Braving Chemo by Beverly A. Zavaleta MD

What to Expect, How to Prepare and How to Get Through It

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: Beverly A. Zavaleta has written a guide to chemo for cancer patients and family that takes some of the guesswork out of a very stressful and trying time. I loved the way the book was structured with clear sections on different topics. It would make it an easy resource if someone is looking for information on a specific topic.

How I Felt: When I picked this book up, I was a bit concerned that it would be above-my-head language, but I found that it is written in a very easy to understand way. I think that the author’s medical experience as well as person experience as a cancer patient helped her to form a wonderful resource for those who need it.

To Read or Not To Read: I’m going to take this from the author’s note in the beginning of the book. The main thought is that if treatment for you or a loved one is going to undergo chemotherapy, this is a good book for you.

You should read this book if:

  • You have been diagnosed with cancer and will be starting chemotherapy.
  • You are currently undergoing chemotherapy.
  • You are caring for someone who is having chemotherapy and want to learn more about what they are going through.
  • You have a friend or loved one who is having chemotherapy and you want to give them this book as a gift.

What’s This Book About Anyway?

Braving Chemo by Beverly A. Zavaleta has written a medical go-to for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy mixed with the love and thoughtful comments of a cancer survivor.

The book is structured to provide answers and guidance on the numerous questions and concerns a cancer patient will have as they begin chemotherapy. It covers what to expect during chemotherapy, how to discuss treatment with friends and family, how to handle nausea and so many more topics.

Where To Find This Book:



Author’s Website


I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #cancerguide #chemoguide #chemotherapy

Clarence’s Big Secret by Roy MacGregor

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Clarence’s Big Secret was a great children’s non-fiction book written in a way that felt like a story to a child. It was easy for my daughter to understand and she enjoyed the book.

How I Felt:

I loved the way the book started with Clarence as a young boy and progressed through his life. It didn’t move so fast that you felt like parts of his life were skipped, and it wasn’t so slow that if felt like the story dragged. The end of the book wraps up with the triumphant reading of a book to children by Clarence, and it was so nice to see that while, it took him many years, he put effort into something that he wanted and he learned to read.

To Read or Not to Read:

This is a great book to provoke a literacy discussion with a child. It’s perfect for elementary school children. I would recommend it for any home, school, or library!

Where to Find This Book:

Clarence’s Big Secret by Roy MacGregor publishes on March 15, 2020 and is available at these sites.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes and Noble


Clarence kept a secret for almost his entire life (almost 100 years!). Whenever there was a part of his life that may require him to read, he runs away, which is sad. He has missed so many opportunities. However, he grows up and meets his wife and they have a family. As he grows older, we see how happy he is. Then, his wife passes away, and he doesn’t know what to do. She took care of any writing or reading that was required to run the house. he decides to try to teach himself, and then enlists the help of his daughter.

  • Clarence’s Big Secret by Roy MacGregor
  • Genre: Children’s book
  • Page Count: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Owlkids
  • Pub Date: March 15, 2020

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

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Choices: The True Story of One Family’s Daring Escape to Freedom by J.E. Laufer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: This is a somewhat short book at 120 pages and those 120 pages were filled with a wonderful and amazing story of strength, determination, and Choices. JE Laufer writes her family’s story with such love and passion, you cannot help, but to be drawn in. The book does not have down time, each chapter, each sentence is meaningful to the story, making it a page-turning, wonderful book.

How I Felt: I did not really know anything about this part of history. I was so pulled into the story and my heart beat faster as the family tried to escape, running towards safety. My heart broke when something would go wrong, and I was elated when something would go right. I was so pleased to see that the end of the book held photos again of people in this story, and it was so nice to connect faces with the names. My only wish was that this was a bit longer so I could stay immersed in the story longer.

To Read or Not To Read: Everyone can read this book. It’s perfect for young adults as it is short and there are characters that they can relate to. It’s perfect for adults that enjoy stories of family, survival, and history.

