Swagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want by Leslie Ehm

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Self-Help is a genre that continues to interest me. Swagger is focused on helping you to become your true, authentic self. As you go through the book, there are activities and ways to help you create goals.

I thought this was a really great book to help you become who YOU truly are. This is not about faking or pretending until you become what you think you are, it is about bringing out what is already inside you. The stories that are shared within this book are truly inspirational, and I found myself nodding over and over as I read them.

Continue reading “Swagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want by Leslie Ehm”

Cerebral Palsy: A Story by Ilana Estelle

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Born the second of premature twins, Ilana knew she was different from a young age, but for all the wrong reasons. Part memoir, part motivational guide, this is Ilana’s open and honest journey, from an angry confused child, knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what, to the ‘real’ her – a courageous woman using her experiences and lessons to create inspiring messages about mental and physical health, positivity, resilience and change.

Just the Facts:

Cerebral Palsy: A Story by Ilana Estelle
Genre: Memoir
Page Count: 288 pages
Publisher: RedDoor Press
Pub Date: Feb 1, 2020

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Pennies from Heaven by Koedi Nealy

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Welcome to the blog tour for Pennies from Heaven hosted by iRead Book Tours!
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Based on the true-life events that led Koedi Nealy to start changing lives one penny at a time at the age of seven, “Pennies from Heaven” teaches children that they are never too young to do great things for God. Koedi’s journey culminated in forming a non-profit that currently serves the homeless population in Houston, Texas, helping the most overlooked and undervalued people in the community.

Just the Facts:

Pennies from Heaven by Koedi Nealy
Genre:  Children’s Non-Fiction
Page Count: 27 pages
Publisher: Halo Publishing International
Pub Date: Nov 29, 2020

Where to Find This Book:

Amazon

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I had the chance to interview Koedi Nealy! Check out our conversation!

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

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Strong Like Water by Laila Tarraf

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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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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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Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Mikel Jollett wrote this memoir in a way that made me see how he felt going through these experiences. His narrative changes as he ages, so I really got a sense of the issues that he dealt with during each age range of his life. As a child, his story is written with a child’s narrative, and it was my favorite part. I loved how he chose to spell or write words, making me understand what this word meant or how it sounded to him as a child.

How I Felt:

I listened to the audio version of this book, so my review will discuss both the book itself, and the narration of the book.

Mikel Jollett spent the early years of his life in a cult called Synanon in California. Synanon started as a drug rehabilitation group, drawing Mikel’s parents to the cult, as his father was an addict. Synanon leaders soon forgot their original purpose, transforming into the cult Mikel grew up in. All children were separated from parents and raised in an orphanage-type environment within the Synanon encampment. Many children did not understand who their parents were, and some families rarely saw each other. Mikel writes about his brother in a description of the treatment of the children and it broke my heart.

Continue reading “Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett”

Bury Him by Doug Chamberlain

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bury Him is one of the most heartbreaking memoirs I have read recently. I was so invested in Doug Chamberlain’s story and I felt every single emotion that he described throughout his story. It’s a war story that shows the lifelong impact of war time events on soldiers.

Doug Chamberlain did an excellent job of writing his story. I felt the entire book was well-written and I appreciated his honest, open expression of his feelings and the events he had to endure. I liked that this story offered a view of this war from a soldier’s eye. This war was before my time, so it is one I only have books like this to learn from.

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Four Faces of Femininity: Heroic Women Throughout History by Barbara McNally

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Can I just talk for a minute about how beautiful this book is?!?!?! Just from the cover, you get a sense of how amazing the artwork is on the inside. It is a feast for the eyes! I loved taking in each lovely page in Four Faces of Femininity.

What I Felt:

Feminism is a weird thing to me. I grew up in a family-owned hardware store, so I learned how to unload a truck, stock shelves, mix paint, and help any plumber or electrician that walked through the door. On the other hand, I learned nothing about being in a kitchen. I have, on multiple occasions, baked a frozen pizza with the cardboard still underneath it. I am also the sole-worker in our household, with my husband being a stay-at-home dad. So, I’ve never really felt stuck in a gender role.

Continue reading “Four Faces of Femininity: Heroic Women Throughout History by Barbara McNally”

Notes to My Son by Eric Lynn

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the concept and execution of Notes to My Son. Written in the form of 25 letters to his son, Eric Lynn shares advice on life, being a dad, and so much more. I loved the way he put his feelings down as a tribute to his son.

How I Felt:

The letters, or notes, that Lynn has compiled for his son are broken up into 25 unique pieces. I have found that these really stayed with me after I finished. There is a lot of wonderful advice for people of all ages in this book.

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Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Doreen Rappaport – A Kid’s Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Wow! Can we just talk about the cover for a minute? The illustrated cover of Ruth Objects is a sneak peek of the amazing illustrations inside. This cover is so powerful, the title isn’t even on it! The artwork is doing all the work and it is perfect. What an amazing job illustrator Eric Velasquez did on this book. He doesn’t stop there with many more beautifully created images inside the cover.

How I Felt:

Ruth Objects is a biographical book on Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The story is structured in chronological order of Ruth’s life making it an easy-to-follow story for young readers. The book is filled with quotes from Ruth and more of that amazing artwork by Eric Velasquez.

