Archive for the ‘Memoir’ Category

Review: Jane Doe January – Emily Winslow

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Jane Doe January
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 24, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062434802
ISBN-13: 978-0062434807
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Synopsis:

A memoir detailing a woman’s struggle to find and put her rapist in jail.

Review

This was a very difficult book for me to read, not because it wasn’t well written, but because of the subject matter. Emily Winslow was a junior at Carnegie Mellon University. She was majoring in drama, and doing very well. Then her world changed. As she was headed into her apartment, a man grabbed her, forced her into her apartment, where he raped her. She would spend the next twenty years trying to have this man convicted.

This book while about a very dark subject matter, was a very nicely written memoir. She details every aspect of the case, going into very detailed explanations of her research, the case itself, and her life as a result of this heineous crime. There were times where I was drawn into her story, and when you think things are finally turning out, obstacles get put in her path. Still, she manages to tell a vivid story of a very painful aspect of her life. I’d not heard of her prior to this, but by the time I was through I had gained a ton of respect for her. Considering the subject matter, I’m not sure who I’d recommend it for,, maybe for those wanting to maybe understand things from an insider perspective. But if you can deal with the subject matter, than pick up a copy. Be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Emily Winslow is an American living in Cambridge, England. She trained as an actor at Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious drama conservatory and earned a master’s degree in museum studies from Seton Hall University. For six years she wrote for Games magazine, creating increasingly elaborate and lavishly illustrated logic puzzles. She lives with her husband and two sons.

Trigger Warnings

Contains recollections of rape.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Danielle at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks – Bobby Rydell

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Bobby Rydell
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Doctor Licks Publishing (April 29, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0997385103
ISBN-13: 978-0997385106
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Review

He was riding high on the rock & roll mountain in the 1960s. Hanging out with people like Fabian, Frankie Avalon and even Sinatra. But the ride was brief. Along with the glamour of rock and roll came a lot of womanizing, and alcohol problems. In this memoir, Bobby Rydell tells all. From his humble beginnings in South Philadelphia to the top of the music charts, and to the crashes that came afterwards. A rock and rollercoaster of a ride through life.

I found this a very interesting and very fast memoir to read. It was rather short at 148 pages, but very fact filled. I learned about him, about the music world during that time period, and some of the pitfalls these “teen idols” would find themselves falling into. For fans of the early days of Rock & Roll, of Bobby Rydell, or just music in general, I’d definitely recommend this book.

Trigger Warnings

None

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at The Cadence Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Quilt of Souls – Phyllis Lawson

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Quilt of Souls
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1507789750
ISBN-13: 978-1507789759
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This was a beautifully written memoir. The author was sent to live with her grandparents as a young girl. The grandmother Lula Young Horn was born 20 years after the end of the civil war. The story takes you for a walk through history of that time time, and through black eyes, and does so in a very creative way.

The author would sit with her grandmother who made quilts. As she pulls different pieces of cloth from a bag, she tells young Phyllis about the people whose lives that cloth represented. This is where the most interesting parts of the book lie, as those parts really bring to life the struggles of black Americans in a post civil war but pre-civil rights time period.

Even though I’m from a different background, but similar culture to the author, I was really able to relate to aspects of the story. I remember times doing quilting with my grandmother. While I hated it at the times, I’d love to be able to go back and spend an afternoon now, and get her to tell some stories over the quilting.

No matter your ethnicity, for a good look at a section of American life, pick up a copy of Quilt of Souls. I think you’ll like it.

About the Author

In addition to her career in the military, she worked as an addiction and juvenile counselor for the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia. She currently resides in Florida. She is married and has two sons and five granddaughters.

Quilt of Souls is inspired by Lawson’s grandmother Lula—the woman who raised her and served as the catalyst for her success in life. Lula lived to be 103 years old and overcame the ugliness of racism through creating beautiful quilts.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Author for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within – Jon Derek Croteau

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Hazelden (September 9, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161649509X
ISBN-13: 978-1616495091
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Synopsis:

A memoir of Jon Derek Croteau, about coming to terms with his sexuality, and how trying to live with it caused him to have an eating disorder.

Review

This was a very powerful story. The reader is given the opportunity to look through the eyes of a young gay man as he grows up being different. This story is a no holds barred, warts and all tale of parental rejection.

The tale covers his life beginning when he was a child in pre-school. While all the other boys played with trucks and cars, he wanted to play with the girls and the dresser full of clothes. When he was caught, his father removed him from the school, placed him in another, and spent the next years trying to force him to be a man through various sports.