What’s This Book About Anyway?

JE Laufer was just 2 years old when her parents decided to attempt fleeing Hungary to gain freedom in another country. Once the decision is made, there isn’t much time, they must pack one small bag, and go. The book takes the reader through their escape, giving a glimpse into the difficulty and terror that comes with making such a daring move.

Laufer’s mother was a Jewish refugee, liberated from a concentration camp, and there are moments where Kati, her mother, reflects on those memories. The fear she feels, 12 years after she was saved from the Nazi’s, shows during moments of her escape from Budapest.

Once the family has made it across the border, their struggle for survival is not yet over. They must find food, shelter, and a path to their new lives. Choices is a beautiful tribute to JE Laufer’s family, their struggles, decisions, and sacrifices to make a better life.

Where To Find This Book:




This book was provided to me by the publisher, Little Egg Publishing, in exchange for my honest review.

#jelaufer #littleeggpublishing #shejustlovesbooks #nonfiction #memoir #hungarianrevolution #bookreview #bookblog

The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle Treat by Anne Renaud

The The Cool Science Behind Frank Epperson’s Famous Frozen Treat

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: A non-fiction story that read like a fiction book. My daughter was so interested in the story. She kept asking, so this is a true story mom, a “NON-FICTION”. It was so fun for her to imagine how this favorite treat of hers came to be.

How I Felt: The book paused with each piece of science that led to the final creation of the Popsicle and would have a Do-It-Yourself page on how to try this science experiment. It made me so happy to see this as I have children that adore a good science experiment day! This book would be great in schools and classrooms. Children become connected to the story and then see how the science behind it worked.

To Read or Not To Read: Everyone can read this book. It’s an easy story for a young child to enjoy, but it would hold the attention of up to a 4th grader because the content is very intriguing.

What’s This Book About Anyway?

Frank Epperson invented the Popsicle as a man, but as a boy, he was already in love with science and inventions. He had the spark of genius as a young child, that he held on to until his adulthood when we pushed himself to create it and sell it.

Fun Fact: Not only was a he a great inventory, but also a skilled salesman. He would send his children in one at a time to a store and have them ask for the Popsicle, and the owner would have to say they didn’t carry it, then Frank would come by a few days later, after the kids had been in a few times. Frank would offer the Popsicle, and had a sale, no problem!


This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and KidsCanPress in exchange for my honest review.

#netgalley #kidscanpress #shejustlovesbooks #shejustlovesbooksforkids #frankepperson #thepopsicle #kidslit #kidsnonfiction #kidsbooks #kidsbookreview #bookblog #bookreview #childrenslit #nonfiction #sciencebook

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The beautiful illustrations in this book were just stunning! I’ll share a few throughout my review.

How I Felt: I have never read a book of poetry before, and I was honest with the author about that before I agreed to review this book. It was hard for me to get into the book as a book like one I would normally read. What I kept thinking was that I would love to have this on my coffee table to sift through at different times. The book is broken into different segments and the poems are about that sections theme. Each of those sections are part of an octopus. Such as the below. These little previews of the next section really intrigued me.

Each of the eight arms of an octopus has enough neurons in it to act semi-independently of the brain. Does this make it easier? To have brains in your arms? Does it make it easier to decide; Do I hold on a little bit longer or do I let go?

Section II of The Octopus Curse: A Collection of Clingy Poems by Salma Farook

However, the poetry does not rhyme and that was a bit of a deterrent for me. The poems are short and easy to read, so the book itself is a pretty quick read. For me, it just wasn’t enough to pull this up to a 4 star.

To Read or Not to Read: If you enjoy reading poetry, I believe you would really enjoy this book. If you are interested in trying out a poetry book, this one is a quick read and might be a good start!


