Book Review · Books

The Book Of No Worries

When I was in junior high we had the classic book by Dr. James Dobson, Preparing For Adolescence. I recall it being an awkward book to read. When you are in junior high reading about bodily changes is cringe worthy. When I saw the book, The Book Of No Worries, I wondered how a similar book would be now that it’s 2019 and not 1990? This book covers a similar range of topics, including modern ones like social media, sexting, the morning after pill, LGBTQA and more.

It boggles my mind that a junior higher nowadays would have to be told about the morning after pill and sexting. When I was in junior high a cell phone was a foreign concept, contraception at that age unthinkable and sexting was not even a blip on our radar. I don’t know that these topics are appropriate for the age group intended. Yes, kids get provided more adult information earlier on, but that doesn’t mean they are mature enough to handle it. As for the topic of sexuality I do wish more had been explained around that age. When you are in the bubble of social heterosexuality, the idea of their being alternatives is a foreign concept. This book was informative and very thorough. I don’t think if I had a preteen that I’d give them this book necessarily.

I received my complimentary digital copy of The Book Of No Worries by Lizzie Cox via NetGalley. The views expressed are my own. I think it’s interesting to see the modern topics discussed in this book. If you want to see how much the world has changed this book will will open your eyes.

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.

Book Review · Books

Dark Blossom

Cynthia is a therapist whose still putting her and her daughter, Lily’s life back together after her divorce. When a new client named Sam comes in for his appointment, Cynthia has no idea how this man’s story might affect her own life. Sam is reeling from the sudden passing of his wife and young teenage son, William.

Lily is a teen going through her punk phase and not too, thrilled with her mother. No matter how much Cynthia tries to open up to her daughter regarding the divorce Lily just keeps shutting her out.

When Lily and Sam meet it seems they are strangely two peas in a pod, which weirds out Cynthia. Sam seems to be good at talking with Lily, which Cynthia has been attempting to for months. When Lily and Sam mention they both have secrets, Cynthia wonders just what kind of secrets they are.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick from Rupa Publications, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are my own. This debut novel had me hooked. I love how Cynthia has a special journal for each of her clients. That one detail as a journal addict connected with me. The characterization of Cynthia, Sam and Lily is so realistic that I wish they were real people. This is a novel that will stay with you long after the final page.

Book Review · Books

Where The Forest Meets The Stars

Reading debut novels is an adventure. You don’t know what thrilling new author you might discover. Honestly who can look at this book cover and not want to dive into this story? I just finished reading the last page and I already want a sequel.

Jo is still reeling from the passing of her mom and coming to terms with her own health challenges. As a bird researcher she enjoys the solitude her work gives her. One night Jo encounters a little girl who appears lost, hungry and shy. Feeding this unknown waif Jo learns this girl is an alien visiting from another plant. Ursa does seem very bright for her approximate age. Doing the right thing a few days later, Jo calls the local police, but gets the strangest reaction. Ursa runs off as soon as she senses it’s the police.

After locating Ursa, Jo realizes the police won’t be any help. Her and Ursa encounter the local egg man who sells eggs near the house she’s renting for her summer research. Egg man is handsome and Ursa seems to take a liking to him. Because of Jo’s health challenges she doesn’t feel desirable, but egg man is cute and they seem to get along.

Both Jo and egg man take to both helping out Ursa by swapping taking care of her. Through this joint effort they all start to create a bond of sorts. One day when they are out helping Jo with her field work Ursa gets whacked by a tree branch. Due to the injury Jo and egg man start to drive her to the hospital, but Ursa leaps out of the car and makes a dash for it.

This book covers a myriad of topics from what makes up a family, relationships, health, to missing children, and so much more. This book was intense from page one and had me wanting to find out what happens to Jo, Ursa and egg man.

I received a complimentary copy of Where The Forest Meets The Stars by Glendy Vanderah from Lake Union care of TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are my own.