All though was not bleak. He had a supportive mother, siblings, and friends. Something that sadly a lot of those in the LGBT community lack. One darker aspect of dealing with his sexuality was he developed an eating disorder. Partly over his sexuality, and partly over a father who constantly reminded him that he was fat, or that he’d get fat.

Overall, it’s a memorable story of life, and one that all those who support the LGBT community should read, and those who don’t support the community should read it, just to see the damage they can do to a person’s psyche. I’d recommend it to any older teen and adult readers due to subject matter, but it’s a definite recommendation.

About the Author

Jon Derek Croteau is on a mission to make a difference, a mission he has pursued since his childhood. He uses every moment to learn more about the world in order to contribute to those who are in need, disenfranchised, or impacted by discrimination. He is a champion of equal rights and effective leadership. This has led him to advocate, teach, write, advise and support people, places, and ideas that enhance the lives of others. As a husband, brother, uncle, and friend, he shares his love, life and mission with his family and friends from whom he draws support and inspiration.

Jon is a senior partner at Witt/Kieffer, an expert in leadership solutions for major institutions, and a respected author of books, essays, poetry, and short stories. He has written numerous academic articles and has contributed to many other publications.

Volunteering and philanthropy have been at the core of Jon’s mission. Along with his husband, he is the co-founder of the Jayne A. Iarrobino Scholarship for Leadership and Promise at Emerson College, The Alan K. Gaynor Prize Fund at Boston University, and is an advocate for The Trevor Project’s, Friends of Trevor. He has volunteered for Camp Hope in Quito, Ecuador, has served as a Big Brother and a mentor for Point Foundation, and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Boston University School of Education.

Jon is Executive Producer of Singer/Songwriter Will Dailey’s New Album National Throat. Get it today!

His memoir, My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within, will be published by Hazelden Publishing September 9, 2014.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC Book tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: An Unspoken Compromise – Rizi Xavier Timane, Phd. ASW.

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1492804371
ISBN-13: 978-1492804376
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Synopsis:

The story of one man’s journey through life as a transgender and his struggles against society, family, and religion.

Review

Everything about this book broke my heart. At 8 years old Ritzi, who was born a girl, felt he was a boy. He went as far as telling his father this, and was met by laughter and ignored. He told his mother and for years was met with scorn, biblical bashing and much much worse. She brought in exorcists to rid her daughter of the demons. This continued way into adulthood.

Then Rizi decided to just live life as a lesbian, but even then wasn’t happy because something felt as if it was missing. Finally He decided to go through gender reassignment which caused even more riffs among family and friends. Through it all though, He never lost faith in God and that is where some of the strength comes through, that despite all the hate heaped on him by his country, his family, and everyone else, he was still able to find love in his heart for God.

It’s a beautiful story that I think everyone should read, but sadly in this country I know there are many who won’t because of the subject matter. That is where it’s very sad, because they are missing out on a beautiful story of survival, love, and forgiveness. Isn’t that what the Bible stories were about after all?

One sad part of the book that disturbed me the most was the individual stories of all the LGBTQ people who were beaten, some who died, merely due to their sexuality.

It’s definitely for the older audiences and details things such as child abuse, rape, and other dark images that some readers may find disturbing. If you can overlook this, you”ll find a beautiful story, that while brief, leaves you with a connection to the author. For anyone out there struggling, I would recommend this book. So many feel rejected by a religion they’d like to embrace, and Dr. Timane does an excellent job of leading you through finding what you may seek.

About the Author

Rizi Xavier Timane’ was born in Northern Nigeria, West Africa. He grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home and was taught from an early age that being part of the LGBT community would lead him straight to hell. Like most transgendered persons, Rizi struggled with gender dysphoria in early childhood and initially identified as a lesbian.

The rejection and persecution that Rizi was subjected to led him to abuse drugs and alcohol, and coupled with his growing gender dysphoria, culminated in a suicide attempt. After much soul searching and research, Rizi, like many LGBT people today, discovered that nothing is wrong with him being transgender nor is anything wrong with LGBT sexuality, which are both in fact, natural God-given traits. His struggles and persecution identifying first as an openly out lesbian in Africa, and then subsequently as a trans-man, are the inspiration behind his ministry today.

Rizi is a commissioned minister and spiritual counselor within Rizi Timane Ministries-a Jesus based ministry that values people of all faiths and religious backgrounds. He routinely provides affirming spiritual support to the LGBT community and is much sought after as a public speaker on the subject of the intersection of Religion/Spirituality and LGBT Civil Rights. Rizi’s speaking engagements have included universities, colleges, churches and other non-profit organizations.