Doreen Rappaport has done an excellent job of telling Ruth’s story to a young reader. She writes about Ruth’s challenges with the loss of her mother, being a woman in the workforce, equal pay struggles, and so much more. Her achievements are not forgotten either. Becoming the second woman to ever be appointed to the United States Supreme Court is such an inspiring and amazing accomplishment. I appreciate that this book can help a young person read about someone they can look up to.

Overall, this is an impactful story of Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life thus-far. It is filled with wonderful quotes from Ruth and amazing illustrations to make each page worth devouring. You’ll enjoy reading this as much as your little one.

To Read or Not To Read:

This is a great book is targeted for a 6+ audience and I think that is just right. While the pages are not crammed with text, what is on each page is thought-provoking and will lead to a good discussion for a child of this age. An excellent book for schools, libraries, and the home.

Where to Find This Book:

Ruth Objects by Doreen Rappaport published on February 11, 2020. You can find the book at these places.

Amazon  | Kindle | Goodreads

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a trailblazer. A fighter. A public servant who has dedicated her life to the pursuit of equality.

When Ruth was a young girl, her mother encouraged her to read, be independent, and stand up for what she thought was right. Ruth graduated first in her class at Cornell University and tied for top of her graduating class at Columbia Law School. But she faced prejudice as both a woman and a Jew, making it difficult to get a job. Ruth eventually found work as a law clerk, and her determination, diligence, and skill led to a distinguished career as a lawyer.

In 1993, she became the second woman ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court. As a Supreme Court justice, Ruth has inspired fierce admiration and faced fervent opposition for her judgments in high-profile cases, many of which have involved discrimination. She has been lauded for her sharp wit and boldness, even when her opinions differ from that of the majority.

As a student, teacher, lawyer, and judge, Ruth often experienced unfair treatment. But she persisted, becoming a cultural icon, championing equality in pay and opportunity. Her brilliant mind, compelling arguments, and staunch commitment to truth and justice have convinced many to stand with her, and her fight continues to this day.

This installment of the award-winning Big Words series brings a legendary figure into focus with Doreen Rappaport’s incisive prose combined with Ruth’s own words. Eric Velasquez’s dynamic illustrations infuse every scene with life in a moving tribute that will inspire young justice seekers everywhere.

  • Ruth Objects by Doreen Rappaport
  • Illustrated by Eric Velasquez
  • Series: Big Words
  • Target Reader: 6+
  • Page Count: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Hyperion
  • Pub Date: February 11, 2020
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I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving this honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

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#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #shejustlovesbooksforkids #ruthobjects #kidslit #kidsbooks #childrensbooks #storygramtours #doreenrappaport #EricVelasquez

A Discovery: A Bookshop in Berlin by Françoise Frenkel, Patrick Modiano – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

A Bookshop in Berlin is not your normal memoir. Françoise Frenkel wrote her experiences down and they were published in 1945. They were then re-discovered in an attic in 2010. I loved Françoise’s descriptions of her experiences. I felt delighted when she was, horrified when she was; all of her feelings were placed on the pages and as the reader, I felt a bit like I was drawing back a curtain to someone’s secrets and memories. I’m not sure if I was supposed to be there, but there I was, reading her work, and it was a beautiful and horrifying view of her experiences.

How I Felt:

A Bookshop in Berlin was a beautiful account of Françoise Frenkel’s early life and then entrapment and escape from the Nazi’s. The writing style was a bit jumpy at times. I felt like we would jump from memory to memory and I kind of wanted to go back and learn a bit more about the previous thing. However, the overall story is written from start to finish, making her experiences easy to follow, I just wanted more details sometimes.

For the book lover: If you are a lover of books, which I suspect you might be, as you are taking the time to read this, you will appreciate this book just because of Françoise’s very clear love of literature. When she was younger, she had a bookcase made of all glass so that she could place it in the middle of her room to admire the books from all sides. I mean, who doesn’t want that now!?!? I really enjoyed her descriptions of books and her passion for them. When she is closing the bookstore to leave Germany, she walks the aisles saying goodbye to her books. That part of the story made me so sad for her.

Her Escape: Her story follows her escape from Germany and the Nazi’s. It is filled with stops and starts as she is blocked by soldiers, red tape, train issues, and so many other problems. She finds and loses family members and friends. She witnesses destruction and violence, but also heartwarming moments of kindness. It is a very interesting story and I really enjoyed reading about it.

The Preface: Patrick Modiano has written the preface in A Bookshop in Berlin. I enjoyed this insight into the story. He gives background on Françoise Frenkel with some extra information that she didn’t share in her memoir. He mentions that Françoise had a husband and gives some information on him. I would have loved for her to have shared some details about their life together, but she chose to exclude him from her story.

Overall: A Bookshop in Berlin is a wonderful memoir and a powerful story.

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend A Bookshop in Berlin for readers that enjoy historical fiction, historical non-fiction, and memoirs.

Where to Find This Book:

A Bookshop in Berlin by Françoise Frenkel, Patrick Modiano (Preface) is available at these sites.

