Strong Like Water by Laila Tarraf

"Non Fiction" words carved into wood
Book cover "Strong Like Water" with cover image of water rippling
Book Genre "Memoir" with person writing with pen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is all memoir, self-help, and inspiration. I loved that while it discusses ways to be stronger in a business setting, this story really prepares you to be successful in life.

Tarraf takes the reader on her emotional journey of heartbreak and growth. I was saddened reading about Laila’s childhood where her parents’ fighting turned physical, creating a poor home environment for her. After she started her own family, she endured a devastating loss of her husband as well as both of her parents. Her story talks about her therapy and finding a way through her grief. The things that she learns, she speaks to us about applying in our daily lives, both personally and professionally.

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The Adventures of a Victorian Con Woman by Mick Davis and David Lassman

Rating: 4 out of 5.
"Non Fiction carved into wood
Book cover two men and 1 woman in victorian clothing
"Non Fiction" words carved into wood

Mrs. Gordon Baillie, or Annie, is a Victorian con woman that I knew nothing about before picking up this book. I loved reading about her wide variety of ways in which to swindle people out of something, and it was exciting to learn about her ways of escape just before she would have been caught.

There were some parts that created a more humorous view of Annie’s situations, and I enjoyed those as I found myself laughing out loud! The story is written so that while we are learning about her, it feels more like a story and less like a non-fiction history book. It was a good mix of info and story.

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Olive the Lionheart by Brad Ricca

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First of all, this cover is AMAZING! It is the kind of cover that made me not even care what the book was about, I knew I wanted to read it. And I lucked out because what was under the cover was good too!

This is a non-fiction account of Olive MacLeod. In 1910, she found out that her fiancé had gone missing while in Africa. So…she packed her bags and went to find him. Olive MacLeod is the kind of woman I would have liked to know. She was fiercely independent, wildly disregarding of the early 1900’s social restrictions, and extremely adventurous!

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I’m So Glad You’re Here by Pamela Gay

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My Synopsis:

I’m So Glad You’re Here is a memoir written by Pamela Gay. She shares her very traumatic early life experiences and how those shaped her life. Pamela witnessed her father’s forced removal from their family home at a young age. He was restrained and wheeled out right in front of her, leaving a terrible mental imprint on her. Pamela’s family later moved to Florida leaving her behind, which further impacts her mental health.

Pamela shares with the reader that she was later diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. She tries a multitude of methods to help her, but finally finds eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) as a therapy method and finds that it helps her. This leads her to the beginning of her healing process.

How I Felt:

Pamela Gay’s story was written with such an honest, emotional voice. I thought that she was very open about her experiences and her recovery process, and I appreciated that. She talks a lot about her family’s dynamic, how they interacted with one another, and also about their mental health history. I like how this information helped to shape her story, and I found it very interesting.

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Perils and Pearls by Hulda Bachman-Neeb

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As A Whole:

I loved that Perils and Pearls provides a view of a family’s experiences during World War II from a different setting than I usually find. I liked that this covered Indonesia and the Netherlands throughout the book.

On the Details:

The story begins with the patriarchal line, dating back to the 1600s. I struggled with this portion of the story a bit. I had a hard time keeping all the family members straight, and I’m unsure if this much detail was truly necessary to the overall story. It was interesting to see how Bachman-Neeb’s family moves between Indonesia and the Netherlands though. I was intrigued by all the historical information that I didn’t know much about. I felt like there was some good information that provided detail that helped understand the rest of her story.

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