Rizi is also an inspirational/gospel singer whose album “Come Out” has been well received within the community and had him booked in numerous affirming churches/venues all over the USA and Internationally. Rizi completed year long seminary studies at Claremont School of Theology in California, earning a graduate certificate in Religion, Activism and Social Justice. He has also earned a PhD in Christian Counseling and a Masters in Social Work from University of Southern California (USC) with the intent to become fully Licensed as a Psychotherapist in Los Angeles.

You can visit his ministries www.rizigospel.org OR www.rizitimaneministries.org.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: To Be A Friend is Fatal – Kirk W. Johnson

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476710481
ISBN-13: 978-1476710488
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Synopsis:

A former worker in Iraq details his years of struggle in bringing Iraqi refugees who’d worked for our government to safety.

Review

I was disappointed after reading this book. Not in the book, it was excellent, but in our government. During the years of the Iraq War, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens worked under contract for our government. There were paid dirt poor wages at times, treated great at first, and later treated with distrust and disrespect. Then when the troops began to pull out they were abandoned. Many faced death threats due to helping the U.S. Many were assassinated.

Kirk Johnson worked in Iraq and around many of these Iraqis. When a freak accident during a vacation kept him from returning, he eventually turned to writing an Op-Ed about those left behind. When word of this Op-Ed reached Iraq he started receiving e-mail after e-mail asking for his help.

In To Be a Friend is Fatal he details the struggles he went through to set up a non profit to aid these refugees. The government bureaucracy, wasteful spending, and general attitude of neglect fill the pages.

While the largest section details events during the George W. Bush administration, the resistance to any help continued through to the Obama Administration. There are those who won’t read it, because they’ll think it attacks Bush, but in reality, it exposes the entire mess from the government in general.

To get an idea of how we do those who risk their lives and limbs to ally with us, pick up To Be a Friend is Fatal. I think you’ll find it very eye opening.

About the Author

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Alexsis at Simon & Schuster for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Foster Girl – Georgette Todd

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Paperback: 302 pages
Publisher: Alala Books (May 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615710808
ISBN-13: 978-0615710808
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Synopsis:

A poignant memoir of a young girl forced into the Foster Care system after the death of her mother.

Review

I don’t know where to begin on this book. I got halfway through it, and didn’t know whether I could finish it. The young woman’s story hit me on very personal levels and I could feel the pain seeping from the pages. But I owed it to her, to the readers of this website, and myself to find out how her story ended, at least insofar as this book.

It’s not just a look at the Foster Care system itself, but it’s a story of survival. Like the author, I also grew up in the Foster Care system, but my experiences were much different than hers. In 2011 alone, there were an estimated 400,000 kids in the Foster Care system. Almost 50% of those were in the homes of strangers.

Her story is one of group homes, juvenile centers, and private foster care homes. I would hope that her experience was unique, but from I’ve personally seen, her background is more of the rule than the exception.

The book was beautifully written, and really grabbed your attention. It’s not for the weak of heart though. It details childhood sexual abuse, drug abuse, and many of the reactions that come as a result of a painful background.

But for a glimpse into her life, and into the life of a Foster child, I heartily recommend that you pick this book up. The author has informed me that she has two more in the works, which I look forward to reading to see how her life advanced after her time in Foster Care.

About the Author

Georgette Todd has a BA in English and Journalism, attended law school and has a MFA in English, Non-Fiction Creative Writing from Mills College. Her writing has been featured on National Public Radio, in San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union-Tribune, Sacramento News & Review and other publications.

In 2011, Georgette was honored for her work in co-creating the first full-time youth advocacy program in America, a pioneering achievement in child welfare history. At present, Georgette is completing one of the two “Foster Girl” sequels, “Interviewing My Last Mother.”

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Georgette Todd at for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Giveaway – Black Caesar – Ron Chepesiuk

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime I”m able to offer my readers 1 ebook copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until August 5th 2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

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Review: My Journey as a Combat Medic – Patrick Thibeault

Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Paperback: 201 pages
Publisher: Combat Medic with Indianapolis Business Journal; 1ST edition (October 7, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193492265X
ISBN-13: 978-1934922651
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Review:

A memoir of Patrick Thibeault’s career as a combat medic.  As a reader we see not only the duties of the combat medic, but get to experience through his words the entire process from first joining, to paratrooper training, to his medic training.  What unfolds is an interesting life devoted to being the first line medical care for our wounded troops.  Many people think of MASH  and in a lot of ways it did seem to be similar, but unknown to me, there was much more training.  He had to earn multiple combat badges, multiple medical badges, it seemed like he was constantly training.

