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Addiction is something we don’t like to fess up to. Whether it’s over spending, over eating, or drinking we all have our own personal demons. When I agreed to review Dryland I don’t think I glanced at what it was about since I knew it was a memoir and I love memoirs. This memoir is about Nancy and her alcohol addiction.

Nancy loved swimming since she was little. She was talented and won a lot of swim meet awards growing up. She almost made it to the 88′ olympics. Winning made her Dad proud, so she focused on swimming until her swimming career came to an end. Not having swimming as her anchor she signed up for the Peace Corps. Nancy traveled to different countries where she had different adventures in the process picking up a stronger addiction to drinking. Culturally in the countries she was in it was socially acceptable to drink.  It took Nancy going to the Middle East where the severity of her addiction slapped her in the face. 

This memoir is honest, raw, funny and not an easy read. For Nancy to come clean about her near deadly alcohol addiction isn’t easy. It’s tough enough to just admit to yourself you have an addiction, let alone publish it for the whole to read. There is a risk in being judged, or misunderstood, but what Nancy has done is graciously opened a door for conversation on this vital topic. No matter what your addiction might be, Nancy’s memoir of her journey to sobriety will keep you cheering as she swims her way to victory. I received my copy for free of charge from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I recommend this book for anyone needing inspiration to quit an addiction. Thank you Nancy for your authentic, lovely self sharing your struggles, but most of all your triumphs.

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

All Our Waves Are Water 

I didn’t even read the blurb about All Our Waves Are Water by Jaimal Yogis. All I knew was it was a memoir and I love memoirs. This book is about Jaimal and his search for life’s meaning through going on trips to India, Bali, San Francisco, etc. He was raised Buddhist by his parents, but throughout his schooling he is exposed to other faiths and beliefs. Jaimal discovers that the sacred can be found in many other faiths, even places he didn’t expect like the wailing wall in Jerusalem. He also, discovers that the most unlikely people can wake you up to realize what you truly have when you all you feel is blah about your life. One love of Jaimal’s life is surfing. It’s his way to regroup, get exercise and hone his surfing skills. He uses surfing as a way to describe how he has found the meaning of life.

At first this book was alright, but nearing the end I got sucked in and then I was on the last page wanting to read more. This book made me laugh and think outside the box. I’ve never been surfing, but after this book I might want to be brave and try it one day. I received my free ARC copy of All Our Waves Are Water  from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest assessment. If you are interested to get your own copy click here to purchase it from HarperCollins.

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends

Memoirs are my favorite genre to read. When I was asked if I wanted to review My Glory Was I Had Such Friends I said, “Yes,” without even reading what the memoir was about. As long as it’s a memoir I’m down for reading it. When I got my ARC copy in the mail the hummingbirds on the cover stood out to me in their different colors. Now that I finished reading Amy’s story I know the symbolism behind the hummingbirds.

Amy’s memoir takes you on a front seat tour of what life is like living with a heart transplant and realizing it’s time for needing a new one. Her descriptions of procedures are not for the squeamish, but are important to fully understand what her life and many other’s lives are like who have a donor’s heart. Amy is candid, funny, grumpy and strong-willed. She will make you laugh and cry throughout this gem of a book.

This book is not only about Amy, but about her assortment of close girlfriends who rally around her to help her out while she is staying in the hospital waiting for a second heart transplant. The one she’s had since age 25 is waving its white flag now that she’s 50. That feat in and of its self is a miracle. Each of Amy’s close girlfriends are depicted in all their uniqueness, quirks and all. One of her best friends puts together a spreadsheet of whose coming to stay with Amy when and each time someone stays they email the circle of friends to update them on Amy.

I received an ARC copy of My Glory Was I Had Such Friends courtesy of TLC Book Tours to review and give my honest assessment. This book shows how friendships change through the years, but close friends are vital to our lives. It’s sad to me that superficial friends seem to be the norm. I don’t know how many girlfriends in my life would do what Amy’s friends did for a weeks and sometimes weeks at a time. These women had their own families and obligations, but they made Amy their priority even when it wasn’t easy or pretty. May we all have the depth of friendship Amy is blessed with. Thank you for blessing me with your memoir. To get your copy click here to purchase from HarperCollins.