless you’ve been raised in a communist country this sounds surreal, but to think this was the norm in East Germany only 28 years ago is scary.  This memoir is a powerful reminder to be thankful for our freedoms if you live in a free country. Not all country’s are free, but never give up hope if you don’t live in a free country. Thank you Nina for such a powerful testimony to your family’s strength for never giving up.

This memoir was given to me for free in exchange for my review from TLC Book Tours, care of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. To purchase this captivating memoir please go check it out here. If you love to read and have a blog where you like to share your review of books you love feel free to check out TLC Book Tours

Maddie & Sayara

Maddie And Sayara is about two young teens from different countries who meet while on vacation. The girls bond over their stuck up older sisters who just care about appearance and luxury. Maddie learns that Sayara’s female cousin has been jailed because she was caught driving which is forbidden in their kingdom. Maddie can’t understand why a young woman wouldn’t be allowed to drive. Sayara tries to explain why to Maddie, but Maddie can’t grasp that not all countries in the world treat women or girls as equals to men and boys. Maddie decides she wants to go help Sayara rescue her cousin. This novel follows Maddie on her journey into an unknown country to rescue Sayara’s cousin. Will Maddie be successful?

This book was given to me free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. While this book is considered YA I felt the tone of Maddie came across more of a middle grade age group than high school in her maturity level. This story was a nice overview of what other countries might be like where a women’s freedoms aren’t as free as in other countries. Topics of freedom in how a woman or girl dresses and what they are allowed to do is explored throughout this novel. I might recommend this book to a junior high or older elementary age girl as insightful and educational.

Words In Deep Blue

The cover called my name. Blue is one of my favorite colors. The cover is downright book gorgeous. I just had to buy it.

Words In Deep Blue is about used to be best friends Rachel and Henry. Rachel comes back to her home town to distract herself though she doesn’t want to deal with Henry after he didn’t respond to her goodbye letter she left him after she moved away with her family three years prior. Henry is a nerd who lives at his family’s used bookstore that has living quarters above the store. Henry has always loved Amy. Rachel used to love Henry, but Amy always kept coming back in the picture distracting Henry. She learned to get over him after she moved, but having moved back to stay with her aunt, Rachel realizes Henry still has his charm minus the problem of shallow Amy. Rachel gets a job at Henry’s family bookstore for the summer. Will Henry and Rachel get along working together? Can they mend their friendship?

Henry’s dad asks Rachel to catelouge the letter library. This section of the store is where people can leave their favorite books. These books other patrons can highlight favorite passages or leave letters for others inside their favorite books. This is a tedious process. Reading the letters left behind Rachel realizes different romances have blossomed and some people don’t realize who their admirers are.

This novel is sweet. It makes me miss working at a used bookstore. Bookworms are a unique bunch to work with and have as customers. We are quirky and march to the beat of our own drum. Used bookstores aren’t necessarily cash cows as a means to get rich, but the quality of connection between patrons and workers is priceless. Being around the mildewy smell of old books is a perfume all on its own. There’s a peacefulness like walking into a church when a bookworm walks into a bookstore.  If you love books, bookstores, reading and friendship with a potential for romance then I highly recommend this savory read.

Letters To The Lost

The cover of this book caught my attention. Reading the inside blurb intrigued me even further. Letters Of The Lost is a story about family and what happens when life happens, when you aren’t quiet sure if there is any normalcy left. This novel is also, about friendship. It’s about new friends, old friends and friends you didn’t realize you had. This book had the perfect blend of humor, suspense, twists and turns. Juliet and Declan are two characters that won’t be forgotten any time soon. I hope this will be made into a movie. I got this from the library, but I definitely want to add it to my keeper collection. Thank you for writing such a lovely book Brigid. 

Love That Boy

A book about the relationship between a father and son sounded just right to me. Love That Boy is about political columnist Ron Fournier and his son Tyler’s relationship. Like every father out there Ron has expectations and hopes for his kids, but Tyler is unique in his own way. Not until he’s 12 do his parents find out that Tyler has Aspergers. This memoir is Ron’s journey to understand Tyler better and learn how to be a better parent through going on a Presidential themed road trip with Tyler. 

If you’ve struggled with feeling like you can’t measure up to your parent’s expectations then this book might make you feel better. Growing up I always felt like I couldn’t measure up to my own dad’s expectations for me. Sometimes praise felt hollow or forced, or worse I felt patronized. Who doesn’t hate feeling that way? 

Ron’s memoir is candid and provides a lot of fatherly insight into how it can be hard to relate to a child when you have polar opposite interests. You are an extrovert and your son is an introvert. I’m a mix of both intro and extrovert, but my dad is more extrovert. He can’t understand that after a few hours of intense socializing I need my me alone time or watch out for cranky lady. 