Bookshop.org | Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Goodreads

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WINNER OF THE JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE

“A beautiful and important book” (The Independent) in the tradition of rediscovered works like Suite Française and The Nazi Officer’s Wife, the prize-winning memoir of a fearless Jewish bookseller on a harrowing fight for survival across Nazi-occupied Europe.

In 1921, Françoise Frenkel–a Jewish woman from Poland–fulfills a dream. She opens La Maison du Livre, Berlin’s first French bookshop, attracting artists and diplomats, celebrities and poets. The shop becomes a haven for intellectual exchange as Nazi ideology begins to poison the culturally rich city. In 1935, the scene continues to darken. First come the new bureaucratic hurdles, followed by frequent police visits and book confiscations.

Françoise’s dream finally shatters on Kristallnacht in November 1938, as hundreds of Jewish shops and businesses are destroyed. La Maison du Livre is miraculously spared, but fear of persecution eventually forces Françoise on a desperate, lonely flight to Paris. When the city is bombed, she seeks refuge across southern France, witnessing countless horrors: children torn from their parents, mothers throwing themselves under buses. Secreted away from one safe house to the next, Françoise survives at the heroic hands of strangers risking their lives to protect her.

Published quietly in 1945, then rediscovered nearly sixty years later in an attic, A Bookshop in Berlin is a remarkable story of survival and resilience, of human cruelty and human spirit. In the tradition of Suite Française and The Nazi Officer’s Wife, this book is the tale of a fearless woman whose lust for life and literature refuses to leave her, even in her darkest hours.

Just the Facts:

  • A Bookshop in Berlin by Françoise Frenkel
  • Subtitle: The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman’s Harrowing Escape from the Nazis
  • Preface by Patrick Modiano
  • Genre: Non-fiction / Memoir
  • Page Count: 287 pages
  • Publisher:  Atria Books
  • Pub Date: December 3, 2019
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I was provided an advanced readers copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

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The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The way Candace Fleming tells the story of Charles Lindbergh is amazing. On the surface, I knew who Charles Lindbergh was before I started this book. I was so very mistaken about how much I actually knew about his life though! I was captivated by the details, photos, and stories that helped to make the full picture of The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh.

How I Felt:

This book had everything that I could have ever wanted out of a biography on Charles Lindbergh, but it also had so much more that I didn’t even know I would want!

The story gives a good background into Charles as a child. We get to know his parents and his lifestyle. Born into a very privileged life, Charles grew up without missing out on anything he wanted. His mother was definitely overly attached, even coming with him to live with him at college.

The biography moves into his exit from college, and his entrance into the world of flying. I really appreciated the details provided for this portion of his life. I had not realized just how famous he really was. As the book spoke of the kidnapping and ultimate murder of his one-year old boy, I was heart-broken. I knew about this portion of his life, but reading it still tore at my heart.

After this part of Lindbergh’s life, Candace Fleming takes the reader deeper into the lifestyle and secrets of Charles. Fleming takes us through Lindbergh’s attachment to the Nazi’s and his belief in America First. There were some great insights into Lindbergh’s beliefs and celebrity status and today’s political landscape.

Overall, I found this book to be well-researched and written in such a story-telling way that I was captivated and submerged into the story. I loved the addition of photographs to help visualize Charles and his life. This was such a strong 5-star for me!

Content Warnings:

This book does discuss the kidnapping and death of Charles Lindbergh’s one year old child, as well his Nazi-sympathizing and antisemitism.

To Read or Not To Read:

If you are looking for an amazing biography to read this year, pick up this book!

Where To Find This Book:

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming publishes on February 11, 2020. It is available at these sites.
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Kindle | Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | TBD| Kobo | iBooks

SIX STARRED REVIEWS!

Discover the dark side of Charles Lindbergh–one of America’s most celebrated heroes and complicated men–in this riveting biography from the acclaimed author of The Family Romanov.

First human to cross the Atlantic via airplane; one of the first American media sensations; Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite; loner whose baby was kidnapped and murdered; champion of Eugenics, the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding; tireless environmentalist. Charles Lindbergh was all of the above and more. Here is a rich, multi-faceted, utterly spellbinding biography about an American hero who was also a deeply flawed man. In this time where values Lindbergh held, like white Nationalism and America First, are once again on the rise, The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh is essential reading for teens and history fanatics alike.

  • The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming
  • Genre: Biography / Nonfiction
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
  • Pub Date: February 11, 2020
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Candace Fleming awarded herself the Newbery Medal in fifth grade after scraping the gold sticker off the class copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond and pasting it onto her first novel—a ten-page, ten-chapter mystery called Who Done It? She’s been collecting awards (her own, not Elizabeth George Speare’s) ever since.

Today, Candace is the versatile and acclaimed author of more than forty books for children and young adults, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize honored The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of the Russian Empire; Boston Globe/Horn Book Award-winning biography, The Lincolns; the bestselling picture book, Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; the Sibert-Award-winning Giant Squid; and the beloved Boxes for Katje. She contributed the chapter on Katharine of Aragon to Fatal Throne. Photo credit: Michael Lionstar.

I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

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