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

When We Believed In Mermaids

Josie and Kit are sisters, best friends and soulmates of sorts. Their lives are dominated by their dad’s Italian restaurant and their parents fiery marriage. Both sisters look out for each other the best they can. Their lives improve when Dylan washes up on their doorstep one stormy night. He’s only a kid himself, but lies to appear older. Josie and Kit’s mom takes Dylan into their family, like one of their own. He becomes Josie and Kit’s surrogate brother, parent and best friend.

When the big earthquake of 89′ hits their California town all their lives change drastically. To numb from the grief Josie buries herself into surfing, drugs and boys. Kit keeps to herself reading and studying. Josie takes off to numb her grief.

One day Kit and her mom get the news Josie has died in France. Can Kit and her mom handle any more grief? Kit moves forward becoming a doctor and pushing away the grief of loosing her wayward older sister.

Years later there’s a news report. Kit glances at the newscaster and notices a familiar looking woman in the background. Is it Josie’s ghost? Does her sister have a secret twin out there? Kit’s mom calls to ask if she saw what looked like Josie on the news. Why would her sister be in New Zealand? How is it that she’s alive? Kit’s mom begs her to go find her sister. Kit relents and goes to New Zealand. Will Kit find Josie? If Josie is alive, why would she fake her own death?

I received my complimentary copy of When We Believed In Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal from TLC Book Tours and the author. This novel is a masterpiece of literature that will leave you craving for more. This story delves into the complicated world of fractured families that are trying the best they can, how siblings can be your lifeline when it feels like you are all alone in the world and how we don’t always share everything with our family. If you are sensitive to the topics of alcohol and drug use and abuse then this novel may not be the best fit. I thought I’d read my top favorite book for 2019 and I was wrong. This novel wins 100%. To find out more about Barbara O’Neal check out her website and purchase your copy via B&N.

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

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

In The Image Of Man

If you like outside the box fiction with a spiritual twist, then you might enjoy In The Image Of Man. This book follows the journey of a little invisible god named Bob who starts out as a little spark until an old vendor repair man named Ray calls out, “Bob’s your uncle,” when he survives a car accident. Thus how the little god got the name Bob. This is Bob’s journey on how he learns to be a god and what it means for a god to have faith in those who believe in him.

Bob watches over his first believer Ray until he discovers a new believer by the name of Mary. She’s been going through a lot with her job and boyfriend. One day when Mary is upset, Bob spells out some words using her tears for her to be able to see that he exists. She is shocked and not quite sure what to make of it, but when interesting things start happening in her life thanks to Bob, she starts to believe in him.

I received my complimentary digital copy of In The Image Of Man by Mark Long via Booktasters care of the author. The views are my own and of my own will. This book explores the concept of belief and how believing in something helped both Ray, Mary and others. I think it was fascinating hearing the story from the viewpoint of Bob. It was interesting how Bob interacts with those who were raised on Western Christianity vs an Eastern faith. It’s also, interesting how Bob learns about humans and our society throughout the story.

Book Review · Books

The Great Unexpected

Joel’s wife recently died and now he has a roommate at his retirement home that doesn’t talk back. Mr. Miller is in a comma, but is still someone to talk to. That is, until he expires one day and Joel has to watch the nurses try to revive him.

Joel wonders if he’ll get a new roommate then enters in Frank Adams otherwise know as Mr. de Selby; an old actor who has the flair to match his fancy scarfs he wears. He’s very chatty and everyone at the home seems to like him, but Joel is not too, keen on his roommate.

Overtime they form an interesting friendship of sorts. Slowly his roommate scrapes away the bitterness that Joel holds onto like a vice grip. Life seems to be looking up until Joel confesses that he wants to be done with it all. The question is how does he want to go out? Frank wants to help out so he starts to write a play of Joel’s final moments via brainstorming in his journal.

Since Joel’s time is nearing to an end once he figures out how he wants to go, they both decide they want a night out on the town. They escape the home and proceed to go to a bar. They get properly sloshed and go back to the home. The head director is fuming and Joel’s daughter is furious he’d risk his life when he has a ver perfectly good place at the retirement home.

One person whose worried about Joel is his friend Una, who was friends with his wife, Lucey. She’s been keeping an eye on him and he’s been avoiding her obvious interest in him.

Frank and Joel decide to go on a few more nighttime jaunts into the city. One such adventure they bump into Joel’s grandkids who find it hilarious their grandfather is boozing it up with his roommate. Who knew partying with your grandkids could be a fun time. When they return more precautions are taken so they won’t escape again.

This novel discusses so many important topics. Friendship is a key one, but also, the topic of receiving respect when you are elderly. I know when my grandmother had to move into her retirement home it wasn’t easy. Having sense of loss after living in a house to a small apartment with neighbors all around is a big change. I also, think going from living independent to assisted living is a big change, to feel your sense of control of your own life is being micromanaged by someone else who is in charge. Another topic covered is how we ware masks as a defense mechanism. Joel’s roommate Frank uses his character, de Selby as his persona when he’s not wanting to be vulnerable. Joel uses grumpiness as his defense mechanism.

I received my complimentary copy of The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney from TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are my own and of my own will. This book is a gem and a reread. The characters are hilarious and thought provoking. The banter between Joel and Frank reminds me of the movie, “Grumpy Old Men.” I can’t wait to read more fantastic books by Dan Mooney.

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.