I think this book will help parents no matter if their child is special needs or not. I think this book gives great insight into a parent’s internal struggle in trying to relate to their child. It’s good to see the viewpoint from the parent and not just the child. I received Love That Boy, from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest assessment.

Apprenticed To Venus

I’ve been fascinated by Anais Nin for years. I’ve always meant to read her diaries, but for some reason that’s never happened. When I saw Apprenticed To Venus as an option to review the ARC for I couldn’t help myself. This memoir is about the author Tristine whose godmother was a friend of Anais and asked Tristine to bring Anais something. This errand is what sprouted a friendship between Tristine and Anais. Tristine’s memoir is about her friendship with Anais and what it was like to be mentored by her.

I was in awe of Anais. I thought she was sophisticated, pretty, elegant, sensual and quite the muse for a number of people. Once I read this book my opinion of Anais changed. She comes across as a manipulative opportunist. Then I got to thinking aren’t we all that way to some extent? Some of us are more obvious about it than others. Anais just peppered hers with flattery and support through offering her friendship.

Tristine is enamored by Anais and yearns to be like her, to gain her approval. This brought to mind that we all have one person in our lives who we admire and want approval from. We spend our lives cowtowing to said individual and in the process we loose who we are. We are so caught up in wanting to be like this particular person our own sense of self goes right out the window. I, myself have had such a friend I was enamored with. I was so focused on getting her to like me, shower me with her praise that I ceased being me. Not until I backed away from this deep friendship did I start to rebuild who I was apart from her. It’s too, easy and convenient to fall back into the groupie mentality and not develop who are, so we can compliment the other person. This memoir explores this topic in depth and shows how much of our life can be so wrapped up in another we loose who we are as an individual for years. Lost years we can’t get back.

This book also, discussed that no matter how a close friend may wound you, you can still love them fiercely and not give up on their friendship. Tristine’s account is raw, moving and honest. Her account of Anais’ life is spellbounding. I know my thoughts about Anais fluctuated through out the book. Just when you want to throw in the towel Anais pulls you back in to insist you still love her.

If you are interested in Anais Nin I do recommend this book. It goes on sale this month on the 11th. I was provided the ARC care of NetGalley in exchange for my review.

In The Days Of Rain

In The Days Of Rain, is about Rebecca Stott and how she pieces together her father’s life in the Brethren cult. Rebecca was raised from birth only knowing the Brethren’s rules and ways of life. Before her father passes on he asks her to complete his memoir. Having left the cult with her family when she was a child Rebecca isn’t keen on going down memory lane, but wants to fully share her father’s story no matter how hard it is.

This memoir describes what life was like in the Brethren. Everything outside their close knit group was forbidden: TV, news, worldly people, books that were not approved, movies, etc. As a child Rebecca was caught up in thinking about the Rapture when Jesus would be returning to take all the Brethren to Heaven. This book not only describes what life was like, but about how being in such a controlled spiritual environment fractured relationships and one’s sense of self. Her father was the head of the household and had a bad temper. Rebecca never understood why until she dug deeper into her father’s past and what being a preacher in the Brethren was like for him. Rebecca never knew what it was like to voice her own opinion growing up. Women were to keep quiet and not question anything.  It took years for Rebecca to learn how to voice her own opinion and to patch up her relationship with her father.

For some reason this topic fascinates me. I can see why cults lure people. People like having spiritual matters laid out in black and white. Being told what to believe, how to act, dress and think is easier than having to make your own decisions. A few years ago I experienced what might be termed as an online Christian cult of sorts. I was enthralled by a particular Christian YouTuber. I befriended this woman, but as soon as I started being honest about red flags I was seeing I got disfellowshiped and unfriended. That is unless I had a prayer request, then by all means it was ok to contact this woman. At the time I discovered and befriended this woman I was spiritually vulnerable and spiritually hungry, so of course I gobbled up what she said. I followed her hook line and sinker. Sadly she burnt me. I thought I had a genuine sister in Christ, but instead I got black listed by her. Sadly there are others out there that had the same thing happen to them. One minute you are a blessing from God and the next you are not a true saved follower of Jesus. I can see why Rebecca’s Faith didn’t survive her cult indoctrination. It’s sad her faith didn’t survive her upbringing, but I don’t blame her for guarding her heart.

I received an ARC of In The Days Of Rain by Rebecca Stott for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. If you’ve been raised in a cult this book may be too, much of a trigger, but it also, may help you sort through your own journey whether you are still inside the cult, or are free from it.