I’m So Glad You’re Hereis 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving this honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
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.
“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
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!
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!
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
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.
I was very underwhelmed by this book. Relief to Belief is meant to be a book helping people find a way to feel relief. I found it to be lacking in support and self-help. The chapters were speaking at the reader and were written with a very know-it-all attitude. While I do want someone writing a self-help book to be knowledgeable, I want them to write it with language that feels compassionate and helpful. This was not written that way.
My Ratings Reasons:
This book had such a substantial amount of errors that I finally stopped marking them, it was taking too much time to make the notes. I do not ever want to call out errors in a book, unless they are extreme. Even books like Harry Potter had errors, so this is not meant to call out just a few minimal errors that I found. The entire book had glaring errors that made me confident that this book was not edited.
Capitol letters were used in the middle of sentences:
“There’s a saying which goes, ‘You’re what you speak”, This is very applicable here as well.” – Excerpt from Relief of Belief by Sophia Kaankuka
Words missing from sentences:
“I once had a conversation with a young lady. I asked her what inspires her the most, and she replied me, ‘My ability to define myself in all ramifications defines me’. – Excerpt from Relief of Belief by Sophia Kaankuka
Relief of Belief is filled with completely confusing statements. I do not feel that most readers, would be able to truly understand the meaning of these statements; I know that I could not.
For Example: “Although, sometimes we may think that we don’t have the standard aggregates. But, then we have to comprehend that we should pen down our mind’s thoughts, and then put them to action, propose our positions, and gear ourselves up for effectuation” *Please note this statement was taken verbatim from the book. Any errors you see are not mine, but are from the book.*
While the book had chapters and sections, I did not feel that it was organized in a way that made it easy for a reader to follow and find help. Additionally, I was unable to find any actual steps and strategies to help someone find relief.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would not recommend that anyone read this book at this time. I was unable to find any self-help qualities in the book and it needs to be thoroughly edited and organized.
The following is the Relief of Belief synopsis taken from Goodreads.
Relief of Belief summarizes Relief as a veritable as well as a standard and vital ingredient that never pushes your buttons but braces you up for the best that is yet to come. The fact that we are all pilgrims and tourists of our own life is a reality that you ought to fight your own battles despite the turbulence of the storm, You’d definitely find your map and that map would take you where you desire and where is best for you to go, I assure you that absolutely no one can push and pull you away because the best is staring at you on the face and the greatest is yet to come to you. Be resilient and persevere very hard, never give up; Always place your eyes on your game plans and achieve your dreams and aspirations very diligently, Never deviate from forward looking even when all seems a bit downwards and backwards. Be Inspired!
Relief of Belief by Sophia Kaankuka
Page Count: 53 pages
Publisher: Independently Published (Sophia Kaankuka)
Publishing Date: May 18, 2019
I was offered a free copy of this book by the author through Amazon Kindle. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
I don’t cook. I don’t bake. If I don’t say that honestly at the beginning of this review, everyone that knows me will comment at the end of this post to remind me. So, WHY am I reviewing a cookbook?
I think that any cookbook that intrigued someone terrified of a kitchen deserves some praise!
What I Loved:
As I have previously stated, the kitchen is foreign to me, so upon opening this book, I was already in love. There is a section just to make sure I don’t mess anything up!
Cups to Grams conversions
Fahrenheit to Celsius conversions
Ingredients listings and suggestions on brands
Essential Cooking Utensils list
Did you know that cups to grams conversions are different based on the type of ingredient you are measuring? Well I didn’t, but this cookbook made sure I knew so that I did everything right!
Inside The Book:
The different types of delicious foods that can be made are broken out into separate sections:
Breakfast and Fruit
Cookies and Cupcakes (MY PERSONAL FAVORITE!)
Frosting and Toppings
Each recipe has an adorable name, a photo of the actual food, prep time, cook time, and approximate serving size.
Did I feel well-instructed?:
Rebecca Henry wrote this book for me, I’m sure of it! Or at least she wrote it with people like me in mind. Each recipe gave a bit more than just the instructions. There are wonderful comments that would help someone new to cooking with that ingredient.