#theoctopuscurse #salmafarook #shejustlovesbooks #poetry #poetrybook #bookreview #bookblog #bookblogger

Hidden Pearl by J.E. Laufer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Little Egg Publishing Company in exchange for my honest review.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: Learning about the hiding of Jewish children in plain sight was so great. I have not read a story like this before and it just drew me in from the first page. I loved how J.E. Laufer wrote the story. She kept the scenes short and moved the book right along. I actually would have enjoyed this book being a bit longer!

How I Felt: Saddened at the terrible things this family went through, but the strength of this entire family was so moving! Pearl and her entire family, amazingly persevered through incredibly difficult odds.

To Read or Not to Read: You must read this book! I finished it in less than 24 hours. It was so good!!

What’s This Book About Anyway?

This is a true story, following Pearl and her family at the start of World War II in Poland. Pearl and her family must run as the Nazi’s invade their town and begin shooting people. Their grandmother is shot as they run and in the confusion and terror, they lose track of one of her brothers. Thus begins a terrifying journey to survive for Pearl and her family.

After being turned away from numerous homes, they take refuge in a forest and abandoned bunker. As they try to survive there, they realize they must hide some of the children at farms in the area. Pearl pretends to be an orphan and is taken in as a helper on a woman’s farm.

Pearl’s story is so intense and moving, you can’t stop reading. The book is well-written and easy to read. The story never has downtime and my only wish is that there had been more! There’s photos at the end of the book of Pearl and her family, which was a wonderful addition.


#netgalley #littleeggpublishing #littleegg #jelaufer #hiddenpearl #memoirs #shejustlovesbooks

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Thought:

What I Loved: Jeannette’s strong, smart personality. She is able to overcome so much and she was so amazing at such a young age!
How I Felt: I couldn’t help but to love Jeannette and her siblings. You want to help them and give them a better life.
To Read or Not To Read: This is a must read. Her story is well-written and just grabs you.

What’s This Book About Anyway?

Jeannette Walls shares her story of love, sadness, and strength. She, her 4 siblings, and parents constantly move from town to town. Her father drinks, but she shows us his good side when he’s sober. Her mom was more interested in her paintings than being a mother.

As things got worse for the family, the children must rely on each other to make a path forward for their lives.


#theglasscastle #jeannettewalls #memoir #shejustlovesbooks

Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Not Without My Daughter is a memoir written by Betty Mahmoody. This mother’s fierce determination in the face of completely insurmountable odds was such a force in this book. I couldn’t tear myself away from her story.

How I Felt:

I was completely terrified for Betty and her daughter. I had such an absolute enraging anger towards her husband for his deceit. I was appalled every time some new horror would appear in the story. It was nerve-wracking to read, and I can’t imagine living it.

The story starts with Betty Mahmoody, her husband, and their 4 year old daughter take a trip to Iran to visit her husband’s family. This was planned as a 2 week trip, however once there, her husband wants to stay. Betty finds she has no rights int his country and becomes a prisoner, for lack of a better term. She starts to work with people that will help get her out, but she refuses to go without her daughter. This book is the story of her trip there and her fight for her daughter and her freedom.

To Read Or Not To Read:

Not Without My Daughter is a must read memoir! It grips you and doesn’t let go. Knowing that this story was the author’s life experiences made all the pain and fear even more real to me because she lived it.

Where To Find This Book:

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon is available at these sites.

Amazon | Goodreads

There’s a movie too! You can watch it on Amazon here!

In August 1984, Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody accompanied her husband to his native Iran for a two-week vacation. To her horror, she found herself and her four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, virtual prisoners of a man rededicated to his Shiite Moslem faith, in a land where women are near-slaves and Americans are despised. Their only hope for escape lay in a dangerous underground that would not take her child…

Now the true story of this courageous woman and her breathtaking odyssey bursts upon the screen in the Pathe Entertainment production starring Academy Award-winner Sally Field!

Not Without My Daughter is a Literary Guild Alternate Selection.

Just the Facts:

Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody
Subtitle: The Harrowing True Story of a Mother’s Courage
Genre: Memoir
Page Count: 420 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Pub Date: February 15, 1991