He also goes a lot into a problem that is often overlooked among all the troops, that of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Suffering from it himself he is able to give a lot of advice on dealing with it.  He also provides priceless advice for anyone who would want to follow in his same career as to how they can get involved as a Medic.

 Overall a very interesting memoir of a little talked about combat role.  We often hear about the Seals, Snipers, etc. but this was the first opportunity to hear about the Medic.  I found it to be an enjoyable and well written story.  If you get the chance, pick it up and see what you think.  Be sure and drop back by and let us know what you thought.

Tour Schedule:

2011

So Many Precious Books  Jan 7 Review & Giveaway                 
JoyStory Jan 8 Review                                     
JoyStory  Jan 9 Interview
Rhodes Reviews Jan 10 Review                                   
Angela Shelton             Jan 11Review                          
Angela Shelton Jan 11 Interview
Every Free Chance Jan 14 Review &  Giveaway
Sincerely Stacie            Jan 15 Review                        
Jolly Blogger Jan 16 Review                                         
Book Lover’s Library Jan 17 Review                                         
Book Lover’s Library   Jan 18 Guest Post & Giveaway
My Devotional Thoughts Jan 18 Review                                
Second Bookshelf  Jan 21 Review & Giveaway
Sugar & Spice Jan 22 Review                                       
wall-to-wall books Jan 23 Review & Giveaway
Eclectic Books & Movies Jan 24 Review                                
Eclectic Books & Movies  Jan 25 Interview
Dab of Darkness Jan 28 Review
Greater Fort Worth Writers  Jan 28 Interview
Teena In Toronto Jan 29 Review                                              
Bibliophilia, Please  Jan 29 Excerpt
MN Girl in LA Jan 30 Review & Giveaway
Greater Fort Worth Writers Jan 31 Review                                                          

2012:

The Year In Books Feb 1 Review                                                 
The Opinionated Me  Feb 1 Guest Post
Everyday Is An Adventure Feb 4   Review                               
Everyday Is An Adventure Feb 5 Guest Post & Giveaway
Em Sun               Feb 5 Review                                                 
Ordinary Girlz Feb 6 Review                                                      
Book Through Garden Window Feb 7 Review                                                     
Book Through Garden Window Feb 8 Guest Post  
Older Mommy Still Yummy Feb 8 Review & Giveaway
Geo Librarian Feb 11 Review                                                    
Geo Librarian Feb 12 Interview & Giveaway
Peaceful Wishing Feb 12 Review                                           
readitallbookreviews Feb 13 Review

About the Author

Patrick Thibeault was born in Kittery, Maine.

His father was in the U.S. Army so he moved around the world as a kid. Glenn is an artist, still living in New York with his wife, a bulldog, a pug and a cat.

Patrick lived in Germany, the USA and graduated from high school in Korea. Patrick served in Desert Storm and in Afghansitan as a combat medic.

He was once a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Patrick was inspired to write the book: My Journey as a Combat Medic: From Desert Storm to Operation Enduring Freedom because of his experiences.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Teddy at Virtual Author Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Rudy: My Story – Daniel Ruettiger

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 4, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0849948398
ISBN-13: 978-0849948398
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Review

Anyone who has ever seen the movie Rudy can remember the feelings they had watching Rudy, played beautifully by Sean Astin as he struggled first to become a student at Notre Dame, and finally to not only be part of the team, but actually play in one game. This is a memoir of that story, written by Rudy himself, Daniel Reuttiger. He details his life, the struggle it took to make the movie, and how others can tap into those motivations within himself.

Much of the novel played out more like an extended director’s cut of the movie, but the reader got to find out a lot more about Rudy’s life, and what drove him. I’ll admit there were a few times where my eyes grew misty in seeing him become triumphant over many obstacles including a learning disability.

Outside the retelling of the “Rudy” story though is the fascinating story of making the movie.  It turned out to be almost as large a struggle as it was to get to Notre Dame.  If you love the movie as I do, you would really enjoy this behind the scenes aspect.

For those who love the underdog story, loved the movie Rudy, or even sports fans, you should grab this book. You’ll find it moving, motivational, and one you’ll remember long after you’ve turned that final page.

About the Author

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Thomas Nelson at Booksneeze for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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