If your dough is too crumbly and will not form into a ball, add just a dash of milk. You want the batter crumbly, not wet. A dash should do just fine.”
White Christmas Snowball Cookies, A Very Vegan Christmas by Rebecca Henry
It is very important not to have the skillet too hot. Pancake batter hates a very hot burner.”
Snowman Pankcakes, A Very Vegan Christmas by Rebecca Henry
To Cook or Not To Cook: While this cookbook is targeted to vegan cooks, these fun holiday recipes would be wonderful for anyone wanting to make some new holiday treats this year! I would recommend this cookbook to anyone!
Christmas has always been an important holiday in my home. It is a time for gathering in the kitchen to bake with family and friends. This book contains traditional, holiday recipes prepared from nondairy and cruelty free ingredients.
With 46 recipes to choose from, you will have a classic selection of recipes to inspire your little Christmas elves or sugar plum fairies to gobble up their plates! Being a mom of two, and so no stranger to hosting Christmas parties for little ones, I understand the importance of presentation. If the food is fun and engaging, children and adults alike, will want to try vegan options. The recipes come with creative decorating ideas, party suggestions and enchanting holiday recipe names, to get your cute little Mrs. Claus helpers, eager to bake with you in the kitchen.
Check out the cute book trailer for A Very Vegan Christmas on YouTube
Best Selling Amazon Author of Hybrid: Adapt or Die. Her debut novel was The Lady Raven: A Dark Cinderella Tale, which was published in 2017. The Lady Raven, is for those who have an infinity for fairy tales retold with a link to witches, magic and the macabre.
Rebecca’s second novel, Louisiana Latte, a chick lit comedy was released February 28th 2019. Louisiana Latte, is a feel good comedy that focuses on the bonds of sisters, and how audacious life can be when you have a diva for one!
Rebecca’s third novel Hybrid: Adapt or Die, is a sci-fi, horror, romance novel. It takes the reader on a wild ride of government conspiracy theories, ancient aliens but also touches your heart with a tender love story. Hybrid was released August 1st 2019.
Her fourth novel Conjure Lake, a ya, dark fantasy, horror novel will be released in 2020. The entire first chapter is included at the end of Hybrid first edition copies. You can find all of Rebecca’s books on Amazon.
Rebecca Henry is a world traveler living abroad in England. Besides being an author, Rebecca is also a podcast talk host on the show The Latte Talk. The podcast was inspired by her latest novel, Louisiana Latte and her diva sister Deb. She is a serious vegan, gardener, crafter, wife and mom who practices yoga. She loves to laugh, her drug of choice and loves all things witchy with a hint of the macabre. Her favorite holiday is Halloween and her favorite movie of all time is Practical Magic.
What I Loved: This true story had photos and easy to understand language for young children. It made my daughter invested in the story. She had a lot of questions and wanted to know so much about this!
How I Felt: I knew nothing about this experiment and I was fascinated by the story. The domestication of the Siberian silver fox started in 1959 and is still ongoing. Watching Pushinka devlop a loving relationship with Lyudmila was wonderful. As Pushinka learns and changes, I found myself extremely invested and found this to be an enjoyable read for not only my daughter, but also myself.
To Read or Not To Read: This is a great book for teaching about long-term experiments to children. The images and wording make it perfect for any elementary student.
In 1959, an experiment was started to see if the Siberian silver fox could be domesticated. Year after year, the foxes were scored on a friendliness test and the highest scored were allowed to breed and those pups were then tested and the cycle started again. Lyudmila was so taken by Pushinka, one of the pups, that she moved into a small home with the fox to take the experiment to the next level. What resulted is a story of love and friendship.
I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.
Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe
Rating: 5 out of 5.
What I Loved:
The photographs in this book were amazing! Each page is filled with beautiful photos giving the reader a wonderful look into each cast member’s day. Some photos are head-shots of the cast, or while they are working. Other pages have multiple shots of the person working on something.
One of the many that I loved was Thomas Self. His page tells us that he is a machinist on The Jungle Cruise. The page talks about Thomas and his job. His photos though, were of him working on The Jungle Cruise, in his scuba gear. There are close ups of him with the animals and I just loved getting that “behind-the-scenes” view.