Book Review · Books

Beauty In The Broken Places

What would you do if your spouse had a stroke right in front of you and you are only in your early 30’s? What if this happened in the air on a plane? Novelist, Allison Pataki experienced this on their way to their Hawaii vacation to celebrate the daughter they were going to be having. Beauty Of The Broken Places is Allison’s memoir of what happened after that fateful June day.

This memoir was a front row seat to what it’s like to experience your loved one ending up with a traumatic brain injury and how to care for them. Allison doesn’t hold back the raw fear, frustration and sadness over what happened. She also, shares how her and her husband, Dave’s friends, family, strangers they met along the way helped out. Allison also, covers the topic of faith, doubt and hope.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Beauty In The Broken Places by Allison Pataki from NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own. This memoir is my second favorite book I’ve read this year. This book is intense and such an important read. This memoir is truly about the power of family and friends, how even the smallest assistance given when someone needs it is huge for them.

Book Review · Books

The Quiet You Carry

Victoria’s life changes the day her mom dies. Her mom asks her to promise she’ll take care of her dad. Victoria says, “Yes,” not realizing what this will entail. How do you help a grieving parent when you, yourself, are trying to grieve as a teen? Victoria does her best to help out by cooking and cleaning. Her dad meets Tiffany who he takes a shining to. Next thing Victoria knows she’s gained a stepmom and a stepsister, Sarah.

Life seems to be turning into something normal once Tiffany and Sarah enter Victoria’s life until the night her dad acts weird towards her and throws her out. Literally. Victoria lands into foster care, not understanding why. She is placed into Connie’s home.

Life in her new foster home is like walking on eggshells. Connie is strict and not one to hand out sympathy. Victoria attempts to befriend her foster sister, but the other girl mainly keeps to herself. Being at Connie’s means that Victoria is thrown into attending a different school and living in a different town.

Will Victoria adjust to her foster home? Can she start over in a small town where it seems everyone knows everyone else’s business? Can Victoria keep her secrets hidden indefinitely?

I received a digital ARC copy of The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess from North Star Editions and Flux, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are strictly mine. This book is engrossing from page 1. I could not put this novel down. Victoria’s story is an important one that everyone needs to read. This book will have you crying, laughing, cringing and cheering. For a debut novel I’m beyond impressed. I will definitely be searching for other titles by Nikki Barthelmess because she is a talented author you won’t want to miss. Definitely keep an eye out this year for this upcoming YA novel.

Book Review · Books

Raising Faith

What would you do if your child could see people who have passed on and you aren’t a believer of the supernatural? Claire Waters finds herself in this exact predicament. Her daughter, Faith is shy and not one to boast of her abilities. When she is little Claire discovers her daughter’s psychic ability. At first Claire is creeped out, wondering if her daughter is safe with these people she can see, but Faith never seems frightened. To Faith it’s normal to her and nothing is wrong. This memoir is Claire’s journey in learning about her daughter’s supernatural abilities.

Claire does a great job of being forthright in her skepticism and how she goes about researching these gifts her daughter has. As someone who didn’t believe in life after death, after her daughter confirms she can see her grandfather, Claire is provided more evidence that helps her in believing her dad isn’t truly gone. He may not physically be there, but that doesn’t mean he’s not there in spirit form.

This book was fascinating. I can’t see spirits of people who have passed on, but I do know someone who can see angels. I believe this is a spiritual gift you have to be careful and mindful with. I do believe there are demons out there that can masquerade as someone you may have known and try to trick you. Not all spirits are good and safe. They are those that want to harm you. I do believe in life after death and I do think those who have passed on can send us signs. This book a bit out of my comfort zone, but I do find the topic interesting. I think children are more open to the supernatural because they haven’t been tainted yet by the world.

I received my digital ARC copy of Raising Faith by Claire Waters from John Hunt Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are strictly my own. If you enjoy books about this topic then keep an eye out for this title next year.